Having been somewhat destroyed by Chelsea at home 2-0, next up we faced the might of Stoke City away in what was deemed as a must-win game. We drew 1-1. Granted, we played pretty poorly for most of the game, there were a few positives to take from this game.
Firstly, other than Middlesbrough beating Hull City, other teams around us also were beaten. Hull (as mentioned), Sunderland and also Blackburn Rovers all lost, meaning that we are just two points off safety, one behind local rivals Sunderland.
Keeping on the positives, the arrival of local youngster Andy Carroll as a second half substitution really lifted the team with Duncan Ferguson-esque style of physical play really made all the difference in a game we probably deserved to lose, not to mention his fantastic late equalizer, a towering header that even Mr Shearer would have been proud of.
Also, the arrival of Jonas Guttierez helped us to scrape a point with his enthusiasm and pace, whilst young David Edgar was fantastic at centre-back alongside the equally impressive Sebastian Bassong.
This was Shearer's masterstroke, dropping the forever inconsistent Fabricio Coloccini for Edgar. Bearing in mind that the young Canadian's contract expires at the end of the season, cost the club nothing and is playing for his career, his performance was excellent, whilst Coloccini, a ten million pound signing, has dropped any amounts of mistakes this season that have no doubt cost us precious Premier League points. OK, we were poor for 70 minutes of this game, but the for the remainder, we actually looked like a decent side who have the fight needed to stay up this season. In fact, we could have won it, but given the rest of the game, Stoke would have felt a little hard done by to say the least.
Stoke bombarded our goal all game with their shear strength and power, particularly in the air, and it was Newcastle old-boy Abdoulaye Faye who once again netted for the home side in the first half. This point moves me on to the negatives quite swiftly. Just why Shola Ameobi merits a starting place in this already poor side is beyond me. His display was nothing short of shocking, he kept falling over and it was his fault for their goal. I have always said that I would like Ameobi to do well, being a local lad, but the proof is in the performance, he is simply an awful player who will get the odd jammy goal every once ina while, but his overall play is embarrassing.
I don't like to knock players, but some like him, are inexcusable and are costing us dear. Also, why oh why does every Newcastle manager, including now Shearer, seem to persist in playing Ameobi? Is he a superstar in training? That is all I can guess, but I can only hope and pray that Alan has now seen the light, drops Ameobi like he did Coloccini, and start the far younger and better Andy Carroll in his place. Also, this really was a game that we had to win in the beginning. But, looking at the table now, we aren't in too bad a position with teams above us playing just as bad. Well, perhaps that's taking it a bit far, but they are losing games too.
Next up we have Spurs away, that will be a real test for the players. Spurs have somehow turned their season around of late and are playing some good football. However, we always seem to do well at White Hart Lane, having won their in the last two seasons, so let's hope that we can maintain this impressive record and pick up some much needed points to lift us out of the hell hole that we have managed to get ourselves into.
Howay the lads!