Having looked at our best/worst individual and team performances so far, it’s only fair that we now turn our gaze to the gaffer. We started collecting ratings for Pardew’s performances at the start of November, so we miss out on the 9 league games before then. As you’d expect, all of the good entries come in the calendar year of 2013.
Also, we’ve had to return to finding short highlights on Dailymotion and a variety of Russian websites, since the previous embedded videos were causing problems.
Coming into the game on a three win streak, Pardew named a nigh-unchanged side, a 4-4-2 with Shola and Rémy up front, with only the returning Debuchy displacing Yanga-Mbiwa from right-back, after he in turn had been shunted aside by Coloccini’s return. And again it worked, taking us to 12 points out of 12 and into 5th place. Despite this being one of Pardew’s top performances, the players on the pitch averaged a higher rating (6.87), and some claimed that this was a somewhat lucky win.
The opening goal came via a corner, of all things, as the keeper failed to clear Cabaye’s cross, instead sending it up in the air for Gouffran to nod in. Early in the second half some poor defending and a missed cross allowed Brunt to calmly fire past Krul from the left. A few minutes later the lead was restored when Sissoko found himself in space and had a shot from range that blasted past Myhill.
“Maybe left his subs too late, but you can’t complain about winning 4 in 4. Will win manager of the month.”
“I still think Pards can’t quite believe that we’re winning these games. Subs should have taken place much, much earlier.”
“Got most things right today, hard to argue with anything he did.”
“Saved by a wonder goal. Should have made changes far earlier.”
“We won, but it was closer that it needed to be. Bringing on Anita for Remy was a bit negative, the game was crying out for Ben Arfa.”
“A good performance almost undone by a moment of idiocy at the back and a reluctance to attack and extend the lead.”
The second entry in this list is also the second game in the winning streak above, and again the 4-4-2 with Shola and Rémy up top proved victorious. In this case Pardew out-performed the team average of 6.94 by a whole 0.1, as his subs came under fire and some lamented the defensive second half.
A first half-goal from Rémy, assisted by Gouffran, followed by a resolute defensive performance, which centre-back pairing Yanga-Mbiwa and Williamson standing out, and Titan-like display from Krul, our best rated performance of the season, in the second half ensured a win.
“First half good. Second half bad. Got the win though. That Mars Bar is definitely a possibility.”
“Good set up for the first half, subs didn’t make much impact and sitting back was terrifying in second.”
“Great set up, not much he could do when Spurs dominated, decent subs.”
Now for the game that started the winning streak the previous two entries are in, and also the first match for which we collected Pardew’s ratings, his 7.33 exceeding the team average by a noticeable margin, reflected in comments which praised his game plan and our defensive showing.
Newcastle put in a resolute defensive performance in the first half as they gave Chelsea room to play without threatening the goal, but in the second half the game was turned on its head as Pardew’s men came out all guns blazing and from an excellent free-kick delivery by Cabaye, turned in by Gouffran, took the lead. Victory was sealed when Anita beat three men to serve up a goal on a plate for Rémy, who put it in off the post.
“Couldn’t disagree with the selection, would have preferred to see Ben Arfa on instead of Cissé but you could argue he hasn’t earned it. Game plan spot on.”
“Excellent subs – well done Silver Fox bane of Special One.”
“Defence were well drilled. His game plan worked.”
A dominant performance at Pardew’s former stomping ground, Selhurst Park, claims second place on this list, and thankfully it’s not a part of that win streak. Going into this game both teams were among the most in-form sides in the league, but a Newcastle side bolstered by the return of Cabaye made easy work of Pulis’ men. Pardew’s rating of 7.70 was almost an entire point higher than the team average of 6.95, he earned particular praise for the selection (we fielded a 4-3-3 with Sissoko and Gouffran flanking Rémy, Anita wasn’t dropped for Cabaye) and our first-half performance.
Cabaye opened the scoring with a trademark finish from a cutback on 25 minutes, and then Gabbidon turned in a Debuchy cross with half-time approaching. From there we sat back a bit and allowed Palace back into the game, but after having a chance blazed over the bar Newcastle woke up and resumed pressing the attack. As full-time loomed, Shola Ameobi earned a penalty which was converted by Ben Arfa to kill the game off.
“Good decision to start Anita again in place of Shola, hopefully he’ll see now he needs to start every game he can, he completely runs the midfield. Should have bought HBA on earlier however.”
“Great team selection and tactics. It would have been easy to drop Anita like he has done before but keeping him in was one of the reasons we won today. Should have brought on Benny sooner and maybe given Sammy a run out as well.”
“Got tactics spot on in the first half, I feel we should have had more control early in the second. Good subs though Benny could have been 10 mins earlier.”
“Got the tactics and formation right today one that suits our players best IMO, but it really should be par for the course, which it bafflingly isn’t. Too slow to make subs after Palace actually started to press the matter, Shola getting subbed on before Ben Arfa too. If he doesn’t start HBA vs Stoke I’ll be fuming.”
“Biggest critique of Pards is we don’t win by a large margin, we easily could have scored 6-7 goals (Cabaye’s chance, Cab’s Free kick, Gouffran chance. Well done Pards; put Bennie on earlier though.”
“3 goals. Finally pressed on and attacked rather than switching to defence after a goal. Great to see and exciting to watch.”
“Tactics spot on, great win in difficult conditions. I can imagine it would be quite hard to motivate players for a game like this, especially in weather like that, but they were well up for it. Resisted temptation to start Ben Arfa but brought him on at the perfect time. Faultless from Pards.”
Unsurprisingly, Pardew’s most praised performance is our top rated match of the season for the team as well; our first win at Old Trafford in over 40 years. Again, we played an aggressive 4-3-3 and pressed them all over the pitch, with the effective trio of Anita, Cabaye and Tioté dominating the middle of the pitch, while the hardworking Sissoko and Gouffran flanked Rémy and combined with Debuchy and Santon to shut down wide threats and create our own wing play. Despite this being the team’s best performance, Pardew’s rating of 8.85 massively exceeded the 7.58 for the team, with his decision to play the 4-3-3 for the first time since October, and his attacking subs earning favour with the fans.
This pressure across the pitch mixed with some excellent defending limited the hosts to handful of chances at best, although one of those was cleared off the line by the diminutive Dutchman Anita of all people. The only goal of the game came via what seems to be a trend on this list; a surging run from Sissoko down the right followed by a pull-back to Cabaye who coolly slotted home. From hereon we defended resolutely to see out the win.
“I’m a massive Pardew critic but he got it spot on today. Great decision to play Anita.”
“Annoying that he goes from the absolute worst tactician to a good one within days.”
“Got it right in moving back to 3 central midfielders. The attacking substitutions were a pleasant surprise.”
“He had the right plan and it was executed perfectly. Hopefully he’ll continue to adapt the side according to the opponent we’re facing, rather than stubbornly sticking to the winning formula, and only making forced changes (or bringing his favourites back in). It’ll be interesting to see how he deals with Southampton given Cabaye’s suspension likely ruining his pressing midfield trio tactic.”
“Showed real attacking intent which was unusual and honestly, a bit worrying but it paid off.”
Do you agree with this list, or is there something we missed? Have your say in our discussion thread here.
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