Newcastle Club Focus – Weekend of disappointment for Magpies

Newcastle’s longstanding unbeaten home record finally came to an end with a comprehensive defeat against Chelsea. Alan Pardew and his side will feel hard done by as the visitors should have been reduced to 10 men early in the game but they were left to rue referee Mike Dean’s leniency. The result sees the Magpies drop out of the top four and they now lie sixth in the table. The club received further bad news in a difficult week when it was announced that central defender Steven Taylor could be out for the rest of the season.

The biggest talking point from Saturday’s game came as early as the fourth minute when Demba Ba appeared to be brought down by last man David Luiz when he was heading towards goal. Although he did not have possession of the ball it looked likely that Ba would be in with a decent goalscoring opportunity. Referee Mike Dean decided to only hand Luiz a yellow card when a sending off could have changed the course of the game entirely. Alan Pardew was left fuming by the referee’s decision and even went to see Dean at half time to query the official’s choice of card.

If the Magpies have been enjoying more than their fair share of good fortune so far this season then it turned around completely on Saturday. As well as the debated sending-off the Magpies hit the woodwork three times and ended the game with both of their centre backs injured. Pardew revealed on Sky’s Goals on Sunday that Dean has since changed his mind over the incident: “He said, ‘I made a mistake, he should have been sent off. At half-time yesterday, his opinion was different, but his opinion would have been altered if his assistant referee had done his job, in my opinion.”

Although 3-0 did flatter Chelsea on Saturday the away side did deserve to leave the Sports Direct Arena with all three points. On one of the few occasions this season the Magpies’ defence was breached on a number of occasions with goalkeeper Tim Krul once again in fine form to keep the score down. Newcastle biggest problem was at left back where Ryan Taylor was given a torrid time by the talented Daniel Sturridge. There is a feeling that Taylor is starting to struggle in recent weeks and it may be time to give Italian Davide Santon a first start in the league.

It is certain that Newcastle will have to make changes to the back four which has been unchanged for much of the season. Central defenders Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini both limped off against Chelsea with the former the most seriously injured. Taylor needs Achilles surgery and is likely to be out for the remainder of the season. It is a major blow for the 25 year old who has got his career back on track and has recently been linked with a senior England call-up. Coloccini limped off with a thigh strain and is doubtful to face Norwich next weekend.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Norwich v Newcastle

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