Newcastle’s four-game winning streak finally came to an end in a 3-0 loss to Swansea City.
Heading into last night, Newcastle were on a four-game winning streak. Thanks to those victories, we were undoubtedly classed as favorites heading into the game. However, I was always a bit worried. I think everyone will agree that the win against Tottenham was very fortunate, thanks to the magical performance from Tim Krul, while the two wins over Norwich and West Brom still didn’t see Newcastle play their best football.
Clinical finishing from Loic Remy and Yoan Gouffran in these matches had helped us, for sure, and the team didn’t seem to be functioning at the top of their game. Coming into last night, I knew we’d have to raise our game if we were to overcome Swansea on their hoemground; and we failed to do so.
With that in mind, here are the main talking points of the game, in effect, five things we learned from the disappointing loss:
1.Zero Justice – Newcastle had two perfectly good claims for a penalty turned down within the space of a second. A further penalty claim (that our maestro, Davide Ginola, said “would have been given en France”) for a shove in the back on Gouffran (was it?) also turned down. Shelvey should have been red carded for his head butting motion on Debuchy – whether he connects or not, it’s a red card.
2. Zero Luck – Following the two blatant handballs, Swansea break and scored. Krul saves a one-on-one against Shelvey. His clearance hits the hapless Debuchy; the ball rolls into the net – a killer blow because Newcastle were on top at the time.
3. Zero goals – Both Ameobi and Remy had a poor game. Their first touch deserted both of them. Apart from one good cross/Remy-header that forced a good save from Vorm, most crosses never got past the first defender. Not good enough!
4. Zero confidence – the team lacked any conviction when moving forward, and looked worryingly shaky at the back – strange for a team that has been grinding out victories in the past few games. I am not too sure why this happened, but Pardew should be instilling a sense of pride in that team, and I saw none of it last night.
5. Zero new game plan – Newcastle started with the same game plan that won the fixture at Swansea two seasons ago. ‘Let Swansea run themselves ragged and score on the counter attack. [Cisse (fed by ‘Le Prince Noir’, Cabaye) was on fire in those days.]’
Going one down, we pushed up a and took the game to Swansea in the 2nd half. Had we had more self belief, we could have done that from the start – ‘too little too late’. It might have worked. It wouldn’t have been worse.
Newcastle had the better players and did look more threatening in the second half but, by and large, we were second to every second-ball throughout the game. The better team, on the night, won handsomely albeit with blind injustice. Good wishes to Swansea because they play the modern game extremely well and we’re still catching up with it – as the scoreline proved.
As they say in the Eurovision song contest, “Newcastle – ‘nil pwan!'”
Howay the Lads
Paul C Burr