Defeat at Cardiff could spell the end for Pardew

Posted by Marc Duffy

Alan Pardew PA PhotosAlan Pardew is targeting what would be Newcastle's second away win of the season.

Newcastle head down to Wales to play Cardiff City on Saturday, and defeat for the Magpies could bring about the end of manager Alan Pardew's reign on Tyneside.

Newcastle have woefully underperformed for a long time now, and the diabolical first-half display against Everton at Goodison Park on Monday night was seen by many as an indication that the end could be nigh for Pardew. Even the most optimistic supporters will struggle to imagine Newcastle winning.

Since arriving at the club, Pardew has overseen 51 Premier League away games. His side have won only 13 of those games -- a ratio of 26 percent.

Even more alarming than that are results on the road since the start of last season. In their 22 away games since the 2012-13 season kicked off, Newcastle have only won three times. That is just 14 percent of their games -- a damning and alarming statistic.

The fact that Cardiff are a newly promoted side doesn't add any hope to the cause. Alan Pardew's Newcastle teams have played away to newly promoted clubs seven times. They've only won once (Swansea in 2011-12). In fact, some of their worst performances have come in these games (the 4-2 loss Norwich in 2011-12 and the terrible display at Southampton last season). A small crumb of comfort comes in the fact that Newcastle have only lost these two games -- but they've drawn the other four.

After years of huge masses of travelling fans following Newcastle to away games, demand for tickets is starting to decline. There were barely more than 1,000 at Everton on Monday (although Monday night games are difficult for people with jobs), and the club also returned 500 tickets for the Cardiff game. Who can blame people for staying away? They know that they'll be paying over £40 for a ticket to watch a team that will probably underperform, and that's before the cost of travel is factored in.

Cardiff, backed by a very noisy crowd, will come out of the blocks flying. For Newcastle to pick up any sort of positive result they will need to withstand an early barrage. In two of Newcastle's three away games this season they've conceded a goal within the first six minutes -- if this happens here and the Cardiff fans smell blood, Newcastle will lose.

The team need belief. Their heads are down and some very good players are performing like Sunday morning amateurs. They don't need Pardew telling them how tough it is going to be and how great an atmosphere the crowd will generate.

There will be changes: Mike Williamson could start in place of the struggling Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (one of the long list of players with pedigree who've been made to look less than ordinary under Pardew), and Hatem Ben Arfa could find himself benched.

Few players could complain about being dropped after Newcastle's last two performances but it doesn't matter who comes in to replace them -- they're all managed by the same man.

If the Newcastle players hold their manager in any regard they will turn up for him on Saturday. If they don't and we witness another Goodison-style performance then they could well be training under a new manager sometime soon.

And don't assume that the new man would be Joe Kinnear -- he is a man currently being paid to do nothing. Kinnear would hold sway over a new manager but I don't think he'd take the job on himself.

After all of the above -- what do I think will happen? I think Newcastle will scrape a result and Pardew will live to manage another day.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy

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