By Tom Richardson Does beating Villa at the weekend mark the end of the Yohan Cabaye hangover? In the 2nd half I certainly witnessed a spirit and fight which has been lacking in recent weeks that would suggest we’re starting to move on.
Cabaye made his final appearance for the Toon Army on January 18th in a 1-3 away win against West Ham, where he scored twice by the way, and since then we’ve managed a measly 4 points from 5 games. The goal against Villa was the first scored by a Newcastle United player since Cabaye left.
It’s not been the results that have concerned me (apart from the one unmentionable) but the lack of energy in the team and a visible loss of confidence. Pards has taken the brunt of the ill feeling, especially from the likes of Lee Ryder, when in reality all we ever do is sell his best players… not that he helps much by touting them out in post-game interviews mind.
Any team, and I’m not just talking sport here, that loses their prize asset isn’t going to react well and that’s what we’ve seen at Newcastle over the last month.
I sympathize with both the players and manager in this situation. If Newcastle United isn’t good enough for Yohan Cabaye then why should the likes of Tiote, Debuchy, Remy and Krul feel it’s good enough for them?
Now I’m sure plenty will argue that given the money they’re on they should be able to pick themselves up and move on but football players aren’t robots. There’s no doubt in my mind that the sale of Cabaye will have been felt by every single player in that dressing room and sapped that growing belief that on our day we can beat anyone anywhere.
In one player sale we’ve witnessed a complete psychological 180 in the dressing room and it’s been the manager’s job to pick the players back up again. That was never going to happen overnight but it just might have happened last weekend.
There’s a certain feeling you get at St James’ Park when momentum swings in our favour. The feeling that regardless of who we’re playing we can beat them and Villa felt the full brunt of that in the last 15 minutes. As soon as the crowd starts to believe the players start to believe as well and for the first time since Cabaye left it looked to me like the 11 men on the field in black and white all believed we could win that game.
I now believe we’ve got every chance of beating Hull, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Southampton but more importantly the players might just believe the same thing. Only time will tell of course but I can’t help but feel the Cabaye sale hangover is finally starting to lift.