That second half this afternoon, when Newcastle conceded 4 goals in just 17 minutes, to go from dominating the game at 1-0 up, to being 4-1 down, reminded us of the first 26 minutes of the Arsenal game last February, when we also conceded four goals and didn’t seem to be too interested.
Pardew – watched Newcastle collapse ion that second half
Too many Newcastle players seemed to turn off in the second half this afternoon, and it’s something that Alan Pardew will need to get to the bottom of – and quickly too.
But we think the substitution of the injured Steve Sidwell for Andrew Johnson in the first half changed the game, and Fulham manager Martin Jol cannot event take credit for it.
That put Johnson up front and was a foil to the hitherto lost and frustrated striker Bobby Zamara.
Here’s how Alan Pardew tried to explain it after the game to talkSport:
“That’s a very unusual performance from us,” “I can’t recall us ever defending quite like we did in the second-half.”
“It’s just so difficult to explain as a manager because we couldn’t have played any better in the first-half, with the players that we had playing at their maximum, but the goals in the second-half were astonishing.”
“It wasn’t like there were huge periods of pressure from Fulham.”
We think Alan Pardew has every right to hold up his hands and wonder what happened, because in that first half it seemed that the Newcastle game plan seemed perfect, and the lads nullified Fulham completely.
The only thing that didn’t go well for Newcastle in that first half was that Best and Ameobi up front didn’t look too sharp at all, and it was left to Danny Guthrie and then Hatem Ben Arfa to score two great individual goals this afternoon.
Best and Ameobi will have to justify why they should remain in the side, and that’s probably unfair to Leon best – but not to Shola.
Ameobi had one of those game today when he seemed to do almost everything badly, an it’s so frustrating to watch a player who in reality is blessed with lots of skill.
But it was the defense, usually so strong this season, that let Newcastle down badly today – fact.
We are very disappointed about the result today, and even a bit depressed after looking so very good in that first half, but here’s some of the things we noted today:
- The first half Newcastle looked great and we were so dominating it was even embarrassing, and at half time we we wrote about the game we said Fulham couldn’t play as bad int he second half as they had done in those in those first 45 minutes – in retrospect obviously an error on our part
- There was not cutting edge up front and think of how many we could have been ahead at half time if a certain Demba Ba was playing in place of Shola Ameobi who missed two good heading opportunities
- Newcastle must keep Ben Arfa in the starting line-up because for the second time in three games, he made a goal out of nothing and this lad can score goals and now has three goals on the season – 3rd top scorer at Newcastle
- With Ameobi looking so ineffective this afternoon, please play a fit again Peter Lovenkrands in the next game in the FA Cup 4tgh round at Brighton next Saturday
- Andrew Johnson’s pace seemed to cause the Newcastle defense all kinds of trouble much like Shane Long did when we lost to West Brom 3-2 at home
- Referee Lee Mason gave two penalties this afternoon that were very debatable and on another day neither would have been given
But it’s only one game – that’s what we have to remember – and not to over-react – but Newcastle owe the fans a win at Blackburn in the next league game and no collapses please.
And if we do manage to beat Blackburn Rovers in the next game, we’ll be in good shape in 11 days time.
And to end on a positive note – Liverpool again came through for us in the late game today, by losing 3-1 at Bolton – and Bolton deserved to take all 3 points.
So we’re still in 6th place in the league table and 6 points ahead of 8th placed Stoke City.