Date: 27th February 2011 at 12:35pm
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I’m going to be honest. The problem with my job is that, sometimes, the times that I am in traverse the build up, the match and the aftermath. So, when I was originally reading the BBC website after Kevin Nolan’s goal, my initial thought ‘After the reception we gave you at T’Reebok, you go an perform the chicken dance when you score? Ungrateful scouse bast….’. Naturally, after seeing his interview on (Last On) Match of the Day, and seeing the ‘celebration’ myself, it would appear that he momentarilly forgot himself. This, I suppose, can be forgiven. As long as he doesn’t do it again.

You had the feeling Nolan was going to score. Football Focus had an interview with him, and he has been prolific this season. That we, again, rode our luck in the first half, when Newcastle were the better team, cannot be argued with. That we could, and should, have finished them once Ryan Taylor was sent off is undoubted. Some interesting choices in subsitutions may have held the key.

Against the run of play we scored. I have had the choice of putting Danny Sturridge in my Fantasy Football team, but decided against it as the last time I included a Bolton striker, Elmander stopped scoring. Not making that mistake again. His goal, as with the one against Spurs, was a goal of little back lift that suprised the keeper. As many have said, Chelsea must be kicking themselves at the moment. With a long backlift.

Of the sending off, there is little to say. Except. It really peeves me off when managers say there isn’t a malicious bone in a players body, just as he’s lunged in with two feet. None of us are saints, and if there wasn’t a malicious bone in Ryan Taylor’s body, he wouldn’t have lunged in, two footed. And he may not have meant to. But that is an entirely different thing. If Elmander hadn’t jumped, we would be down one striker. I’m not calling him Ryan Shawcross, or anything, but I’m sorry Mr Pardew, and any other manager who spouts such clap trap, I don’t buy it.

What puzzled me were the subsitutions. Taylor’s sending off was the turning point in the game, but took place in the fifty third minute. It took another twenty six minutes for Mark Davies to replace Muamba and the only other substitution was Matty Taylor for Petrov. This left both Lee and Klasnic on the bench.

Earlier in the season, when 2-0 down at home to Blackpool, we were praised for the gung-ho spirit of our fightback, throwing on attacking players like they were going out of fashion. Now, call me picky, but Fabrice Muamba is not an attacking player. The extra space afforded the team once Taylor had gone cried out for Mark Davies to come on and exploit, in tandem with Holden, whilst Lee could have barrelled down the right. As for Klasnic, it seems that as long as SuperKevinDavies draws breath, he won’t come on in his place. Klasnic and Sturridge are the form strikers and it is no shame to bring the captain off once in a while. Barring injury, I can’t remember the last time SuperKev was subbed.

At the beginning of the game we would probably have taken a point, and a point is still a good result to take away from the north east. It is, however,a chance spurned to put pressure on Liverpool for the sixth spot.

 

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