Newcastle 2 West Brom 1: Three talking points
Newcastle 2 West Brom 1: Three talking points as the Magpies win at St James' Park
Who needs finesse when you’ve got power?
In the age of tiki-taka, delicate football, there seems to be an onus on playing the ‘right way’, and why not? There’s not much better than a flowing set of passes capped off by an eye-catching goal. There’s one thing which is always great to see however, regardless of age, allegiance, or which side of the long-ball fence you sit – and that’s long range, ferocious goals. There’s something very basic and satisfying about seeing a player put laces through leather and watching the net ripple. Chris Brunt’s equaliser for West Brom early into the second half was an epitome of that portrayal of power. The Baggies winger found himself with space inside the box following a deflected header, and instead of taking a touch to bring it onto the inside of his foot, wellied it off the bounce and straight over Tim Krul into the goal. Picturesque it was not, but a spectacular strike all the same. Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko responded with similar aplomb, dragging his side back into the lead less than five minutes later with a stunning long-range effort. The Frenchman’s 25-yard effort flew past Boaz Myhill on a straight and true course, while Sissoko’s fleet-footed compatriot Hatem Ben Arfa watched from the substitutes bench.
Newcastle grab chance to move into Europa League spot
Newcastle’s 2-1 victory not only proved to be a valuable three points on a tough night, but also indicated the competitive nature of this year’s league. The Magpies leapt above Tottenham and both Manchester sides – perhaps only briefly ahead of Sunday’s matches – and into the final European spot in the table. Ultimately, the 100 per cent effort given by each of the Newcastle players paid off, as their individual battles across the pitch propelled their side to a fourth consecutive win. Alan Pardew will be hoping his team continue their fine form into the tough Christmas period, with matches against Swansea, Manchester United and Arsenal coming in December. The win against West Brom gives Newcastle a perfect platform to work off, and alleviates some of the early season pressure by an expectant fan base. Yoan Gouffran’s third goal in as many games broke down the resilient Baggies defence, before Sissoko’s magnificent strike, but it was Shola Ameobi who impressed the most. The stalwart striker held up play for the full game, and brought life and creativity into the game when it stagnated.
Shane can’t find winning touch for West Brom
After his two goals against Aston Villa on Monday night, Shane Long carried the expectation of pundits and fans to continue where he left off. The quality of his fine contribution to the Midlands derby meant it would be hard to top it against Newcastle, but the Irishman again showed spells of a cool head and beautiful control. Long’s direct running caused Fabricio Coloccini constant headaches, and a compact turning circle got him out tight spots on more than one occasion. The 26-year-old was unlucky to score a couple of goals, with his best chance coming from a wicked, deep bending cross from Chris Brunt which Davide Santon did excellently to clear under pressure. The striker’s leaping ability defied his average height, and had he been able to find the net once again for his side, it’s hard to imagine an outcome where West Brom wouldn’t have gained something from the match. Steve Clarke faces a tough decision ahead of the midweek match against Manchester City, as he still searches for his most fruitful strike partnership. Long certainly will not have done his claims any harm with another positive 90 minutes.