Newcastle Club Focus – Magpies hold out for QPR draw

Newcastle United departed west London the happier of the two teams after playing out a goalless draw with Queens Park Rangers on Monday evening. The result sees the Magpies maintain their unbeaten start to the new season which sees them currently occupy a top four place in the Premier League.

In a similar vein to their other games this campaign Newcastle were not at their best going forward but showed plenty of fight and desire to grind out a hard-earned result. While a lack of attacking verve is an ongoing concern at least they can be relied upon to keep it tight at the back.

The home side would no doubt have been buoyed by their transfer dealings with five new players all making their debuts for QPR. The most eye-catching of these signings, Joey Barton, was awarded the captain’s armband to add another twist to his immediate return against his former employers. The colourful midfielder received a warm reception before and after the game from the away fans and also his former teammates. In contrast, Newcastle’s most recent big-name signing, Davide Santon, had to make do with a place on the bench.

The Italian’s defensive attributes would have been useful against QPR who kept Alan Pardew’s side under the cosh for large periods of the game. They particularly targeted the left-hand side with Ryan Taylor under constant attack from Shaun Wright-Phillips. Despite the home side’s pressure goalkeeper Tim Krul had few saves of note to make but was also helped by some goal line clearances. Newcastle can view this result as a point gained even if there is plenty of room for improvement.

Away from the action, Alan Pardew has admitted that the relationship between owner Mike Ashley and the club’s fans is a problem. There is little love lost between the two factions since Ashley took over the club back in 2007. A series of disastrous decisions on and off the pitch mean that the relationship is beyond repair, even though it shows little sign of ending any time soon. Pardew is currently stuck between the two sides as he knows he can ill-afford to upset either the club’s board or its fans. It is often the manager who must face the media to explain any unpopular decisions or controversies.

Speaking about the subject Pardew said: “It’s difficult at Newcastle and I don’t think the owner’s relationship with the fans helps. That’s obvious. I don’t think there’s anything I can say or do that will improve that. Hopefully over the next three-four years, if I bring some success to the club, maybe that can be looked at in a different light. But certainly not in the short term.

A failure to bring in a much promised striker in the summer transfer window has become the fans’ latest bugbear. Pardew has also been upset by the lack of progress in the transfer market with some rumours claiming that he was considering his future on Tyneside.

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