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Season 2011-12
Stoke City (h) Premier League

In association 

Saturday 21st April 2012, 3pm

Venue: St. James' Park



This issue was printed in 3D - with free viewing glasses distributed

Newcastle United

Stoke City

3 - 0



14 mins Hatem Ben Arfa unlocked the Stoke defence with a mazy run and cross from the left flank that picked out Cisse. And when the number nine's header hit the bar, Yohan Cabaye was on hand to nod in the rebound from close range in front of a jubilant Leazes End. 1-0

18 mins
Cabaye turned provider to supply inch-perfect through ball that found Papiss Cisse running in behind the City back line and he expertly rolled the ball first-time beyond Asmir Begovic to send the home fans into further delirium 2-0

Half time: Magpies 2 Potters 0

57 mins
Ben Arfa, Cisse and Ba all caused problems on the edge of the City area but when the ball fell to Cabaye, his instant shot gave Begovic no chance, curling and bouncing beyond his desperate dive. 3-0

Full time: Magpies 3 Potters 0

We Said

Alan Pardew commented:

"That is a big, big achievement by us, make no mistake. I am pretty sure Liverpool can't catch us and to finish above them, regardless of their cup exploits, is still outstanding. Whatever we do now, it's an outstanding season.

"But of course, we haven't lost sight of what the city hasn't lost sight of. You can feel it in the crowd, you can feel it in the city, that there's a chance for us to do something really special, and we will go to Wigan and try to achieve that.

"We have got momentum and it's a dangerous tool to have in your locker. We are playing with confidence, we have got ourselves in a fantastic position - perhaps even better than we thought we might be in - and the confidence was there for everyone to see on the pitch today.

"Everybody is contributing. This isn't about one player or one person, it's a combination of a lot of things that have gone on at this football club from Mike Ashley down, and everybody deserves the credit they are getting.

"They were two great goals (by Yohan Cabaye), but perhaps the pass (for Cisse's goal) was better than the goals. I was on the sideline and I didn't even see that run, and he was having to manoeuvre the ball with players left, right and centre of him.

"To find that pass was exquisite - it was still a great finish, by the way - but that will go down as one of the best passes I have seen at this stadium.

"Mike's (Ashley) put something like £273m into the club and he's not taken anything back. Since I've been here I have not really shouted his corner. Politically for me it's a minefield.

"I want to keep the fans in a good place but I would say to them, before they get emotional about it, that Mike has invested something like 25 per cent of his personal wealth in this football club. Ask me for 25 per cent of my money and you've got no chance. I don't care how good your idea is.

"I have never enjoyed myself more as a football manager as I do now. Being a manager is a tough business and Iíve had a year which hasnít been tough, instead itís been really enjoyable.

ďThat is thanks to my staff and the players who have been brilliant. I am not going to say who I think is our player of the year - that would be ridiculous - but we have got four or five candidates and you could put a cigarette paper between them. Thatís how good we have been.

ďSomeone said to me recently that, one to 11, I must be delighted. I told them I was delighted with one to 22. I really am. Guys like James Perch, Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor, before he got injured, have been great. 

Shane Ferguson has come in and done great in his cameos. Shola Ameobi has had a great season, although heís obviously not going to win player of the year, but heís made a fantastic impact. I canít think of a negative within the squad. As a manager, I cannot remember the last time this has happened to me. Itís fantastic.

"I was at the Chelsea-Barcelona game and, of course, that makes you want to be involved in those games. All coaches want to be at the top level such as the Champions League which is the greatest level outside of the World Cup, I would suggest.

"If we were fortunate enough to get into the Champions League then the money will take care of itself. It really will. It wonít take a lot of time to find the players who can go in at that level with the extra finance that will be available.

"I could go and get two extra players and they would be lined up anyway. So we are all set. Fourth place is do-able. I do, however, still think itís a long shot for us.

"We have got a difficult run-in, although that might be a good thing; it could focus the mind. Sometimes when you get one of those games, and Tottenham and Arsenal have them, when on paper you are expecting to win because they are against relegation-threatened sides, they can be the hardest ones to wins.

"So Iím looking at this with a clear mind and with clarity. We have a chance. To be in this situation with four games to go is fantastic and the players should feel immense pride.

"But I will tell you, the one thing that is important is momentum and weíve got that. We have confidence, so teams are going to play very well to beat us, regardless of who they are.Ē

They Said

The tw&t in the hat attempted to curry favour by saying:

ďI have had a look at the statistics and had some good opportunities today and Jon Walters really could have scored a hat-trick. The main difference is that they got into good goal-scoring opportunities and hit the target. We got good opportunities and never hit the target. I donít think their keeper had a save to make.

ďI am not picking on Jon. He has been fantastic for us. He is a great lad and he kept going and kept going but he had three chances by himself, never mind the rest of the team.

ďWe are getting a little bit greedy, we have been in the Premier League for four years now and we are nice and comfortable with six or seven goals to go. We have been to three FA Cup quarter-finals and a quarter-final of the League Cup, we have been to a semi-final of the FA Cup, a final of the FA Cup and the last 32 of the Europe. It has not been a bad four years. We mustnít get greedy.

"Newcastle have got lots of momentum - they have got goals in them. They can be very confident and assured for the last few games because I think they will score goals. I looked at the team sheet and I didnít think Newcastleís squad looked that small. Whatever you do donít dismiss Europe. Hopefully theyíll get into Europe and theyíll enjoy it, Iím sure.

"If they get into the Champions League then itís a fantastic achievement for them and I really mean that and if they donít and itís the Europa League, theyíll enjoy that as well.

"Itís a fantastic tournament. If you do it right you can be successful. We got to the last 32 and we loved it. We really enjoyed it.

"The team that knocked us out (Valencia) are now in the semi-finals. Itís a great, great tournament I think and you know for clubs like Newcastle, Europe at St James Park Ė Iím not using the other name Ė it would be absolutely fantastic.Ē


United made it six successive wins for the fourth time in the Premier League: March 1994, September 1994 and October 1996. That most recent run was then extended to a seventh game (5-0 at home to Man U) before ending with defeat at Leicester.

Papiss Cisse has scored eleven goals in ten games since joining the club (nine starts) and has now netted in six consecutive top-flight games.

He'll go into Saturday's game at Wigan with a chance of becoming only the fourth player in our history to score in seven successive league games. Len White achieved this in both 1958 and 1961, Paul Goddard followed in 1987 and Alan Shearer racked up seven in 1996 - the only player to have done so for the club in the Premier League.

The club's all-time consecutive scoring record remains scoring in nine successive league and cup games, a feat only ever managed by Willie Wardrope way back in 1895. Les Ferdinand made it to eight in 1995 (five in the PL and three League Cup ties).

Yohan Cabaye now has five goals in our colours - four of which have come in the Premier League on home turf: A header at the Leazes End against Stoke, shots at the Gallowgate End against Stoke and Wigan and a free kick at that end against Manchester United. His only away strike came via a free kick in the League Cup defeat at Blackburn.

It's now 398 minutes since we last conceded a goal - our best run since the 449 minutes we racked up in the closing four Premier League games of the 1996/97 season. And we're unbeaten in our last ten home games (9 in the PL plus one FA Cup tie).

United completed their third win double of the season, following on from home and away victories over both Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers.

Potters on Tyne - last ten:

2011/12 won 3-0 Cabaye 2, Cisse
2010/11 lost 1-2 Nolan
2008/09 drew 2-2 Owen 2
2007/08 won 4-1 Owen, Cacapa, Milner, Duff (FAC)
1989/90 won 3-0 Kristensen 2, Quinn
1984/85 won 2-1 Waddle, Anderson
1978/79 won 2-0 Connolly, Withe
1976/77 won 3-0 T.Craig, Burns, Nattrass (LC)
1976/77 won 1-0 Cannell
1975/76 lost 0-1

Total record against Stoke:
  P W D L F A
SJP 36 25 7 4 88 30
VG/BS 36 8 10 18 32 57
League 72 33 17 22 120 87
SJP(TM) 1 1 0 0 2 1
VG(TM) 1 0 0 1 0 1
SJP(FA) 4 4 0 0 11 4
VG/BS 3 1 2 0 5 3
SJP(LC) 1 1 0 0 3 0
VG 1 1 0 0 4 0
Cup/TM 11 8 2 1 25 9
Tot 83 41 19 23 145 96





Just as bad days trigger recollections of previous onfield misadventures, then so do memorable matches conjure up memories of happy times. Although this victory made it six games unbeaten, today was the day when we genuinely strutted for the first time in that run and oozed class right across the park - those who dusted off the 'Entertainers' tag afterwards were on the button.
Scoring goals that were in equal parts brilliant and inspired, Newcastle seemed possessed with an unstoppable momentum and there was something majestic about their play from front to back. 

The multi-faceted attack today showcased Cabaye, who has provided multiple assists during this run but today took on the goalscoring mantle and also found time to unfurl an incredible slide-rule pass through for Cisse to score. Never seen before say some; Beardsley to Cole, say I. Yes, that good.     

The mood of the support was unsurprisingly buoyant, with the sight of a winning and entertaining side in black and white duly savoured. The manager was quick to acknowledge one massive chorus of "Pardew Wonderland", while such was the air of positivity that even the East Stand made some noise - possibly for the first time since Frank Clark scored against Doncaster.    

In truth, it took a while for the Magpie bandwagon to get off the hard shoulder today and Stoke missed a glorious chance to go ahead, but given what soon unfolded it's tempting to say that our defence conceding at that point would have just made us angry.  

Ahead through Cabaye, a supernatural finish from Cisse then moved the focus on to Demba Ba - both colleagues and supporters looking to encourage him into breaking his scoring duck. And although he again failed to do so, there was no lack of effort from him and visible appreciation of the support devoted to him from the stands. 

Within 24 hours, results elsewhere had confirmed our participation in one or other of the European competitions next season for the first time since 2007, regardless of what happens in our remaining four games. Having hit such a rich vein of form, having to 'settle' for the Europa League might seem like a slight letdown, but from a club who began their last UEFA campaign in the Interoto Cup we're overjoyed to be in at all.  

(By the way, in addition to planning for the additional fixtures in terms of playing staff, the club need to retain their praiseworthy mentality of filling St.James' Park this season by reducing prices when they decide the pricing structure for European home games - with the inevitable live TV coverage, some realistic tariffs need to be applied to fill as many seats as possible).

The popular "going to Italy" refrain was in evidence again today, but for a sample of the other overseas delights on offer, then look no further than the Potters, who managed ten games in Europe this season and made it to Croatia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Turkey and Spain.  

That City have managed back to back league wins just once in 2012 and posted a succession of thoroughly ordinary domestic displays and results though cannot be wholly explained away by their Europa League participation however. 

Seeing over-priced show ponies Jerome, Jones, Upson and Pennant languishing on the subs bench tells its own story of an unbalanced, underachieving and ageing squad, while eggs in one basket signing Crouch seems now to be unwisely incorporating his robotic goal celebrations into general play.     

Two goals in five first half minutes settled the destiny of the points and there could have been more; Demba Ba almost ending his barren spell and Davide Santon trying his luck. Cisse had an effort disallowed after the interval when Ba's shot was spilled and Fabricio Coloccini headed narrowly wide before Cheick Tiote answered crowd urgings and served up two stinging efforts in quick succession.

3-0 it stayed though, with scorers Cabaye and Cisse were substituted to standing ovations, job done (the former had signalled to the bench just before scoring his second that he had a problem with his foot. It didn't affect his shooting....)

Substitute James Perch then added to his growing reputation, blocking a goalbound Crouch effort with his first touch. Shola Ameobi made a nuisance of himself up front as the frustrated visitors threatened less and less. 

There had been some talk of Tim Krul missing out on this game due to a back spasm, but in fairness putting his boots on was almost the most testing part of his shift today. Leon Best meanwhile made a low-key return from injury as an unused substitute.

Four to go then, with three of them against sides with everything still to play for, but all of them now rightly regarding the task of playing a Toon side in rude health with some caution. 

To be playing at this level at this point of the season is almost unprecedented and never mind European qualification, the top six finish can rightly be claimed as payback for those fans who stuck with the club in their gradual decline over a decade.

There really been some bloody awful nights since, with perhaps the pick of them the league loss at Scunthorpe in October 2009. From there to here is a pretty remarkable trek, comparable to going from defeat at Roots Hall on New Years Day 1992 to dancing in the streets of Antwerp and Bilbao just two years later. Entertainers? Miracle workers. Merci, Gracias, Grazie, Dank u.....     


Page last updated 01 February, 2013