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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Fulham 1 - Newcastle Utd 0

Craven Cottage

02/02/2011 8PM

Attendance: TBC

From ruthless to toothless

In a week when Mike Ashley demonstrated his ruthless business acumen by selling Andy Carroll, Newcastle United paid the price for being ultimately toothless on a fruitless visit to the capital.

That the winner came from former Magpie Damien Duff and that his celebrations involved much nauseating badge-kissing and angry outbursts, made the result that little bit more ironic.

But at the other end, another former United player Aaron Hughes had a fairly easy ride with none of the four Newcastle strikers on display giving him or his fellow defenders much to think about.

A tight and fairly scrappy fair was more gritty than pretty, and the home side were probably about value for their three points after Duff's winner just after the hour, given that the away side barely registered a shot on goal. But for some wayward shooting on their part and the good form of Harper, it could have been worse.

A number of jittery performance, particularly the hapless Willamson and some half-hearted endeavour (see most of the team) were enough to help tip the edge in favour of Fulham. Although it was the usually consistent Enrique arguably at fault for the goal, not getting the right side of a counter attacking Duff.

Alan Pardew has a task on his hands, especially now Shola Ameobi will be out for a number of weeks with a fractured cheekbone. The direct game which has served so well in recent months, is less effective without Andy Carroll, or his understudy Ameobi, playing the pivotal role of target man. The ball just doesn't stick to Best, Lovenkrands or Ranger enough.

He spoke in his post-match interview about changing the game plan to suit the forwards he has available. Which seems like an obvious solution but what are the options? We have 5 midfielders on the injury list and a group of academy kids as green as the St James' turf. For all of that confidence, the options aren't exactly obvious.

It takes goals to gain points in this game, it's very simple. We have eight goals between our remaining fit senior strikers and there are still some difficult challenges ahead between us and safety. Pardew however, has apparently seen enough to give him the confidence to do without Carroll, given his quotes attributed during Carroll's absence through injury. It would seem recent games have flattered to deceive. I'm not sure the supporters share that optimism, particularly against tougher defences than West Ham. Arsenal on Saturday anyone?

Harper 7, Simpson 6, Williamson 4, Coloccini 6, Jose Enrique 6, Barton 6, Nolan 5, Guthrie 5, Gutierrez 5, Best (Lovenkrands 4), Ameobi 5(Ranger 5).

Star Player

Steve Harper




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The Journalist

Writer: BowburnMag Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 2 2011

Time: 12:00AM

Your Comments

Fair reflection BBM but i feel that tiote has been a bigger miss than some have given us credit for, he allows the likes of nolan and barton more freedom to roam. so with his return imminent, we may not be so weak after all. could do with a couple of strikers still
toon_nomatterwot
Two strikers needed in the summer big time.
El Toro
Tiote back will be a big plus, its vital that money is spent on strikers in the summer
jiggystoon
Good report.I'll give Colo 7.5 had a good staedy game ,Harper 8.Thats it for me the rest were not up to scratch.Barton belongs in central mid
newzealandtoonfan
Good report.I'll give Colo 7.5 had a good staedy game ,Harper 8.Thats it for me the rest were not up to scratch.Barton belongs in central mid
newzealandtoonfan
Thanks BBM, as usual you have given me something worth reading.
Birdys
How long for Pardew now then folks? Given your recent record with backing managers I reckon another couple of defeats and he will be on his way. Who next, Alan Shearer? Now there's an original thought!!!
irishimp
Sadly, that is an accurate reflection on what happened. At one point, the 2 strikers on the pitch had a combined total of 4 Premier League starts between them, not an ideal situation in the 2nd half of the season. It looks like Pardew has gone from banging on Ashley's door, to banging on relegation's door, which will hopefully also stay firmly shut.
Rexn
you can have eddie johnson only jokeing have herd you are after kamara not bad if he get s a run of games
truth sayer ffc
 

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