Writer: Mehzeb Chowdhury
Date:Saturday March 14 2009
Chris Hughton once again played manager and lost the Magpies the chance to gain some leverage on the rest of the bottom-boys ahead of a torrid set of fixtures which have the potential to relegate the team from the North-East.
In a largely unenthusiastic performance, the Toon were lucky to come away with a point from the KC Stadium against an under-performing Hull City side.
Here forth we list the TEN mistakes 'Coach Chris' made during, and before the match, which, combined with the Magpies' league position has pushed the side further down the relegation ladder.
HUGHTON's SHAMBOLIC DECISIONS AGAINST HULL CITY
1. Negative mentality played a major role in how the Toon went about the match. For almost 30 minutes, Newcastle United fended-off attacks from every avenue but did not dig into The Tigers for a goal. The attacks came slow. The aging lot looked uninterested, and the team were highly ineffective - not because they are poor players, but because they did not know whether they were playing for a draw or win.
2. Allowing Geremi to take free-kicks, and corners was a highly dangerous decision. The Cameroon International rarely ever managed to beat the first man.
3. Playing Nicky Butt, Alan Smith, and Geremi in midfield by United's clueless stand-in manager was another low-point in the match. Neither player has any pace, or ability to switch play. They are all in fact defensive midfielders. Why play defensive players when going to the KC Stadium for a win?
4. One of the biggest mistakes Hughton made was changing a side which had shown tremendous grit, and ability against Manchester United, and replacing in-form players in favour of supposed 'big-name' returns. Peter Lovenkrands should have kept his place, and Michael Owen (an unfit one, at that) should have been on the bench.
5. Fishing for the offside trap was a terrible strategy considering, none of the midfielders have the pace to track back and defend, if the defenders get caught out. This ensured that Butt, and Geremi stay inside United's own half for most of the second-half, as they feared (genuinely) that a lapse in concentration from any of the defenders could result in an open net for a Hull forward.
6. Sure he got us a goal, but let's be honest. Steven Taylor at right-back? He made no real runs down the flank. Made zero contribution in any of the attacks. Gave away the ball on more than one occasion, and showed no coordination with his central midfielders. He misread passes on at least three occasions, which easily could have resulted in something useful. Ryan Taylor should have been brought in as a late substitute in place of the 'local lad'.
7. Substitutions came too late in the match. Michael Owen deserved to be taken off on the 60 minute mark, and should have been replaced by Peter Lovenkrands, or even Andy Carroll, with the Dane in midfield in place of Alan Smith. But Hughton played the waiting game...
8. Lack of motivation, and no team talk. Jonas Gutierrez had an abysmal game, and the Coach should have pointed it out to him so that the Argentine came out after the break with all guns blazing. Hughton's half-time 'team talk' had no impact on the player, as Gutierrez exhibited one of his worst performances yet. Hughton should have also warned the 25-year-old to refrain from shooting, as the Argentine is a horrible finisher.
9. Hughton's love for Shola Ameobi should be kept behind the scenes as it has no place on a football pitch. Ameobi, as always contributed nothing significant, and was a dead-weight dragging the other players down. The equally useless, but more passionate Andy Carroll would have been a better option, one might feel - although, with Lovenkrands on the bench, why was Ameobi even considered?
10. Long-ball tactics adopted by Hughton is a disgrace because neither Michael Owen, nor Obafemi Martins are tall enough to adhere to that style of football. Steve Harper was misguided as to the height of the forwards, as every time he got the ball, he skied it, and a Hull City player gathered the stray pass. By the time Ameobi came on, it was too late, and even if a ball did reach the man affectionately branded 'a headless chicken' - his control let him down big-time.
The draw against The Tigers leaves the Magpies in dire straits as far as the league goes with relegation now a realistic possibility. If fundamental changes are not made in the side, expect to see the Toon plying their trade in The Championship next year.
Date:Saturday March 14 2009
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