Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Please, make it stop

Newcastle Utd 1 - 2 Swansea City

Well, at least we scored this time.

Following four successive defeats, the fixture list could arguably not have been kinder in presenting us with a home game against Swansea, a side who are probably just about safe but are in their own poor run of form and busy scrapping among themselves. Of course, the opposite proved to be true - the Welsh side couldn't believe their good fortune at facing a black-and-white-shirted sitting duck, and striker Wilfried Bony duly gave us both barrels.

The Silver Fox, serving the last game of his touchline ban, reacted to last weekend's loss at Stoke - and a fourth consecutive blank - by jettisoning Saylor and the experiment with a 3-5-2 formation, and instead naming an undeniably attacking line-up featuring Luuk de Jong as well as Papiss Cisse, Big Lad and Goofy. Sadly, that ploy would only have worked if there had been a creative spark in midfield and if all those forwards understood the system in which they were supposedly playing.

In truth, Cisse only lasted 21 minutes, dominated by the visitors, before being forced off with a leg injury. De Jong too succumbed to a knock before the break, leaving the Silver Fox's alleged masterplan in tatters and French duo Mathieu Debuchy and Loic Remy pushed back into action far sooner than desirable. Cisse and de Jong weren't the only notable first-half injuries, either, with referee Chris Foy suffering the effects of an early thumped ball to the head and replaced by Anthony Taylor. If we were looking for omens, none of this was good - not even Foy's departure, given that in the previous three Newcastle games he had officiated this season we hadn't conceded a goal.

However, de Jong did at least muster one significant contribution before leaving the action, helping Big Lad to register his first league goal in nearly 1400 minutes - one which took him above Sir Les in the ranks of our top Premier League scorers. Incredible, isn't it? Perhaps he's belatedly cottoned on to the fact that his contract will be up shortly...

Big Lad's strike was against the run of play, though, and thanks at least partly to the Silver Fox's choice of formation the Swans had a firm grip of midfield, despite the best efforts of Mr T. It was no great surprise that they were level by half-time, following some awful defending from a corner and a clinical header from Bony.

The home crowd - staggeringly, another 51,000+ - had every right to expect much, much better in the second period, and they did get an improvement of sorts. Dan Gosling and Vurnon Anita, the latter restored to midfield after Debuchy's introduction, both tested Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal, though his compatriot Tim Krul had to pull off a better stop to foil Bony in a one-on-one.

The Silver Fox's final throw of the dice was to bring on Adam Armstrong for Gosling, but it was another player who entered the fray in the 81st minute who made the crucial impact. Ex-Smoggie Marvin Emnes was rashly chopped down in the area by Mr T in stoppage time, Taylor awarding a yellow card and a penalty that Bony converted.

In his post-match interview a forlorn Silver Fox spouted all sorts of bollocks, including essentially thanking the fans for not booing him. Of the players, he commented: "Their effort was there for all to see. We keep making errors and we are getting punished. You can’t afford to do that with the run we are on. We’ve got to grin and bear it." Wrong. With five consecutive Premier League defeats (a new club record) likely to become six with a trip to the Emirates, and that minimum requirement of a top ten finish now under threat, there's no grinning to be done. Not even a smirk at the Mackems, who seem to be mounting an utterly implausible Connor Wickham-inspired escape from relegation and who, after all, have scored as many goals at St James' Park in 2014 as we have...

Other reports: BBC, Observer

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I waited 20 years to get a season ticket after my time in the Army and my first season has been just awful, How can 50,000 +geordies still go to watch that shower and line Cashleys pockets! i wont be renewing mine til their both gone! I know the comments I ll get but if you still go you need to stop complaining about them both or vote with your feet and do the same as myself and the guys sat around mew or continue being mugs and shut up.

8:54 am  

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