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Swans stand firm: Newcastle United vs Swansea City match report/long highlights/interviews…

Posted on December 18th, 2011 | 19 Comments |

Highlights of the game. 11 minute highlights of the match.

Swansea were defending very deep in the first half of this game, with Newcastle United keeping the Swans pinned back in and around their own box for quite a few spells. However as the second half rolled on, Swansea did make something of a comeback. So after an hour or so of complete dominance by the Magpies which they failed to capitalise on, it actually started to look possible that we could have ended the game emptyhanded. It ended as “honours even” at the end though.

Before the kick off, a tribute was held for ex Magpie midfielder Gary Speed, who of course died a few weeks ago. This was delayed for two weeks at the request of Speed’s widow, Louise, as the original date clashed with a similar tribute from another club which played an important part in Speed’s playing career, Leeds United, and she wanted to attend them both. After a moving rendition of the John Hughes hymn “Cwm Rhondda”, a minute’s applause then resounded around the stadium for this much loved and admired player / manager, who graced St James’ Park as a player for six and a half years from 1998 to 2004. Eleven minutes into the game, fans paid further tribute to Speed with chants saluting the midfielder, the reason being that eleven was his shirt number for those who cannot remember.

As the game approached, it was heartening to see Fabricio Coloccini making a very welcome return to the heart of our defence, and also resume his duties as captain on the pitch. In the final stage of his recovery from a very long period out though an ankle injury (and a broken arm before that), Mike Williamson didn’t quite make it back into the starting line-up to replace our other first choice centre back, Steven Taylor. So it was James Perch playing slightly out of position who continued as a makeshift in the centre of the back four. Another change which may provoke some discussion was that Davide Santon was selected for a starting place for a second time, however this time he replaced Ryan Taylor at left back, rather than deputising for Danny Simpson on the right while Simpson filled in for the thigh strained Captain Colo last weekend.

From the kick off Newcastle dominated the first half. Swansea were defending very deep, and were pinned back in and around their own box for long periods. Under these circumstances, the Mags were getting more than enough chances, especially Demba Ba who had a host of them. However neither he nor anyone else could get the ball in the back of the net against a very stubborn and well organised Swansea backline. So, despite Newcastle’s complete and utter dominance in the game, the sides were still level at half time, with the visitors just looking like they were holding on for a single point. Meanwhile at the other end Krul was hardly tested at all. This afternoon the heroics were nearly all from his excellent Dutch compatriot, Michel Vorm, and the post!

As I wrote above, there were numerous chances for the Magpies, but perhaps the best ones, and also the most frustrating for Toon fans came during a sustained period of pressure from about twenty minutes in. Firstly, a great delivery in by Yohan Cabaye found the diving permed heed of Captain Colo, whose header dented the outside of the post. It may have been even better if he’d left it for Demba Ba who was lurking at the back post, but we’ll never know.

A few minutes after that, it was Ba’s turn to hit the post. Ba’s partner in crime for this game, Leon Best, chested a long cross, which ricocheted the ball into the path of the Senegalese scoring sensation. Despite not hitting his turn and volley shot as cleanly as he could have, Ba’s delivery still beat the under fire Vorm, who should have been wearing a tin hat at this stage. Unfortunately though, once again it didn’t beat the woodwork

Another few minutes after that, Obertan made a good probing run with the ball, eventually feeding in a lowish cross to Ba in the centre. He attempted a turn and shot once again, only for this effort to be well blocked by Swansea’s Ashley Williams. To give you some idea of Newcastle’s dominance during this period, their possession rate was around 80%, but the Welsh clean sheet kings simply would not let the ball pass through them.

This wave did eventually subside somewhat around a half an hour into the game, though Newcastle were still dominant. The next really good chance for the Magpies didn’t come until the 42nd minute. More followed, mostly for Ba, but this report could go on forever if I went into every detail of all the box action for Newcastle, yet when referee Lee Mason blew his whistle for the half time break, the game was still goalless. Half time: Newcastle United 0 – 0 Swansea City.

Second half

In the second half, the Magpies still couldn’t capitalise on their dominance. However as it rolled on, Swansea did start to get back into the game more. Once incident of note was Yohan Cabaye being booked by Lee Mason in the 62nd minute. it was noteworthy as it was his fifth of the season and he will be suspended for our next game against West Bromwich Albion.

Best was pulled off by Pardew in the 71st minute, which seems to be Alan Pardew’s standard time for substituting strikers. The Silver Supremo once again forsook the silky skills of the sophisticated French fancy for a big English lump. So it was that Ameobi was brought on for Best in the 71st minute. The Fenham Eusebio was only on for a few seconds before getting the chance to crack one off at Vorm. This was the result of a fine ball from Davide Santon. Ameobi took a left foot shot which was well saved by Swansea’s flying Dutchman. The ball didn’t stick first time, rebounding off one of Vorm’s outfield teammates who was only inches away, however he smothered the rebound confidently, and it was starting to look like it just wasn’t Newcastle’s day. Incidentally, whilst we’re on the subject of Santon, his general performance this time was a significant improvement on his first start against Norwich last week, and he certainly seemed to be settling in. It should also be said that the same was also true of Obertan this time, who had probably received some kind of lecture from the Grey Gaffer to keep his head up and bang more crosses in at the right time in the aftermath of the Norwich game. Much improved performances from both players this time out.

In the 73rd minute, Swansea’s more vigorous approach began to bear fruit as Scott Sinclair had Swansea’s best chance of the game so far, but he dragged it across Tim Krul’s goal. Swansea were now much better and more on the front foot in these later stages. Newcastle were resorting to more to long passes in an attempt to break down the obsinate Welsh side, but they still wouldn’t budge. Ba, who dominated at the front of the Mags in the first half was genarally far more restrained at this stage too. It wasn’t necessarily his fault, just that Swansea had managed to get themselves back into the game and the ball was generally played further down the pitch than it was in the opening half. While Newcastle dominated possession in the first half, as the second one progressed, this actually turned the other way with the Swans eventually having more in the second. Swansea were also dealing with our aerial threat from the big lads upfront, and Ben Arfa may have been a better option.

On the subject of our more creative players though, it was good to see young Haris Vuckic getting a bit of first team action after he was brought on in place of Mr.T in the 82nd minute, albeit for a mere 8 minutes plus stoppage time. Tiote had a decent game on his return, and it would be hard to say whether the enforcer was being eased back in after his recent spell out through a knee injury, or Pardew was frustratededly going for broke in the last few minutes with a more attacking line up. Like last week’s game, Sammy Ameobi also came on to replace Gabriel Obertan on the right wing, but shaking things up a bit didn’t have a huge effect against Brendan Rogers’ discplined Swansea backline. It was Ba once again who had one last crack at grabbing all three points, but the he blazed his shot over the bar and so it ended at 0-0.

Conclusion

Whilst it may be frustrating for we Toon fans to have so many chances (at home too) and come away with nothing, credit must also be given to Brendan Rodgers and his Swanseas side for a defensive performance which went some way to showing why they now have the highest amount of clean sheets in the Premiership.

Teams

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul (G), Danny Simpson, James Perch, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon, Gabriel Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 82), Yohan Cabaye, Cheick Tiote (Haris Vuckic 82), Jonas Gutierrez; Leon Best (Shola Ameobi 71), Demba Ba.

Subs: Steve Harper (G), Mike Williamson, Mehdi Abeid, Haris Vuckic, Hatem Ben Arfa, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi.

Swansea City (4-5-1 / 10-0-0 at times!): Michel Vorm (G), Ashley Richards, Ashley Williams, Steven Caulker, Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Joe Allen, Mark Gower, Wayne Routledge, Danny Graham, Scott Sinclair (Nathan Dyer 77).

Subs: Gerhard Tremmel (G), Nathan Dyer, Stephen Dobbie, Garry Monk, Leroy Lita, Luke Moore, Kemy Agustien.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

Yellow cards: Yohan Cabaye (62), Ashley Richards (84).
Red cards: None.

Stats

Shots on Target: Newcastle United 3, Swansea City 0
Shots off Target: Newcastle United 14, Swansea City 3
Corners: Newcastle United 9, Swansea City 1
Offsides: Newcastle United 1, Swansea City 3
Possession: Newcastle United 49.5%, Swansea City 50.5%
Territorial advantage: Newcastle United 63.2%, Swansea City 36.8%
Passes: Newcastle United 429, Swansea City 463
Passing success: Newcastle United 79.7%, Swansea City 83.2%
Crosses: Newcastle United 41, Swansea City 9
Tackles: Newcastle United 26, Swansea City 29
Tackle success: Newcastle United 26, Swansea City 29.
Post match interviews

Alan Pardew reflects on a frustrating afternoon for the Magpies, but praises the Swans for standing firm.

Swansea manger Brendan Rodgers praises his own “fantistic” lads for putting their bodies on the line and snatching an away point despite heavy bombardment from the Magpies.

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1055 articles on this blog.

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19 Responses

  1. Swansea didn’t just “park the bus”, they drove it around their own half for most of the game.
    It was good to see Collocini and Tiote back and they made such a difference. I tend to agree with Pardew that we played well and did a lot of things very well – just needed a breakthrough but couldn’t quite manage to get one.
    I see my mate “AVB” at Chelsea might be going to offer “player(s) plus cash for Tiote. Sturridge, Mata, Alex plus £20M should swing it……

  2. I managed to watch (sort of) the first 20 (no plug-ins Worky :) ) minutes but gave it up as it kept going to unwanted adds.

    From what I saw on MOTD I am totally baffled as to how we didn’t win the game, although your match report gives Swansea more credit than was apparent from the Highlights.

    Somewhat p!ssed of though as I have a stinking cold, sore throat and feeling pretty miserable and a win would have cheered me up. The next few games are well winnable so perhaps we will have some good seasonal results for a change.

  3. Grumpy – there was no way they were going to score – they came for a draw and got one, they are well organised and did their job properly
    – fair enough, that’s part of the game, within the rules, but for heaven’s sake they should have made an effort with a few shots on goal.
    Who on earth wants to pay good money on a freezing day to watch negative football, it almost killed the game in the past.
    There was a proposal years ago that 0-0 got you no points, only a score draw got you 1 – worth thinking about again if teams play like this.

    Thanks for the report worky, good stuff – have you seen any stats on shots & saves?

    HWTL

  4. Supermac says:
    December 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    “Thanks for the report worky, good stuff – have you seen any stats on shots & saves?”

    Shots on Target: Newcastle United 3, Swansea City 0
    Shots off Target: Newcastle United 14, Swansea City 3

    Sorry Supermac, I was desperate for some kip and I forgot to put those in this morning.

  5. We cudda and shudda buried Swansea in the first half, where we were parked in the box for the majority of the time.
    We cant be beaten and tie with upstart no name teams if we are serious about being a competitive side, thats five points we just threw away.

    Our midfield totally dominated the first half, but on saying that, Ba had an off day, Best looked like he needs match practice (Perhaps we shouldda started Shola, who when he came on laid some perfectly weighted passes)

    Tiote did his job , nothing outstanding, Cabaye just looks better in each game, the guy is the perfect playmaker, his passing and foresight are something to watch, plus he can put his foot in.

    Unfortunately our wingers are niether, Robert/Ginola or Nobby, yeah Jonas tracks back and brings the ball up, but niether he or Obertan can lay on a pass or put the ball in the net, and continue to end up running into traffic.

    Simpson had a so so game, he tries but it’s obvious he will never be an attacking wingback, whereas Santon again had a decent game and did show he can bring the ball forward (well he has Jonas to cover him)think he’s a prospect.
    Colo had a good game, Perch played better than his last game, not saying much.
    And Krul was’nt really tested.
    Subs, same old Shola.
    Sammy like Ranger, not ready, shows flashes but please no starts.
    Vuckic, same thing.
    Bout time we gave Abeid a look !

    So all in all how do we look ?
    Still need help at the back, a bit of size and muscle would’nt hurt in the CD role.
    Are we going with Santon and Simpson, in other words are we going to use attacking wingbacks ?
    Cause Simpson can’t play that role and has no Jonas to cover him if he does come forward.
    And as we have re-signed Jonas looks like Santon could be it, at LB
    We got a great couple of Midfielders in Cabaye and Tiote, but have to sort out who plays on the right wing.
    HBA ? Marveaux, Abeid ? sorry Obertan just aint cutting it.

    Obvious Ba was a great addition, but looks like Miaga is out, failed the physical, so we may be looking at De Jong, Sow or a younger cheaper and better striker.
    I’d bet on the latter.
    Back ups,
    Keep, Sammy, Vuckic, Abeid,Guthrie,Gosling.
    Dump, Raylor, Smith,Lovenkrands, Williamson, Perch.
    and Pardew.

  6. chuck says:

    December 18, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    “We cudda and shudda buried Swansea in the first half, where we were parked in the box for the majority of the time.
    We cant be beaten and tie with upstart no name teams if we are serious about being a competitive side, thats five points we just threw away.”

    What about Liverpool Chuck? They couldn’t put a goal past them either, neither could Aston Villa, Fulham, Stoke, West Brom, Mackems and Wigan. They have the highest number of clean sheets in the Premiership alongside Manchester United. Anyway, we’re an “upstart” low budget team nowadays too, and we’ll be a no name team once Llambias makes his next announcement, that Ashley’s changing our name to “Sports Direct United” :-)

  7. 5under1and FC also wish to appologise for the false hopes raised by the undeserved home win last week – as our dear friends at NUFC announced yesterday, normal service has now been resumed!

    It also appears that the alien pod of lard once impersonating Steve Bruce has morphed into a poor copy of Martin O’Neil – looks (a bit) different but producing the same cr@p results !

  8. If’s but’s and maybe’s. You didnt take you chances, you only had 3 by the way, and you didnt score. Your tactics closed the Swans down and prevented and open game. You reap what you sow and a draw was always the only outcome. You just aint got a clue! Top 10 , don’t make me laugh.

  9. chuck – keeping our average players won’t pose any problems for the club.

    it’s krul/tiote/ba & cabaye we need worry about when their heads get turned by clubs that are willing to pay better terms than £20k/week topped up by pay as you play bonuses!

    – & we’re gonna be in big shit at the back when coloccini signs for man city. unless of course we have a top qaulity ( freebie ) replacement from france lined up.

  10. Taffyjack- what your sayin is tht your keeper made 3saves yet beaten twice only saved by the woodwork. Hw many saves did krul have to make errrmmm thts rite NONE. He could have stoped at home. Yous didnt even have a go at us soo please go back to your sheep and **** off.

    HWTL

  11. Oh dear, you are a touchy lot on the toon. Truth hurts?
    By the way we love them you eat them. ;) Enjoy.

  12. Supermac….it was? We’ll do our best to finish above Sunderland but you have to beet the clubs below us. We have a deal!