Can we carry momentum into derby?

Pressure easing, for now

Pressure easing, for now

Credit where credit is due, last Saturday not only did we see a positive result at home to Liverpool, a team that hammered us 6-0 in the preceding fixture last season, but we also saw a much more progressive performance from the side than we have seen in recent weeks.

Pardew took a number of bold decisions; playing Ben Arfa up front, partnering Mike Williamson with M’biwa, sticking with Tiote over the more technically capable Anita, all proving to be contentious decisions, and while some could argue over whether these decisions were positive or not, or whether they even worked or not, what still remains is that as a team we played well. We defended as a unit, we broke with pace, we kept things simple and we caused Liverpool problems.

Individual players were back to their commanding best, Cabaye is getting better with each passing game, Tiote looked like the player he was when we finished 5th, Gouffran looks like the hardest working 2 million pound player we have ever signed and Remy plays with a confidence and swagger that could breed a little bit more fluidity into our side.

On top  of that, we have the Cinderella story with local lad Paul Dummett coming off the bench to play centre half against Suarez and Sturridge, yet he managed to get up the other end and score a goal!

It took courage and bottle to go for it when we were down to ten men, and to be fair to Pardew, he decided to go for it. I have been vocally critical of him in the past, and will continue to do so if he reverts to type against lesser sides in the league. However, on the basis of Saturday’s performance, he should be given a pat on the back, Now go out and do it on a weekly basis and perhaps we could see a little bit more positivity from the playing side of things.

In light of this positive performance, I would just like to turn our attention to the rather mammoth game that will be in the hearts and minds of Newcastle fans up and down the country, indeed all over the world. The derby. The first Tyne-Wear derby of the season sees Newcastle United make the wearisome trip to Sunderland. New Sunderland manager Gus Poyet had a tough introduction to life as Sunderland with an absolute spanking off Swansea and they will be hurting right now. We are in a much more comfortable position in the table than Sunderland are, and early indicators would surely point to Sunderland being one of the frontrunners for relegation this season. The ludicrous decision to appoint, and then subsequently sack Paolo di Canio has strange familiarity with our own relegation season – Over hyped, over paid players of insufficient quality, managerial upheaval et al and I think Sunderland fans will be looking at this game with trepidation.

There are no certainties in a derby game. You cannot go into it thinking you have it sown up, especially when we were embarrassed in our own back yard last time out. Much like how Pardew wanted to atone for the shocking defeat to Liverpool last season, I hope he has a similar frame of mind going into this game. We have the quality to beat Sunderland, will Pardew be as ambitious and bold to go out and prove it?

Do not let Poyet use this game as a springboard for Sunderland’s season. We have a chance to kick on from this positive result and leave the fans in really buoyant mood over the playing side of things. But a defeat in this derby would surely see this momentum lost. We will have to just wait and see.

What do you think? Were you encouraged by how the lads played on Saturday? Who was your stand out performer? Do you think Pardew can get that sort of performance from the lads every week, especially in our big derby match? I’d love to hear your views.

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10 comments

  1. To answer the articles header…I sure hope so.

    On paper, in my heart and in my head this result should only go one way. Everything is against them and everything is in our favour…BUT, we have shown (if fact, this following point may be one of the only consistent things about NUFC) in the past that when it should be as easy as done, we seem to find a way to self implode.

    The manager and players should be keeping a calm head and keep on with the good work that is seemingly going on. They certainly cannot rest on their laurels, as they haven’t yet even got close to the finished article yet. Not to be negative, I think a step by step approach is favourable, they just need to keep taking those steps.

    More than anything, let’s not let them and another new manager get one up on us. A season should not be defined by one game, but the derby is a big one and we let them get the better of us in spectacular fashion last time out. That needs to be corrected.

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  2. “A season should not be defined by one game” I agree Peter but last season I think 2 games stand out.
    If I said 6-0 and 3-0 I guess you would know exactly what I mean.
    Another example, 5-1.

    My point is we don’t really know how we will look back on this derby game once the season’s over,
    I hope we put in a fighting performance, 3 points heading our way and keep them rooted to the foot of the league.

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  3. I watched scumberlands last 2 games they look like an old car the engines falling out of.But form gos out the window in derby matchs, and its ussally which team wants it more that wins,hopefully thats us 🙂

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  4. Correct me if I’m wrong, but before the 3-0 hammering off them last season were we not going into that game believing that it should be a comfortable win for us, hopefully Pardew will have learnt from that and will guard against complacency.

    Colo has already been ruled out so I would expect Saylor to partner Williamson, not the strongest pairing but I do feel they are big and strong enough to cope with whatever Sunderland will have to offer, now that we have Tiote back to his formidable best we will hopefully have the necessary muscle which will allow us to dominate them which is something we haven’t done for a while as we have been too lightweight, what a difference an on form Tiote makes, against Liverpool he was like a rock which allowed Cabaye the freedom to get forward which he did to devastating effect, it’s amazing to think that some would not have Tiote in their side, just as well that Pardew picks the side, as he seems to be doing it quite well at present.

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  5. Normally for an away derby match I would settle for a draw but this year that would be disappointing because on current form we should be able to take all 3 points. Bearing in mind the tough games that follow then 3 points would be extremely useful.

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    1. I would agree Martoon, as you say with some difficult fixtures ahead 3 points would give us a nice cushion going into them, as well as a bit more confidence.
      Realistically with Sissoko and Tiote being so strong as a pairing we should win the midfield and doing that with Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Remy and Gouffran ahead of them then you would think that we will have too much for them, especially with the form of Cabaye and Remy, but this is a derby and as we know the form book gets thrown away for these games.
      I do hope that apart from the centre of defence Pardew keeps the same side that done so well against Liverpool with perhaps swapping Ben Arfa and Gouffran, by rights Gouffran is a central striker but he has never had that chance with us and Ben Arfa as we are aware can be devastating from the right, Benny has never had a decent game for us when playing centrally, I hope that he does swap them as he could cause major problems for them, especially when you consider that Sunderland don’t have a recognised left back, Benny could have a field day.

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      1. Spoof that is a good shout about putting Ben Arfa up against their left back – he would make mincemeat of Bardsley or even Colbeck.. I think we tried Gouffran as a central striker in a cup match and it wasn’t that sucessful – I think I’d try Remy in the middle.

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  6. when ya play afra on the right hes to readable in my view and has 1 party trick every time cut inside and try and get a left footed shot away at goal which makes him to easy to read in my view

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  7. Ben Arfa may be the most predictable player in the league, but so what, even if the defender knows what Benny is going to do he still can’t stop him when he is on form, this predictable argument doesn’t stand up, as so often he destroys sides when on the right, and be fair to the lad, he will be inside and then outside the defender, eventually he will shoot from the inside but when will that happen, the defender hasn’t a clue and gets turned inside out before the shot comes in, Benny in the middle is a waste of space, it’s too crowded for him, put him on the right where he has an extra yard of space then he can run at them and cause havoc.

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  8. Martoon, I was talking to my dad on Tuesday and he was saying the same about Remy playing in the centre, it does make sense but with Remy playing as well as he is on the left I would just keep him there, why take a man out of a position where he is excelling in, I feel that has been half the problem with Benny, he was poor against Hull which is fair enough, but against Everton he was put on the left, why, against Cardiff he was dropped and against Liverpool he was central where he has never had a decent game for us, for me Benny and Remy have been great at times when on the right and the left respectively, just leave them there, if it ain’t broke why fix it, give Gourrfan a chance in the middle, he might just settle and start to hit the back of the net regularly, if not then bring Cisse back, being dropped might just be the wake up call he needed.

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