Lay Your Hands On Me?

“Heavy handed” seems to be our manager’s favourite phrase at the minute. He has used it a few times since that disastrous afternoon on April the 14th. I don’t think he is levelling the accusation at the fans (I doubt he would dare with the precarious position of faith he holds with a vast majority of them) but at the media.

This seems rather bizarre.

Granted the national press seem to have forgotten about our neighbours new manager’s unsavoury political beliefs and have hailed him as some kind of footballing breath of fresh air (one I expect to blow out as soon as the pampered millionaires on the Wear achieve safety this season and realise they don’t particularly like doing extra training sessions and being slapped about by an obviously crackers Italian).

I think the local press have been pretty fair with someone they have to work with on a very regular basis. Did Pardew expect to get an easy ride from press or fans when the derby performance was completely lacklustre and unacceptable? It is the job of the local press to not only report on news and matches but report back to the club the feelings and attitudes of the thousands of paying customers of the club.

Constantly harping back to the derby and stating that he wants the players to feel hurt and realise the huge implications that defeat has had on the club is the wrong thing to do.

Negativity breeds negativity.

Nor was the cack-handed vitriol dished out by him in the days following the defeat. I for one am not bothered by thoughts of revenge next season or finishing above them this season, when we have a more important and current problem facing us i.e. survival in the Premier League.

I was more worried about what he didn’t say or do. He moved training to the stadium last week but didn’t even consider looking at a different formation or even tactics for our game at The Hawthorns, apart from the old ‘get in their faces’ malarkey which is fine for 60-70 minutes but players can not sustain that for a full game. Hence we blew ourselves out and were hanging on for a point at the end.

The point of these musings.

I’m worried Pardew has blown himself out. He is struggling to get the best out of a squad of very good players, mainly by playing them out of position or not playing them at all.

Cabaye in my opinion is operating way too deep and we aren’t seeing the killer passes we all know he is capable of. On many occasions in the derby he took the ball from a centre half twenty yards inside his own half.

Sissoko looks a shadow of the player we first bought. Confused as to what position he should be playing or hampered by Pardew’s instructions? Both I reckon.

The substitution of Gouffran for Ameobi is the easy option to take and our plan B of simply lump it to Shola has no place in how we should be playing.

I believe Pardew is under pressure from an owner who’s plans are in tatters if we are relegated for the second time in his tenure. I don’t think he is under immediate pressure of the sack this season though.

We have had a few huge games this season. Saturday’s game against Liverpool without the now suspended biter from Uruguay is the next on the list. Win and we are safe and  likely to pick up a couple of more points this season and maybe jump a few places up the league.

Defeat doesn’t bear thinking about.

Two trips to a West Ham team with an on-fire Andy Carroll and the always clever Nolan and a Premier League leaving do at QPR worry me. Defeat after Saturday with only one away win all season? I have knots in my stomach just thinking about it.

We could go into the last game of the season needing to beat an Arsenal team still needing points for Champions League qualification. Gulp.

What I want to see on Saturday is a game plan. I want to see the team get at Liverpool from the off. Quick, attacking football turning their ponderous centre halves. I’d like to see Cabaye playing in advance of Sissoko in a front four with Cisse, Gouffran and Marveaux or Ben Arfa.

Most of all I’d like to see a win because if we lose, Mr Pardew will get “heavy handed” criticism from more than just the local media and fans on social networking sites but from his employers too.

And I do not think he would recover from that blow and we will have yet another manager in the hot seat.


P.S. I apologise for another Bon Jovi reference but it seemed apt as I am sure we will have more “Keep the Faith” pleas to come between now and kick off


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