Newcastle: No Organisation, No Tactics, No Style Of Play, No Philosophy
It’s been a funny old season on Tyneside.
Overall I think most would suggest that Newcastle have had a pretty good season. They sit safely in mid-table on 46 points and have enjoyed some incredibly good wins this term. On the face of it, all seems ok at St James’, thing is, this doesn’t really tell the full story of our season.
For every admirable and impressive victory this season, there has been a shocking and gutless defeat. Defeats that are so awful, they really do make you wonder what is going on at the club.
This season Newcastle have beaten Chelsea at St James’, won at White Hart Lane, held Liverpool with only ten men, and even won at Old Trafford for the first time in a lifetime. All impressive and inspiring results, which thanks to some sterling performances by the team, really will live long in the memory.
Yet despite these results, something peculiar has also been happening simultaneously. Whilst we as fans have greatly enjoyed the aforementioned games, we have also had to suffer some truly shocking performances that will also live long in the memory…….for very different reasons!
Last Saturday at St. Mary’s was one of these performances. Against a very good Southampton side, Newcastle didn’t show up. With the exception of the stand-in goalkeeper Rob Elliot, Newcastle were to a man, appalling. It was truly one of the worst performances I have ever seen from my team – and as a Newcastle fan, that’s saying something!
There was no heart, no desire, no plan, and no quality. Southampton ran out 4-0 victors, but sadly I am not exaggerating when I say that it could have been 10-0. Newcastle fan site NUFC.com took the fact that Saints are currently awash with England players, and used the analogy of Lions vs. Lambs. The comparison fit perfectly.
It’s a hell of a long way from Newcastle to Southampton. Personally I feel the club are duty bound to reimburse the fans who paid so much money, and who travelled so many miles, to support a team of millionaire footballers, who then didn’t even bother to try. Again.
As football fans, we all have these days, the days when our team are just not at the races and receive a sound hiding. The problem is; these defeats are now beginning to occur far too often. Looking back over this season, Newcastle have produced these shameful and humiliating displays on EIGHT separate occasions. That equates to one in every four games this season!
Resounding defeats away to City and Chelsea are perhaps to be expected. But capitulations at Goodison Park, at home to Spurs & Everton (again!), along with back-to-back derby day humiliations are quite frankly unacceptable. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m a football fan, and a Newcastle fan at that, I can accept getting beat. What I cannot accept is my team showing no heart, or no fight. Complacently just turning up and getting their bellies tickled.
This season our two stand-out players have been Cabaye and Remy; they are two that have led us to this mid-table security. In January Mike Ashley cashed in his chips and sold Cabaye, leaving us heavily dependent on Remy. With Remy now injured, our team looks like an army without a General. No one has a clue what to do, with everyone looking to each other for answers.
Without Remy and Cabaye in the side, most do not believe Newcastle are actually capable of getting a result, the worrying thing is, it really does look like the team believe this too.
Pardew’s tactics have always been pretty non-existent; he has long relied on his key men (Ba, Cabaye, Remy, Ben Arfa) to produce the goods for him. Without his match winners in the side, his team reverts to looking like a disjoined and pathetic mess. Pardew has in the past blamed injuries or the Europa League for these dismal performances, yet in the last two months alone we have been completely destroyed by Chelsea, Spurs, Everton and Southampton; with nothing now left to blame, it’s time for the manager to look in the mirror.
Without Remy or Cabaye to save his skin, the manager tends to get found out. More often than not, there seems to be no organisation in the side, no tactics, no style of play, no philosophy. The defending is painfully embarrassing, the passing pathetic and the creativity non-existent.
In under a year Roberto Martinez has implemented a style of play, and achieved more with his inherited Everton side, than Alan Pardew has done in over three years at Newcastle. Even the most average of sides play in an image of their manager, Newcastle are inconsistent and constantly all over the place... What does that tell you?
Newcastle badly need what Everton have in Martinez, or what Southampton have in Pochettino. A manager who can install an ethos and a philosophy into his team. A manager who can see the strengths and weakness in his squad and mould them into a unit. Sadly even if Pardew was to go, then I still cannot see us getting a manger like this, just another sucker desperate for a job and willing to do what Mike whatever tells them to do – anyone got Joe Kinnear’s number?
This weekend Manchester United come to St. James’ Park – but which Newcastle United turn up is anyone’s guess. As we have seen already this season, we are capable of beating them, after all, this certainly isn’t the United of old and the fear factor has now long gone for teams facing the Champions. That being said, as this Newcastle side are currently busting with lethargy and complacency, I really don’t hold much hope.
The potential x-factor for this game is Remy.
If the Frenchman is fit and ready to return, then I will certainly be more optimistic. The monumental impact that he has on the side should certainly not be underestimated. It really is no exaggeration to say that whether Newcastle win or lose games between now and the end of the season, pretty much hinges on whether he plays or not.
Lord help us when he’s gone next season.
Follow Jonny on Twitter, @Jonnyanderson11