Newcastle Club Focus – Best strike moves Magpies into top six

Newcastle produced a workmanlike performance to see off a rejuvenated QPR side and keep alive their hopes of achieving a top six place. A moment of magic from forward Leon Best ensured the Magpies took three points with their only shot on target all game. Newcastle were not at their fluent best which was not helped by the early loss of midfielder Yohan Cabaye. As a result an unfamiliar midfield line-up just about managed to see the game out without few alarms.

Leon Best once again showed his knack of stepping up to the plate when the club need him with his first goal since the middle of September. With Demba Ba likely to be absent for the next few weeks the Magpies are without by far their most regular source of goals. It is up to the remaining strikers at the club to keep up the momentum and Best did just that with a classy finish from inside the penalty area. At a similar time last season the Irish striker began scoring regularly to compensate for the loss of Andy Carroll and keep the club away from the relegation zone. Alan Pardew will be hoping he can do the same again and Best also showed his worth by spending long spells playing on the left hand side of midfield.

Newcastle will be hoping that Yohan Cabaye has suffered no significant damage after he was stretchered off the pitch midway through the first half following a late challenge from Shaun Derry. Curiously the Magpies seemed to raise their game after Cabaye left the pitch with the away team in the ascendancy early on. Alan Pardew chose to revert to a five man midfield to compensate for the Frenchman’s absence and allow his side to get a foothold in the game.

The introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa provided more of an attacking spark although some fans would have been disgruntled that he did not play from the start. The manager does not seem to like playing his number ten from the off perhaps as he does always follow the team’s highly organised style of play. In a familiar interview after the game the manager praised his side’s discipline. He said: “We were disciplined with the goal that we had and tried to look for another. And then in the last period of the game we were just seeing it out really, it was a nice disciplined performance from us.”

Newcastle continue to be linked with a host of players in the transfer market with Manchester United’s Ravel Morrison emerging as a leading target. It is believed the Magpies have had two offers rejected the talented teenager who has been linked in the past few days to Arsenal and Barcelona. Morrison has been touted as one of the best players to come through the Red Devils’ academy in recent years but has been hit by a number of off-the-field controversies. As he is out of contract in the summer he would be available at a reduced rate which would interest the club’s owners.

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