Friday, October 05, 2012

Trois! Bien!

Newcastle Utd 3 – 0 Bordeaux

At long last our season looked to click into gear last night as we found something of our old rhythm and brushed a side a hotly tipped if underwhelming Bordeaux side in our second Europa League group game.

Once again the Silver Fox rotated the side, with Harper, Santon, HBA, Spidermag and Ba all rested. However, with the exception of Rob Elliot and Shane Ferguson, the other players who came into the side were all established first teamers, with Danny Simpson returning from his recent injury and Dreamboat and Mr T finally paired again in midfield. Pleasingly, we also opted to return to 4-3-3, with Obertan Kenobi, joining Big Lad and Papiss Cisse up front, and Vurnon Anita filling the third place in midfield.

Tellingly, it was our French players who looked to have a point to prove and started the match brightly, with Dreamboat firing an early shot just wide. With Bordeaux wasting a chance at the other end, it was Newcastle who took an early lead when Dreamboat’s magnificent long diagonal pass was beautifully taken down by Kenobi (operating on the left-hand side for a change). He burst past two defenders before crossing low with his left foot and leaving Big Lad with a simple tap-in to open his account for the season.

With Mr T picking up an early booking he looked to have the shackles on slightly, but nonetheless the sight of him in tandem with Dreamboat, ably supported by Anita, meant that our midfield continued to play with greater fluency than at any stage thus far this season.

With that platform in place, it was inevitable that further goals would come and so it was when Simpson took a throw down the right to Big Lad. He controlled in neatly before threading a pass back to Simpson on the touchline. His strong cross looked like it would be intercepted by the keeper, only for Henrique to stick out a foot, presumably aware that Cisse was lurking behind him, and knock the ball into the unguarded net to give us a deserved two-goal lead at half-time.

Worryingly (with Krul still not yet fit) we lost Elliot at the break, with Steve Harper taking over the gloves in the second half.

Shortly after the interval we finished the tie off when Fergie surged forward from left back before delivering an angled cross from deep which Cisse (perhaps a fraction offside) managed to get onto, and shoot home first time with his left foot.

With the tie safe, the stewards presumably also decided to take the rest of the night off, allowing one man and his penis the freedom of the pitch for quite a while before he was subdued.

With Man Utd coming on Sunday, the Silver Fox opted to rest Dreamboat and Mr T, throwing on Gosling and Bigi to further their European adventures. For Bordeaux, their best chance fell to one-time Mackem David Bellion, who despite managing to get through on goal was unable to beat Harper, who produced a fine save.

With Bruge beating Maritimo, the win meant we now sit top of the group after two games, and also look to have regained our mojo in midfield. Hopefully the fact that we clicked while playing 4-3-3 won’t have been lost on the Silver Fox. Further positives to note were the performances of Fergie and Obertan Kenobi, the fact that Danny Simpson got a full 90 minutes under his belt, and that Cisse added a second goal to his tally for the season.

The only downside was the injury to Elliot, which means that Jak Alnwick is in line to be on the bench on Sunday, although as the Silver Fox reportedly commented “hopefully we’ll get him a win bonus”.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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