Nothing has changed for floundering Newcastle

Posted by Marc Duffy

Newcastle Joe Kinnear fan banner sign clownAPNewcastle fans make their feelings known regarding director of football Joe Kinnear.

"It will be a better measure for us after West Ham and Fulham. Judge us after that." Those were the words of Newcastle manager Alan Pardew after his side had capitulated against Manchester City on Monday night.

OK Alan, one half of that pair of fixtures has passed - Saturday's 0-0 draw with West Ham - and it appears that the team are just as under prepared, tactically questionable and as uninspiring as ever. In fact it looks like nothing at all has changed from last season. Each passing game seems to confirm the notion that Pardew is out of his depth.

- Pardew: Class needed if Cabaye goes

I never expect much of a spectacle when Sam Allardyce brings his teams to St James' Park - in fact it brings back unwanted, grim memories of his brief spell as Newcastle manager - but this particular 90 minutes didn't even provide the crowd with a save of note from either keeper, never mind a goal. Only one team lost more games away from home than West Ham last season (Reading) so to not even manage a real chance...

Despite the arrival of a fitness specialist at the club, Newcastle continue to be plagued by injury problems: Cheick Tiote and Jonas Gutierrez missing out today along with the suspended Steven Taylor.

Yohan Cabaye missed out too - whether this is because he doesn't want to play because of his state of mind or whether the club have opted not to risk their most saleable asset is unknown - either scenario is totally unacceptable.

Pardew opted to start with Moussa Sissoko and Vurnon Anita in the middle of the park. They worked OK as a pairing though neither looked particularly capable of providing much creativity to the totally ineffective Papiss Cisse or the immobile Shola Ameobi.

The crowd were up and down. As ever they got behind their team, but the booing of the substitution of Sylvain Marveaux for Sammy Ameobi was absolutely ridiculous. Marveaux had been largely ineffective and as it turns out, Sammy almost won the game.

During the first half a flag stating 'Joe Kinnear, the clown of the Premier League' was unveiled in the Leazes End. This was met with chants of "Where's the signings Joe Kinnear?" from the Gallowgate End - a very good question.

There are positives to be taken. Newcastle looked solid defensively. Fabricio Coloccini excelled, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa looked much more confident than he did in his previous performances at centre back and Mathieu Debuchy was much improved from his diabolical performance on Monday (not that he could have been any worse!)

After 70 minutes of turgid 'football' Newcastle finally got the ball down and started to play. In the final ten minutes Newcastle almost won it. The ball fell to Yoan Gouffran in the area but his hesitation killed off what was a great chance. He does not have the instincts of a striker.

West Ham put the ball in the net on 89 minutes but the goal was ruled out for offside. Newcastle then drove forward and a Sammy Ameobi cross looped over West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and came back out off the inside of the post only for Gouffran to miss a totally open goal from two yards - fortunately for him he was offside.

That was it. a scoreless draw and neither keeper had a thing to do.

The fans are judging Pardew, and he's failing.

Player ratings:

Krul 6 - Should have brought an iPod or something to keep himself entertained.

Debuchy 6 - Much better than Monday but didn't overlap often enough.

Santon 6 - Didn't have a great deal to do.

Coloccini 7 - Controlled the defence and stepped up to influence play as the game progressed.

Yanga-Mbiwa 6 - More comfortable, although not really troubled.

Sissoko 6 - Showed glimpses of prowess, but wasteful too.

Anita 7 - Very tidy performance. Rarely wasted a ball. Needs to create more for forwards

Ben Arfa 6 - Tried too hard! Seems to feel it's all on him and is greedy because of it.

Marveaux 5 - Ineffective and not suited to a wide role in a 4-4-2.

Shola Ameobi 4 - Walked about, conceded a lot of freekicks and that was that.

Cisse 4 - Starved of any service he was totally ineffective.


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