Newcastle United don't always lose but when they do they do it spectacularly. I have to confess that I was not able to watch the entire match... was in and out for the first half and didn't see any of the second. The perpetual challenge of being a sports fan is trying to find the middle ground between extreme optimism and extreme pessimism. There are surely people that live in that gray area, but I would propose that they are few and lucky. I think that if we're being reasonable we can concede that we may not have been as great as a 6-match win streak would have indicated, and we're nowhere near as bad as we performed on Saturday. In the preview I stated that good things sometimes come to an end... I figured it would just be our scoreless streak (which did end)... but I never dreamed it would be our focus and intensity that would suffer a rather graphic death.
The beauty of sport is that in truth, one match has nearly no direct influence on any other one match, and we as a club are going to have to wall the Wigan match off and place our eyes firmly on Stamford Bridge. On the day, we lost three points (and perhaps more importantly goal differential), but we still have every opportunity in front of us. News happens after the jump!
"We’re disappointed by the result and the game," said the midfielder. "We must keep our heads up, and it’s all about Wednesday now. What happened at Wigan is over. We lost the game, and we have to look forward. "We can’t win every game. We’ve lost a game and by a big score, but that’s football sometimes. "We just have to stay focused."
"We’ve got to apologise to the fans," Simpson told the Gazette. "They were great,– even when we were down they were still cheering us on. "We can’t get too down and negative, but we’re still in it. We’ve got our game in hand, and players, staff and fans have got to stick together. "We’ve got to put in a performance, as we know we can, and get some points. "They’ve been great. I think they realise we’ve come so far. They know it was an off-day, and we want to do better.
He told the Chronicle: "When you have a day when everything didn’t go for us it’s tough. "Goals went in early and we lost our heads. "The only thing we can lean on is the second half when I thought we were disciplined."
Newcastle end what has been an outstanding campaign with difficult games against Manchester City and Everton, but Coloccini believes a Champions League place is still within their grasp. ‘It’s like a dream for us, we still have a chance to fight for it,’ said the Argentina defender. ‘Yes it was disappointing and we played badly against Wigan. We have two days to have a look at where we went wrong here then try to get ready for the next game.
"We have a couple of little knocks," said Pardew. "Danny Simpson and Yohan Cabaye have knocks, but I think they’ll be OK." Pardew expects to have wingers Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux available for the Chelsea game, strengthening his attacking options. Marveaux has been sidelined since November with groin and hip problems, while Obertan has been absent for six weeks with an ankle injury.
I should hope that both of these players come through and are available for Wednesday... but if I have to pick one or the other, I'm sure you know which I would pick. I do hope that Marveaux is healthy enough to make the bench- there is a very small part of me that is tremendously excited to see a few minutes (maybe 15?) of a Marveaux, Cisse, Ben Arfa front line. In the mean time, to reiterate, GET HEALTHY DREAMBOAT!
Pardew revealed today he wanted to keep Ben Arfa fresh for Wednesday’s potentially crucial encounter with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Should Ben Arfa pick up where he left off at Wigan, the Blues may have a long night on their hands. And while his withdrawal raised eyebrows in the away section, Pardew explained his actions.
I'm quite certain that subbing Ben Arfa was greeted with much hand-wringing and consternation by the internet world. I'm not biting, however. I can completely see (and agree with) the logic of taking a player out of a lost cause match when that player (farily or unfairly) could be classified as "unlucky with injury". I wouldn't call him "injury prone", but you certainly can't sit there and not worry about it some.
Pardew is understood to have been checking out two of his long-term targets as his rebuilding work on Tyneside looks set to continue in the months ahead. Reports in the Netherlands today indicated that Pardew attended FC Twente’s 2-1 home defeat against champions-elect Ajax at De Grolsch Veste. Steve McClaren’s side featured Toon target Douglas but the Brazilian-born defender could not stop Ajax taking victory as Jan Vertonghen skippered the Amsterdammers to victory and put them on the brink of the Dutch title.
It is looking more and more like Douglas is going to be the primary CB target for the Toon this summer. Vertonghen would be lovely to get as well but the challenges are a little more stiff there. Also, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is newly linked with Manchester United... whether that pans out or not will be seen, but it is a player that we've had long-term interest in that has a major player name connected with him. I was hopeful that we would be able to sneak another one out of France. We might... but it doesn't look like it'll be Yanga-Mbiwa.