Alan Pardew’s Newcastle side have turned their season around after being one of the favourites for relegation earlier in the campaign.
After winning November’s Manager of the Month award, Pardew’s side then went on to beat Chelsea at St James’ Park, ending the Blues’ unbeaten start to the season. Despite Pardew’s excellent turnaround in the North-East, there is a feeling that the pressure will continue to surround Pardew throughout the rest of the season.
When things are going well for the Magpies, the team can beat anyone. However, if their luck is suddenly reversed, they are prone to falling back down the league table once more. One of the main reasons for this is that the Magpies are very much a confidence team. Although this can be applied to an extent to every team in the Premier League, Newcastle are capable of experiencing extremities over the course of the season.
One of the main reasons as to why they perform in this manner is because the team is made up of players that rely on momentum in order to play well. Papiss Cisse is a prime example of this. The Senegal forward has seven goals so far this season, replicating some of the electric form that caught the eye of many admirers when he first came to the Premier League. Cisse’s goalscoring form has come at a vital time for Alan Pardew, with his goals securing points against the likes of Swansea City, Hull City and Chelsea. Midfielder Moussa Sissoko is another player enjoying fine form at the moment. His impressive displays have caught the attention of other Premier League clubs over the past few weeks and his goals have also been vital to Newcastle’s push away from the relegation zones.
Although some players are enjoying their football for Newcastle at the moment, there are still some who are struggling to find form for Pardew’s side, which will surely worry the manager. Both Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere have found it difficult to adapt to Premier League football since moving from Ligue 1. Cabella and Riviere impressed for Montpellier and Monaco respectively last season but it looks as if they are finding it difficult to replicate the success they had in France in the Premier League. Pardew has instead relied upon the goalscoring exploits of Cisse and Ayoze Perez. Perez really stepped up to the plate and seized his first team opportunities while other strikers at the club were struggling with both form and injuries. He now has four goals for the club this season, including a brilliant finish against West Bromwich Albion. Pardew will be hoping that players like Cisse and Perez can continue to produce assured displays for the team so that they don’t slip back into the dismal form that haunted them at the start of the season.
Pardew should be congratulated for the manner in which his team have defied the odds and moved away from the relegation zone. Even though Pardew will be thankful that the team mustered together six wins in a row, he will also be aware that results could in fact go the opposite way in the upcoming winter schedule. If this does happen, the fans’ patience will be at an all-time low and Pardew will fall under intense pressure from the fans once again. This overbearing burden that looms over Pardew’s head is a fundamental factor behind Newcastle being presented as a ‘mood team’.
If things are going well, the Newcastle fans are some of the best in the country. However, Pardew must be fearing another potential fan backlash if results start to go wrong again. A disappointing 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at the weekend will not put Pardew under too much pressure. However, if Newcastle lose to Sunderland at home on Sunday, he could find himself in a familiar yet unwelcome situation. This is an all too familiar feeling on Tyneside in recent memory, as Pardew’s position at the club is probably one of the most pressurised, even at the best of times.