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Form Of Newcastle United Players is Declining Under Alan Pardew

This week brought about yet another nonsensical comment from Newcastle manager Alan Pardew:

“We like to think we put down the right foundations here for success.

“All the players that have come here have improved, I can’t think of one who hasn’t.

“That is the most important thing when you are looking at your coaching strategy.”

This statement is not only incorrect, it is completely the opposite of what is actually happening at Newcastle United these days.

Let’s look first at Papiss Cisse. No one could have expected him to continue his immense form of his first season at Newcastle (14 games, 13 goals). However, during the seasons that have followed, we have seen a marked decline in Cisse’s belief, talent and instincts. Cisse’s 29 goals in 65 appearances, on paper, does not look bad but his performances have been nothing short of woeful in the past 18 months. Drained of confidence, he consistently drifts offside, misses chances and lacks any real presence to survive in the Premier League. Is this down to the player? Perhaps. Is it down to the coaching setup at United? More likely. What is clearly evident in Cisse’s play is that there is no one putting their arm around him and telling him he is the best striker at the club — a £10 million fee would demand that surely? Instead he has been cast aside for a loanee from QPR who himself hasn’t been in the greatest of form recently.

With Cisse, the tip of the iceberg is his huge problem with getting caught offside all the time. This is easily fixed yet seems to happen time and time again until the fans frustration has leaked down to the player and hammered his confidence. Has Cisse improved in his time at Newcastle? No.

Another example of a footballer who has declined in form at Newcastle is Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. When he joined Newcastle just over a year ago, he was seen as one of the most talented young centre backs in Europe. Captain of his championship winning side, Montpellier, and edging his way into the French squad, he seemed to be the real deal. What has subsequently happened is that of a complete player implosion. No longer considered for the French squad, he’s now a bench warmer at St James’ behind Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor and often played out of position when eventually called upon. Much like Cisse, Mbiwa’s confidence has been shot. It would be wrong to say Mbiwa has been entirely blameless for this decline. Stupid decisions like last weekend’s when he hauled Samuel Eto’o to the ground for a penalty have littered the 24-year old’s United career thus far. However Newcastle’s coaching staff must also shoulder some of the blame.

What exactly is/was the plan for Mbiwa? Was he bought as a ready-made replacement for departing captain Coloccini? Was he supposed to be former Watford defender Williamson’s understudy? I do not think so. His decline has hastened so much that I would not be surprised to see Mbiwa pack his bags and head back over the channel in the summer. That was definitely not the plan. Has Yanga-Mbiwa improved at Newcastle? No.

We could go on forever dissecting each player’s progression at St James’, the likes of: Haris Vuckic, Hatem Ben Arfa, Moussa Sissoko, Massadio Haidara, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux, Gael Bigirimana and Dan Gosling. A number of those names could still be huge talents. Not under this stewardship though. Has every player really improved Alan? No is the answer.

For more Magpies coverage, visit the Newcastle United team page for news, analysis and opinions.

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  1. Bruce Gottesman

    February 12, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    More evidence – Sissoko scored twice in game 2 against Chelsea and has only scored twice more in over a year. Ba was great until Cisse came, and hasn’t done anything since. Ben Arfa is getting worse. The team now has 4 points from 27, and the combined score of 0-10 in 3 games. With 37 points they should be safe, but it could get pretty hairy if the 3-0 score lines keep coming …

  2. Patrick

    February 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    To me the biggest problem was/is the lack of a #10 midfielder. The closest thing they have is Ben Arfa; whom isn’t a central player you want the ball going through all the time, he’s a winger…

    Looking the matches without Cabaye and than watching them play with him, they were 2 completely different teams. Cabaye was without a doubt the most important and most instrumental player when it comes to both sides of the ball. Yes both sides, While he wasn’t a holding mid by any means. When you can control the ball and keep posession of the ball, it takes pressure off defense. Obviously scoring takes the edge off as well.

    I don’t disagree with a lot of the points. Ther are guys lie Cisse who almost have no reason to not be producing. I’ve wondered if Cisse’s issue was more of a persoal one than the team not getting the most out of him. I think the whole Wonga thing and using religion to try to get a transfer could lead some insight that he’s been wanting out for a little while now, he just didn’t want to flat out say “transfer me” like coldicinni did (another guy you can add to the above list).
    I think they can do just fine with pardew and the guys they currently have. But its desperately obvious they need a centralized playmaker in the midfield.

    • bennett311

      February 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Agree, Cabaye was a huge loss. Also, it’s likely that Newcastle is settled in mid-table and not going to push for a Europa League spot. Unless they had an absolute horrible run of form, they shouldn’t have any relegation fears either.

      • Patrick

        February 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm

        Cabaye was beyond huge. But, at the end of the day it was still good business sadly. If they didn’t pull the trigger, he could of basically bought out the rest of his contract for 6mill. Than walke to the Champions league team of his choice. Better to sell him to PSG whom they won’t have to play a minimum of 2 times (with the poibility of more considering cup mathes)

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