In a really surprising result tonight, Newcastle lost their fourth game in the last six, when they went down to an ordinary looking West Brom side by 3 goals to 2 at St. James’ Park.
And it was the fourth time in the last six games that Newcastle had conceded three goals or more, so the defense has been culpable in these last six games by conceding 15 goals while have only scored six goals, and five of those have come from a certain Demba Ba.
So that’s quite a contrast to the first 11 games of the season when Newcastle won seven and drew four, and only conceded 8 goals.
This was a game Newcastle were expected to win, and win fairly easily, and in the same fixture last season Newcastle were 3-0 up with 30 minutes to play, but still got a 3-3 draw and one point.
Not so tonight.
Newcastle again defended poorly, and Demba Ba again got the goals – and he’s now scored 13 goals of Newcastle’s 23 goals scored in the league – so who’s going to score the goals when he’s off to the African Cup of Nations in mid-January?
West Brom went ahead after 20 minutes when Peter Odemwingie hit a left foot shot from the center of the box right into the bottom left hand corner, after a good through ball from Chris Brunt.
The defense was beaten by one long through ball, what’s going on, and Coloccini couldn’t stop Odemwingie from ruthlessly punishing the wide open Newcastle defense.
Newcastle pulled one back after 34 minutes when Demba Ba (who else?) scored direct from a free kick, with an excellent right footed shot into the top right hand corner for his 12th PL goal of the season.
It was a brilliant goal from the Senegal striker, who has to be one of the best strikers in the Premier League this season.
And Newcastle were getting more into the game, but then they again conceded just before half time, always a terrible time to concede, when Gareth McAuley headed home from close range, from a header as Paul Scharner headed the ball on from a set piece .
Again a goal conceded from a set piece, and we think Newcastle will need to bring in two defenders in January if the side are not to start sliding down the table.
And just before the break 19 year-old Haris Vuckic hit the bar with a terrific left foot shot from outside the box and Demba Ba just failed to head the ball home, but he was just a little bit too far forward.
It was surprisingly 2-1 to West Brom at the break.
Ryan Taylor replaced Davide Santon at the break
Newcastle had much more of the game in the second half but the West Brom defense stood up to everything Newcastle could throw at them.
And Youssouf Mulumbu once again cut through the weak-as-water Newcastle defense, to put Shane Long in on goal, and the Ireland striker looked certain to score as he rounded Tim Krul, but his shot came back off the cross-bar – a huge let-off for Newcastle. otherwise it would have been 3-1.
Newcastle seemed to claw themselves back into this game when they equalized after 81 minutes, and it was that man again – Demba Ba with his 13th goal of the season.
It was another good goal by Ba, when he hit a nice right footed shot from outside the box high into the net, and he was set up by Ben Arfa.
And shortly after that, Haris Vuckic almost put Newcastle ahead with a dipping long-range effort that Ben Foster had to turn over the bar.
But then with Newcastle pushing for the winner, would you believe it, the Magpies conceded yet again after 85 minutes, when Paul Scharner scored with a right footed shot into the bottom right hand corner.
What has happened to our once very strong defense?
This is a huge wake up call for Newcastle, and we need to sort ourselves out quickly, especially the back-0four, if we to arrest this slump of getting only getting just two points from the last 18 on offer – which is worse than relegation form – let’s be honest.
And Newcastle must beat teams like West Brom at home, if they are going to remain in the top half of the table, but sadly our defense looked hopeless tonight.
And surely Mike Williamson will be drafted in at Bolton Wanderers on Monday afternoon, whether he’s match fit or not.
And while James Perch is a good guy and all that, he is simply not Premier League class, which is why we think we need to get two defenders in next month.
Two goals scored at home tonight, and two scored away at Norwich should have been enough to get two wins, but not when our once solid defense is leaking so many goals, and it seems that Steven Taylor is proving to be a huge loss to this team.
And next up is Bolton Wanderers away on Boxing Day, where in the corresponding fixture last season we were walloped 5-1.
And since Bolton have just beat Blackburn Rovers, 2-1 they will be full of confidence.
Newcastle need a win to restore their confidence, and arrest what is becoming an alarming run of results.
It’s not a time for panic, but Newcastle must stop conceding so many goals, and plab to bring in two defenders next month.
And there were some good things to take out of this game, which we’re sure Alan Pardew will do, and Haris Vuckic looked good in the center of the park, and he’s the future at Newcastle.
But the result is a real downer – and that’s the truth.
And just to make things a little bit more hard to take Sunderland won 3-2 at QPR tonight.