With the 12th round of fixtures in the Premier League now done and dusted, it’s time to take a look at which strikers performed the best on top flight pitches up and down England.
With Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley admitting that a new appointment may not come until the summer – therefore leaving Newcastle in limbo for the rest of the season – are supporters regretting Alan Pardew’s recent departure as manager?
“Clearly my preference is to try to find someone to bring in now. However, if I have to wait until the summer for what I believe is the right individual, then I would rather wait. We’ve had about 80 applications. I hope by the end of this week I will have a better indication whether a decision can be made now or until the summer,” said Charnley.
Earlier into the new season, former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew found himself under intense pressure from his own supporters, who were demanding his sacking at the club. But he turned things around, and the boo-brigade appeared to have been silenced by an upturn in Premier League form.
However, the Crystal Palace position became vacant following Neil Warnock‘s sacking, and Pardew opted to return to his former club as a player to help keep the London side in the top flight, ending his four-year association with the Magpies in the process.
Since his exit at the end of December, Newcastle are winless in their last three Premier League games, while being eliminated from the FA Cup by bottom-of-the-table Leicester City. As for Crystal Palace, the Eagles have won back-to-back league outings and an FA Cup win since Pardew’s arrival, with only four points separating the two sides in the league too.
Newcastle are slowly sliding down the table, and they are keeping the supporters, players and staff completely in the dark about any managerial appointment. John Carver is the caretaker at present, but if a new face comes in, it will mean a new style of play has to be heard and adhered to, which can often see a transition period.
For so many years Newcastle supporters were begging owner Mike Ashley to alleviate Alan Pardew of his previous position at the club, and now they are falling apart after getting their wish. The 53-year-old left the club in 9th place, but they have since dropped two places already since his exit.
There’s plenty of the campaign still to go, but the exit of their former long-serving boss is having an adverse affect to form in all competitions.
Newcastle are currently enjoying a West Ham-esque resurgence, with the North-East side having won their last three games on the bounce in all competitions at home to Leicester City (1-0), away to Tottenham Hotspur (2-1) and most recently, away to last season’s double winners Manchester City (2-0 in the Capital One Cup).
Manager Alan Pardew was quick to credit himself for the turnaround, cheekily reiterating that he “knows what he’s doing”, somewhat jokingly to the supporters.
But the 53-year-old knows he cannot rest on his laurels for long as the Newcastle manager, as things can change very fast. Only earlier this month, supporters were vehemently protesting against him, demanding that the club owner Mike Ashley removes him from the club.
Impressive results in their last three games have considerably risen morale around the team. The players will be believing in themselves and their manager, and the fans will certainly be on side if United continue winning.
After hosting an inconsistent Liverpool side next weekend at St James‘ Park, the Magpies will have four games that could see them picking up points – West Brom (away), Queens Park Rangers (home), West Ham (away) and Burnley (away).
Players such as Gabriel Obertan (3 PL starts, 1 goal, 1 assist) and Papiss Cisse (2 PL starts, 4 goals) have finally come into form, while goals are being spread around the team. Every player is pulling together, and their recent resurgence looks far more of a team growing in confidence, rather than fortunately picking up results.
Their 1-0 win against Leicester City was as ugly as they come, but in getting the result, it transformed the Newcastle side to fight back in their following game against Tottenham, coming from behind to win at White Hart Lane. Their victory against Manchester City was even more convincing, with the Magpies fully deserving of the win.
But even prior to the upturn in performances, the form of Newcastle hasn’t been as bad as supporters were making out this season, as the Toon Army had only lost three from their first seven – the same amount as Liverpool and Everton at the time. It was a lack of wins that was more publicised, but now they have finally picked up a maximum three points, results should be easier to come by without the anxiety.
Alan Pardew’s side are now just one win away from 8th-placed Manchester United in the table. This month, their form in the Premier League is rivalled only by West Ham United (3 games, 3 wins). Good home form is considered the basis for a successful season, and United have lost only to Manchester City at St James Park so far.
Confidence is at its highest for almost a year. The players have dug deep for their manager to get results, and there seems to be no reason why they cannot build on it, especially with a favourable run of games to come. The entire squad are pulling together in the right direction, which could well soon see Newcastle back into the top-half of the table.