As soon as we possibly can after the match the five horsemen of the true faith TIFOSI will be on here giving their views on what has gone down between 3 to 5pm at St James’ Park when we entertain those lovable scamps West Ham from East London and their bubbles and that.
Good or ill our boys will pull no punches and give their unvarnished views of what has just unfolded before us. Naturally, we are praying for a good win and a great night for everyone in NE1 afterwards.
Don’t forget to tun in folks.
It was good to be back in and amongst friends again yesterday, but sadly, a lot like last season, things seemed lethagic and everything seemed a struggle. Was saying to my dad in the pub before the match that Fat Sam will come and look to sit tight for the first 20-25 minutes, and try and get the fans a bit anxious and on the NUFC players backs. His plan worked, as we didn’t create much, but I never saw/heard too many complaints about the players on the pitch, which was good to see. As for the players and style, I like the fact we had a front two. Obviously Shola isn’t the answer, but his type of player working upfront with another one is preferable to last season where Cisse was isolated far too often. We still need one or two of the midfielders to break from the middle and try and give the front two support when we have the ball, but at least we had two up there to start with yesterday, rather than one. Once again, Cisse was very underpar and deserved to be hauled off when he was. Imagine, given how Cisse performed, how easy of an afternoon the West Ham back four would have had if it was Cisse upfront by himself. Must do better. To sum up, a front two is a step forward, but the team can still improve tenfold. How we didn’t nick it at the death with Gouffran, well.. only he knows. This performance was probably the minimum needed to keep fans a touch onside, but as far as I can see, things still look very bleak at the club. Worrying saying that sentance in the second last week of August. Just get out of Morecambe with a win, regardless of the shite performance, that fixture is just a shoelace waiting to be tripped up on, and then move onto Fulham next week with hopefully a bit more invention from the middle lads and the front two playing better off each other to boot.. Not too much to ask is it?
We’re on the verge of bendable TVs. Commercial space flights are on offer. Yet Shola Ameobi is still starting PL games for NUFC. In fact the bloke gets 90 minutes. Yes, he’s not the worst technical footballer in the world. But he’s one of the least effective. Sure, had Sylvain Marveaux not lost his footing the big lad probably would have had an assist, but he offers little else. It was far from a classic game on a grey Tyneside afternoon. From memory neither ‘keeper really had a save to make. Sammy hitting the post and Gouffran scooping over on the rebound late in the day was probably the only thing to write home about. You could argue we weren’t that bad. Equally we weren’t great. The defence was solid enough, a fact predictably picked up in AP’s post match press conference – although Mathieu Debuchy remains far from convincing at PL level. In the continued absence of Cabaye, Sissoko and Anita got the nod in the centre of the park and were promising. While not at his best Moussa was full of hustle and bustle, while Vernon showed what a tidy little football he is. Hatem is clearly desperate to impress, but a frightening lack of movement reduced him to pot-shots from distance. Marveaux, well I rate him, but Pardew clearly doesn’t fancy him and Cisse once more was anonymous, although in his defence he had little to feed off. After a heavy defeat at the Etihad I guess there is some solace in a point. But the crowd began to grow restless and there were even a few ditties focused upon JFK’s lack of signings. Not a disastrous start at home, but on this evidence plenty of work to be done.
“Don’t sell Cabaye.” Rang out sometime in the 2nd half, It’s futile call seemed to summon a brooding cloud of rain that had been scowling across the sky all afternoon and as it pelted down, both sides cast hopeless long balls like the rise and fall of some malefic murder of carrion crows. Thing is though, whilst we were the apotheosis of hairy yak testicles in terms of football, we were playing better without Cabaye. The biggest disappointment, aside from the West ham fans’s two songs (“oi’m forevaaar blaawinn baaables” and, inexplicably, “paolo di canio” – don’t ask, I have no idea either!) was the case of shots on target.or to be more precise… lack of them…as in total lack of them. The game as a whole was a frustrating and turgid affair; Allardyce set up his team as Allardyce does; to defend and counter attack, we should know that by now, West Ham play like us under Fat Sam but marginally less shite. Their tactic of ‘ waste time, flood your own box, throw your massive, head/face/calf/ankle at the ball then someone else hoof it out wide to Jarvis’ was working during the 1st half and the ex Wolves man was a thorn in the side of a much-improved Debuchy all game. Contrary to most performances during this sort of match, we weathered it sort of ok, ish. We looked much more disciplined in midfield. I’m not a fan of Anita by any stroke, but he did ok too, delivering some neat to-feet passes rather than hoofing it into the box (*ahem* Cabaye *ahem*) when he wasn’t getting mauled off the ball by Diame. Marveaux had a few flashes too, eventually being substituted for Sammy Ameobi who, amazingly, seemed to cause west ham a great deal of problems on that left wing, ghosting through the defence but ultimately being let down by his delivery into the box. There was little to write home about in terms of chances for both teams, Nolan drifted away from his man yet fluffed his header, Gouffran was surprised by the ball in added time, seven yards out, and it bounced off his ankle and over the bar. If you want a concise and bite-size summation of the game, that was it…
I’m mindful of the Roy Orbison song…I drove all night. We could kick the ball up and down the pitch without threatening a goal for weeks. To be honest we played better than I thought we would. Vurnon was tidy (you cant coach that shit) and Mapou was much better than the Geordie Joker. A ball straight through the middle is very worrying though. Cisse hobbled off and Strolla looked lazy as always .. World Cup year? I’m a big Goufazz fan but how on earth he missed that…offside or not I can’t imagine. The day was all about papering over the cracks. If big Andy had played we would have been in trouble. But our toothless 11 lived to fight another day…oh, and it pains me to say that Sammy actually did alright! We need a battering ram a la Lukaku, Lambert, or dare I say…Gomis.