After giving a fine performance in the first half at Villa Park today, Newcastle United utterly collapsed in the second half and were soundly beaten by Aston Villa by 4-1.
This will plunge Newcastle into some trouble in the league since our league form has to be the worst of any team in the league since mid-December, which was our last win. In our last 9 league games we’ve lost 6 and drawn 3 and in those games we’ve conceded 21 goals and scored 5 for a goal difference of -16. We now have a goal difference overall of -18, one of the worst in the league.
All went so well in the first half and the lads started brightly with Michael Owen scoring with a header, from a half chance, after just 5 minutes and during the first half Newcastle were the better team and deserved their lead at the break.
But in the second half we expected that Martin O’Neil gave his players a stern talking to at half time, because they came out, and within 3 minutes Bouma got a rather lucky goal as his shot was deflected off Butt. It seemed to catch Given on the wrong foot. It looked like Shay should have had it but in the reply his foot gave away from under him and he couldn’t get over. But a bad goal to concede in any case.
Then 4 minutes later Aston Villa went ahead when direct from a corner Carew headed straight in from about 7 yards. Pitiful defending from the Newcastle side. So from being 1-0 up, we were suddenly 2-1 down after 6 minutes into the second half, and we looked for a response from the team, which didn’t come.
After 54 minutes, Given came off and was replaced by Steve Harper and Harper then saved Newcastle with two great saves â€“ both from Gardner within 30 seconds. First of all, after 71 minutes he turned a shot from Gardner round the post for a corner. And then from the resulting corner Gardner got a shot in which looked a goal and was deflected but Harper made fantastic save to turn the ball around the post. Good goalkeeping form our number two. We suspect Given may have damaged his groin again with the second goal.
But then a minute later the Newcastle defense was all at sea again, and even through they had several chances to clear the danger, Nicky Butt finally headed off the line, but straight to Rod Carew who got his second goal of the game, by heading the ball into the open goal.
After 88 minutes Owen was clean through in the inside right channel, and should have done better than blast the ball wide of the right hand post.
Then to rub salt in the wounds, after 90 minutes Stephen Carr clearly handled in the penalty area, and Gareth Barry allowed Carew to take the penalty, and he scored to get his hat trick. A good performances from the Norwegian star â€“ a powerful player.
Where this leaves Newcastle we don’t exactly know, until the other results come in, but we are getting dragged into the relegation battle, there’s no doubt about that. With 3 points from 9 games you’ve got to expect that. That’s equivalent of getting about 12-13 points for the full season, that’s how bad things have been.
Since Big Sam was sacked â€“ we have played 5 league games, lost 3 and drawn 2, scored 2 goals and conceded 14. Not good, not good at all.
While the players earned their wages in the first half they didn’t bother turning up in the second, and there is a growing problems at the club, on the playing side. Our next game is against Manchester United, but that’s in 2 weeks, so we’ll have to live with that until then.
The players will have to take responsibility for their second half performance, when not only did they not play well, but they showed no fight whatsoever, when they went 2-1 down. They are good players who are getting paid sky high wages so they will need to explain how come they have played so badly for the club, this season.
After all our hoped in August, when a large majority of fans were expecting a top 6 finish, we may even see our team fighting for its very survival in the Premier League in April and May.
Comments welcome, but please the language decent – thanks.