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Newcastle 1 - 0 Norwich City: Instant Reaction

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It wasn't always pretty in Chris Hughton's return to St. James' Park, but Newcastle United managed to do the business and earn an important 3 points off of Norwich City. A clinical finish from Demba Ba would prove decisive in an affair that deteriorated in both good will and quality as the minutes passed.

Following a rather disturbing trend, Newcastle United seem to only be able to put together 45 good minutes per match, and the good minutes were the first half this time. After conceding a large chunk of possession in the first 15 minutes, the Toon managed to exert their will and dominate possession for the rest of the first half. It certainly could have been a different story on both sides of the coin- Mike Williamson did his best Danny Simpson and cleared a great Norwich effort off the line while Papiss Cisse missed a penalty earned by Williamson at the very end of the first half.

Quick thoughts:

  • Hatem Ben Arfa just seems to keep getting better. He is absolute magic with the ball at his feet, and his ideas seem to have a more team-oriented feel to them lately. A bit of the best of both worlds currently.
  • Steve Harper was massive in this match. He made every right decision and had a couple of critical saves on the back of these decisions which saved the three points for Newcastle.
  • Cheik Tiote is not really great coming off the bench. It's almost as if he has a certain number of fouls/challenges that he has to make per game, and he is a bit rash as a result.
  • Demba Ba played the part of a good leader on the pitch today... doesn't seem like an unsettled player to me. If the commentators are to be believed, he was the voice that put Cisse at the spot for the penalty at the end of the first half.
  • Papiss Cisse... when the first goal comes, it's going to be an avalanche... but he's just way far in his head at this point. As we saw last season, he's ruthless when he's striking on instinct... he's just not there at this time.
  • Mike Williamson has looked a step above serviceable in the last couple of matches. Still not won over completely, but there is still the fact that when he's on the pitch, we get clean sheets somehow.

Newcastle will now turn their attention (or at least part of it) to the Capital One Cup match midweek against Manchester United.