Like most Newcastle United fans I was ecstatic with not only the 3 points against Chelsea, but also in the manner in which we got them. Yes Chelsea had the better of the first half, but we more than proved ourselves worthy winners with our fantastic display in the second half. Given how a lot of our first team players featured in our mid-week defeat to Man City in the League Cup, which needed an extra 30 minutes to settle, it was to be expected that we may not have started the first half with a great deal of intensity. However, our desire, commitment and intensity in the second half was too much for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side to handle and we ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.
After fervently enjoying the evening which proceeded, I then went into a reflective mood, looking at the bigger picture of our season, and I just could not understand where we plucked that result from. We have had a decent start to the season, but we have also seemed to claw results from games when we least expect it, and fail to turn up for the games we should be winning. We followed up an excellent away win to Aston Villa with a horrendous home performance to Hull. We followed up a battling full-blooded point at home to Liverpool down to 10 men, with one of the most disgusting derby performances I have seen in recent years away to Sunderland. However, we then managed to follow that up with a gutsy display in our defeat to Man City and a fine home win to Chelsea. It simply does not make sense.
I always enjoy a Newcastle United win, and please don’t see this as an attempt to take away from the fine win we had at the weekend, but I do feel that these questions need to be asked. How is it that we can draw with Liverpool and beat Chelsea at home, yet we do not show up at home to Hull and let Sunderland walk all over us? We are comfortably sitting 9th, not spectacular but not in any immediate danger, however, had we cut out and improved upon some of our more questionable performances, we’d be looking at a start to the season akin to our 5th place finish – we wouldn’t want that now would be Ashley?
I don’t know if it is the manager, the players, or a lack of ambition emanating from the top that is impacting performances so badly, but the result at the weekend has proved that when we want to, we can play some good football and get some good results, so why can we not do that consistently?
I am not calling for a run of 5 wins in a row (although that would be nice), all I want to see is consistency in performance. Why is it that Gouffran looks amazing 1 game, terrible the next, and then amazing again? What is going on with Sissoko? What has happened to Tiote that he is looking like a footballer again? Why has Debuchy came on leaps and bounds yet Santon still looks terrible? And can for all that is holy, someone tell me why Vurnon Anita is still sitting on the bench? If we seemingly played with a coherent system, one that the fans could readily identify with and understand, then perhaps this would not be so perplexing, but as it stands, our tactics, ethos, and game plan changes with the wind.
Our next game is away to Tottenham Hotspurs, who only a few short years ago were a club in a similar position to ourselves. Managerial upheaval, poor start to the season, no real sense of direction. But they appointed Redknapp, finished 8th in the 08/09 season, and then went on to invest in the squad and gain Champions League football and challenge the top 4 on a regular basis, whereas we appointed Kinnear, got relegated, and have subsequently seen our squad operate on a “None In, One Out” kind of basis. This is another game where I think we would be doing very well to get something from, but with the consistently inconsistent Newcastle United, you just never know what is around the corner.
What do you think is the cause of our spotty form? Are you expecting anything from the Spurs game? I’d love to hear your views.