Newcastle United lost to the Manchester City reserves 2-0 in Round 4 of the Football League Cup Wednesday, ending their quest to
do anything positive against the Citizens for the first time in several years reach the quarterfinal round of the tournament for the first time since 2006.
Alan Pardew's squad, which was made mostly of senior players, but not the right ones according to Twitter, actually came out looking to create chances. This was a welcome departure from his usual tactic of trying to dig a hole and then hide in it until the referee blows his whistle, but as it turns out, creating chances for Newcastle these days basically means taking shots from 25 yards the instant a defender fails to close down. Shola Ameobi was a standout offensive player in the first half, so he was of course substituted (to be fair, he looked mostly disinterested following the break). On the other end, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was my Man of the Match through 90 minutes. In perfect consistently inconsistent Toon fashion, it was his inattention that led to the first goal in Extra Time.
Ultimately, Newcastle had 120 minutes to score, and couldn't. There are plenty of excuses to be had - Manchester City has really good reserves, the players were tired after losing on Sunday, something about the wind. None will be good enough. The failure to play a complete match on both sides of the ball is becoming endemic.
This team is not as good as it should be. It's starting to feel like they're just not good at all.