My latest blog on metro.co.uk was published yesterday.
Usually I would just write a few words about it and post a link. However, I am getting so sick of them being hacked to pieces by trainee Metro sub-eds that I have now decided to publish the original version on here, complete with the original title.
If you like, you can see the butchered version on the metro here.
Key performance #1: Yohan Cabaye.
The fleet-footed Frenchman was the fulcrum of Newcastle United’s midfield on Saturday, and was at the heart of most things for Newcastle United in attack.
Besides scoring a brilliant goal in the 23rd minute, he also provided the great set piece which led to Paul Dummett’s goal in the 56th. Of course, the Magpies’ set pieces have been the focus of much criticism in recent times and rightly so when you look at the amount of goals scored by this method over the last season or two. Although it could be said that Aly Sissokho made things slightly easier than he could have for the second goal, Cabaye’s free kick was excellent, and the way Dummett exploited this with a true poacher’s instinct was superb, remarkably so for such a young, inexperienced player who is supposed to be a defender rather than a striker. But I digress…
Getting back to Cabaye, those two goals were the fruits of him pulling the strings for most of the game, until he was pulled off by Pardew in the 78th minute. He was so good in all areas it’s hard to know why.
Cabaye has received so much fulsome praise in the past though, I will reserve the rest of this piece for my other choice as a key performer on Saturday, Mike Williamson, as he certainly hasn’t!
Key performance #2: Mike Williamson.If Cabaye was almost certainly the man of the match dominating the midfield, he was enabled by a very solid defence behind him, with Mike Williamson leading the line very well indeed in the absence of Fabricio Coloccini. What is more, before the match it doubtful he would make it through he game. Speaking after the game, Alan Pardew had this to say about the big lad:
“Willo was struggling for this game and Paul Dummett trained yesterday in the first team, I think it helped as it focused him. That if Willo got injured in the first fifteen minutes, he was going to play.”
With the absence of Coloccini against a team who beat us 0-6 last time at St James Park many feared the worst, that the defence could completely fall apart in much the same fashion. Yet despite the sending off of Yanga Mbiwa after only 40 minutes, Williamson kept the whole defence together beautifully, especially so working alongside a rookie for most of the game.
Though of course, it would be churlish to leave it simply at that with Paul Dummett, as the youngster put in a great performance overall, and as Alan Shearer rightly mentioned, his positioning, not to mention his cool finish was great for his debut goal in the first team (and he should know). It is a moot point whether Dummett should shoulder some of the blame for Sturridge’s goal, waving his arm around for offside rather than trying harder to chase down the marauding England striker. No-one is perfect though and the whole of the defence did a great job overall in salvaging a point against one of the leading sides in the Premier League, despite being down to ten men for most of the game.
Much of the credit for that should go to Williamson though, especially so as he has been the victim of some highly unfair criticism from some in the past. Since his return to Premier League action as a half time substitute against Everton, when, not for the first time, Newcastle’s defence had sunk into chaos after conceeding three goals in the first half, his effect in solidifying the back line was immediate and we have looked like a different proposition at the back ever since.