Newcastle Fan: No Reason We Can't Add To Moyes Manchester United Misery...
After a wonderful run of four successive league wins, Wednesday night saw Newcastle’s winning run come to a crashing halt at the hands of Swansea at The liberty. Once again Newcastle reverted to type and produced another substandard away performance; but unlike previous defeats, the four victories prior have allowed for a little perspective regarding this particular loss. Fourteen games in and Newcastle are seventh in league – a far cry from last season’s mess and what many expected following the club’s embarrassing shenanigans over the summer.
Hypothetically, if someone was to have conducted a poll of the 50,000 descendants into St James’ Park on a regular basis, asking how many expected our team to be sitting pretty in top 6 come the start of December, I think it’s fair to say that there would not be many with their arms raised.
After an inconsistent, and at times, worrying start the 2013/14 campaign, we Newcastle fans were once again bracing ourselves for another frustrating roller-coaster of a season. Six games into the new season and Newcastle were at their most infuriatingly unpredictable following wins against Villa and Fulham, dropped points at home to West Ham and Hull, and embarrassing televised defeats at the hands of City and Everton.
However, following October’s defeat in the derby at the hands of the great unwashed from down the road, something seemed to change. Newcastle were appalling at the Stadium of Light and looked lacking in any form of fight or determination. This type of performance is quite simply unacceptable for any Newcastle side in a derby. Thankfully it seems Alan Pardew is now starting to make this point clear to his players.
Since this most depressing of defeats at The Village of The Damned, Newcastle had looked a different side. The four wins on the spin rocketed Newcastle into the top six and was slowly starting to rekindle hopes of another high placing finish. Defeat to Swansea on Wednesday has caused a little bit of a reality check on Tyneside, but it is by no means a disaster. Newcastle were poor on Wednesday night but 3-0 more than flattered Swansea, especially when you tie in Howard Webb’s failure to award a blatant penalty and show Jonjo Shelvey red for his actions toward Mathieu Debuchy.
So, prior to Wednesday’s defeat, just what exactly changed? How did Alan Pardew manage to turn Newcastle around and back into a competitive unit once more? The answer is relatively simple - hard work and a system that really suits the personnel. Round pegs in round holes.
With a back to basics 4-4-2 system in place, during November Newcastle were excellent. To a man, they ran themselves into the ground and gave their all for the shirt. It was all a far cry from the meek and pitiful display at Sunderland that inspired this turn of events.
It often gets said that we Newcastle fans suffer delusions of grandeur and that we hold unattainably high goals for our team – this is a myth. All we Newcastle fans really demand as a pre-requisite from our team is hard graft. If you give physically everything for our shirt, regardless of talent, nationality or character, we get behind you and we will support you to the hilt.
Finally, these Newcastle players have started giving everything. For the first time in a long time Newcastle are not a group on individuals, they are a unit.
Players like Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Gouffran and Sissoko seem to have fully found their feet in English football and have grasped the roles and responsibilities that they have been given in the side. Then there are players like Tiote, Krul and Cabaye who’s formed had dipped last season but now look to have returned to their best. As for the likes of Shola and Mike Williamson, who many had written off as simply not good enough, well, they have surpassed all expectations and are now worthy of their place in the team.
Without the extra burden of the Europa League that depleted a criminally under-prepared squad last season, are we now seeing the return of the “real” Newcastle United that finished fifth in 2011?? Well so far it’s still too early to say; however whilst we the fans are once again enjoying the lofty heights of seventh place in the league, very few are naïve enough to start getting carried away just yet, especially after the sobering defeat at Swansea.
For many fans the debacle of last season is still fresh in many minds, and with Newcastle being Newcastle, the next self-inflicted crisis is never too far away. Being a Newcastle fan can certainly be hard work at times and our club can be a one hell of cruel mistress. As the old saying goes, we are for now cautiously taking it one game at a time - unfortunately however, that next game now is Manchester United away.
Whilst I would never be sold bold as to expect my team to come back from Old Trafford with anything other than a sound hiding; as many have already suggested this term, the fear factor that Old Trafford always previously emanated does seem to be waning this season.
So far this season the champions do not seem to be the same imposing and daunting opposition under David Moyes that they always were under Fergie (Christ they’re even below us in the league at the moment!). Overall our form is good and confidence is high; rather strangely, the concept of actually getting something at Manchester United does not feel beyond the realms of reality this time round.
If Newcastle do manage to pull something out of the bag and get something from Old Trafford then perhaps a few more might start to believe that Newcastle are in fact getting back to their 2011 form. Personally, I shall reserve judgement just yet and enjoy this run of form whilst it’s here, after all, this is Newcastle United, as we were reminded on Wednesday, nothing is ever straight forward and the next crisis is usually never too far away!