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ricardo

Ricardo's report v Newcastle

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As the teams ran out on a bitterly cold afternoon at fortress CR, my first thought was, No Holt, No goals, No win. After a couple of minutes play I feared even worse was to come as City continually gave the ball away and put themselves needlessly under pressure. Against a better team it might have proved costly but Newcastle looked short on confidence and didn''t look like taking advantage.Eventually City gained some sort of ascendancy, but despite decent approach work they were unable to find a cutting edge thanks to some really poor final balls into the box. It didn''t help only having Jacko to aim at and the little striker was quickly muscled out of it by the Magpies big centre backs. It was a quarter of an hour before Newcastle got near enough for a shot when thanks to hesitancy in the City defence, Obertan forced Bunn to palm his strong drive away. It was a rare attack though as City dominated possession without threatening a goal.There was a real chance on 20 minutes when Wes broke from the edge of our area and set Jacko away to the right of the penalty area. Jacko laid a nice pass back to Wes only 8 yards out but he dwelt too long when a first time effort was urgently required. It was frustrating because Newcastle looked like being there for the taking if only we could find an opening. Unfortunately the game deteriorated from the half hour mark and a Newcastle corner that bounced twice before going out of play and into the side netting, followed by a Pilks shot that worried nobody but the man in the moon pretty much summed up the lack of quality on display. Ref Taylor blew to end the half and we all heaved a collective sigh of relief, hoping against hope that the "Crossbar Challenge" might bring a touch of excitement.I thought it was crying out for Grant Holt to come on and put a bit of pressure on the Magpies back line but Hoots disagreed and the same eleven started the second period. Admittedly things got a bit brighter as City upped the pace. A lovely pass from Snoddy gave Wes a chance to put it in the danger area but only a corner resulted. Once more Pilks delivery couldn''t beat the first man and the chance was gone. City continued to get into promising positions only for poor decision making or a poor final pass to wreck all the good work. At the other end Bunn had little to do other than grab the occasional cross or clear up back passes.Holty at last came on with 20 minutes left and a nice touch from the big man put Snoddy away down the right. He picked out Pilks beautifully and a nice shuffle left the City winer with a clear strke at goal from 10 yards. Unfortunately Krul closed the angles down well and beat the shot away. It was a close as the Canaries were to come to a goal. Two late free kicks gave City the chance to bring the big men forward but utterly dismal delivery let Newcastle off the hook. Bennett came on for Snoddy and as time ticked down his cross found Holty at the far post but the City talisman couldn''t get above it and headed back high to the far post where pilks flashed his header over the top. It was a point to stop the rot but in truth it felt more like two points lost. Wes, Johno, Tetty and Bassong all did fine work at times but also messed up more than once so I''m giving my MOM to Turner who didn''t put a foot wrong all game. So we still have work to do before safety is achieved and if today showed anything at all it was the need for more striking power is more pressing than ever.

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A very good and level-headed report Ricardo.

 

Nothing OTT about what was a sub-standard display and a balanced view on certain player''s performances instead of the fickle over-criticism that is currently flooding this Board. Heroes to villains in ninety minutes.

 

Having said that, I wasn''t at a cold Carra being subject to that display, but rather in my warm lounge watching a stream. I''d better keep my opinions to myself as a result.

 

A point gained, the rot stopped.

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Norwich was both not ready for this game today ( from the first minute of play ) and also did not demonstrate a hunger that they have shown on previous occasions, even when suffering losses. No need for players to be singled out because, as a home team playing a Newcastle side that are clearly struggling, there was virtually no pressing by Norwich when not in possession, and constantly displaying carelessness when they did get possession. Maybe it was the cold weather, although that did not seem to overly affect a greater spirited display by QPR earlier in the day against a much more formidable opponent than we faced. Let''s just write it off as a bad outing and hope the team is able to recapture their normal spirit next time out.

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Thanks for a good report as usual. Looked about the same online. Until holt came on we didn''t threaten much and I agre e it makes it so clear we need more firepower

It should be an interesting trip to anfield next week. Lets hope Suarez doesn''t have his shooting boots on

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I didn''t see all the game, but what I did see demonstrated how reliant we are on crossing the ball as a means of attack. This has been a weakness for many seasons now and was made more apparent by a lack of height up front, ie Holt and Morison, and clever players who can thread the ball through the defence such as Surman and Howson.While a new striker is a priority, perhaps this won''t be a panacea for our problems. We also lack expansiveness, urgency and the ability to one-touch pass. Our midfield needs an addition, or maybe a change in coaching emphasis to get more from the players we already have.

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Perhaps this was the game to change one of our two defensive midfielders (who SHOULD start next week) for David Fox to open up the play, especially with Jackson needing good passes into space?

But a point and a clean sheet is okay in the context of other results if not in the overall scheme because this was a match where 3 were more probability than possibility.

We have had trouble scoring all season, our successful run was forged on better defending. Lets hope we are moving back to greater solidity and the opportunities to score were there today against a Newcastle side who defended hard.

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Just back from the game - major train problems today.

 

Thanks as always Ricardo.

 

I think we need to be realistic, without Holt or Morrison this was never going to be easy. Long balls from the back were always going to be mopped up by the Newcastle defence and come straight back at us. We were using Snoddy as our target man today which says it all. No wonder he got knackered as mentioned on other threads. Knowing that we did not really have a long ball option Newcastle pressed us high up the pitch and yes they forced some inevitable mistakes which seems to be causing a bit of slating of players on ther threads. Fortunately Newcastle were pretty abject as an attacking force and could not capitalise on these advantages.

 

It is a point to stop the rot. I would have taken that at half time. But by the end we almost did it. We had nullified Newcastle as an attacking force, Russ hit the post, Pilks was denied by Krul, Holt/Pilks headers almost did it at the death. So even though the chances were few it does feel like a couple lost. But I strongly agree with you conclusion Ricardo we do need some more strike power. A better team than Newcastle could have run us ragged today.

 

OTBC

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I don''t agree that a better team would have run us ragged today - we played two of the best sides in the country here in the last two games and that didn''t happen, and the defence and midfield defence) was again pretty solid give or take the odd blip. It was the other end that was the problem.

People have been concentrating on he bad elsewhere, but there was good stuff on show too - the problem (as i heard WLY say on the radio when I was on the way home) was all too often the crossing/ball through, and the ball in from set plays - we''ve been good at these all season but were woeful today, and when we did get through the finishing let us down - Imo the crucial moment was Wes''s non-shot where he was badly guilty of dwelling (love him we do, but I have never seen amore shot-shy ''striker'' in my life!).

We clearly do need some more firepower, so hope CH will get his men over the coming week, whoever it might be.

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Thanks as always Ricardo.

Totally agree with BP. Wes showed his ''worst'' side today, plus the crossing was awful. It happens.

Somebody on MOTD just said that when ManU play badly they still win; we''re becoming a team which play badly & draw - which means survival! I''ll take that any day.

Must say we looked a different team with Holt on the pitch.

I don''t think bringing Fox on would have helped. He, Simeon & EB looked great against the Posh, but it''s completely different against even an off-form Prem side. Jackson was ineffectual & even EB was largely nullified by being doubled up on ( although he still managed to put in a couple of decent crosses).

One thing we could really do with is someone who can thump them (accurately!) from distance - Karagounis style (just on MOTD). We always seem to want to pass the ball into the net, so they know all they have to do is crowd us out in the box; we need to give them something to worry about further out!

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I''m not sure playing Fox would have won us the game. It could have just as easily lost us the game. Fox may have helped create a winning goal but sacrificing Johnson or Tettey may well have caused a losing goal. The only thing I would have done differently would have been to start Holt. If he wasn''t fit enough for 90 mins then play him the first 45 or even 60. Then bring on Jackson. But I suspect Hughton felt Jackson has earnt his start. It could be his last though.

 

Still more positives than negatives for me. Negative - we drew a game we could have won. Positives - Another point towards the season''t total. Holt looks fit enough to start next week. A first(?) clean sheet for Bunn.

 

 

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[quote user="nutty nigel"]

I''m not sure playing Fox would have won us the game. It could have just as easily lost us the game. Fox may have helped create a winning goal but sacrificing Johnson or Tettey may well have caused a losing goal. The only thing I would have done differently would have been to start Holt. If he wasn''t fit enough for 90 mins then play him the first 45 or even 60. Then bring on Jackson. But I suspect Hughton felt Jackson has earnt his start. It could be his last though.

 

Still more positives than negatives for me. Negative - we drew a game we could have won. Positives - Another point towards the season''t total. Holt looks fit enough to start next week. A first(?) clean sheet for Bunn.

 

 

[/quote]Exactly my thoughts at 3pm yesterday Nigel. If there are doubts about a players fitness it''s always better to start him and sub him later if needed. If you bring him on with 20 mins left and he breaks down after ten then you are up the creek without a paddle.

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