Time to get back to basics in Toon

By Lee Ryder on Nov 27, 10 11:28 AM

It may well feel like a long hard winter on Tyneside at the moment, but for Newcastle United the Chelsea game is a chance to get back to basics.

After three successive wins in the Premier League, it all went a bit blase for Newcastle against Blackburn and Fulham - and then the bottom fell out against Bolton Wanderers.

If that 5-1 crushing at the hands of Owen Coyle's serves as a reminder that mistakes and sloppiness will be punished in the Premier League then as crazy as it sounds, the shoeing at the Reebok could turn out to be a good thing.

Like a boxer who suffers defeat, it can only allow United to come back bigger and stronger.

But without trying to tell proud professionals what the score is, let's get back to basics.

If it means that defenders aren't attempting to carry the ball out of defence like a Brazilian in the 1970s, then that's fine with me.

I'm still having nightmares about the slack defending at the Reebok.

While survival remains the main aim this season and Newcastle fine themselves back in with the big boys, for now I don't have a problem with Row Z if it means seeing Newcastle squeeze a point or three out of Chelsea.

The fixture list does the talking this season for United.

In games that you would put money on them winning, they've failed.

And in games when you would avoid stick for keeping your money in your pocket, they've gone out and surprised us.

Arsenal being the ultimate example of that from a winning point of view and Blackpool (without the benefit of hindsight) the best bit of evidence from a losing one in my humble opinion.

Chris Hughton talked about highs and lows long before a ball was kicked this season.

And Hughton has been spot on.

From this football observation point the change in behaviour has been incredible from people this season.

People are on a high when the results are going well and then down in the dumps and looking at somebody to point the finger at when things are on the slide.

Like life, football is fickle.

But in Hughton you have a manager that keeps everything in context.

He may lack the charisma of other managers but as the leader of the black and whites, he is displaying a calm figure in the dugout.

Any manager can lash out at his players, staff or referees when the chips are down, it's an easy thing to do.

In Hughton he is able to keep his composure and continue to get the very best out of his troops.

For me, that is what will see Newcastle through what was always going to be a tough season.

After Arsenal people quite rightly spoke of smashing past the halfway point of a suggested safety total of 40 points.

Three games later and we remain two points shy of it.

Against Chelsea, a point would not be the worse result in the world.

Especially given three players now find themselves in the sin bin, two of them victims of football's third eye in Joey Barton and Mike Williamson.

Cheik Tiote returns from suspension and is welcomed back with open arms.

Tiote was actually suffering from a bout of complacency and a dip in form himself before he picked up his fifth booking of the season.

Tiote may have experienced the wrath of refs with a few late tackles but overall his tidy nature was missed badly against Bolton as Newcastle's midfield looked desperate by the end.

Whether Sol Campbell, for all the questions whether he can still cut it at the very top still exist, can offer the solid leadership he offered for England and Arsenal at 36 is hardly up for debate against Chelsea as Newcastle have pretty much no other choice.

Steven Taylor will surely return after a stint on the sidelines that he's done well to survive without doing or saying anything stupid.

And of course the other alternative at the back is James Perch who is also desperate to prove a point.

The level of service against Bolton was questionable again, over to Jonas and Wayne Routledge if they get the chance.

Then it's on to two of United's most consistent performers this season in Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi who only need to keep on doing what they have been this term.

As always more questions than answers for the much maligned Mags.

But the chance to warm up the Geordie public is there to be grasped.


marcusTOON4LIFE said:

Lee, you make some valid and passionate comments. Like you said football is fickle, and that includes us the fans as well. When everything is going all honky dory everyone is buzzing and on a high, but on the slightest wobble everybody is arm in arms. Football and indeed anything you do in life is all about taking knocks. But it's how you respond to those knock backs that makes you a stronger person. It's how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom. So back to the pitch, you're totally right when you say we need to get back to the basics. We've had good decent results so far, and since we are the BEST FANS in showing support to our players, the players tend to try to want to impress the fans and in that process end trying silly moves like dribling in their penalty area rather than clear the line. The lads are hurt with the defeat against bolton and i'm sure they will respond positively whoever plays. WE HAVE FAITH!!! LONG LIVE TOON!!!


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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