After another dismal performance by the Magpies at the St. Mary’s, Newcastle looked like they have already given up on this season.COMMENT
Before the weekend’s games in the Premier League kicked off, Alan Pardew’s men were already made out to be underdogs going into the game against Southampton.
The press were not wrong in making such claims, because Newcastle were smothered 3-0 at home by Everton the week before. However, in their last five games, they have managed to pull off three wins.
But that is just the way they are. If anyone were to label the Magpies with one word, it would be: inconsistent.
Against the Saints, it was apparent that Newcastle lacked two things: a player to make the telling passes and another one to find the back of the net.
Hatem Ben Arfa was supposed to be both, considering his reputation, but on that evening he was arguably the worst player on the pitch.
“Barely registered his presence on his return to the first team and it was no surprise to see him hauled off at the break,” Goal’s George Ankers said about the 27-year-old. “A total absence of contribution.”
That is no farther from the truth than Newcastle’s inability to play in Europe next season.
The Magpies used three left-backs in one match - Massadio Haidara, Paul Dummet and Davide Santon - and without Loic Remy, the club’s top scorer, they were destined to fail.
The only man that could be commended for his performance was Rob Elliot in between the sticks.
Tim Krul’s replacement is not the best goalkeeper in the EPL, with his poor kicking and handling of crosses, but his saves kept his team in the game until added time in the first half. One can only imagine the scoreline if it weren’t for his (somewhat) save hands.
Nonetheless, Newcastle was up against a team that at one point, led the standings with their perfect run at the beginning of the campaign.
The trifecta of Englishmen in Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez were directly responsible for the thumping of the team that hasn’t won silverware over the last 40 years.
In other words, a 4-0 loss to Southampton - in this season at least - isn’t something to be absolutely ashamed about.
Looking forward, Newcastle have at least three tough games in their last six of the season and that includes could-be champions Liverpool.
If they can manage to field their best eleven for the remaining games, then perhaps a top-10 finish is viable.
Still facing issues with a depleted squad, Pardew has to find ways to pacify the fans with some decent performances before the end of the season.
The team needs a new kind of overhaul, one that isn’t French-centric, in order to wake up from this slump. Uninterested players will have to go and perhaps a new set of players from the academy can whip the squad up a little bit.
This season is all about done for the Magpies; they have nothing to play for accept for pride.
Maybe what these lads need is another relegation to the Championship to gain some confidence, or an unexpected tycoon to splurge on the Newcastle brand.