Alan Pardew can sleep a little easier in his bed this evening after his Newcastle United side recorded their first victory of the season with a 1-0 victory over Leicester City.
But Pardew would be a fool to take the victory as anything more than what it was: an unconvincing win against a poor Leicester City side.
In truth it was a poor match. Both sides creating very little and spurning what chances they did create. Magpie’s captain Fabricio Coloccini side footed wide from close range before Leicester’s Matty James fired softly into the arms of Tim Krul after finding himself unmarked in the Toon box.
Obertan saves Pardew’s blushes
It was a lackluster performance from Newcastle United, who again looked void of idea and incapable of defending to a Premier League quality saved only by Leicester City’s shortcomings going forward.
The second half saw Newcastle camped in their own half, playing like an away side, prepared to soak up the pressure and hit the opposition on the break. For 71 minutes it didn’t work.
Poor touches and lack of a quality final ball meant chances simply went astray: Papiss Cisse fired into the side netting after rounding Kasper Schmeichel.
But up stepped Gabriel Obertan, the man who in recent months has gone through a revival and who along with Papiss Cisse has saved Alan Pardew’s job. The Frenchmen picked the ball up on the wing, drifted past two defenders before cutting on his right and firing past Schmeichel in the Leicester City goal.
There were muted celebrations. A near capacity crowd undoubtedly happy to see their team score but well aware that one win won’t change the direction Newcastle United are heading in.
The only thing worse than a booing crowd demanding blood, is a silent crowd void of passion and excitement. Sadly, that’s what St James Park is now. The Geordie faithful have had the noise and passion beaten out of them by a terrible 18 months.
And Newcastle United very nearly threw it away, as they failed to clear a corner and Matty James effort on the edge of the box forced Tim Krul, as he has many times before, to pull off a great save.
It didn’t happen very often but every time Leicester City ran at the Newcastle United defence, they looked like they could break the Magpie’s with ease. Summer signing Leonardo Ulloa found himself in space after the Toon’s centre pairing of Coloccini and Steven Taylor went missing, only the Argentine’s touch let him down.
Newcastle turned to taking the ball into the corner for the final ten minutes, while Leicester looked for equaliser – Steven Taylor having to block twice to prevent sure effort on goal.
Still a lot of work to do
It was from convincing and with Tottenham and Liverpool coming up next, today’s display will do little to calm the worries around St James Park.
The club’s defence capabilities are still questionable, with the feeling that had Leicester City pushed a bit more they might have got a goal. While Obertan’s goal was only the club’s sixth in 27 games – the Toon Army seem to have got the possession game to a tee but are still struggling to finish in the final third.
Alan Pardew guided his side to a much needed win but the club remain in the relegation zone with two tough games coming up and a number of glaring obvious weaknesses to fix – a win is a win but this was from convincing and Pardew would be a fool to see this anything other than a quick fix.
Afterall victory against Leicester City is only the sixth in 2014, Alan Pardew remains under immense pressure.