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May 7 / Jamie Hardesty

Alan Pardew Now In A Lose/Lose Situation This Weekend

With Newcastle gaining a much needed point at West Ham this weekend and perhaps more importantly, Swansea City managing to spectacularly stage a 3-2 comeback win at Wigan this evening, Newcastle now hold the fate of their Premier League future in their own hands. Although whether Alan Pardew’s side are capable of gaining the vital points required remains far from certain…

The league table now looks like this:

The bottom half of the Premier League is tighter than Mike Ashley’s summer purse strings!

Because Wigan can still gain a potential 6 points, no team in the bottom half of the table are technically yet safe. Wigan might be known as the Premier League’s perennial great escape artists but with their remaining fixtures being against Champions League chasing Arsenal and Paul Lambert’s resurgent Aston Villa side, few will back Wigan to do the impossible once again. Tonight truly was a ‘must win’ game for Wigan tonight and whilst they still have hope, it’s certainly fading fast.

Anyway I digress, back to more important matters – What do Newcastle United now have to do?

Whilst Wigan’s defeat tonight will most probably be the result that condemned the little rugby club to an 18th place finish and Championship football next season, Newcastle still need points of their own to ensure we keep our place in the division.

Pardew Problems Piling

So just what does Pardew do in light of Wigan’s defeat and in preparation for the QPR game on Saturday? If Newcastle can get a point from the next match and Wigan fail to beat Arsenal next Tuesday, following their FA Cup final game this weekend, Newcastle will survive and Wigan will go down.

Although can Pardew afford to go to QPR and play for a draw? I mean in all probability he will do exactly that. Looking at our recent away games at West Ham and West Brom, both games were very similar in the sense that Newcastle played a good first half of football, only to find themselves frantically hanging on for a point in the second half, offering little to nothing going forward.

If this trend continues and Newcastle again ride their luck, rather than maintaining an attacking and game winning intent, against a team already relegated and set to finish bottom of the league, then what kind of message does that send to fans?

Each week, more and more of us lose patience with Pardew. I’ve never been a big Pardew critic and I still applaud the fact that I genuinely believe he understands what football means to the area and that he has immersed himself in our unique footballing city culture in Newcastle, but the fact remains – his tactics, team selections, substitutes and mentality installed in to the first team have been simply baffling and not at all good enough. Admittedly, Pardew’s passion cannot account for his failure to manage a talented group of players to the required standard.

So what I’m saying is, if Pards continues to approach away games in the same vein as the displays at West Ham and West Brom, playing for a point rather than a win, he will not only be lamented by frustrated  and disillusioned supporters, he will also then have to hope Wigan slip up. Paradoxically, the safe option of being conservative is in fact a risk itself!

Shola Ameobi bagged the goal in the 1-0 victory over QPR earlier this season

The reason I’m calling it a lose/lose situation though is because if Pardew does go all out in winning the game and QPR come away with all the points, Pardew will get berated for not playing for a point when Wigan are likely to get nothing from the Emirates! Catch 22 Monsieur Pardieu!

That is the difference between being a manager and a fan of course. Whatever the manager does, he will be criticised by the fan who is pressure free. There is a possibility that Pardew could go all out for the win on Saturday and indeed bring the 3 points back to St. James’ but if recent results are anything to go by, I’m not too confident of that at all – yes, even against a side set to finish bottom of the league!

What ifs…

This is all speculation of course, fans will eternally dispute what is best for their team and for many, whatever Pardew does is irrelevant now, having already lost the faith of many of the club’s supporters.

What is more certain is the fact that Swansea City did Newcastle a colossal favour in managing to beat Wigan tonight, I think most of us are in agreement that this is the result that probably keeps Newcastle up.

Of course Wigan could lose to Arsenal and beat Villa on the final day of the season, meaning Newcastle would need a point from QPR to stay up. The possibilities are almost endless; it could even be a team seemingly safe in the bottom half who could yet slip. Norwich, Sunderland, Southampton, Aston Villa, Fulham and even Stoke could all face the Premier League trap door, every team is still in desperate need of picking up points…

I don’t know what is going to happen but I know I wouldn’t want to be in Alan’s shoes right now. I can only hope he picks the right team to go to QPR and get a positive result. Swansea gave us a lifeline tonight, let’s not let it go to waste.

The relegation rollercoaster continues to twist and turn, I just pray there are no unexpected drops for Newcastle around the corner…

What do you think, should Pardew play for a draw on Saturday or should he play a more risqué strategy of going for a win no matter what? Are Newcastle even capable of winning their second away game of the season? Will our dismal goal difference play a part? Will Remy come back to haunt us? Can Sunderland get another point without their three top scorers? Can Wigan be their typical selves and beat Arsenal away?! Will Tony Pulis ever look like he hasn’t been dragged through Sports Direct backwards and thrown in to the dugout?! Have the toon got the bottle to beat the league’s bottom side? Will my rhetorical questions ever be answered?!

Until the weekend, that is if my heart can take anymore…

2 Comments

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  1. Tom / May 8 2013

    I fear Pardew’s abilities to construct, or lack of, a side capable of finding a win at QPR won’t be the decisive factor in any points picked up there; and will once again come down to a fairly attritional, far from exciting performance that may see us win through the luck or moment of magic.

    Pardew’s influence on the side is far too gone now for us to be seeing anything revolutionary in performance – we’ll still see the same rigid offensive approach that is more reliant on finding Cisse onside in the box than actually working anything into real areas of penetration – how many times have you seen a Newcastle player crossing from behind the full back in recent games?

    I fear that on their day QPR are a better side than us, and we’ll be beat on Saturday. We struggle to create chances, and other than Cisse, there aren’t goals in this side or even squad.

    Newcastle staying up will be through the incompetence of other sides to allow themselves to not stay up.

    There have been many comments in the media on the French influence that is upon the side now – but I see that as simply skirting over the primary issue that such secondary issues will arise from, and therefore such comments that have been made from Gary Neville, and many other journalists are nothing more than over used cliched rhetoric. Example;

    Moussa Sissoko is a talented player, as is Cabaye, Tiote, Yanga-Mbiwa. These were coveted players. I’m a believe that the allowance of talent to perform in the best way possible will prevail against infrior talent. Meaning that if Pardew can set up eleven players from this squad to the best of their abilities, we wouldn’t be anywhere near the drop-zone; which in essence is a fundamental barometer of any manager’s ability.

    Any question of discorse within the squad, and an overriding and unhealthy French influence isn’t the issue. Moussa Sissoko, in example, knowing what it is like to play for Newcastle United, or what it means for the fans, is a side issue. Any confidence he’s lost is through the doing of the manager, and as a result any underperformance is of the exact same result. He’s played out of position in a side that doesn’t play to his strengths – so you tell me why he should be jumping for joy, and full of the ever important ‘fight’.

    Simple cause and effect. Pardew’s inabilities to set this side up to play to it’s strengths has caused any discord, and the fact that signings of talented players all being French become an issue. In proffesional football, the talent of a player will always prevail as long as they are allowed to play to that talent – it doesn’t matter what Nationality they are.

    • Jamie Hardesty / May 8 2013

      I agree with you, the buck must indeed fall with the manager. Your point about Sissoko, for example, is well taken too. Whether Pardew’s day is done or not not remains to be seen, does Mike Ashley give ‘his man’ more time or does he recognise that he could get a new manager in to allow his talented squad, of which he’s invested tens of millions in, to reach their potential?

      I do agree with you though, as much as I do harbour some love for Pardew’s passion, as a spectator seeking entertainment, he has failed first and foremost as a manager – something which is paramount to him being at the helm. Like any business, if an upgrade is available then he must simply be replaced.

      Yes we seek stability at this football club but it must come in the right manner, perhaps a change of manager is the best option (especially if we lose to QPR).

      Great comment, thanks for contributing!

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