Have we, the fans, finally learned patience?

Originally a forum thread by simonbh7, click here to read/comment.

Please don’t jump to the wrong conclusion because of the title. I am not talking about waiting so long for us to win a trophy. (for that, we are amongst the most loyal and patient of fans)

I am referring to the way that we have backed Pardew and the team during this disappointing season. It is not so very long ago that if we spent most of the season hovering a few points above the relegation zone, we would have been calling for the manager’s head and giving the players a hard time. But this year that hasn’t been the case.

Even after the Reading game, although many of us were a bit concerned, there was no real panic or meltdown amongst the fans. Admittedly the way the club responded to the situation and the impact that the new signings made, nipped any disenchantment in the bud, but I get the impression that, because we can see what the club are trying to do, both on and off the field, the fans seem to be far more patient than in years gone by. This can only be a good thing because Pardew and the team must know that we REALLY do back them, unlike our unhygienic neighbours who have spent most of the last few months slagging off 90% of their own players (only Mignolet, Fletcher, and Rose seem to have escaped, and Rose is not even their player) and who, after crowing so loudly about having one of Britain’s “Top” managers at the helm, now whinge that he is not up to the job!

I think that our season spent in the Championship probably helped to re-adjust our expectation levels, but many of us hoped for a top 10-8 finish this year and a good run in one of the cups. Although this could still be the case, most of this season has been disappointing, and fans could be forgiven for allowing themselves to show their frustration. But this hasn’t really happened. Even when we have not played well there seems to be an air of optimism, a belief that we will get it right, and that we are moving in the right direction. Alan Pardew may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he certainly isn’t the worst manager to have, and it will be interesting to see how he manages to take the club forward next year, in what will be one of the longest spells that he has had in charge of any club. He is in the process of building a very good, young squad. Now he has to show that he has the necessary management skills and tactical knowledge to get the best out of these players and get the team performing at the highest level that they are capable of.

We are now reaping the benefits of staying so patient with Pardew and the team, and helping to maintain the positive atmosphere at the club. We have a big game on Thursday to look forward to and the team is still aiming for a 10th place finish in the league.

So as they say, patience really is a virtue.

TFI – Average player ratings vs Stoke – 10 Mar 13

Originally a forum thread by Beatski, click here to read/comment.

To come up with these figures we ask forum members to rate each player’s performance in the concerned game out of 10, and average these out, their comments on the players performance are also combined into an overall opinion of the board.The top scoring player is man of the match, the lowest being mug of the match.

32 Members cast their votes this time. There’s less of a pattern to this weeks ratings spread, although our CBs impressed in their ability to deal with Stoke’s methods of attack; S. Taylor picking up the man of the match with a stellar performance, and not just in the footballing sense, close behind him was Cabaye running the midfield. At the other end of the scale was his midfield partner Tiote, receiving the mug of the match due largely to him conceding a penalty, although a lot of players scored little higher due to quite a few average performances.

Elliot – 6.39
Didnt really have much to save in open play really, with stoke failing to challenge our goal, their only notable attempt being the penalty, which you cant blame him for conceding. Other than that, he was a bit hesitant, responding slowly to backpasses again, and his distribution left a bit to be desired and played into stoke’s hands

Debuchy – 7.08
The more he plays, the more he looks a great signing. Yet again a good option going forward, providing width, and regularly beating Jerome, however often he’d put in a poor final ball. He was defensively solid, and not really troubled.

Saylor – 8.20 MOTM
Man of the match. Dealt with everything stoke had to throw at us and comfortably, and was good on the deck too, with 100% pass competition for the 3rd game in a row. Covered well when other members of the defence were exposed, excellent antics to get one over on Begovic, and could be seeing an England callup in the near future if he keeps this up.

Yanga-M’Biwa – 7.66
A solid performance overall, holding his own against Stoke’s physicality, but he was occasionally slightly caught out, for the most part his added pace meant he could recover though, as well as occasionally allowing some good bursts forward in attack. Starting to develop a good partnership with S. Taylor.

Santon – 6.58
Had a good game overall, and wasnt as bad defensively as some perceive him, making more successful tackles than any other player, although he was occasionally caught out at times and beaten a bit too easily. Good going forwards as usual, although he was a bit too predictable, always cutting in.

Tiote – 6.13
Mug of the match. Mainly due to the idiotically rash decision to dive in at Walters in the box and concede a penalty. Otherwise he exhibited an aggressive and imposing defensive performance; harrying Stoke effectively, tackling and intercepting well, as well as exhibiting some good passing going forward.

Cabaye – 8.09
Pulled the strings in midfield as usual. Worked hard, showed some great passing, and some rash tackling. Fantastic free kick to get the equalizer which raises the question as to why he can’t cross the ball? with only one out of sixteen crosses finding his teammates, he made Begovic’s job easy in that respect.

Gouffran – 6.39
Looked threatening at the start of the game, utilizing his pace well, however he drifted out of the game after missing his best chance, getting caught in possession, making poor decisions and misplacing passes. Things didnt quite come off for him today, with his final ball and finishing letting him down

Sissoko – 6.41
Not his greatest performance. While he made some surging runs, the decision at the end was disappointing for the most part, getting caught in possession, picking the wrong pass, or taking an ill advised shot, notably failing to pass to Cisse for what would have most likely been a goal. He did keep putting Stoke on the back foot though, moving the ball from defence to attack well, but perhaps lacks some of the guile to play in that advanced role, at least for now.

Jonas – 6.24
Decent performance from Jonas, but nothing spectacular, as is the norm. Worked hard, made some decent runs and carved himself out a good chance, an effort which he curled just wide of the post. Covered for his fullbacks well, but made some sloppy passes

Cisse – 6.72
Was anonymous for spells, in part because he was starved of support for sections of the game with some poor decision making behind him. Managed to hold up the ball and lay it off well for the most part, slightly sloppy at times though. Ultimately he did his job well, with a nonchalant finish and celebration for his only real chance of the game.

Haidara – 6.77
Performed well when he came on, defending well enough and providing some needed width down the left. Didnt really have enough of the ball to make a big impact on the game. Needs to improve on some of his decision making, and not just try to run past his opposite every time.

Marveaux – 7.42
Made the difference when he came on, turning the game in our favour with some clever runs some good passing and that assist through the eye of the needle. A proper AM performance.

Campbell – 6.29
He didnt get much time on the pitch, but being a local lad on his home debut, every move he made has been critiqued: He was involved in the move that led up to the goal, with the ‘assist to the assist’, showed decent off the ball movement, inexplicably managed to win a header against Stoke’s backline and showed intelligence to shepherd the ball into the corner to kill the last moments of the game off.

TFI – Average Player Ratings vs Anzhi – 07 Mar 13

Originally a forum thread by Beatski, click here to read/comment.

29 members had their say on this match, although loads of you didn’t use the ‘proper’ (my) order so I edited all your posts to sort it out, a special well done to TRL who forgot that Sissoko existed.

Unsurprisingly, after our much lauded defensive master class, the back 5 receive the best ratings; Yanga-M’Biwa collects the MOTM showing us why Coloccini won’t be such a big miss over the coming weeks. Struggling to retain possession or have much effect going forwards, the midfield/attack scores are a lot lower, with our dismal wingers picking up the worst of the lot; Obertan picks up mug of the match, with Marveaux next in line.

Elliot – 7.40
He didn’t have too much to do, but when he was tested, he was up to the challenge. Dealt with some awkward back passes and a tricky surface well, and pulled off two excellent stops to keep us at level pegging in the tie.

Simpson – 7.38
Brilliant performance, especially in the first half when a lot of the team were below par. Superb defensively, keeping his winger shackled, resulting in little to no threat down their left all evening. Wasn’t the greatest going forward, but was good in comparison to his usual level. Kept the ball on the floor surprisingly well, and one of the only players to consistently complete passes on the night.

Perch – 8.14
Immense at the back, beat the much taller Traoré to pretty much everything in the air, his positioning was spot on, he showed excellent reading of the game, he mopped up well at the back and made a few of his trademark crunching tackles for good measure. When shifted into midfield late in the game, he didn’t let his performance drop, dealing with everything there too.

Yanga-M’Biwa – 8.86 MOTM
Looked like a veteran in our defence rather than a new arrival. Nothing was getting past him on the day, his timing and positioning were spot on halting every single attack in his vicinity. Covered for Haïdara down the left superbly, completely outpacing anyone who tried to run in behind with the ball. To top it off his passing was excellent as well, although if there was any criticism of his game it’s that he looked a little weak in the air, but having handled Traoré well, that’s a minor gripe.

Haïdara – 7.55
A good performance from our inexperienced new signing, was solid defensively for the main part, but got caught out a couple of times, and a rash challenge earned him a booking. Tidy in possession, he also contributed a little going forward, and should put pressure on Santon if he keeps it up.

Anita – 6.91
Miss-hit quite a few passes in the first half, but improved in the second. Didn’t contribute much going forward, but retained possession well and protected the back four with some important tackles. Deserves more playing time.

Cabaye – 6.53
Not the best of performances from our captain on the day, we didn’t see enough of his usual play-making and was unable to provide the creative spark he usually does. He failed to calm things down and retain possession at times, but defended well, he looked lethargic as the game wore on.

Marveaux – 5.09
Completely anonymous for large parts of the game, he was sloppy in possession and gave the ball away too much. He showed a couple of glimpses of quality, but they were few and far between, looks like he wants to be playing in the middle.

Sissoko – 6.36
Didn’t play up to his own high standards. He made a few good runs and was involved in the occasional bit of good passing but he was caught in possession disappointingly often and drifted in and out of the game, unable to exert his usual influence perhaps due to not having a striker to play off. He’s beginning to show he’s not an attacking mid, a great player but perhaps lacks some of the creativity required to operate in his current role.

Obertan – 4.40
With an atrocious first half performance Obertan gets TFI’s Mug of the match. He gave the ball away cheaply, was slow to react to play, played awful first touch flick-ones to no-one, and failed to effectively track back. He was noticeably improved in the second, actually looking dangerous going forwards, and being involved in a lot of our good attacking moves, recovering the ball well after we’d lost it, but that didn’t make up for a shockingly bad first 45.

HBA – 5.40
He was noticeably rusty after a long layoff, and you could tell he was playing out of position, and didn’t do that badly considering that. However he tried too much too often, had a poor touch and was regularly caught in possession. He did look dangerous at times, especially when he dropped deeper, and he could and maybe should have scored. Good to finally see him back though.

Saylor – 6.48
He came on and maintained our defensive solidarity, didn’t do anything outstanding but nor did he put a foot wrong.

Shola – 5.73
Managed to somehow annoy the ref and concede cheap fouls for next to nothing quite regularly. Didn’t do anything of note himself, but the players behind him seemed to improve since he gave the team a proper focal point in attack. Looked knackered after about 5 minutes, although hats off to Shola for once again putting NUFC ahead of his own health by playing on a pitch he knows he shouldn’t.

Tioté – 6.04
Not really on for long enough to contribute meaningfully, didn’t let anything by him, maintained the lockout.

And ranked in order, from highest to lowest rating:
Yanga-M’Biwa –  8.86
Perch – 8.14
Haïdara – 7.55
Elliot – 7.40
Simpson – 7.38
Anita – 6.91
Cabaye – 6.53
Taylor – 6.48
Sissoko – 6.36
Tioté – 6.04
Shola – 5.73
Ben Arfa – 5.40
Marveaux – 5.09
Obertan – 4.40

TFI – Average Player Ratings vs Swansea – 02 Mar 13

Originally a forum thread by Beatski, click here to read/comment.

Fashionably late, the TFI is back. To come up with these figures we ask forum members to rate each player’s performance in the concerned game out of 10, and average these out.The top scoring player is man of the match, the lowest beingmug of the match.

17 forum members cast their votes this time, and despite us being on top for the entirety of the second half, conceding that painful goal and not being able to score ourselves has had a harshly negative impact on the ratings. Exempt from this trend is S.Taylor, redeeming himself from last week when he got the lowest rating, he is now TF’s man of the match. Scraping the bottom of the barrel this week we have Cissé and his inability to hit the target, with Santon just missing out on bottom spot for the second week running as his defensive frailties continue to show.

Elliot – 5.18
Not a great game, he looked shaky out there and had to be bailed out by Taylor more than once, he did however make a few good saves. In contrast to last match, his distribution was dire and made Krul’s look good, although he wasn’t helped out by some woeful back passes from the defensive line, although this could be due to lack of communication from Elliot.

Debuchy – 6.12
Started the game well, and made some good runs forward, putting in some dangerous crosses however there weren’t enough players making an effort to get on the end of them. He had some decent efforts on goal but perhaps could have done a bit better with them. Caught out again defensively, and struggled with Hernandez’s craft and skill in the first half.

S. Taylor – 8.18
Man of the match performance from Taylor, in the right place making last ditch tackles and blocks, great goal line clearance, dominated Michu, and to top it off he was even a threat going forward.

Yanga-M’Biwa – 5.94
A decent game, but made a few mistakes as well. Good when the ball was on the deck, but poor in the air, and at times lacking in physicality. Will need time to adjust to the PL, but looking forward to when he does.

Santon – 4.97
Had a poor overall game, like a worse version of Debuchy; he was good going forwards but put in a disappointing performance defensively. Doesn’t seem to be able to cope with switching from attack to defence, and was caught out of position all too often.

Tiote – 6.21
He was poor in the first half, but his performance picked up after half time. While sloppy at times, he broke up play well and had a decent passing game, occasionally helping out in attack. His early booking hampered his tackling game somewhat, and he needs to stop giving away fouls in dangerous areas.

Cabaye – 5.85
Had a distinctly indifferent game, not up to his own high standards. Like Tiote he was poor in the first half but picked his game up a bit in the second. Poor touch, lazy fouls, missed tackles and a needless booking were the theme of his first half, in the second he started to pass it well, and was unlucky not to score with a cracking shot. Played too deep, with Tiote playing ahead of him at times. Dire set pieces.

Jonas – 6.03
Didn’t really do much of anything, he was just kind of there. Worked hard but with little quality on display, occasionally was involved in attacks, making some pacey runs. did his best to break up Swansea’s play, but really didn’t stop them getting at our flank.

Sissoko – 7.21
Didn’t command as much as in previous games, but still a big threat, making things happen in attack. Despite his influence, he lacked that killer finish, although anything good we did in attack went through him, wasn’t helped by the poor finishing of others.

Gouffran – 6.74
One of our better players, he was a threat down the wing, but not in the box unfortunately. He had his moments but drifted in and out of the game, not helped by a lack of support at times, and wasn’t great defensively. He missed probably our best chance of the game, which cost us, and probably cost him a much better rating.

Cissé – 4.91
Mug of the match. His decent movement and workrate caused Swansea some problems, but his poor finishing was a let-down. He needs to get into goalscoring positions more and realize that he doesn’t have to break the back of the net for the goal to count. 3 shots on the day, 2 of which were off target, he needs to improve.

Ameobi – N/A (6)
On too late to do anything, Pardew should have made his subs earlier if he expected any impact.

Marveaux – N/A (6)
On too late to do anything, Pardew should have made his subs earlier if he expected any impact.

And ranked in order, from highest to lowest rating:
S. Taylor – 8.18
Sissoko – 7.21
Gouffran – 6.74
Tiote – 6.21
Debuchy – 6.12
Gutierrez – 6.03
(Ameobi – 6 or N/A)
(Marveaux – 6 or N/A)
Yanga-M’Biwa – 5.94
Cabaye – 5.85
Elliot – 5.18
Santon – 4.97
Cisse – 4.91

Why Yohan Cabaye represents a radical change in club policy

Originally a forum thread by Speedo, click here to read/comment.

Of all the players who currently play for Newcastle United, the one who has attracted the most jealous glances from other Premier League clubs in recent times is probably Yohan Cabaye. The Frenchman was vital to our league success last year, and, although his form has been occasionally patchy this season, the rule tends to be that if he plays well, the whole team plays well. As a result, he has been singled out for special treatment from the club, and is, in this opinion, a significant break from the strategy employed by the club prior to this summer.

Let me take you back to August 2011, two months after Cabaye joined the club. Club captain and motivator-in-chief Kevin Nolan, plus his sidekick Joey Barton, were unceremoniously booted out for, the prevailing rumours claim, being too influential in the dressing room against the upper echelons of the club management. Six months before, Andy Carroll had been sold for a club record £35m, while Jose Enrique followed Nolan and Barton during that August after his infamous comments that the ‘club would never again challenge for the top 6’ with the transfer policy then employed.

According to this transfer policy, a large enough offer for Cabaye or another one of our stars would be accepted. If the big clubs and the big money came in, then Ashley et al. would have no choice but to accept it. But I don’t believe that this is the case any more.

Allow me to elaborate: in the last transfer window, we signed several French players, all of whom were in contact with Cabaye prior to their moves here. One of the said French imports was Mathieu Debuchy, Cabaye’s best mate. The players were signed to fit around Cabaye. But above that, the players signed show a commitment to Cabaye. This club is now built more around him, our French ringleader, than any other person bar Graham Carr.

I believe that Cabaye is now in the exact position that Nolan was in prior to his sale. The difference is that the club does not feel threatened by Cabaye: they are the kingmaker, and they have made him king. Captaining the team at Swansea further supports this. But why is this significant? Is he not just being prepared for permanent captaincy after Colo’s expected departure in the summer? I ask you this: if you expected a player to be subject to a bid large enough to force the board to sell, why would groom a player in this way? This club is being built on a plan for long-term success, and that plan is based on Cabaye. Since our year in the championship, no player has been allowed to be above the rest of the squad, but this has now changed.