Newcastle were not at the races in the first half of the game at St. James’ Park yesterday, and Sours hit the post and the cross-bar through Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale, but Alan Pardew changed things around at half time and Newcastle came away with the win and two great goals from Demba Ba and Ben Arfa.
Hatem Ben Arfa – after scoring penalty that put Newcastle 2-1 up
And it seems the excitement got to Alan Pardew as he was seen to push the referee shortly after Demba Ba had scored, and he will probably be fined and get a touchline ban for that.
This is what Pardew told nufcTV after the game:
“I can’t remember the start of a season and a stadium quite as intense as that – it was brilliant.” “When we came out it was almost like a derby against Sunderland, and that helped us.”
“We didn’t play well in the first half. Our passing was a little bit off and we were a bit unsure as to who was doing what job.” “But in the second half we moved Demba to the left, he did a great job of looking after Kyle Walker.”
“And if you keep your strikers on the pitch then they will come up with a bit of magic. He did, and it was a great, great goal.” “Ben Arfa was the stand-out player today.”
“He took people on all day and I don’t care what people say about passing and keeping the ball – what fans actually love is players taking people on.” “That’s what he’s great at and he won us a great penalty and then dispatched it. He was the bright spark.”
And things didn’t start out well for Newcastle, because in the warm up Shola Ameobi picked up an injury, and he was replaced by Romain Amalfitano on the substitutes’ bench.
Now we don’t know if he will be fit to lead the line on Thursday evening in Athens against Atromitos, and this is what the Newcastle manager had to say about Shola:
“Shola is massive for us, so we’ll have to see how he is for Thursday and Saturday.” “It would be a big blow to be missing him.”
It’s likely that Adam Campbell will be taken to Athens on Thursday, as he got a first half hat-trick in the Newcastle U21 6-4 win against Tottenham yesterday, and Newcastle were 6-1 up at one point in the game, before conceding some late goals.
But out U18 side were taken apart 4-0 by Tottenham U18s, so it wasn’t a clean sweep for us yesterday against Tottenham.