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Pardew's shrewdness key to Newcastle's success

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Phil McNulty | 10:48 UK time, Thursday, 3 May 2012

Alan Pardew's face was a mask of delight and disbelief. Newcastle United's manager shook his head in the direction of Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and mouthed the words: "Unbelievable. Unbelievable."

Pardew could have been talking about Newcastle's entire campaign - instead he was reacting to the most memorable moment of this remarkable season for the Premier League's surprise side.

Newcastle have offered up times to treasure throughout their consistent defiance of the odds in pursuit of a place in next season's Champions League, but surely nothing can top the genius of Papiss Cisse deep into 10 minutes of stoppage time at Stamford Bridge.

The Senegal striker had already demonstrated his class with a searing left-foot volley from his own tee-up after 19 minutes. This was merely the warm-up act for his second that once again illustrated the renaissance Pardew has overseen on Tyneside.

With Chelsea in search of an equaliser, substitute Shola Ameobi diverted a throw-in towards Cisse loitering at an awkward angle near the left flank.

In an exhibitionist show of confidence and natural gifts, the £10m January buy from Bundesliga side Freiburg swerved a half-volley with the outside of his right foot that weaved through the air like a guided missile with enough height, power and perfect direction to leave Chelsea keeper Petr Cech stranded as it hit the net high behind him.

Papiss Cisse's brace helped Newcastle to a 2-0 victory at Chelsea. Photo: Getty

Pardew was celebrating a victory of great significance, a graphic example of the scale of his achievement this season that makes him a serious contender for manager of the year.

He found time to turn to Drogba and ask for the striker's appreciation of Cisse's skill. The beaten Ivorian could afford a smile and a slap of his hands together. Some things can even be appreciated in defeat.

Delight. Disbelief. Appreciation from the opposition. It was Newcastle United this season in microcosm.

The result of it all is that Newcastle welcome Premier League leaders Manchester City to Tyneside on Sunday with genuine hopes of a place in the top four. They are level on points with Tottenham, who claim fourth on goal difference, and four points ahead of Chelsea with two games left.

As someone who predicted Newcastle would finish 15th this season, it is time to accept king-sized portions of humble pie, although if they are honest plenty of the Toon Army would have to join me in tucking in. No-one seriously expected this, you suspect, not even Pardew.

In a week when English managers have been high on the agenda as West Bromwich Albion boss Roy Hodgson took charge of his country and Harry Redknapp was perceived as the losing candidate, arguably none has had a better season than Pardew.

The spirit, as well as the skill, he has built into Newcastle's squad was in evidence at Stamford Bridge. Those expecting a dip in morale and performance after the 4-0 loss at Wigan Athletic on Saturday would have been deeply disappointed.

Pardew simply made some tactical adjustments to a more traditional 4-4-2, assured anyone who would listen that Newcastle would respond to the setback in the same manner they had to any others this season and let them loose.

Newcastle were in no mood to be denied, even by Champions League and FA Cup finalists Chelsea. Pardew even brought his side to Stamford Bridge early - arriving before the home team - to prepare.

And the evidence of what Pardew has assembled was there for all to see. Newcastle were disciplined, organised, tactically sound - but also had a flair and power to their play that makes them so potent.

It was not just Cisse who epitomised this. Even defenders are encouraged to play, with Davide Santon and Mike Williamson showing deft touches on the ball in tight situations.

Pardew has never lacked confidence and this is mirrored in his team. Newcastle play without fear but there is character at their heart. It would have been easy to feel sorry for themselves after Wigan. Not a bit of it.

Skilful work in the transfer market, accompanied by the shipping out of big dressing room characters such as Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton in financially astute deals, has allowed Pardew to build a side of his own, with due credit to owner Mike Ashley and the power behind the throne, chief scout Graham Carr.

Plenty of clubs looked at the likes of Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Santon. It was Newcastle who did business - and how handsomely they have been rewarded.

The jewel in the crown, though, has been Cisse. First scouted by Carr during his time in France, when he played for Metz and also had a spell on loan at Ligue 2 Chatearoux, it was his record with Freiburg in the Bundesliga that convinced Pardew and his scout he would apply the finishing touches to Newcastle's creation.

Pardew said: "We had been watching him for some time. Graham was watching him in France even before he went to Germany. Myself and Graham talked long and hard about the options and we both felt he was the one with the pedigree.

"He had two great seasons in the Bundesliga, with a team that was struggling, and you would have to say the quality of that league is not far behind our own Premier League."

And if you need a sum to underscore the wisdom of this deal, Newcastle got their man and still had £25m left in change from the £35m deal that took Carroll to Liverpool 15 months ago.

It is such shrewd manoeuvres that have contributed to the position Newcastle now find themselves in. The manner of their win at Stamford Bridge was testimony to it all.

Pardew may not have been in the frame to be England manager, but it is hard to imagine any other English manager looking back on their season with greater satisfaction.

Even if Newcastle do not finish in the top four and open up that great Champions League possibility, this has still been a magnificent effort - but Pardew and his players left Stamford Bridge in no mood to accept that consolation.

It will be a special occasion when title-chasing Manchester City come to town.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Cisse, take a bow son. Goal of the chaffing century!

  • Comment number 2.

    For once nothing to disagree with in this piece. What a striker! Can't help but thinking about that last minute sucker punch Newcastle conceded at Arsenal, without which Newcastle would be 3rd and Arsenal 5th. That's how close this season has been!

  • Comment number 3.

    Got a feeling Pards will be the next (ie after Hodgson...) England manager.

    He definitely has an eye for talent though - look at current southampton squad for proof of that (certain R Lambert being one of his signings).

    Good man good manager, wrongly overlooked for England role (or rightly, if you are a newcastle fan!)

  • Comment number 4.

    Top goals, top player, and an amazing season. Have a suspicion that second strike was a bit of a hit and hope though - even he looked surprised when it flew in. The first however, is all class.

    Think Pards will be high on the list for England a few years down the line. As a Chelsea fan, I hope Newcastle go on to get 3rd.

  • Comment number 5.

    Well blooming done lads!

  • Comment number 6.

    The problem for Chelsea is that they are burdened with a number of over-the-hill English plodders, such as Terry, Cole and Lampard.

    They need to reinvigorate their squad with more consummate continental pros, like Juan Mata and Oriol Romeu.

    Having said that, with the poor level of football in the EPL, it would take some persuading to lure these players away from technically superior and competitive leagues.

    Papiss Demba Cissé is showing just how easy it is to score in the EPL, so you wonder why Fernando Torres - a striker who was quite useful in La Liga - finds it so hard to make the old onion-bag bulge. :strokeschinthoughtfully:

  • Comment number 7.

    awesome goal. Definitely should be up there in the vote for the best EPL goal of teh last 20 years!

  • Comment number 8.

    @6 What's your reasoning for the "over the hill English plodders" knocking out Barcelona in the Champions League?

  • Comment number 9.

    "Got a feeling Pards will be the next (ie after Hodgson...) England manager."


    Weeee a bandwagon.

    ----------


    He is having a storming season though

  • Comment number 10.

    @6 - The same over the hill plodders that comfortbaly beat Barca?
    Cole is still by some way the worlds left back and has been since Carlos left Madrid.

  • Comment number 11.

    I wonder if cisse was english how much he would value. I know if carrol had score that goal he would have been sold for 50 millions atleast.
    What a goal. And what a surprise newcastle have been this season.
    Commmmme onnn newcastle do us a favour on sunday. A big big favour

  • Comment number 12.

    I wonder how many of the Toon Army who were baying for Pardew's blood still want that now? I was disgusted with the way Ashley treated Hughton and Pardew inherited a tough job but to his credit he's done an amazing job.

  • Comment number 13.

    10.At 12:07 3rd May 2012, Reinasbaldhead wrote:

    Cole is still by some way the worlds left back and has been since Carlos left Madrid.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, behave yourself!

    I presume you have never heard of Fábio Coentrão? :rollseyes:

  • Comment number 14.

    Chelsea were a million miles away last night, with their eyes on the FA Cup final. I understand that. They were beaten in the end by 2 worldies. Did Cisse mean the second goal? Of course he did. Could he replicate it regularly? Of course not. 99 times out of a hundred it hits the post, goes over the bar, or even hits row Z. But that's ok. It wouldn't be the goal of the season if it happened all the time.

  • Comment number 15.

    @6

    So Dog Patch you managed to slate the EPL again when this blog is about Newcastle and there good season. Pathetic.

    Cisse's goal last night where sensational and does not mean that it is easy to score in the EPL.

    Now La Liga is easy to score as it shows by the amount of goals that Messi and Ronaldo have scored this season.

    To reinforce my point is Torres who scored more frequently in the La Liga then he does in the EPL

  • Comment number 16.

    It's nice to see players who are confident enough and skillful enough to have a go. Hopefully won't get coached out of him...

    Poor effort from Patches / Pseudo Patches

    ...needlestuckingrooverecordgoingroundandroundadinfinitumboredoutofskullheadbangswallinabjectfrustrationbricksloosenedinwallcallsbuildersintriestoexplainbrickshapedbruisesonhead

  • Comment number 17.

    The two strikes were sensational. The first being with his weaker foot and the second, well it was simply magical.

    Having watched him week in, week out the guy is pure class in front of goal. These aren't just two yard tap ins. His goals against Norwich & Swansea were top draw finishes and his header v Liverpool shows he can score all sorts of goals.

    Whatever happens come the season end we have had a superb season and have sone genuinely good players. Krul, Colocini, Cabaye, Tiote, Ben Arfa, Cisse & Ba would not look out of place in any of the sides above us in the table. That is a great group of players to have for us, especially when it all seemed doom and gloom less than 3 years ago.

  • Comment number 18.

    @6

    So Chelsea has three English plodders.

    What about the foreign plodders in the team then?

    The three English plodders were in the team that managed to overcome Barcelona recently if my memory serves me right.

  • Comment number 19.

    @13 is this the same fabio contreao that does not get into Real's starting line up more often then not? Seems strange to be on the bench as the worlds best left back?

    Bit dissapointed in Di Matteos team selection last night...all his eggs are placed clearly in the champions league basket one thinks.

    Be interesting to see how Newcastle fair next season...i remember Mr Pardew guidin West Ham to a top ten finish and a cup final before benching Tevez and Maascherano for half a season as relegation beckoned....

  • Comment number 20.

    @13 I see you are avoiding the Chelsea knocking out Barcelona question!!

  • Comment number 21.

    15.At 12:09 3rd May 2012, Robbie wrote:

    Now La Liga is easy to score as it shows by the amount of goals that Messi and Ronaldo have scored this season.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Messi and C-Ron are so far ahead of any attacker in the EPL, it's not even funny.

    On previous blogs, I've already posted the statistics that show that C-Ron's goal-per-game ratio for Real Madrid in Champions League matches has increased by the same percentage as his goals-per-game ratio from the EPL to La Liga.

    The fact of the matter is that C-Ron is a far better player, since he's freed himself from the shackles of Manchester United, has far superior team-mates to work with, and an infinitely better manager to guide him.

  • Comment number 22.

    Cisse is a technically very good striker (of course he is African who grew up eating wholemeal foods ). My question is, will the Toon army challenge top 4 again next season?

  • Comment number 23.

    @6 Soul Patch of Dvaid Villa
    "with the poor level of football in the EPL," followed by "so you wonder why Fernando Torres - a striker who was quite useful in La Liga"

    One can only assume it's easier to score in La Liga, must be an even poorer level of football!!

    I can sometimes only assume you write things merely to get a bait - congratulations you succeeded.

    And provided Ars*n*l drop points to either Norwich or WBA I'll be more than happy for Newcastle to pip them for 4th.

  • Comment number 24.

    This is a blog about Newcastle Utd's season and their impact in the English league. Can you all, just for once, concentrate on the topic at hand and not resort to petty 'my league is better than yours' arguments.

    Messi & Ronaldo are amazing players but have no relevance to this piece.

  • Comment number 25.

    Getting rid of Barton for nowt was hardly financially astute, though it was the best thing to do in the circumstances.

    As a Toon fan I don't recall baying for Pardew's blood, just a real disappointment over how Chris Hughton was treated. I was sceptical of Pardew but he has done well.

    Being in contention for Champions League is incredible.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm a Chelsea fan, and have to admit we were well beaten last night by a better side. On top of that, Cisse's second goal was absolutely incredible and quite possibly the best goal I've ever seen - I just wish it hadn't been against us!

  • Comment number 27.

    @13. At 12:09 3rd May 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    Ashely Cole and Phillip Lahm are the only world-class left backs left in the world. I completely agree that Coentrao is a good player, BUT, LB isn't his first position, he's had one decent season at Madrid as opposed to the season after season of quality that Cole has delivered, he can be suspect defensively (not that he needs to do masses of defending) and he doesn't play every single game. He's a good left back, a better winger, but in terms of the overall ability at left back, he's just not in the same league as Cole. Lets be honest, if Cole's name was Coleinho you wouldn't be questioning his ability.

  • Comment number 28.

    23.At 12:15 3rd May 2012, WHL_N17 wrote:

    One can only assume it's easier to score in La Liga, must be an even poorer level of football!!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    I've previously explained why Fernando Torres has slowly become less prolific in the EPL.

    He's been playing in England for 5-6 seasons, so his form and ability has gradually faded because he is surrounded by mediocre players.

  • Comment number 29.

    I can only assume as Chelsea are only the 6th best team in england and have reached the cl final then should Newcastle make it they have nothing to fear next season and would comfortably make the last 4 beating both Barca and Real on the way

  • Comment number 30.

    @28

    So Torres can onlt score in a good team.

    If he was that good and the standard of the EPL is so poor then he would be free scoring.

  • Comment number 31.

    @6

    "The problem for Chelsea is that they are burdened with a number of over-the-hill English plodders, such as Terry, Cole and Lampard"

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The very same 'over the hill English plodders' that dispatched the mediocrity of a La Cantina team in the tapas league. Old Mike from down at the 'Spanish Castanets' would be elated at his pubside.

  • Comment number 32.

    @28. At 12:20 3rd May 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    That's a ridiculous comment, at Liverpool he was unstoppable, his form and ability has declined due to a combination of getting older and continuous injuries, not the players he played with.

  • Comment number 33.

    feel for Demba Ba at the moment.....working his socks off and not getting the rewards...
    loved his smile after smacking the crossbar with a lovely controlled effort.
    Just think if Cisse and Ba both hit a goal streak at the same time 8)

  • Comment number 34.

    @28

    Less prolific is Messi in the CL who has never scored against Chelsea, due to his teams plodders only able to play a plan A game without a B or C option

  • Comment number 35.

    It is extraordinary how Pardew has won over the Newcastle faithful, wonderfully illustrated by an interview with him that I heard on 5Live. When asked what he thought of the good job that Martin O'Neill is doing at Sunderland many a manager would have diplomatically articulated respect for the good work. Pardew's answer was, however, very astute and will have added a little more glue to his relationship with Magpie fans.

    Pardew simply replied, "We don't talk about Sunderland here." The reporter laughed, thinking that more was coming, before he realised that Pardew was absolutely serious.

    As for Cisse's second goal yesterday, another contributor has described it as "hit and hope". The point is that most spectacular goals fall into that category. It's the capacity to imagine the goal and have the talent and technique to turn that possibility into a reality that sets great goalscorers apart.

  • Comment number 36.

    @13

    Coentrão!

    Are you having a laugh?

    He had an absolute shocker in the first leg against Bayern. I can't remember seeing him play well once this season.

  • Comment number 37.

    .
    At 12:09 3rd May 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    Oh, behave yourself!
    I presume you have never heard of Fábio Coentrão? :rollseyes:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Who? The same player who couldn't get a starting place against Bayern??

  • Comment number 38.

    @36

    If a player is English he will never be classes as anything other then a plodder by Dog Patch

    He really has a problem with anything English for some reason.

  • Comment number 39.

    La Liga best league in the world?

    They can't even get a team into the Final of the Champions League

    :stokeschinwhilecuppingballs

  • Comment number 40.

    For me, there is no doubt that Cisse has been a brilliant buy, but i have to say that i have been just as impressed if not more with Cabaye. The guy is a great footballer.
    Newcastle have done very well in the transfer market, no doubt. Ba for free, Cisse, Tiote, cabaye and Ben Arfa would all make welcome additions to all the top clubs.

    I just hope that Newcastle fans dont expect the same every year, i for one hope this isnt just 1 good season and they maintain this fight for the top 4 every season.

    What you have to look at is how long ago it was that Newcastke fans were chanting 'Ashley Out' etc etc, what a turnaround!

  • Comment number 41.

    There is no doubting Ashley's retail business expertise just as their is no doubting what a complete abortion his first couple of years at NUFC were. His treatment of KK and Chris Hughton and contempt for the fans in both the club's published words and even worse their unpublished silences. His business model for Toon and indeed any other football club has always made sense, but his means were unneccessary to achieve his ends. Pardew was an unlikely choice and as another southerner coming in to replace a very genuine man who had done wonders for Toon he was inevitably going to be starting under a cloud. He has been magnificent in the team spirit he has added to and even improved and he and Carr have done wonders in buying. £35 mill for Carroll was a joke as all except King Kenny saw. I had Toon down as lower mid table so Europa is unbelievable, CL would be a miracle but I now think we will do it. Howay the lads.

  • Comment number 42.

    Pardew has one more task to complete before deservedly being named manager of the season.............a result against City on Sunday. Should he achieve that, ensuring that the title reaches it's righful destination in the process, then I have no doubt that Sir Alex will be on the phone to the FA straight way, agreeing to forego his award in favour of Pardew.......and rightly so!

  • Comment number 43.

    Oh God what a choice - as a lifelong Tyneside-born Toon fan still smarting from 1996 do I want the lads to beat Man C and hand the title to Man U of all teams. Oh God what a choice ...

  • Comment number 44.

    Well done Newcastle, they're having an amazing season - I was expecting them to be near the bottom of the table in all honesty, but Pardew has done a stunning job.

    Although I would ask why the BBC felt a MOTD special on Monday was somehow better than having one on Wednesday, when they could've shown the clips from 5 matches as opposed to the single Manchester Derby snoozefest.

  • Comment number 45.

    As a Newcastle fan, I was the first to slate the sacking of Hughton and subsequent appointment of Pardew.

    However, I have to eat humble pie on this also.

    The shrewdness of transfer dealings, and (even more important to my mind) the building of a team who have a real team ethic, with no backroom/dressing room dramas, has been a hugely beneficial stabilisation force for us.

    The way in which he has managed to build a strong defensive side, but who also play attractive football, with flair, has been outstanding.

    I am very firmly back in my box, and am a huge fan of what Pardew and, even, Mike Ashley have done for us over the past 18 months or so.

    My gut feeling is that he has very firmly built a team that is not a "one season wonder". Although I do not think we will be challenging top 4 again next season, I think we will be top 6.

    However, I could be very wrong. It would be great to see us return to some sort of consistency though.

    Fingers crossed for next season...

  • Comment number 46.

    haha soul patch strikes again.

    ridiculous excuse for a human being with nothing but nonsense spouted from his ill guided mouth.

    mate seriously, sort it out. the epl is a far more competitive league than la liga. you have nothing to back up your ridiculous claims. yes the two best players in the world play there, with one of them developing into a world class player at man united. the reason they score so freely is because the teams around them are so poor defensively and the teams they play for are so far ahead of the other 18 teams.

    cisse's goals were incredible, newcastle have had a brilliant season as has pardew. cole is the best left back in the world, coentrao is a winger first; left back second. and like other posters have pointed out he rarely makes the starting XI.

  • Comment number 47.

    Let's not forget this battle for 4th is actually a battle for 3rd. Arsenal have a tendency to bottle it at the end of the season when the pressure is on, and 6 points from the Norwich and WBA games are by no means assured.

    Ashley Cole is at best in the top 10 left backs in the world. Definitely not the greatest.

  • Comment number 48.

    AS a final word, Colo has been the making of the season, despite injuries and suspensions he has marshalled whoever was making up our defence with flair and discipline. I doubt whether any other team has made as many goal-line clearances as Toon and that is because He makes sure there is someone in the right place at the right time. Colo is my man of the season.

  • Comment number 49.

    @ sheila_amoeba_ra_ra_ra

    I share that thought, one part of me wants to see Newcastle do as well as possible (life long fan and all that), but I have accepted that we probably won't get Champions League (Everton (A) Man CIty (H) isn't as easy at Tottenham's games)

    In saying this, I'd 'LOVE IT' if Man U don't win the title so would happily sacrifice the victory to keep my flatmates quite.

    Toon for Europe, Pardew for MOTY.. :D

  • Comment number 50.

    I should also have said that specifically with regards Cisse, one thing to remember is that not only is he a top goal scorer, his presence and performance in other areas both on and off the ball are simply superb. He is a fantastic all round player.

  • Comment number 51.

    I was one of the few who didn't want Pardew to go, he has done a very good job at Newcastle. I like Cisse as a character have a few Geordie mates at Uni who have met him outside a supermarket, they waited outside his car to meet him and said he was a top bloke and judging by various situations in the media he always seems to have a lot of time for the fans which is great. Sensational player as well seems like the bargain of the season Newcastle have definitely done well out of Carroll who ridicously managed to fetch 35 Million.

  • Comment number 52.

    Cisse only cost £8m, so it's even better business than has been reported.

  • Comment number 53.

    #42.WordsofWisdom

    Sir Alex was knocked out of one of the easiest Champions league groups in the history of the tournament fo them, then they were dominated in both home and away legs of the game Vs Bilbao a team that are 8th in La Liga, they have lost at home twice to Blackburn and Newcastle, thrown away a 2 goal lead to Everton last week, were beaten home and away by Manchester City, im not really sure why he would deserve this accolade??

  • Comment number 54.

    Am I the only one who thinks that he didn't actually mean it? I thought his first, technically is far better (and meant)!

    I dont want to take anything away from it though!!

  • Comment number 55.

    @43

    My thoughts exactly! Can't really see Tottenham or Arsenal dropping points mind which would leave us in fifth regardless... still, think I'd prefer a win on Sunday :)

    Pardew has done wonders this season, hoping we can maintain it next season, which should certainly be achievable, moreso with Taylor back. Looking at the squad I think we could do with a replacement for Jonas, and perhaps some squad players as we are lacking when key players get injured.

  • Comment number 56.

    Fantastic strikes from the fella, whether he meant the 2nd or not. We should judge Pardew after next Season and Newcastle as well. Theyve done really well though. Some lovely football too.Theyre a Club that never seem able to build on something good hence my view on a deferred judgement. Good luck to them, though Pardew is hard to take to. Seems a bit of a ....!

  • Comment number 57.

    @47 I'm no Arsenal fan but I'd put money on then taking 6 points from those 2 games. Norwich have gone out to lunch early and West Brom have lost their manager and have little to play for.........although they could finish ahead of Liverpool.

    What irony that would be! King Kenny 'the saviour' finishing behind Roy 'the wretched'. Sums up the judgement of Liverpool fans when it comes to managers!

  • Comment number 58.

    As for Cisse's second goal yesterday, another contributor has described it as "hit and hope". The point is that most spectacular goals fall into that category. It's the capacity to imagine the goal and have the talent and technique to turn that possibility into a reality that sets great goalscorers apart.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Agree that most goals fall into 'hit and hope' category, but not sure that 'hit and hope' = imagination, talent and technique.
    I've seen defenders score some spectacular golas by just putting their foot through the ball and catching it 'just right'.

    Now Cisse's was not as agricultural as that, but I don't think he thought to himself "I'm going to hit this so that it swerves away & over Cech and nestles in the side netting", but I appreciate he had the forethought to know that the only way he'd get anywhere near the target was to go with the outside of his foot.

    If anything he should be appluaded for having the audacity to have a go from where he was

  • Comment number 59.

    As an Arsenal fan I'm pretty concerned by Newcastle's explosion into form this year. Had hoped to be honest that Wigan had kicked the fight out of them but perhaps not. 3rd Place is not a comfortable place right now. At all.

    Newcastle's signings have been unbelievable. Teams have been longing for players of Ba, Cisse, Ben Arfa and Cabaye's quality for years without paying stupid money. I wonder if they'll manage to keep hold of all their players in the summer and replicate this sort of form next season. Its good to see Newcastle being a big club again. It wasn't right seeing them so low over the last few years.

    I'm not personally a fan of Pardew's character, I find him arrogant and defensive often. It's almost like he isolates himself and won't be challenged. Silly attitude towards O'Neil, a far greater man it must be said. O'Neil has far more respect that Pardew. Realistically though I can't fault Pardew's record this year.

    Just a thought, if everyone stopped taking soul_patch's bait his comments would just drop into oblivion like they should. Stop giving him the time of day. Irrelevant.

  • Comment number 60.

    Not another Blog ! about Newcastle !


    :):):)

  • Comment number 61.

    As a Newcastle fan i am delighted we are still have a shot of reaching champion league placing . I will say that I thought the best case scenario would fishing in mid table and settled for for just staying in the premier league, which makes this seasons achievement of Pardew and the team nothing short of remarkable . I feel that the biggest reason why newcastle find themselves were they is the scouting network finding players like Cabye ,Tiote, Ben Arfa , Ba and Cisse and securing them at bargain prices. This gives us a real advantage in the future with the finical fair play rules because can't see Manchester City, Chelsea , Manchester United or Liverpool rebuilding their in such a economically efficient way , giving Newcastle an advantage in the medium to long term. Whatever happens I am proud to be a Newcastle and hope aren't overlooked if we don't reach the 4th spot. some of the drama fighting isn't hapening it usual isn't it?

  • Comment number 62.

    Cisse is the signing of the season by far. He's got high quality talent and what an excellent signing he was for Newcastle. If Newcastle can repeat this performance against Chelsea on Sunday against Man City, they will have a great chance of drawing or getting a win against City. Looks like this Newcastle v Man City match will be bigger that the Manchester derby that happened on Monday. It looks like Newcastle will play a lot better against City than United did in the derby. Even if City draw on Sunday, it will be equally hard for United to get the win at Sunderland on the final day of the season.

  • Comment number 63.

    @59

    Your 'greater man' Mr O'Neil called a press conference to have a go at Pardew and say his comments re the Newcastle-Sunderland game we rubbish (thought stats back Pardew up) Pardew kept quiet and refused to comment on it, who was the greater man there?

  • Comment number 64.

    6.At 12:02 3rd May 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    The problem for Chelsea is that they are burdened with a number of over-the-hill English plodders, such as Terry, Cole and Lampard.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Of which only John Terry started the game last night.

    Next.

  • Comment number 65.

    Words of Wisdom - Mate, if you were an Arsenal fan, you wouldnt throw cash away betting on them. No Club is better equipped or more able to screw up the chance of the 3rd place Wenger 'trophy'. i am a Gunner but ive no hesitation in suggesting that the majority of the Clubs squad will likely be bricking it and fretting like school girls before games v mighty Norwich and WBA. Slightest pressure and theyre vomiting and shi--ing.

  • Comment number 66.

    @63

    Missed that to be honest but fair point. O'Neil's not perfect at all but I've always found him to be far more humble and approachable (for the media) than Pardew. Pardew's a prickly character, expecially if he's pee'd off.

    It's stupid though becuase if I saw him in the street I'd soon shake his hand, congratulate him, ask for an autograph and a photo and brag about it. I guess you can never really judge someone by their post-game press conferences...

  • Comment number 67.

    Its one of those goals that goes in the defies physics category.... alongside Roberto Carlos' wonder strike in 1997. Absolute peach of a strike and anyone that says he didn't mean it (of which I have sadly seen a few people say it).... who was he passing to exactly if he didn't?... Goal of the season without a doubt.

  • Comment number 68.

    Ignore The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa. This forum is to discuss papiss cisse

  • Comment number 69.

    Cisse seems to be the only reason why some people believe the title race is still on, the boy is that good. He seems to score when he wants and how he wants and has been the best player I have seen in 2012.

    One would have thought Rooney or Young or maybe Balotelli would have been the one's to have a say or a screamer on when the race is over.

  • Comment number 70.

    53. At 12:49 3rd May 2012, signori wrote:

    #42.WordsofWisdom

    Sir Alex was knocked out of one of the easiest Champions league groups in the history of the tournament fo them, then they were dominated in both home and away legs of the game Vs Bilbao a team that are 8th in La Liga, they have lost at home twice to Blackburn and Newcastle, thrown away a 2 goal lead to Everton last week, were beaten home and away by Manchester City, im not really sure why he would deserve this accolade??
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Try winning a 5th title in 6 years with a team in transition and a midfield that needs a serious overhaul. The team that finishes with the most points after a 38 game marathon are ALWAYS worthy champions (same will apply to City if they do it) so you can't pick-out a few of Utd's bad results and offer that as a reason. For every other team you can match those bad results with some interest.

    Also, note: Utd did not lose at home to Newcastle but were robbed of all 3 points by that ridiculous penalty decision. It was in fact away to Newcastle they lost, just after the Blackburn game.......and your selective memory will of course have shut-out the fact that Carrick and Valencia played at the back in those games and Evra had a stint at CB as the Utd defence was decimated by injury.

    Europe? Fergie had zero interest in the Europa League (sees it as a 'punishment'). Nor did City for that matter. Bilbao and Sporting (the 2 teams that put them out), on the other hand, would regard it as the achievement of the decade to win this tin pot, and they played accordingly. It was all about will and interest.......two things that go a long way on the sporting field.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ #41 (moncurs)

    Agree with all of that. Through a fiasco and relegation the club has come back stronger and more focused.

    Credit goes to all at the club.

  • Comment number 72.

    Lets not get to carried away here, lets not forget that Pardew took Charlton down from the Premier League and was a huge factor in their demotion to League 1, whilst spending a large amount of cash and bringing in ten loan players. He seems to have learnt from his mistakes at Charlton and West Ham (I could go on...) however lets not big him up to much as I think his ego may come back to haunt him...

  • Comment number 73.

    doubtlessly the best goal of the season, at least in the Premiership. Newcastles success is more impressive given that their football is pretty attractive. On the subject of Prem vs La Liga, is it at all possible that they both have a high standard of football? Chelsea beat Barcelona, but Athletic beat Man Utd fairly comfortably, so theres examples for both arguments.

  • Comment number 74.

    Fantastic goal by Cisse last night and a thoroughly deserved win by the sounds of it. They look a cracking side, hopefully from their point of view they'll be able to keep the team together over the summer. As for goal of the season, Crouch's against City still wins it for me. Whilst last nights was an incredible strike, the ball fell nicely for him to run on and hit it, Crouch had his back to goal and had to tee himself up.

    Both incredible strikes though, hopefully he's got another one in his locker for Sunday ;)

  • Comment number 75.

    Edvard Munch's Scream looks like a self portrait of Patches wondering through the countryside of Spain following Barcelona's exit from the CL.

  • Comment number 76.

    @68 this forum is in fact about Newcastle as a whole. As good as Cisse has been 2nd Half of the season Ba was the first. Cabaye and Ben arfa add skill vision and Guile Gutierrez non stop running Coloccini organises the defence and Krul is the best young keeper in the league bar maybe Joe Hart. Do not label Newcastle as a one man team they have been far from it.

  • Comment number 77.

    can't stand pardew tbh, can't stand any of the managers that constantly prowl around in their technical areas throughout a match appealing for throw-ins and constantly bending the official's ears. there should be a 5 or 10 minute clock on how long a manager can actually spend in the technical area while the ball is live during each half imo

    fair play to newcastle this season, they have done very well and are easily top of the also-rans and actually mixing it with the top 5 - to be still in with a shout of not only picking off chelsea but also spurs and arsenal at this stage of the season is evidence of a remarkable season.

  • Comment number 78.

    On the subject of, x beats y, y beats z...

    Chelsea beat Barcelona, Newcastle beat Chelsea, Messi hasn't scored against Chelsea in 7(?) games, Cisse has 2 goals in 1 game...

    Newcastle European Champions and a Ballon D'Or next year for Cisse? I don't think you can deny this infallible logic!

  • Comment number 79.

    I find it amazing how many chelski/england fans say A.Cole is the worlds best left back??
    I don't want anyone to get all offended but take off the blue-tinted specs, Cole is about the same level as Evra - brilliant full-back but has his liabilities.

    Philip Lahm is clearly the worlds best LB/full-back by a long shot, I would include Cole and evra in the top 5/10 in the world

  • Comment number 80.

    It's all a question of timing. Had the Utd game preceded ours and they were to get beaten in their 'easy' game (no I don't believe it either but it's current) then most City fans would have no problems with Newcastle maintaining their run to the CL. However we last won the title at SJP and we have to go there on Sunday believing that we will again.

    Two sides that have to come out and play for the win. It may not be as 'big' as Monday's "Biggest ever in the history of anything anywhere" TM Skyperbole but it will be better.

  • Comment number 81.

    If Newcastle are so great, why did they get absolutely hammered by Wigan?

  • Comment number 82.

    Did Cisse mean the second one? Well, he certainly meant to have a shot. He certainly meant to hit it with the outside of his foot. He certainly meant to impart left to right spin on it because that was necessary to get the shot past Terry in front of him. He certainly meant it to be on target between the posts. He could not know he would execute it so perfectly as to be out of Cech's grasp but he would know spin is hard for a keeper to deal with and that he had a chance. Could he do it again if he tried? Very possibly, he is that good. Hit and hope? Hardly. As Gary Player used to say, "the more I practice, the luckier I get". Sublime.

  • Comment number 83.

    #75
    It also looks like Messi's face as he watched Torres waltz through and knock his team out, after his choking from the penalty spot earlier.

  • Comment number 84.

    81 possibly because Wigan are the in-form side in the PL this last month or so, have played the best football in the division during that time by a distance, and had out-played Chelsea, Arsenal and United before taking Newcastle apart.

  • Comment number 85.

    Re 78 Bungly pete.

    Your logic is indeed infallible save for one minor problem. Wigan beat newcastle, Wigan lost to Swindon in the FA Cup

    So therefore I can't see past Swindon for the Champions League (I imagine an honorary place will be given to them for their greatness!)

  • Comment number 86.

    @25 Getting rid of Barton on a free transfer was financially astute, on a reported wage of £80,000 a week (presumably add bonuses/image rights as well) a saving of £4 million was saved. No team would have been interested in Barton if he had a transfer fee as well, the top clubs could afford both but Barton not good enough, the rest unwilling to sign an ageing high maintenance player for £5,000,000 plus 4/5 years at £90,000, a total deal of well over £21,000,000. Like you as a toon fan getting rid of the players who felt they were in charge (whilst needed in the original chaos over the summer post relegation where it seemed no-one was running the club) was inspired.
    Phil, Graham Carr has publicly stated in a meeting with toon fans that Cisse cost quite a bit less than the reported figure, he suggested it was under £8m. Regardless, to think Cisse, Ba, Ben Arfa, Cabaye and Tiote cost about he same as Ashley Young suggests great business and makes a mockery of Ferguson's repeated claim that there is no value in the transfer market. The last two players represent their well respected countries and have Champions League experience.

  • Comment number 87.

    anybody else think AP looks a little like Pepe-le-Pew

    nice to see the Looney Toons out in some numbers on the BBC Blogs

    any links to " sexist Sid " would be much appreciated

    :)

    good luck to the Toons

    so long as you finish below Arsenal of course .

  • Comment number 88.

    @ 81.
    At 13:14 3rd May 2012, Stuart_MCFC

    And if City are so great, why did Swansea take 6 points of them?

  • Comment number 89.

    There is no doubt in my mind that LaLiga is an inferior league to the EPL. A league where only 2 teams can win is boring as hell. No one in the world gives a toss about any games in LaLiga unless RM or Barca are playing, i.e. every gameday there are 10 meaningless matches .. how boring.

  • Comment number 90.

    73.At 13:09 3rd May 2012, CECIL wrote:
    doubtlessly the best goal of the season, at least in the Premiership. Newcastles success is more impressive given that their football is pretty attractive. On the subject of Prem vs La Liga, is it at all possible that they both have a high standard of football? Chelsea beat Barcelona, but Athletic beat Man Utd fairly comfortably, so theres examples for both arguments.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Doubtlessly?

  • Comment number 91.

    @75


    i think its a self portrait of us all.

    at 75million its a snitch when you consider what was paid for Carrol Dalgliesh must be kicking himself.

  • Comment number 92.

    "A league where only 2 teams can win is boring as hell."


    Who is going to knock Manchester United of second place this weekend ?

  • Comment number 93.

    21. At 12:14 3rd May 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    On previous blogs, I've already posted the statistics that show that C-Ron's goal-per-game ratio for Real Madrid in Champions League matches has increased by the same percentage as his goals-per-game ratio from the EPL to La Liga.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This doesn't show that the EPL is easier to score in though does it.....it shows that Ronaldo has improved either individually or because of his tem-mates around him. If it's harder to score in La Liga, AND he had improved, surely his scoring ration in LA Liga would have stayed at a similar ration to that during his EPL days and his Champions League scoring record stay fairly even? What you have quoted actually suggests that the leagues are fairly evenly matched in terms of how easy it is to score.....also a lot depends on whethe ryou are comparing scoring ratio's to his entire time at Real Madrid/Man Utd or whether you are comparing his final season at Man Utd to his first at Real Madrid. If it's based on the entire career at these respective clubs then you would have expected it to be better at Real. He went to Man Utd as an unproven 18 year old and improved over the years. As he improved, he played more games.....simple.

    So why was your 'expert pick' about the Chelsea Barcelona tie so appallingly wrong? How do you explain the Barca loss to Chelsea?

    Can you also explain to me why players such as Albeloa, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas AND Gerard Pique went back to Spain, much improved after their time in England? If they weren't all that good in England then why oh why would the two top teams in Spain choose to pay for them, and in the case of Alonso and Fabregas, big money? Surely this suggests, that if you are correct in your assumption that the EPL is so poor, that La Liga is also.....

    So please please please, unless you can respond to the above quesiton in a proper cherent matter, then go away until such a time when you can add to the debate without boring us with your now outdated and repetetive sense of humour.....you're only makingyourself chuckle.

    I'm a Reading fan in case you need to know.

  • Comment number 94.

    73 fair point, although those two matches you cite aren't really directly comparable since in one of them Bilbao clearly wanted it far more than United did and had little or no distractions at home (they lost their league matches around the United ties didn't they?) - i don't think anyone truly believes that United focused completely on winning the Europa League, even if they obviously would've taken it. On the other hand Barcelona had to play the La Liga decider between the two legs of the Chelsea tie, so their focus was split. Sometimes that situation can catch out even the best teams, and so it proved. There was clearly also the Guardiola factor hanging over the team as well, by comparison with the fresh start Chelsea were revelling in under Di Matteo - or rather the weight being lifted off after they'd got rid of Villas-Boas

  • Comment number 95.

    With regards the ridiculous claims of soul patch.

    2 Teams can win La Liga, there is no doubt of that. Now considering that Man City are a new member to the table and that Tottenham showed promise before dropping off late on. Also throw in that Arsenal have just signed a world class strike partner for RVP and near the end of the season are looking a lot more like a team that could challenge. Finally Chelsea have been in form under Di Matteo (who I for one hope stays).... how can you argue that the two best players in the world make up for that level of competition?

  • Comment number 96.

    Damn, many a typoo.......

    On the topic, Newcastle have been hugely impressive this season and after Pardew's last attempt at managing in the EPL and his strange parting of company at Southampton I though he was going to send the Toon backwards.....but I ordered my humble pie a few weeks ago and boy did it taste sour. I think that his scouting team deserves a lot of the credit for his buys and that the defensive discipline we've seen has a lot to do with Mr Hughton before his departure....however to carry on the good work then Mr Pardew deserves much credit. I hope they get the Champions league place as it would be nice to break with the monotony of the established qualifying up there.

  • Comment number 97.

    lets end the english spanish league debate once and for all. Can I suggest that the top 15 clubs in each league play a home and away match against eachother (with the normal away goals rules), each 2 leg winner get 1 point, at the end of it all the points are added up and the one with the most points wins the best league award. not onyl does this settle an on going debate, it means each of the top 15 clubs gets a european adventure every season. What a great money spinner for the clubs and a great experience for the fans. by the way if this idea gets off the ground I WANT ROYALTIES!!

  • Comment number 98.

    What is the point of comparing Ronaldo's goal ratios in the CL with United and then with Real. All you need to know is that Ronaldo didn't even score in the CL until 2007, and the following season(s) he was the top scorer in the competition iirc. Anyone who is surprised that he has continued to excel in the competition is an idiot.

  • Comment number 99.

    #81
    Could say that about anyone. Why did Barcelona lose to Getafe? Why did Real Madrid lose to Levante? Why did Bayern Munich lose to Mainz?

  • Comment number 100.

    Just loved Bosingwa continuing to show the inside for Santon, a right footed left back. A lack of a player listening to the scout reports or the lack of good quality scouting? In the first 18 minutes Santon had a shot, a blocked shot and an assist for the goal.

 

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