Match analysis: Newcastle United 1 Blackburn Rovers 2
EVEN in the euphoria of a derby demolition of Sunderland and a magnificently unexpected victory at Arsenal, we were warned there would be bad times ahead for Newcastle United this season – and we can only pray there are not going to be any worse than this.
Blackburn Rovers came to defend and came away with a victory. Their winning goal came against the run of play, although in truth, that would be exaggerating Newcastle’s attacking threat.
Having equalised through Andy Carroll’s second-half header, United never came close to exerting concerted pressure on the visitors’ goal before Jason Roberts charged through the middle of their defence to steal all three points.
This was comfortably the Magpies’ worst performance of the season and there is nothing like a home defeat against a side managed by Sam Allardyce to douse the fires of optimism which have been burning on Tyneside since that 5-1 thrashing of their local rivals.
Newcastle remain in a far better position than we might have expected at this stage of the season.
However, their home form is becoming a real worry – not least because they are failing to beat the teams who are likely to be fighting for their lives at the bottom end of the table.
The Magpies are not back down there yet, but they must realise they cannot afford to have so many players under-perform over 90 minutes – and Cheik Tioté was just one of them.
If there is one criticism of United’s otherwise impressive new signing it is his propensity to dwell on the ball for too long in potentially dangerous positions.
They have been warning signs which have not been heeded and, after lucky escapes against Sunderland and Wigan, Tioté was punished in quite devastating fashion.
The Ivory Coast international’s quick feet are generally good enough to get him out of trouble but, as he tried to be too clever inside his own area, Brett Emerton pressured him, forced the mistake and stole possession.