Monday, April 30, 2012

All good things...

Wigan Athletic 4 – 0 Newcastle Utd

And so, it came to pass, that on the 28th day of the 4th month Newcastle did get thoroughly pasted by Wigan.

Put simply, we didn’t turn up for the first 45 minutes and against a Wigan side in the form of their collective lives, playing slick passing football, that meant we were spectacularly put to the sword.

Almost everyone had an off-day, from Papiss Cisse seeing shots ricochet off post and bar in the second half, which last week might have inched just inside the goal, to our entire defence, who simply couldn’t cope with the Wigan onslaught – spearheaded by a brilliant performance by Victor Moses. Moses it was who scored the first two of Wigan’s goals, outmuscling Mike Williamson to win a header and then stroking home a loose ball after a Sideshow Bob block.

Put simply, Wigan wanted it more. They were quicker to every ball and we allowed them an excess of liberty as demonstrated when Shaun Maloney was allowed to run free to sweep home Wigan’s third and Franco di Santo given far too much time by Mr T before chipping home Wigan’s fourth just before half-time.

The Silver Fox tried to energise the team from the sidelines, switching to five at the back at one stage in the first half, to try and better match Wigan’s 3-4-3 formation, but to no avail.

The second half saw us at least match the hosts, with Cisse twice unlucky and HBA creating one glorious opportunity through quick feet only to shoot wide with his right foot. Wigan might have been reduced to ten men, only for referee Mike Dean to bottle out of giving a straight red to James McCarthy for a bad foul on Demba Ba and also refuse to give a second yellow card to Antolin Alcaraz for a deliberate handball with the player already booked, but to be frank we didn’t deserve anything from this game and Wigan themselves might have scored more but for a fine save by Krul and a goal-line clearance from Sideshow Bob.

With Chelski and Spurs winning, and Arsenal only managing a draw away to Stoke, the race for the Champions League has tightened up. Hopefully, this defeat will prove to be a kick up the backside to galvanise us to raise our game for the final three fixtures and battle all the way to the line.

There were a lot of Toon fans who were grumbling about the manner of the defeat on Saturday, and while it was disappointing that we had an off-day, let’s just remember that we’re guaranteed a top six finish and place in Europe next season, and we could still qualify for the Champions League. 

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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Blogger Ben said...

Horrible, horrible result - and this against a team I've been describing as having a laughably poor strikeforce for a supposed Premier League side... Our defending was hapless, but Moses was superb and that chip from the normally donkey-esque di Santo was spectacular.

The final scoreline was 66/1 before kick-off - incredible. Another freakish result to file alongside that 5-2 defeat at Fulham. Still, we've benefited from improbable results more often than not thus far this campaign, so it was probably our turn to be bitten in the arse.

That trip to Chelsea now looks all the more daunting, given their current form. And then it's Man City, with the Premier League title in the sights. And then in-form Everton at Goodison - it's possible we may not pick up another point...

1:10 am  

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