Spineless Newcastle surrender without a fight

Posted by Marc Duffy

Alex Livesey/Getty Images Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot can do nothing to stop Vincent Kompany's 56th minute goal in Manchester City's 4-0 win over the Magpies.

So what do you do if you are missing your first choice goalkeeper and three of your strongest back four? If you are Alan Pardew you send your team out to play Manchester City at the Etihad with orders to play as defensively and negatively as possible. You have to have a vivid imagination to believe that would work. Either that or you believe you are beaten before kickoff and just want to get the game out of the way while conceding as few goals as possible. Whatever he was thinking it did not work. Newcastle were thrashed 4-0 without putting up a fight.

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One commonly held belief is that Pardew made his lineup and tactical decisions based on the long injury list the club continue to suffer from and the prospect of a Europa League quarterfinal against Benfica on Thursday. Obviously there is truth to this but Newcastle's approach was like a League Two side coming to play against City in a cup tie. While I didn't expect Newcastle to pick up a result today (City's bench alone cost them over £120 million) I would at least like to have seen them have a go.

Just like in the 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United earlier in the season, Pardew sent out a defensive team then switched to attack mode once Newcastle were 2-0 down and the game was gone. City's first two goals came late in the first half -- Carlos Tevez scored the first on 41 and then David Silva doubled the lead in stoppage time. Before that, Rob Elliot had produced a couple of good saves and Gareth Barry missed a great chance while Papiss Cisse volleyed a Marco Van Basten-style effort off the post -- Newcastle's only chance. The vast majority of the 45 minutes were played in Newcastle's half.

Pardew made one substitution at half time when he took off Gabriel Obertan for James Perch. I'm not sure if Obertan even touched the ball while he was on the field. I'm not sure why he was out there in the first place.

Newcastle finally showed some attacking intent early in the second half and a neat one two between Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko ended up with Cabaye shooting just wide.

City went further ahead on 55 when Vincent Kompany steered a wayward Gareth Barry shot into the net. 3-0.

Newcastle made a second change just after the hour -- Yoan Gouffran looked completely out of his depth and he made way for Dan Gosling. City on the other hand took off Carlos Tevez and brought on Kun Aguero!

Yaya Toure made it 4-0 when he charged through Newcastle's players like a 25-year-old playing in an under-12s game and his shot deflected off Perch and beat Elliot at his near post.

Cabaye made way for Gael Bigirimana with just under 20 minutes to play -- all Pardew was missing was a huge white flag to wave vociferously.

In summary

Defeat against Manchester City at the Etihad is no great surprise but the manner of the defeat was very disappointing. The Newcastle players body language from the off told me that they'd lost this game before it even started.

When this season ends, Pardew has to be held accountable for these pathetic away displays. This defeat means that Newcastle have lost nine of their last 11 away games and have now lost four in a row.

Eight points from a possible 48 on the road is absolutely diabolical. They've also conceded 35 goals on their travels -- more than any other team.

Despite Pardew's claims after the win over Stoke that Newcastle were as good as safe, they remain in the danger zone at the bottom of the league. Wigan won today as did West Ham and Southampton meaning that Newcastle drop down to 15th and they now sit only three points from a relegation place. Anything less than a win over Fulham at home next week and Newcastle are in big, big trouble.

Spare a thought for the fans who travelled in their thousands to Manchester. They paid £49 for their tickets to watch their team look like they'd rather be doing anything other than playing football. Like I said earlier, losing to Manchester City is not a surprise but the manner in which the Newcastle players went about it was totally unacceptable.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy

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