It’s match-day. While most fans across the country look forward to match-day with the sort of child-like excitement, many Newcastle fans find themselves dreading what should be a sacred day for football fans. Today we come up against another of the newly promoted team in the form of Malkay Mackay’s Cardiff City.
After 6 games Cardiff City are sitting in 11th place in the table with 8 points, only 1 point more than Newcastle United sitting in 16th, Much like last Monday’s defeat to Everton, and the previous defeat at home to Hull, I would say that this game is yet another important fixture in trying to resolve where the respective teams will be fighting it out in the table. While there is little between teams at this early stage, games like these are essential to try to get an upper hand over a side whom we will most probably be competing with at the wrong end of the table this season.
Cardiff City have had some excellent results this season and have only lost the two games; at home to Tottenham and away to West Ham. Their other results include a shock win over Manchester City, draws against Hull and Everton as well as an away win to Fulham. As you can see, Cardiff have already played some of the teams that we ourselves have faced, and it is worrying that they have bettered our result in every instance.
The general sense of opinion seems to be that we expect to win this game but we are meeting a team that is full of confidence, are well organised and have some very useful players in their side. That isn’t to say that we don’t have some equally, if not more, useful players in our side, but our confidence is shot and our organisation? What organisation?
Cardiff City manager has come out this week and spoke highly of Newcastle United manager this week and described him as his “mentor”. While I can only sympathise for Malkay on this score, it would appear that Mackay hasn’t picked up any of the idiosyncrasies that are particular to Alan Pardew’s method of management. I am sure Malkay Mackay will be keen to outdo his former manager when they come head-to-head in today’s game.
I fully expect Pardew to field a number of players who “played their way into the side” in the second half against Everton, although I think this is more of a case of who has played their way out of the side following the first half in that game. Yanga M’biwa had a poor performance and is likely to lose his place to Mike Williamson, while Cabaye is sure to come back into the starting line-up, alongside Tiote, which could once again mean that Vurnon Anita is relegated to the bench.
While I may fully expect these changes, I am certainly not happy about them. If we’re going to say certain players deserve to lose their places for poor performances against Everton then surely the likes of Colocinni, Debuchy and Santon must also be considered worthy of losing their place. Also, I failed to see what Tiote did against Everton that warrants keeping him in the side today. However, I fail to see what Tiote has done in the past 12 months to warrant his place in our squad, but we’ll park that for the time being.
I hope that Pardew keeps Cisse on the bench, as Remy and Gouffran have constantly outperformed him this season. Remy has been getting goals, creating chances and looking lively. Gouffran has chipped in with a few goals too, but it is his energy and willingness to run for the side that makes me want to see him keep his place in the side.
In my opinion, we’re up against it today. This team has suffered two pretty awful defeats on the bounce and it is hard to see where they will summon the courage and confidence to arrest this slump in form. If Pardew can manage it then perhaps he will save himself for another day. If we lose this game, many fans think it will be the end of the road for Pardew, but I am very much inclined to disagree. It should have been the end of the road for Pardew following annihilations at the hands to Liverpool and Sunderland on home turf last season. If he has survived those embarrassments, he will survive a good deal more as far as I am concerned. Don’t like it? Me neither.
I will always back our lads to do well, but I cannot in good conscience predict that we will win this game. In fact, I cannot see us even getting a point in this game. Defeat to Cardiff could spell a very difficult period coming up in the next few weeks as we have some very tough fixtures ahead of us. Victory will ease those tensions a great deal, but not entirely.
What do you think? Will we nick a win today? Are we win for another inept display and disappointing defeat? What changes, if any, would you make to the side that played against Everton? I’d love to hear your views.