An unforgivable performance saw us slump to defeat to the worst Sunderland side in a decade. We started with Dummett in place of Mbiwa, the only change from the battling point against Liverpool a week earlier but things couldn’t have got off to a worse start as we conceded within five minutes.
It was a shocker to concede as well, with Johnson given an embarassingly free run from a corner to clip a cross over to Fletcher, who left Dummett rooted to the spot to head home.
The goal got their confidence up and for ten minutes or so we were hanging on to being only 1-0 down before we slowly got a grip on the game. For all our possession though, we created next to nothing and our lack of width was there for all to see with Sissoko and Gouffran utterly ineffective. I’d go as far as saying that neither are good enough to play for Newcastle United – the former possibly through hideous coaching (I’ll come to that in a minute) and the latter through being just being rank fucking average.
We went in one down at half time and thankfully Pardew saw fit to put Sissoko and the travelling support out of their misery, replacing him with Cisse to at least give a semblance of shape to the side, with Ben Arfa given a little more structure pushed wide and a run and shot, or cross if we are being generous from him led to the equaliser, with Debuchy losing Johnson at the back post to put the ball into an empty net. The goal was met with relief from the travelling Mags and while the game looked their for the taking, we seemed to go into our shell for the final half hour and gift the initiative back to the Mackems.
Remy was withdrawn for the last twenty minutes to make way for Shola. God knows why mind. Is the Frenchman still not match fit two months after making his debut for us? Was he sacrificed for taking on the mantle that Cisse has had for the last year – namely front man with absolutely bugger all service? Anyway, the change hardly inspired us and as the game drifted to a conclusion, Sunderland looked more likely to grab a winner than us.
And so it proved when they won a free kick from an innocuous challenge just inside our half with five minutes left. Quickly taken, it caught us napping and with two passes, substitute Borini picked it up 20 yards out and lashed a shot past Krul. Good shot and all that but frighteningly straightforward and despite (said in the loosest sense of the word) the introduction of Sammy, they held on for a victory that they just about deserved based on our generally aimless performance.
That is damning them with feint praise – as we managed to be even worse than they were, and they were absolute garbage. I do hope that this doesn’t translate as bitterness because I’m happy to accept when we deserve to get beat, but Sunderland will be relegated this year and looking at us today, we’ll be down there scrapping it out with them.
Pardew, for me, is finished at United. I’m totally disinterested in anything he has to say anymore although I believe he tried to shift the blame on our defeat to the officials. That isn’t why we lost.
Let’s be absolutely brutally honest. We came fifth under him with a massive slice of fortune – no injuries, no suspensions, all the rub of the green. Since that, we have been on the whole dreadful. Decent players like Sissoko and Debuchy have visibly regressed since signing. Excellent players like Cabaye and Ben Arfa clearly aren’t motivated by him and why would they be? The latter has been dropped despite being by far and away our most creative player to accommodate rubbish like Gouffran whilst the former has been embroiled in a ‘strike’ that was far from what it was made out to be.
It goes deeper though and again, let’s be brutally honest. No Premier League team with serious aspirations would have a coaching team consisting of John Carver, Steve Stone and Peter Beardsley. Carver is the most experienced of those and aside from us, has never had experience at a top flight club. I’m reliably informed (by him, at more than one talk-in I’ve heard him speak at) that he plays a major role in pumping the team up on derby day with motivational videos and chats. OK.
Stone has coached nowhere other than United and as much as it pains me to say it, as he was such a fantastic footballer, Beardsley’s sole qualification for the role appears to be shining Ashley’s helmet for him.
So in short, our manager isn’t good enough and is now sounding like a bullshitter and his coaching team are doing nothing whatsoever to develop footballers, be they established internationals or younger players from the Academy. The whole set up is second rate but as long as we don’t get relegated and we probably won’t again, just – then why would Ashley give a fuck? (Ed: neither Ashley or Kinnear were there, which says everything).
It’s all as depressing as getting excited about a derby between two nonentities on the national/international stage. They’ve got the infamous ‘bragging rights’ for the next few months and fair play to them. We might have them for a few months after that but ultimately, who really gives a fuck?
Is this all we’ve got to look forward to for the rest of our lives between us?
Keep the Faith
Newcastle United – Tim Krul 6, Matthieu Debuchy 7, Mike Williamson 6, Paul Dummett 5, Davide Santon 4, Yoan Gouffran 3 (Sammy Ameobi n/a), Chieck Tiote 7, Yohan CABAYE 7, Moussa Sissoko 2 (Papiss Cisse 3), Hatem Ben Arfa 4, Loic Remy 4 (Shola Ameobi 5)
Ref – Probert – 5 – We can twist about a couple of decisions but he didn’t lose us the game
Our Fans – 6 – Buoyed by the sight of avoiding defeat
Their Fans – 6 – Delirious for the first and last five minutes, hardly audible for 70 in between