Writer: Talk of the Tyne
Date:Sunday December 15 2013
With the suspension of Yohan Cabaye, my pre match thoughts that Shola would come in to replace him got realised in an otherwise unchanged side from that at Old Trafford.
We lined up with Loic Remy taking the left wing slot and Shola up top. Gouffran and Sissoko chopping and changing their positions on the right with Anita and Tiote roaming the middle.
Southampton huffed and puffed in the first half but were slightly ahead on points for me, even when we had some glaring chances wasted. Our goal surprised me in that we never really looked like scoring but credit to Gouffran for pressurising the dodgy keeper into a mistake.
Remy's first half open net somehow made to look like the harder of the two that he got. That one in the second half had people around me wondering if he'd been the latest 'match fixing' victim.
Apart from that we didn't have too many chances but still played some good football at times with Anita beating about 6 players in one move before making the wrong decision, eventually losing it.
Sissoko linked up well in another move with a couple of 1-2's gaining us a corner. Our pressing in the first half stiffled the Southampton team a bit and when Pardew played his usual containment shite, their hard working players started to take control.
In the second half, a raker of a shot by them that hit the post was a warning that they were a decent side before they got their equaliser.
From then on, it was end to end without really looking like there was gonna be a winner as the defences were solid.
Debuchy again looking every inch a bargain and Mike Williamson continuing his remarkable upturn in form by not putting a foot wrong.
We missed Cabaye and they could argue that they missed x, y and z but a point's a fair result.
Krul - 6. Not too much to do apart from receiving back passes.
Debuchy - 8. A quality player who continues to provide quality on the pitch.
Colo - 7. Didn't play badly at all but played the odd bad pass in dangerous areas. Maybe tried too hard to get us an attacking edge.
Williamson - 8. Continues to defy belief that he's playing so well. Credit to the bloke
Santon - 7. Looked dangerous and linked up well on the left before what looked like a thigh knock got him subbed.
Anita - 7. Had a really good game but was blighted by a 5 minute spell in the second half where he kept giving the ball away. Won his fair share of headers in the middle as well for a bloke that could probably get on the bus for an under 14 price.
Sissoko. - 7. Drifted in and out of the game for me. Seems to have the look of the Shola's about him where he looks knackered when running. Still, he has a great engine and could have scored today.
Tiote - 7. Was all over and probably unlucky with his booking considering some of the things that they got away with.
Gouffran - 7. Not as effective as previous weeks but took his chance at pressurising the keeper into that mistake for the goal.
Shola - 6. Did well in bits but for the main part was his usual lazy self in not getting back
Remy - 6. Didn't have the best of games with his two easy misses. I thought he was wasted playing so deep.
Cisse - 5. The more games he plays, the more he makes those that have criticised him look right. He needs to take any chances that come his way and fast.
Ben Arfa - 6. Tried and failed. Continues to frustrate.
Haidara - 6. Slotted in well for Santon and did well to get up after a near carbon copy of that tackle that nearly snapped his leg. Must have a strong mentality.
Crowd was decent for the main part but the Pardew song was sung for the longest I remember plus Shola had his new song aired to the tune of that dodgy Arsenal song.
Vernon Anita also had his name sung for the first time. Well, the first time ive heard it.
Date:Sunday December 15 2013
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