Newcastle United: Lessons from 2-2 Club Brugge Draw
Newcastle’s never-say-die spirit was once again in evidence in their Europa League game against Club Brugge, as they came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in the Jan Breydel Stadion in Belgium.
Goals from Vurnon Anita and Shola Ameobi in the 41st and 43rd minutes respectively, cancelled out early strikes from Trickovski and Jorgensen to win Alan Pardew’s men a point.
Shola and younger brother Sammy Ameobi were both named on the team sheet, becoming the first pair of brothers to start for the Magpies since the Robledos in the 1950s, on this historic night.
Here's what we learned from the match.
Newcastle Refuse to Lose
Two hallmarks of Newcastle's play since their relegation in 2008-09 have been a great team spirit and willingness to fight against adversity.
Lesser sides crumble, yet adversity brings out the best in Newcastle, which bodes well for the rest of the season as they virtually booked their place in the last 32. An upbeat Alan Pardew said (via BBC):
"We have got ourselves in a great position and are looking to just wrap the league up perhaps with that win there, which is our next game."
Vurnon Anita Coming into His Own
Three months into life as a Newcastle player, Dutch international Vurnon Anita is now looking every inch a £7.48 million player.
He capped a great week, after a solid performance against Liverpool, scoring with a brilliant volley from 20 yards.
His versatility will be as valuable an asset as his pace and energy, as Newcastle progress in the Europa and Premier League.
Captain Coloccini Needs a Rest
Likened to Bobby Moore by Alan Pardew after the Sunderland derby match, Coloccini has looked a shadow of his usual self since.
After a torrid time against WBA’s Lukaku and an on-fire Suarez at Anfield, Coloccini struggled early on against a pacy Trickovski, who caused problems and eventually scored.
Newcastle's skipper looks a man in need of a rest, after an excellent start to a campaign that involved a return to the international scene with Argentina.
Pardew must rotate his senior players better if he is to avoid the suspensions, injuries and sub-par performances that are the hallmarks of burnout.
Sammy Ameobi Starting to Shine
Manager Alan Pardew and brother Shola Ameobi were full of praise for Sammy Ameobi before the match.
And the 20-year-old starlet showed just why he is rated so highly with some memorable bits of skill.
Pardew told the BBC,
"He has just got this way of getting out of corners that I have not seen many players being able to get out of. He wriggles out of situations."
Effortlessly gliding past players and beginning to impact big matches, the sky is the limit for the younger Ameobi, who has already starred for England U21s.
Discipline a Growing Concern
Whether it’s the extra games or the increased pressure and tension of Europa League and Premier League combined, Newcastle are walking a disciplinary tightrope this season.
Against Brugge it was Steven Taylor, whose shirt-pulling and swan-diving antics in a second-half incident were lucky not to lead to a penalty—or worse, dismissal.
After already losing Tiote and Coloccini to suspension, Pardew can ill-afford to lose another senior pro, so he must erase these wayward tendencies in Newcastle's play.
Shola Ameobi: Striking Masterclass
Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse may both possess the "goal-den" touch, yet for the art of the lone striker and holdup play, there are few better in the modern game than Shola Ameobi.
Winning everything in the air all night and laying the ball off with class, Shola added a 14th goal to his already impressive European tally.
With brother Sammy setting up the equalising goal for the man Nigeria want to spearhead their African Nations Cup campaign in January, Pardew praised the pair. Via BBC:
"I thought they were both good tonight. We had Ameobi to Ameobi - which is almost like a song - for the second goal, which was nice."