Where Has That Spirit And Intensity Been All Season?!

Yes Newcastle lost again. Yes we gave away soft avoidable goals again. But the spirit and intensity versus Man City was first class and the question has to be asked as to where that has been all season?! Does it take the reigning champions to come to St James' Park to wake us up as a club? That includes the fans by the way as they were also first class. Our stadium has never been that consistently loud at any stage this season. I think that sums us up as a football club to be honest. Raise our game against the big boys, drop our level against the smaller teams. Since I have been a Newcastle United supporter this has almost always been the case.

If we play with the same intensity as we did on Saturday morning then there is no way we will be relegated. No chance. Most teams in the league would not be able to handle us on our own patch playing at such a spirited fashion. We even had some genuine quality at times as we outplayed Man City in large parts, especially in that second half. For the first 15-20 minutes after the break the reigning champions couldn't deal with our constant threat on their goal. We managed to get one back via another effort to add to Demba Ba's impressive tally and should have had another one moments later, if only Papiss Cisse had the touch in front of goal his Senegalese partner has at the moment. To not even hit the target with Anita their for the possible lay off was criminal. That could if not should have changed the game.

Speaking of Anita, what a performance again. His runs from midfield were outstanding and his touch was effortless. We lack creativity in the side with no Cabaye or Ben Arfa at the moment but Vurnon tried his best to make up for it with clever first touch 'round the corner' passes, then spinning to receive the ball back to play in one of the strikers. He has been our best player during this run of horrific results and has surely put to bed any doubts people were having over his ability. He will always be lacking in the physical side of midfield but his engine is immense. He never gets tired. The type of up and down midfielder we have been crying out for ever since Rob Lee hung up his boots. Once Yohan Cabaye is back and assuming Cheik Tiote has not been sold, our three man midfield with the flying Dutchman alongside them will match up against any team in the league.

What was unfortunately exposed in the 3-1 defeat is a fact I have been saying all season long. Santon is not that good at defending. I love the kid, but only going forward. He embarrasses Jonas with how much more of a threat he is marauding forward, even when Jonas is supposed to be the teams LW. But going back the other way he gets caught out time and time again. He has been responsible for more goals conceded this season then anybody else. Which pains me to say it. I could lay into Danny Simpson all day long with his defending 'skills' which Man City's also exposed with their third goal to the whole world. As Simmo is just as poor going forward, I cant wait for him to leave this football club and a better replacement is brought in. Where is Matt Debuchy when you need him?

Davide Santon doesn't deserve to be slated in the same manner as he is clearly being played in not his strongest position. Just because he has played at full back for most of his life and wears the number 3 shirt, doesn't automatically make him a left back. Your strengths and weaknesses dictate what your position on the pitch should be and how you perform within that position. Defensively he has been left wanting but going forward he has been terrific. So then play him further forward. Why insist on playing him as part of the defence when all he wants to do is run with the ball and attack? He needs to be switched onto the left of a three man midfield where he will naturally get back to defend to cover the full back but will also have license to run with the ball and attack, without leaving a gaping hole in the left back position. This needs to happen immediately.

A player who needs to come out of the team is Papiss Cisse. Not because he isn't good enough but because he is totally out of form. Nothing he tries is coming off for him. We are not in a position to carry a player when we are struggling to get points. Last season we could afford to have Demba Ba in the team as we were winning games without his lack of goals. This season we do not have that luxury. When we have a player like Marveaux chomping at the bit to play, then he deserves a chance as he has impressed in the league lately. Once Ben Arfa is back this should settle the argument all together. The system should not be changed from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 to suit Cisse, he just isn't playing well enough.

Yes Man City wasted countless chances and carved us up at an alarming rate but we wont be playing them every week. Next we have QPR at home and we have to win that game. There is no other option. We have trips to Old Trafford and The Emirates stadium to follow so any dropped points against the worst team in the league would be catastrophic. If we play like we did against arguably the strongest team in the league, then the result will be automatic. We'll hammer them!

Let's not drop our playing levels to the standards of the opposition. Just play to our own potential and the likes of QPR will be dismissed as easy as they should be and we will eventually move away from the relegation zone.

Howay The Lads!

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano


  1. Toon Bano....I've read a few of your articles and have always found you to be a little on the negative side, but I must say this was a top bit of writing and I will be checking your site on a regular basis.

    It was a spirited performance from the toon and that is the minimum that us fans want to see.


    1. I always (at least try) to look at things objectively and see where we can improve whilst also offering solutions to any situation, instead of just slating them.

      If I come across as negative that's probably down to the fact we are in a very negative situation right now. I finally saw something worthy of being positive about on Saturday. It's been a while....

      Keep reading. ;D

    2. Well to balance things out, I am an over optimist, so it was probably a case of me just not agreeing with your sentiments :)

      I hope there are many more reasons to be positive in the future, if not, do me a favour and throw out the odd positive article to keep me sane.

    3. Well to be fair, if there is something positive that's worthy to be pointed out, I usually do.

      ; D

  2. Totally agree about Santon. Pardew has said he won't drop Jonas today, but he offers nothing going forward and all anyone can say about him is he works hard. If Pards doesn't want to drop him move him back to LB and Santon in midfield, just as Rodgers did when he swapped Enrique and Downing. Sure it's not ideal, but Santon's direct running in the absence of Cabs/HBA and Pards' refusal to give Marveaux a sustained chance means he's the only person who possesses the ability to do the unexpected.

    1. What fascinates me about Pardew is he is stubbornly adamant in sticking with things that clearly aren't working...but is extremely quick to abandon things that are working.

      The formation, set pieces, player in specific position and players being selected are clear indicators of this.

      The man is insufferable.

    2. There is nothing more painful in football than us winning a free kick out wide. Everyone just looks at each other and knows, without any uncertainty, that it will be going to Williamson at the back post, who will knock it down to the nearest defender and the ball will be cleared.

      Our set piece inability is disgustingly infuriating!

    3. It is beyond a joke to be honest. Our corners are just as bad. Complete no show.

      The fact set pieces was one of our main strengths when Pardew arrived is another example of his failure and how we have gone backwards under him as a manager.