The media has spent the last week awakening to Newcastle’s great start to the 2011/12 season.
With another three points gained against Everton on Saturday the praise for both the team and Alan Pardew is sure to increase over the next two weeks in the lead up to their visit to Manchester to play league leaders City.
But Saturday’s game was quite sloppily played with both teams giving the ball away far to easily. Newcastle at least can point to Cheik Tiote missing from their starting line up and the fact that both Cabaye and Marveaux had to leave the game with injuries.
Danny Guthrie deputized for Tiote and put in an acceptable performance.
Demba Ba has been amongst the goals this year and has an impressive 68% shooting accuracy and an even more impressive conversion rate of 42%.
But there is another of his game that has not been nearly as impressive and that is his passing. His season average is a modest 64% but he only hit the 55% mark against Everton. For a player who often drops deep to collect the ball it is an area that could be improved upon.
Everton edged Newcastle in shots attempted and on target.
Nonetheless particularly in the late stages as they pushed for an equalizer there was a marked lack of creativity from 40 yards in. Crosses from bad angles pumped into the Newcastle penalty area was the default action for Everton as they failed to get behind the Newcastle back four.
Royston Drenthe started on the left side of midfield for Everton but switched to the right during the first half. Drenthe’s willingness to run at Newcastle defenders was not always successful but nonetheless he stood out in a sea of attacking mediocrity.
David Moyes needs to find a way to get him more involved over 90 minutes and further up the pitch.
Swansea fought hard and took a point from their trip to Anfield. They will get kudos for their performance but it shouldn’t mask the fact that if Liverpool had not been so wasteful the three points would have stayed on Merseyside.
Liverpool out shot Swansea by a wide margin but the gap when it came to shots on target was a relatively slim one.
Many of the chances (8) were created by Charlie Adam who travelled far and wide to accept passes.
Andy Carroll got the start for Liverpool and missed a golden chance in the first half when he struck Swansea’s cross bar. He was substituted after 75 minutes and not for the first time this season he looked ill-suited to a side that wants to move the ball quickly and accurately.
Swansea’s defensive discipline was worthy of note. Vorm pulled off a couple of excellent saves but just as impressive was the fact that Swansea only committed five fouls in the game.
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