Newcastle lost 1-0 yesterday to a very ordinary side in Aston Villa, who had won only one of their last 7 games, and it showed.
Alan Pardew – free kick excuse doesn’t cut it
Any decent performance by Newcastle yesterday would have taken at least a point from the nervous Aston Villa side, but the Tyneside team showed they had absolutely no penetration up front, and once Villa got a goal the question was always going to be where is a Newcastle goal coming from.
Alan Pardew is right to be worried about the loss of Andy Carroll because with Best and Ameobi both injury prone and missing games, Newcastle have very little left to play up front as striker.
In the end the equalizing goal didn’t come, and Newcastle were just not good enough yesterday to get anything out of the game – in fact they were close to being hopeless.
The Villa goal came from a free-kick when Ashley Young went down rather easily, but he always does if you even touch him, after a Joey Barton challenge.
From the resulting free-kick, James Collins headed easily into the back of the net, and it was poor Newcastle marking for the goal.
And after the match, Pardew thought it wasn’t a free kick:
“Young is the most fouled player in the division,” “We kept saying if you touch him he goes over. I think that was in Joey’s mind. He hardly touched him and down he went again.”
“I didn’t think it was a free-kick.” “The game was scruffy. We wanted to stop Villa’s wide players and we did a good job of that.” “Villa have got some outstanding players but there was no real flow to their game.”
“We just couldn’t get enough pressure on them to make that nervousness count. The first goal was going to be absolutely everything and they got it just after our best spell.”
Of course things didn’t start well even before the game for Newcastle, when injury-prone Shola Ameobi, who had a good game last Saturday, turned up with a swollen knee this time. How many games has Ameobi missed over the last 11 seasons through injury – far too many is the answer.
And Nile Ranger and Peter Lovenkrands couldn’t do anything up front yesterday, and to be brutally honest, the Magpies never looked like scoring.
Newcastle looked half the side they looked last week against Wolves, and Aston Villa, if anything, were not as good as Wolves were last week bu they defended better than Wolves.
The game shows a number of things about the current Newcastle side, where even Enrique didn’t look great yesterday, and gave the ball away three times in the first 20 minutes:
- Newcastle are an ordinary side unless their very best players are all playing
- The squad is short not only in quality but in quantity too – we had far too many youngsters on the bench yesterday
- If Newcastle survive in the Premier League this season – fans should be very thankful – very thankful
- At least six good players are needed in the summer, and more if top players like Enrique are sold
Pardew can go on all he likes about the free kick but Darren Bent scored a goal just before half time, when he was shown to be level with the Newcastle defense and therefore onside, and the goal should have stood – did Alan mention that one in the press conferences?
The offside rule was changed to have the player onside when he is level, but we’ve hardly ever seen one of those goals given by the linesmen, who go to the safety of disallowing the goal almost every time – just in case they are wrong.
Their thinking seems to be better not give a goal, even if he’s onside, rather than give a goal that’s shown to be offside by TV replays. Negative thinking again of course, and no courage being shown by the officials, but what’s new?
The reason Newcastle lost was not because of a dodgy free kick or anything like that, it’s because the team just didn’t play well enough on the day, for whatever reason.
Newcastle looked ordinary at best yesterday, and we checked that Newcastle are still 7 points above the relegation zone, so let’s hope the bottom three sides, Wigan, Wolves and West Ham don’t start winning games, anytime soon.
Next up is Manchester United a week tomorrow, and it would be a brave man who would suggest Newcastle will get anything out of that game, if the lads turn in another flat performance like they did yesterday.