One way to build up a top side is to concentrate first on the defense and make it hard for teams to score against you and therefore hard to beat.
Dan Gosling – deserves chance in midfield on Saturday afternoon
That’s what we’ve seen Mark Hughes do quite a few times when he takes over sides, and then you can concentrate on how to actually beat teams and add some attacking flair.
Newcastle have done very well this season in making their defense very tight, and it looks much stronger than it was last season.
Some of that is due to the good form shown by Steven Taylor and the consistent form shown by Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini.
The next step is to add more flair and attacking prowess, and it helps that the mercurial Ben Arfa will be back soon from his latest injury.
Last night Newcastle didn’t get close many times to scoring, and the best effort came from an excellent shot from striker Leon Best in the first half, that the QPR goalkeeper did well to turn around the post.
Alan Pardew seemed fairly happy with some parts of the performance at Loftus Road:
“Offensively we never created enough to win the game, but on the plus side, defensively we showed what we have been doing all season.”
“We don’t give much away and there is a spirit in the group that makes it hard for teams to beat us.”
“Our flair players were just a little bit off-key tonight. Sometimes when you don’t play well, you get beat.”We didn’t get beaten.”
On the positive side, Newcastle’s dogged determination not to give away anything last night, when the side was under intense pressure, especially in that first half, got Newcastle a valuable point.
And it was the defense that earned it last night – once again.
We expect to see a few changes in the starting line-up on Saturday against Aston Villa, and this could be a possible side that Pardew puts out in a more solid 4-5-1 formation:
Simpson Coloccini Taylor (S) Santon
Taylor (R) Cabaye Tiote Gosling Gutierrez
What would your team be for Saturday?