Although by no means spectacular, the most important thing to come out of Sunday afternoon’s win was the three points. As with every game, though, there are positives and negatives to it, and here we outline the top five things the club can take from the game.
- A Regular Penalty Taker Is Needed
It is no secret that clubs who have a known regular penalty taker in return have a higher percentage in terms of conversion rate. Manager Alan Pardew said that normally Demba Ba or Hatem Ben Arfa would be duty, but that the team had ‘invited’ goaless Cisse to have the chance of opening his tally, which he promptly blazed away. In future, this will need to be addressed.
- Ben Arfa’s Ever Glowing Talent
It was another superb performance from the skillful Frenchman, who ran the show in midfield once again. A brilliant pass to set up Demba Ba provided the only goal of the game, and he was the difference between the two sides in reality. A true star on Tyneside, this performance was another example of his nature.
- Damage Limited From Pardew’s Absence
Alan Pardew has now served his two match touchline ban, and Newcastle have come out of it with four points, something which the manager will be openly delighted with. Pardew’s return to the dug-out can only help things as Newcastle look to build on what is a solid start.
- Don’t Waste Momentum
This was a good result, coming off the back of an arguably even better one in the Premier League on Monday, with a promising display in midweek against Maritimo. It is essential, therefore, that Alan Pardew sends out a relatively strong side in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup game against Manchester United in an attempt to build on this. He’s already hinted that captain Coloccini will most likely start in an attempt to get some game time under his belt, but it would be nice to see a few more starters keeping their place and Manchester United given a stern examination.
- The Defence
Newcastle may be missing Tim Krul, and as mentioned above their captain from the heart of their defence, but today showcased that they still have enough there to form a mean last line. Veteran Steve Harper has offered an assured presence in goal, and did so again in the Norwich game. Steven Taylor has been in great form, and there was a notable performance from Mike Williamson alongside him, who did well in both boxes as he won the penalty which Cisse duly missed. Santon has proved himself to be a class act when called upon, and this was another victory based upon defensive solidity. Newcastle fans must praise their defenders, and take great pride in their collective display today.
A win is a win, and this vital three points earned Newcastle a place in the top-half and continues a start that they can be quietly happy with. It will be very interesting to now see how manager Alan Pardew sets the Magpies up in their midweek League Cup tie with giants Manchester United, and indeed beyond that, with good performances and fixtures in abundance giving the manager more than a little to think about.