You got a real sense at St. James’ Park that something good may finally be happening for NUFC. This finally is Alan Pardew’s team, and it is improving all the time. It was a good win against a desperately poor Blackburn side, with some good individual performances.
We played some really terrific football in spells, but interspersed that with some real sloppy play, some unecessary over-elaboration in dangerous areas, and some woeful short passing. Blackburn themselves created precisely nothing, and any sniffs of chances for them came from our mistakes, usually in the areas in front of our back four.
The big error of course came when we were coasting at 2-0, and allowed Blackburn back into the game, albeit rather fleetingly. Ryan Taylor conceded possession cheaply in a dangerous area and a bad goal resulted.
Despite this annoying aberration, Blackburn were never really in this game, indeed they were fortunate to avoid a good tonking. Ba grabbed the goals, but I thought Best was terrific today. He bullied two big physical Blackburn’s center backs in Samba and Dann, and made some terrific runs down the channels that created time and space for Ba.
Best probably should have scored a couple himself, but snatched at two self-made opportunities lifting them both over the bar. Ba’s first goal was terrific, taking the sting out of very strongly hit pass-cum-centre, making space for himself and rifling the ball inside the far post. Excellent finishing.
In midfield, Cabaye and Tiote were very good. Cabaye is such an intelligent player, and Tiote is almost back to his best, and without picking up yellow cards too. Tiote was actually my Man Of The Match, despite Ba bagging a hat-trick. Jonas worked hard up and down, but as so often his delivery wasn’t always up to scratch.
Obertan continues to improve, although as with Jonas, his final ball was often disappointing. Technically he is a good player, he has pace and causes problems for defences when he cuts inside. He needs to be encouraged to take on his runs with the ball more often, and then deliver better crosses.
Coloccini and Taylor were rarely troubled, and the former was at his imperious best. The weakest area in the team is undoubtedly at FB. Against poor opposition today I thought both Raylor and Simpson were poor. Without Santon demonstrating full fitness, this has to be an area for Graham Carr to be focussing on in anticipation of the January window because the bigger clubs will undoubtedly pick at this weak spot in the team.