Posts Tagged ‘ Yohan Cabaye ’

As the Toon Army Marches into the Valley of Death…

-by M

a handsome Irish singer by the name of Ronan Keating once sang, “life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it.” and that is the fate of Newcastle fans around the world. Relegated as recently as 2009, the Magpies now suddenly find themselves in the top 4 spots of the Premier League with the season almost half way through. They have been impressive thus far against somewhat lesser opposition and they now face a daunting run of matches against the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Yet, such is the dramatic ups and downs in the recent history of the Magpies that one can forgive the optimism currently surrounding the Tyneside club. Chris Hughton, the man who led Newcastle to promotion from the Championship was sacked barely a year ago and was replaced by Alan Pardew, a decision many deemed to be foolish. However, under Pardew’s charge, Newcastle has transformed themselves over the year through astute acquisitions and a change in footballing and man management philosophy and are now one of the exciting teams to watch this season.

The bigwigs and players who the manager felt could be “bigger than the team” were shipped off to other clubs who were willing to accommodate their egos for their footballing talents (Barton, Nolan, Enrique) while industrious (& mostly French) players with a point to prove were recruited and drilled to play for the collective, rather than for the individual.

Out of all of Pardew’s recent purchases, the one that stands out has to be Yohan Cabaye. the French international has stood out in the black and white of Newcastle this season and has been the conductor of the flowing symphony that is Newcastle’s new style of possession football. His partnership with hardman, Chieck Tiote is one of the key reasons for Newcastle’s outstanding run of results this season.

Undoubtedly, most of the credit has to be attributed to the man many deemed to be unfit for the job. Afterall, here was a man who had a poor reputation in the Premier League after contributing to West Ham’s worst run of results in their history in 2007.  Also, despite his selfish antics, some credit has to be given to owner Mike Ashley. As much as Newcastle fans love to hate him, he has shown his support for the club through good times and bad times and despite his poor taste and shameless advertisement of his company (Sports Direct Arena < St. James Park), Ashley has brought stability to a team that was on the brink of sinking into oblivion after being relegated.

The next few weeks will shape Newcastle’s current season and seasons to come. Many may not give Newcastle a chance against the likes of City, United and Chelsea, but if they continue to play the way they have been playing all season, I would not be surprised if they could steal a win or two against the top 3 teams in England at the moment.

More importantly, it is crucial that Pardew endeavours in the philosophy he has inculcated in the club and keep hold of key personnel such as Tiote and Cabaye. The likes of United and City are already circling around these players but if Pardew can keep these lynchpins in his team, he could be the one to awake one of football’s sleeping giants.

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10 Conclusions: Sunderland vs Newcastle

-by M

  • In a game that started off so promisingly for Sunderland, they must be left kicking themselves for not capitalizing on what was a whirlwind start for them. They were out of the blocks faster and were quicker to every ball and winning most of the challenges against Newcastle who appeared to be stunned.
  • Definitely a Newcastle penalty. Larsson may not have intentionally handled the ball but the reality of the matter was he denied what would have been a Newcastle goal. How the linesman missed that is one question only he can answer. Could it be because Sunderland were the home team? Or just maybe he had Larsson on his fantasy team.
  • It’s funny how quickly a game of football can be changed after one single event. It seemed as if Sunderland were a little rattled after nearly conceding a penalty that they backed off a little and allowed Newcastle into the game. From then on, it was a keenly contested game right to the final whistle.
  • Did anyone else catch a glimpse of that awkward moment when Sessegnon was kneeling in front of Pardew and Pardew had both his hands on his head? (you will, it will definitely be on one of the leading sports websites)
  • Ryan Taylor is a lucky, lucky boy. If he had connected with his elbow on Gyan in the first half, he would have undoubtedly been sent off. However, he escaped punishment and scored the winning goal. Newcastle fans must be silently relieved that Taylor did not make contact on Gyan with his flailing elbow and that Webb did not catch the Newcastle man red-handed.
  • How Cabaye got away with his challenge on Phil Bardsley I will never know. His studs were showing, he was going at speed and caught the Sunderland full-back. The only probable reason was that Webb did not want to send a player off so early in the game given the game was a derby.  That challenge anywhere else might have seen a straight red for the Frenchman.
  • So in a sense, Phil Bardsley’s second yellow was somewhat fortuitous. It was a similar challenge as Cabaye’s on Gutierrez. Studs showing, foot high, sliding in at speed. Bardsley should consider himself lucky it was not a straight red.
  • Mignolet’s positioning has to be questioned for Newcastle goal. He was caught in no man’s land and misjudged the flight of the ball completely. While it was a good delivery by Ryan Taylor, Mignolet should have done better.
  • What is Lee Cattermole’s purpose on the field? It seems as if his sole aim in the game is to hack down as many opposition players as possible. The ‘Makelele’ role has gained some prominence in recent years but Cattermole is no Makelele. How some England fans can call for Cattermole to be in their team is beyond belief.
  • That said, was waiting for something to happen with Cattermole and Barton on the pitch. Afterall, what’s a derby without a little scrap?