It’s safe to say that Newcastle United have endured a very difficult start to the Premier League season. Once more, the Geordie fans have openly protested against manager Alan Pardew in their attempt to remove the former Southampton boss from the St. James Park dugout. Owner Mike Ashley has not been spared from criticism either – and offering Pardew an eight year contract in 2010 looks like being one of the worst decisions he has ever made. Sacking the former Charlton Athletic gaffer would give Pardew a hefty pay-off, and the last thing Ashley wants to do is reward his under-performing manager.
This is the exact reason why the under fire chief is still the main man at Newcastle. Things could be looking up for the former West Ham boss, claiming their first win of the season at home to Leicester City at the weekend. Despite sitting in the relegation zone, Pardew’s men have only lost three games from eight matches, the same amount as the likes of West Ham, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton. The problem is too many draws, with local rivals Sunderland the only team to have drawn more games than the Tynesiders, with the Black cats one place above them in the table.
The style of play Pardew plays has also angered the fans. One word to describe it is predictable. A simple 4-4-2 formation is the system used to get the ball up to the forwards as quickly as possible. This can sometimes work, if the two strikers are top quality and are willing to work hard. Despite finishing as the top scorer for French side AS Monaco, Emmanuel Riviere has failed to deliver the goods since his £6m move to England in the summer.
Currently, the Magpies have the third worst tackles per game rate in the Premier League and the fourth worst in terms of shots on target per game. This just shows that Pardew has a struggle on his hands at both ends of the pitch. Defensively, they have been surprisingly poor and it’s hard to see why they have leaked goals due to the amount of experience Newcastle have to call upon. With Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini the first choice centre back pairing having played a combined total of 395 games in the famous black and white of Newcastle, it’s hard to see why questions are being asked at the backline. Daryl Janmaat, who had an impressive World Cup campaign with Holland, is another who could be plying his trade at a bigger club, and has made a decent start to his Newcastle career as Mathieu Debuchy’s replacement. But this hasn’t stopped the goals flooding in at the wrong end.
Many have put most of the blame on Alan Pardew, with only some laying the responsibility for Newcastle’s poor start to the 2014/2015 campaign on the players. In all fairness, it’s been a combination of the two. In many games, especially the 4-0 loss away at Southampton, Pardew’s tactics have been laughable, while on the other hand, the players have failed to perform to the levels they should.
So, despite results and performance slightly improving in the last two games, is Pardew’s job still in jeopardy? Yes is the answer.