Match-day – Cardiff (a)

Up against his former manager. How will he do?

Up against his former manager. How will he do?

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.

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16 comments

  1. This looks like its going to be a difficult game.
    Which is a disaster in itself really, as we should be looking at this as an away banker.
    Think HBA should be dropped today after, frankly, a disgusting performance V Hull and only a slightly better one V Everton. Gouff–Cisse–Remy
    Will be annoyed with Pardew if Anita is dropped and if Taylor or Jonas gets in the starting line up. However don’t expect him to do that.

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    1. Even if we win today, you can’t overlook his decision to drop Anita. If I was Vurn I would be putting in a transfer request in Jan if Pards is still here. He has every right to be furious.

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  2. Strange after we win there are no blogs today (Sunday) – I’m sure if we had lost there would have been several by now telling us how cr*p Pardew is 🙂

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    1. Martoon

      Been working flat out this weekend, I have left a comment on Ed’s blog about how delighted I was with the win and I intend to do an article on that as well. My personal opinion hasn’t changed that Pardew isn’t good enough. And while it may be tongue in cheek, I don’t want it being said that I will not give credit where credit is due to the manager.

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    1. As good as we’ve ever played? Stretching it a bit. Plus the second half was again a bit worrying. Still invaluable 3 points as you point out MacToon, will ease any forthcoming pressure, but will it be enough?

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  3. First half was a great performance, I thought Tiote was terrific, Remy and Cabaye will get all the headlines but when Tiote is as dominant in the midfield as he was on Saturday that gives the likes of Cabaye and Remy the chance to shine, as they indeed did, as neat and tidy as Anita is we can’t dominate with him as we did on Saturday with Tiote, if he can continue like that and cut out the recklessness then we will be difficult to beat.

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  4. Tiote is not a good footballer, but he allows good footballers to be good footballers, without the Tiote’s the Ben Arfa’s, Cabaye’s and Remy’s are a waste of time as they never have the opportunity to do what they do best.
    Cabaye was at times superb against Cardiff, but that only occured because he was afforded to play in a more advanced role where he is better, it was Tiote and Sissoko’s dominance which allowed this to happen, but the first half stranglehold which we had only ever occurs when Tiote is in there, for me he should be the first pick with Sissoko and Anita fighting for the role alongside him, but it appears to most people that Sissoko should be the automatic pick, with either Tiote or Anita alongside him.
    So who would I have alongside Tiote, I don’t know to be honest, Sissoko’s pace and power can be great asset, but apart from Cabaye we are awful when it comes to passing a ball, apart from Anita who can and does pass the ball well, its a tough call.
    Many if not most would say Anita with Sissoko, I believe that as a pairing there isn’t enough bite, they aren’t ugly enough, and you have to be ugly to win, it was the same with the defence, Mbiwa and Colo are both cultured footballing centre halves, but as a partnership I worry as neither of them are ugly enough, along comes Mike Williamson who’s one dimensional type of defending which is ” if the ball comes any where near me I will launch it as far up field as I can ” as he is incapable of doing anything else, if that comes across as slating Willo then I apologise as it was meant as a compliment, we need someone to just get it out of the defence, remember Hull, was it the 1st or 2nd goal where we were failing to just hoof it clear, god we could have done with Willo then.
    At times you have to be ugly to be pretty, Mbiwa an Anita are both pretty players who were replaced with the ugly pairing of Williamson and Tiote, but I tell you what, it was certainly one of our prettiest performances in a long while.
    Lets not forget that the very pretty Ben Arfa was also replaced with the less pretty Gouffran, however I do hope that pretty boy Benny does come straight back in and Pardew was trying to send out a message ?

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    1. I understand where you’re coming from, but I simply do not agree. You are describing Tiote as the first name in our midfield, whereas I think he should be the last.

      Cabaye in an advanced position has nothing to do with Tiote being on the field, it is a matter of the manager’s tactics. Anita has proven himself capable of playing deep with Cabaye ahead of him. So too is Sissoko.

      Cabaye’s up turn in performance is as much, if not more, to do with his own personal motivation as it has to do with Tiote.

      As for Williamson, he is nothing compared to M’biwa. Yes Yanga had a poor game against Everton, but one poor game and he’s out for Willo? Why wasn’t Santon dropped if that was the case? He was terrible against Everton.

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      1. Cabaye in an advanced position has nothing to do with Tiote being on the field, it is a matter of the manager’s tactics

        That is a load of rubbish and you know it is, Cabaye as pathetic as he was in the summer trying to broker a move away is gladly from our point of view still the consummate professional whilst on the pitch, whenever that lad has played he has always looked at what is happening and adjusted his take on the match accordingly, if we are dominating he is so far forward that he could be a striker, if we are being dominated he is like another defender, Yohan Cabaye never sticks to a manager’s tactics, he changes his tactics to aid the team the best way he can which is why Alan Pardew loves him so much as Pardew knows that he has someone with enough brain to say hang-on this isn’t working so I will change it, Yohan Cabaye is the only player who gets a free role from Pardew because Pardew knows that he will use that responsibility correctly.

        Have a look at Cabaye’s match rating’s since he joined us and then look at who else was playing and then try and tell me that Tiote does not get the best out of him,

        Once you have done that you will see that Cabaye needs Tiote more than what he needs either Anita or Sissoko, you have too play what works, and that means playing Tiote, if you look at it you will see that I am correct

        But will you admit it ? lol.

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