There have been running themes for Newcastle United in the 2012-13 Premier League campaign. Decent performances for half of matches, controlling play only to stop doing the things that we were doing successfully and it goes on and on. This match would be no different.
Early on, Newcastle were taking the match right to West Bromwich Albion and you would have been forgiven for thinking that all of the mid-week bluster about being embarrassed by the derby performance and "owing the fans" and all of that crap may have meant something. A very nice bit of play by Papiss Cissé to control in the WBA box was taken to the wing and he put a very tidy cross into the box that Yoan Gouffran headed into the far corner and it was 1-0 within the first 10 minutes. Enter another familiar theme.
Newcastle would have a number of decent chances in the first half, but (stop me if you've heard this one) their finishing let them down. Most notably, Papiss Cissé was clear on goal following a horrible back-pass from a WBA defender but went for the chip and missed horribly - and that's maybe where the "same old Newcastle" of this season came in. We made it to halftime at 1-0. While it should have been more. Enter another familiar theme.
Despite having pressured West Brom into mistakes and being good value for a first-half lead, Newcastle decided that the prudent thing to do in the second half would be to STOP pressuring and allow West Brom to attack in waves. Steve Clarke for his part inserted Shane Long, shifted formation to a 4-3-3 and took every inch that Newcastle decided to give them. The tactic not only garnered them the equalizing goal, it should have gotten them another when Romelu Lukaku crashed a header off the bar from one of their 90352 corner kicks in the early stages of the second half. Enter another familiar theme.
Because Yoan Gouffran had been one of our most industrious and dangerous players, (stop me if you've heard this one) Alan Pardew decided to take the movement and pressure Gouffran was providing off in favor of the stationary presence that is Shola Ameobi. It worked about as well as it ever has. Hatem Ben Arfa, who may have been useful at various points in the match, was handed a 15 minute cameo that he did very little with, and fortunately for us, a little bit of offensive pressure late in the half was enough to convince WBA to call off the dogs to a certain extent and the match played out to a 1-1 draw. I said Thursday I would have taken a draw if it were offered at that point... but sometimes when you're watching a match you see that a draw was a missed opportunity. Results on the weekend have mostly been to Newcastle's benefit... but those extra two points would have done wonders thanks to those same results.