Welcome back! That goes for both the Magpies return to US television as well as to form. I do not want to get too crazy about the result or the play, as it was only our second win in our last six, but I do not mean to quell any excitement either. What I found most notable about the game was just how much better Newcastle looked in the final third than they did last week (which was a lot). Obviously, we scored more goals than we have but we looked like we had even more in us. As opposed to last week, the 4-3-3 like formation Newcastle ran this week looked brilliant.
I loved the way the Magpies played with Cisse sitting up top, Ben Arfa cutting inside when necessary, and Ba helping out the midfield. With the addition of Cisse, Ba has almost evolved his game to a more 'Wayne Rooney-like' type of role and it is beginning to look promising. The decision to start Perch at Left Back may have received some criticism, but I thought it was brilliant. With such an attack minded selection, Newcastle needed more defensive fullbacks that would hold and not leave holes when West Brom countered.
This week we have got the whole shebang: Ratings, Tweets, and Quotes. Also I am going to start a new 'QUOTE OF THE GAME' for all US televised game that can be found in the quotes . . . Please enjoy!
|Krul||5||Ouch, but yes. This one will likely hear some debate but the fact is that he was never tested and though Williamson should have done much better on the West Brom goal, if Krul would have come out quick and aggressively it would have been a moot point.|
|Perch||6.5||I hope Pardew and Co. lock him in the weight room this summer and pack on a few pounds. I thought he played quite well at LB and not quite as well at CB, but gave up no howlers. He plays stronger than he looks, but just imagine how strong he would play if he looked it?|
|Coloccini||6.5||Would be higher, but he came off at half with a hamstring injury. As usual he commanded the back line and even sneaked forward when he got a little bored back there. The injury doesn't look too serious but he will undergo a scan on Tuesday.|
|Williamson||6||Like I said earlier, I do not think that the goal against was entirely his fault. One thing I want to note is that he seems to have a knack for eliminating crosses. West Brom sent in a lot of crosses and I do not remember a single time getting overly nervous.|
|Simpson||7||He must have changed boots at half! In the first, it seemed that every time he was on the screen he slipped. Luckily, he stayed on his feet when it mattered. Simpson has had many critics (at time I have been among them), but I will concede that when he is forced to play more defensively he is a very quality fullback and his effort should never come into question.|
|Cabaye||7||Ran into space well as he was given freedom to go forward. His distribution was solid and he started quite a few of our attacks. Found himself in space a few times when Ben Arfa was shredding the defense but Ben Arfa didn't find him.|
|Guthrie||6||Played more of a holding role, which doesn't seem to suit him as well as when he has freedom to go forward. Gave the ball away a few times but never too terribly.|
|Guitierrez||6.5||I was worried that he might struggle with a more central role, but it suited him well. He was all over the pitch but never had much of a staring role. All said though, he played well.|
|Ba||7||When Ben Arfa is on, Ba is forced to drop back into the midfield at times to help out and he is quite good at it. The problem is that when we do go on the attack, he at times is lagging behind. His strength and vision are on display in this role though which allows him to hold up play or send in a ball to his Senegalese strike partner. We likely wont see as many goals from him going forward (though Cisse's second should have been his, minus a foul) but that does not mean he is not just as big for this team.|
|Ben Arfa||8||I want to give him a 10 just off of one touch that he nutmegged two defenders. OFF ONE TOUCH! Don't believe me? It was in the 66th minute. Man of the Match for me. NO QUESTION! We all have a bit of a man crush on Ben Arfa and for good reason. He is fun to watch, gives us something that we do not have when he is absent, and can produce incredible results. One goal and two assists, he is forcing Pardew to keep him in the top XI. The one thing I would like to see him do is find the open teammate when he breaks down the defense and everyone runs at him. Cabaye was open on a couple of runs and Ben Arfa missed him. Personally, I believe this is just do to a lack of playing time though and will not be a problem in the future.|
|Cisse||7.5||Two goals? Psh, should have been 3! But in all seriousness, he played well and finished chances that he should. His movement is excellent and his pace is deceiving. The thing that impresses me just as much as his scoring is his vision and composure in the final third. I did not know he had that in his game when we bought him and that is what separates him from other quality poachers in this league.|
|Santon||6||Came on at half for injured Colo, which moved Perch to CB. He is fun to watch when he uses his pace to sneak up the side but with this formation I felt more comfortable with Perch at LB. He played well and did not go forward as much as he has been, and played solid. His pace is definitely his best asset.|
|Ameobi||-||Came on in 75th. Not much time on the ball but did well. He is very smooth on the ball, which at times can look slow . . . but he is not! He is smooth. Henceforth, Shola Ameobi shall be know on THE POST GAME as BIG SMOOTH!|
Came on in the 78th. He looks like he was shot out of a cannon straight on to the pitch. I am excited about this kid as he grows. He is quick and fast (yes, two different things), has a solid touch, and is very comfortable on his left. I would not mind to see him get some playing time on the right to see what he looks like cutting it back in as we have been playing more of a direct and narrow attack as of late.
Alan Pardew on Ben Arfa:
"Ben Arfa has done alright today between working hard for the team and bringing his flair to the pitch. I think last week he actually worked too hard against Norwich and it took a little bit away from his ability when he had the ball. I talked to him this weak about getting that right and I thought today he was mesmerizing."
"In the end the only credit we can give ourselves or the only solace we can take from the game is that we did win the second half which is not always easy to do when you are three goals down . . . We wanted to make sure that we won [the second half] so that we reduced the damage."
QUOTE OF THE GAME by Announcer Craig Barley:
"Those orange shirts that Newcastle players are wearing can't get any brighter. They are not difficult to spot. How about picking some of them up?"