In a game we really expected to win at West Brom, Newcastle put in an unacceptable sub-par performance and were well beaten 3-1.
Since we won three games in a row, the 5 games after that streak ended, have produced just two draws, and the inconsistent form is there for all to see.
We were hopeless against Blackburn, solid against Fulham, hopeless at Bolton, solid against Chelsea, and today we were pathetic in the first half at West Brom and recovered only slightly after the break.
But there’s no doubt that West Brom deserved their win today, and we still have no idea which Newcastle is the real team – the hopeless one that turned up today with no fight and no flair, or the side that walloped Sunderland 5-1 and Aston Villa 6-0.
But if inconsistency was Newcastle problem before today’s game, here is another game that we had always done well in – and yet we looked fairly hopeless today with no penetration up front – and it looks Newcastle are badly missing Barton and Nolan.
But this is our squad strength, and we expect players like Guthrie, Campbell and Routledge to be able to come in and get the job done, but today Newcastle were second best in almost everything.
West Brom started by far the more energetic side, which is completely opposite to last week’s game against Chelsea when Newcastle started great, and they had all the possession, and it wasn’t if they were going to score – but when.
Sol Campbell in particular looked very hesitant today, and his bad mistake after 21 minutes almost gave a goal away, when he passed the ball straight to an opposing player, but the other Newcastle defenders were able to cover well.
Newcastle did nothing in the first 25 minutes but defend but from their first corner, an overhead kick by Carroll gave Steven Taylor a half chance but the local lad couldn’t quite connect.
And what seemed like the inevitable goal for West Brom duly arrived on 31 minutes, when Tchoyi got the ball just outside the penalty area, and was allowed a free shot on goal, which gave Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal very little chance.
Half time came with Newcastle lucky to be only one goal down, and Newcastle had none of central midfield whatsoever in the first 45 minutes, and if Chris Hughton ever had a reason to blast the lads at half time – it was this afternoon.
And with Newcastle players late out after the break, we have to hope that Chris told them a few home truths in the dressing room, for a performance in the first half which was simply unacceptable.
Newcastle replaced Ameobi with Lovenkrands in the second half and we suppose we would play 4-5-1 to try to get more of the central midfield, because 4-4-2 just never gave us the ball in that first half – Guthrie is just not strong enough right now in the middle of the park to play that formation with any success.
Newcastle did better in the second half but the killer goal for West Brom came after 70 minutes and it was a gift to WBA from Newcastle – and it’s not even Christmas yet.
Danny Guthrie had the ball just inside his half and he fell and West Brom got the ball, found Newcastle short at the back, and Peter Odemwingie made it 2-0, and this game was over.
Danny seemed to have injured his ankle and he was taken off on a stretcher, and Alan Smith came on, and it was noticeable we had no attacking midfielder on the bench, an area Newcastle will need strengthening in – especially if Joey Barton, who was badly missed today, starts to pick up injuries again.
Newcastle tried to come back, but they looked really very ordinary today – and to say Newcastle had any creativity at all in this game – would be an untruth – at best.
Just to rub it in, Peter Odemwingie got his second, and West Brom’s third on 89 minutes, and then after two minutes of injury time Peter Lovenkrands for a consolation goal for Newcastle – but that was ll it was,
Newcastle looked very poor on this showing, and while we cannot over-react, the fact we now have just 2 points form our last 5 games is worrying.
Since we are playing a team next week we should lose to – Liverpool – we may get some points – maybe – but if we play like this we’ll get buried by Liverpool.
We feel really sorry for the faithful Newcastle fans who travel to see the team, when they turn in displays like this – especially in the first half.
The only difference today between the fans and the Newcastle players today, is that at least the fans turned up for today’s game – but the players didn’t – that was the difference and a good and accurate way to describe today’s game.
The fact that Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling may be back soon is good news, because this squad lacks creativity, and we know Chris says he’s satisfied with his squad he’s got right now, but if there’s a player with any creativity available in January, we should go for him.
Adam Johnson of Man City immediately comes to mind.
Today Newcastle put in a below par performance that didn’t deserve anything at all – which is what they got.
And for every other game starting 5 games ago, Newcastle players have come out and said they’ll make up in the next game for their poor performance in the last one, and it’s odds on we’ll hear the same party line tomorrow.
But we’d prefer they turn up for every game and put in a good shift in every single game, otherwise we could slide quickly down the league table with displays like this.
And Newcastle players picked up 5 yellow cards, but to try to bring in some good news – one of them wasn’t Tiote.
Sorry to be so negative, but this was a surprisingly poor performance by the lads in a game we must have thought we could win, but we were completely outplayed today.
The inconvenient and embarrassing truth for the Newcastle side today, is that this was a disastrous display and a disastrous result for the Magpies, and we have to hope it’s a one off.
And if we were owner Mike Ashley after this game, we wouldn’t know if we had a good team, a mediocre team or a poor team, but today Newcastle were worse than poor – and as we said – we have top hope this is a one off game.
Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Campbell, Enrique; Routledge (Ranger, 73), Guthrie (Smith, 72), Tiote, Gutierrez; Ameobi (Lovenkrands, 46), Carroll.
Subs: Soderberg, Perch, Best, Kadar.
West Brom: Carson; Jara, Scharner, Tamas, Cech; Tchoyi, Brunt, Dorrans, Morrison (Reid, 85), Thomas (Barnes, 77); Odemwingie.
Subs: Myhill, Ibanez, Shorey, Fortune, Cox.
Goals: Tchoyi 32, Odemwingie 71, 89, Lovenkrands 90
Bookings: Gutierrez 20, Enrique 57, Guthrie 62, Smith 75, Campbell 86
Referee: Mike Dean (The Wirral)