Monday, December 10, 2007

Newcastle United, Again

So, it's been a while since I mentioned the football - and if you don't want to know the results, look away now - and I thought I'd wait until we'd stopped being quite so bad before commenting again. Didn't realise it would take this long, but there you go. Just didn't want to give the impression I was kicking the team when they were already down.

Going into the game last Wednesday against Arsenal, I didn't hold out much hope of a result. When we went behind after 4 minutes, I suspected the tidal wave of goals would be coming against us. Much to my surprise, it didn't happen. What actually happened was a determined (if still slightly light on creativity and out right chances) performance that got us a well-deserved draw and could have led to a slightly surprising win.

Now obviously, Boro beating Arsenal this past weekend does make our result look slightly less impressive, but given how easily we'd shipped goals against Liverpool, Blackburn and Portsmouth, I was pleased with the result. I was also dreading how we'd do on Saturday against a Birmingham side who'd beaten Tottenham in their previous game, but such is the life of a Newcastle supporter.

As it happens, it started in the usual way, with us going a goal down all too quickly due to the new tactic of hoofing the ball up to the striker (just the one, even though we were at home against a bottom six team) and watching it come back all too directly into the hole where central defenders normally operate. Well, where you'd normally expect them to be. Unless you're a Newcastle fan, when you'd expect a gaping hole.

Like the Arsenal game though, Newcastle got back into it. This time through a dubious penalty (although we should have had one later that was ignored) and unlike against Arsenal, grabbed a win through a freaky goal (by the usually inept Beye) in stoppage time. Allardyce, the players and the fans looked delighted at getting three points for the first time since October. The relief was palpable, to be honest.

While I'm pleased with the win, I'm still no fan of Allardyce's tactics - for God sake man, play 4-4-2 and stop lumping the ball past midfielders who have the creativity to get us goals, it's not fucking tricky is it? His purchases are still not doing the business they were bought to do - the back four of Enrique, Cacapa, Rozehnal and Beye aren't any better (in some cases worse) than we had last season. And he still refuses to give interviews to the BBC - leaving it to the less than interesting Nigel Pearson.

Mourinho's out of work and not going for the England job, Capello's sniffing round the FA for the England job & Klinsmann's looking for club management again. Yet we have the tactical equivalent of being hit over the head with a shovel in charge. Please Mr Ashley, could you please sack the idiot? Thanks.

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