Newcastle Vs Sunderland: Mike Dean Is A Pillock And 5 Other Things We Learned
Mike Dean shouldn’t be allowed to officiate Newcastle matches
He’s made so many howling errors when in charge of Newcastle games it’d be hard to think of a worse person to officiate our games other than Rob Styles. Many haven’t forgotten the impact his decisions had over the course of the season we were relegated, including his refusal to award a stonewall penalty against Wigan in the 96th minute. Throughout this game it was clear from the start that he was clamp down on any nonsense… Provided it came from a black and white shirt. After Cattermole was booked within 40 seconds for a cynical challenge on Tiote, he spent the rest of the game trying to atone for making everyone’s favourite managerial leprechaun have to deal without his resident thug for two games.
Dean went out of his way to ignore Sunderland fouls, even making a point of turning away when it looked like there may be a flashpoint so he wouldn’t have to pretend he saw it. He happily booked Cabaye for not touching a Sunderland player and looked to issue cards to as many as possible. Crowning glory? Awarding a penalty for something that happens in evert box in every premiership game and is usually dealt with by the referee talking to both players. He couldn’t even be consistent for 45 minutes by ignoring a clear push in the box on Demba Ba, deeming that to be fair contact.
The red card for Stephane Sessegnon was cut and dry and he looked sad to even have to award it, but he made sure he balanced that out by allowing the Sunderland keeper stand a metre off his line to make a save for the penalty he reluctantly awarded, the third clear cut one Newcastle had. Dean is one of these referees who constantly wants to be the focal point of every big match and shouldn’t be allowed to officiate games where a sensible approach is required, a point proven by his refusal to send off Gardner during the game for a clear second bookable offence, but red card Cattermole two minutes after the game had finished.
Remember the brothers of destruction, Bramble and Boumsong?
Mike Williamson Is Not Premiership Standard
Newcastle have a history of dodgy centrebacks like no other club. Remember the brothers of destruction, Bramble and Boumsong? Their efforts at defending were so laughable it was hard to believe it wasn’t part of some elaborate, experimental meta-comedy. Carrying on the proud tradition in this alumni is Mike Williamson, a defender who has had a strong of cataclysmic performances for Newcastle this season.
Having cost us several points already and been exposed badly in recent matches such as the drubbings at the hands of Fulham and Tottenham the biggest mistake Pardew has made was spending ten million pounds on a striker over looking to strengthen at the back. Even with Steven Taylor injury free we’re far from being watertight but in his absence we’ve gone from being one of the statistically best defensive teams in the league to leaking goals frequently and capitulating after conceding.
You might well think Williamson is but one player and that it’s harsh to single him out but you’d be wrong. He’s nowhere near one player and his lack of meaningful contribution is costing Newcastle points and league places. The minute the decision was made to stick by him we effectively kissed goodbye any real hope of European football.
Thank the lord for Fabricio Coloccin who has been a titan at the back for Newcastle
Coloccini Has Grown Into Being The Best Defender We’ve Had For Decades
With Williamson working his brand of horror-show defending thank the lord for Fabricio Coloccin who has been a titan at the back for Newcastle. His composed approach to defending is something that has been lacking on Tyneside for many years and after a shaky start in the Premiership, his season in the Championship toughened him up and he has returned in imperious form.
His ability to play it out from the back launches many a Newcastle attack and his aerial ability makes him the man marker that neutralises opposition strikers and he’s a nuisance on attacking set pieces too. Without him at the back we’d be absolutely done for time and time again and it’s no wonder he’s being linked with other clubs. A true powerhouse and one of the best players this season.
Surrendering our last hope of a trophy at the hands of Brighton also didn’t help
Newcastle’s League Position Is Artificially High
There’s no escaping this fact that, while nobody would deny Pardew has done a good job, the team has relied way too much on the goals of Demba Ba and the bad results of teams around the same point in the league. The collected failings of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool this season have allowed us to sit amongst that company when in reality we don’t have the same sort of quality in depth within our squad as any of them.
Now our early good start to the season will prove to be crucial as we’re now starting to see the results that better reflect the team we have. The flattering 3-0 win over Man Utd seems to have been something of a turning point, almost as if the team was starting to believe its own hype. Since the 1-0 win over a struggling Q.P.R, where we were outplayed for large segments of the game, we’ve conceded five against Fulham and Tottenham, surrendered a 2-0 lead against Wolves and today failed to break down a Sunderland team that lacks quality despite them only having ten men for a third of the game. Surrendering our last hope of a trophy at the hands of Brighton also didn’t help.
While we can point at Pardew for failing to sign a centre-back, the reality is that we’re still uncertain if Ashley is ever going to put the Carroll money back into the team. It’s amazing that such a windfall, one that only occurred because Dalglish is so blinkered in his attempts to destabilise Newcastle, hasn’t all been invested into the team. We may have replaced him with Ba, but both our defence and midfield needs some quality additions if we’re to build on this season.
Why is Ben Arfa being prevented from following in the same footsteps and David Ginola and Laurent Robert?
Ben Arfa Should Be Starting
Reality check – Ben Arfa is the most skilful player we have on the books with the possible exception of soon to be folk hero Demba Ba. However he is often kept on the bench and used as an “impact” substitution, which by the time he’s deployed means we’re already losing. Pardew would do well to pay attention to the adage that the best form of defence is attack because Ben Arfa pins back right sided defenders, preventing overlaps and overconfidence.
Capable of skinning anyone, he has looked an even better player since he returned from his broken leg and he can ping in a pretty good shot to boot. Newcastle have always had a love affair with French left wingers, so why is Ben Arfa being prevented from following in the same footsteps and David Ginola and Laurent Robert?
If we had a natural replacement I could maybe understand it… In reality he has been left out of the side for players like Gabriel Obertan who is without a doubt the worst player Newcastle have on their books at the moment… How can a player who in an average game puts 50% of his passes straight to the feet of the opposition be keeping out the player the fans and the squad want to see on the pitch? It makes no sense and it has to change.
This game made a case for it. Since introduced at half time the Newcastle team were all over Sunderland and on another day Ben Arfa could have scored two goals from chances he created himself. Any delusions about him lacking work rate should also have been dispelled with an industrious and energetic performance today that saw him tracking back and tackling. If he doesn’t start in the next game, someone really needs to have a word in Pardew’s ear.
I do fully expect the upward trajectory of Sunderland to continue
Martin O’Neill Remains A Managerial Master
I’ll be the first to admit a pang of jealousy when Sunderland announced that Martin O’Neill was their next manager. The rivalry worked just fine when our mole and double agent Steve Bruce was destroying you from within by signing Man Utd’s crocked reserves and publicly berating his squad to take morale to an all time low. Under O’Neill the results speak for themselves.
Sunderland started out brightly and stifled a Newcastle team that are usually rampant at home, especially in this fixture, and while their goal came from a penalty that pundit bores will say was “a good call” or “brave”, without wanting to really acknowledge that you’d have to award ten penalties a game if it was enforced, it was a deserved lead at that point.
Even when reduced to ten men, his team managed to stifle attack after attack and had that slice of fortune thanks to the woefully inept Dean. But to call it luck would be a huge disservice to a manager who knows how to galvanise a squad and get the best out of journeyman players like no other. And with all respect to Sunderland, those are the qualities anyone managing that squad needs above all others.
It’s never easy for a Newcastle fan to say but I do fully expect the upward trajectory of Sunderland to continue and they will be challenging for the European spots, a sad fact that will render the “you’ll never see a Mackem in Milan” chants somewhat redundant for a few years.
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