Everybody involved with Newcastle United Football Club will be breathing a big sigh of relief this morning, after their team defeated ten-man Wigan 3-0 at St James Park last night.
A brace from a Demba Ba and a superb effort from young substitute Gael Bigirimana were enough to claim a vital victory.
In truth the game was changed completely in the 13th minute.
Wigan had arguably started the game brighter than the nervous home side, but were reduced to ten-men when Maynor Figueroa was given a straight red card for a shoulder-barge on Papiss Cisse in the penalty area.
Striker Demba Ba scored from the resulting spot kick and Newcastle were on their way to three points. Ba added a second from close-range in the 21st minute and young substitute Gael Bigirimana scored the third with a fantastic curling effort in the second half.
The win was a tonic for Newcastle and their beleaguered boss Alan Pardew. The Magpies had suffered four straight league defeats prior to this clash and were just two points above the relegation zone.
This defeat may not have moved the home side up the table position wise, but I’m sure boss Pardew will be breathing a lot easier this morning.
Newcastle are going through what can only described as an injury crisis at the moment. Some of their most important players are currently side-lined with injuries. French duo Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa usually provide the creativity from midfield.
Both are currently out injured, as are defenders Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor. All four are likely starters in the Toon’s best starting eleven. Most teams in the top flight would be going through a similar sort of bad run if they had so many players on the casualty list.
Striker Demba Ba has now scored 10 Premier League goals this season. The Senegal striker has scored over half Newcastle’s goals this season in the top flight and the Magpies have become reliant on the 27 year-old.
This could become very dangerous as talks over a new contract have stalled. His current deal runs out in 2014 and he has a minimum fee release clause in his contract, believed to be £7million.
The striker has been linked with a move elsewhere and it seems that Premier League Liverpool have emerged as favourites to sign Ba. Ba was out of favour at the beginning of the season and fell out with boss Pardew, over not starting games.
I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Demba Ba could move on in January. This would be a disaster for Newcastle. His goals have propped the Magpies up this season and if they lose him they could struggle for goals.
Ba’s compatriot Papiss Cisse has struggled to rediscover the form that lead to him becoming one of the league’s top strikers in the second half of last season. He has still scored four goals this season, but isn’t looking like the same player.
One of the reasons is that he is currently playing on the wing and not as a central striker. Alan Pardew insists on playing with just one striker, but doesn’t want to leave Cisse or Ba out of the team, so he switched Cisse to the wing.
The same thing happened last season with Ba and all of a sudden the goals dried up. The ideal solution to the problem seems to be to play with two strikers. However, Cisse and Ba are very similar in the way they play and don’t seem to be able to play together as a pair.
It’s quandary for Pardew and his managerial team. The pair individually are two of the best players Newcastle have. Pardew may not have this problem for much longer though, with Ba being linked with a move away from the North East.
Newcastle are not out of trouble just yet. The Magpies are still only five points away from the drop zone and they must put together a string of results. They face a trip to out-of-form Fulham at the weekend.
This is the sort of game that Newcastle have to start getting points from. However, the home side will also see the clash as a chance to recover from their poor run of form.
The victory against Wigan may prove to be a turning point in Newcastle’s season, but it will mean nothing if the Magpies can’t follow it up with a positive result at Craven Cottage. The hard work starts here Mr Pardew.
Will the victory over Wigan change Newcastle’s season?