Perhaps the most depressing of these top/worst five articles to write so far; let’s ruin any sense of excitement our summer signings have instilled in us by looking at our worst team performances of 13/14, which all take place in 2014.
4.43 – West Brom (a) – 01 Jan 14
The start of 2014 brought with it the beginning of the downfall (I don’t count the previous loss to Arsenal since we actually played well) thanks to a 1-0 loss to West Brom, who had been without a win in two months, and a lifeless display that would set the tone for the second half of the season.
The match opened with a boring, soggy first half with occasional flashes of danger coming from the more talented Amalfitano brother, while at the other end the fan favourite Williamson set-piece routine would result in our best chance of the match. Ben Arfa replaced Gouffran at half-time, but he may as well have stayed on the bench such was his performance, and around the hour mark things got worse; Debuchy was sent off for a reckless two footed lunge, then Coloccini suffered the injury that would rule him out for two months. From here West Brom pushed their advantage until 3 minutes from time when a through ball to Vydra carved open the Newcastle defence and Krul brought the attacker down. Berahino scored the penalty.
Despite Debuchy’s sending off and 2.93 rating, that wasn’t enough to win the mug of the match award, which instead went to Shola Ameobi for one of our worst five player performances of the season, as his inability to do anything of use leading the line resulted in a 2.28 rating and four fouls against him. Only Coloccini managed to break the 5.50 threshold, his 5.53 rating making him our man of the match.
3.98 – Sunderland (h) – 01 Feb 14
It is unsurprising that the third straight loss to our local rivals would make this list, with the score line echoing the 3-0 loss at St James’ Park from the season before. While we could make excuses about the officiating to ease any pain from the previous two defeats, there was no running from this shambolic performance that was all too typical of the post-Cabaye era.
After 19 minutes Anita completely mistimed a tackle in the box, missing the ball completely and giving away a clear penalty, which would be converted by Borini. Four minutes later and Sissoko failed to find the surging Debuchy, Sunderland gained possession and neither of them bothered to track back, Colback had a shot parried by Krul into the path of Johnson who all but finished the game 23 minutes in. Sunderland were then able to sit back as we peppered the stand behind their goal with poor shot after poor shot, while the visitors showed us how to actually threaten with counter attacks. With 10 minutes to go they sealed the deal as no one bothered to track back after Ben Arfa weakly lost the ball to Colback the middle, after a 4-on-3 Borini slipped the ball back to Colback who finished in style (and had he not then they’d probably have a penalty for a needless, late challenge by Tioté).
This game saw two players share the dishonours of the mug of the match award, with Santon and Shola Ameobi both earning a 2.35 rating and places in our worst five player performances of the season. The only player to come out of this game with any credit was Sammy Ameobi, who was our beacon of hope and our only real threat, yet Pardew opted to withdraw him at half-time.
Jump to 15:40.
3.93 – Tottenham (h) – 12 Feb 14
Less than two weeks on from the previous entry and our decline in the absence of Cabaye or a replacement continued, a 4-0 loss to Tottenham being our worst home defeat of the season, fourth home loss in a row and also our fourth match in a row without scoring. Four seems to have been a theme that day.
The scoring opened after 19 minutes when Bentaleb broke down the left and delivered a low cross to Krul, who kindly parried to Adebayor at the far post. Early in the second half Spurs doubled their lead after a low, driven shot by Adebayor was stopped, but not held, by Krul, and neither Williamson nor Debuchy attempted to beat Paulinho to the loose ball. For the third Dummett was drawn out of position, Tottenham found Townsend in the space left behind, his shot was pushed into the path of Adebayor, who hit it on the half-volley and it bounced it into the goal. The static and disinterested defence then allowed Chadli all the time in the world to curl one in from the left.
Despite putting in the best individual performance of the season in the reverse fixture, this game saw Krul do pretty much the inverse as a large portion of the blame for the first three goals fell in his hands and his repeated parrying of the ball to attackers, earning him a 2.45. This wasn’t enough to earn our mug of the match award; this went to Santon for yet another of our worst individual performances of the season, garnering a rating of 2.08. Yet again Sammy Ameobi would prove to be the only player exempt from heavy criticism, as again his willingness to take on defenders and attack resulted in a 5.76 and our man of the match award.
Jump to 20:46.
3.77 – Arsenal (a) – 28 Apr 14
By the time of this match the despair has truly set in and disillusioned most of our fans, with “Pardew Out” banners becoming all the more common. We went in on a five game losing streak and came out equalling our record of six thanks to a gutless performance and three Arsenal goals. This result meant that we were now 6 hours without a goal, and had taken only 13 points from a possible 51 in the year of 2014.
The first goal came from an Arsenal free-kick near the half-way line, a deep cross was delivered and Sissoko, who had conceded the free-kick, failed to keep a hold of Koscielny, who was given an easy finish to open the scoring. We had a couple of long range efforts from Tioté and Debuchy that went close, but never really threatened, then as half-time approached Giroud was found acres behind our defence, had a couple of tries and then the ball found Özil, who was able to apply the finish. With 25 minutes to go former Newcastle target Giroud finally got his goal, nodding in an Özil cross.
Gosling, occupying a centre attacking midfielder role, earned the mug of the match award with a rating of 2.50, while most of the rest of the team rated in the 3s. Krul was the only player to come out of this with anything resembling a shred of respect, his 5.54 the highest on the team.
3.72 – Southampton (a) – 29 Mar 14
Ruining the chronological nature of this list and coming in first place is our 4-0 loss to Southampton at St Mary’s in what was perhaps the most lifeless and disinterested display you may ever see a Newcastle side exhibit. This also proved to be the point that the ToonForum users were united in saying “Pardew out”, his 1.75 rating the first in a streak of sub-2.00 ratings.
Despite Elliot’s best efforts and several excellent saves, Southampton eventually broke the deadlock in the first half’s injury time, Lambert finding far too much space behind Haïdara and cutting it across to Rodriguez who couldn’t miss. Coloccini was the only defender to make it to the box by the time the ball was in the net. Four minutes into the second half we again utterly failed to make any attempt to defend, this time Lallana picked out Lambert for an easy finish. With 20 minutes to go Lallana was free to amble through the middle and blast one in from range. A minute from time the defence was again sprung, this time Rodriguez was free to take a goal at his own convenience.
The out of position Yanga-Mbiwa (2.44), Gouffran (2.81) and de Jong (2.94) all earned ratings less than a 3 for their utterly insipid performances, while Elliot’s first half heroics and attempts to keep the match to any kind of vaguely respectably scoreline earning him our only rating over a 5, a 6.14 taking man of the match.
Do you agree with this list, or is there something we missed? Have your say in our discussion thread here.
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