Newcastle United vs. Hull City: 6 Things We Learned
On paper, a home game against a newly promoted side would be the ideal fixture to follow a win on the road and cement a place in the top half of the Premier League table.
After a well-deserved victory at Aston Villa last weekend, over 51,000 crammed in to St. James’ Park to see if the Magpies could register their third consecutive win.
Not for the first time, however, the Geordie public went home disappointed, and their 3-2 loss threw up more questions than answers. Here we take a look at six things we learned from the Toon’s second defeat of the campaign.
Mathieu Debuchy Flatters to Deceive
After last Saturday’s win at Aston Villa, French right-back Mathieu Debuchy earned some well-deserved praise after a difficult start to his Newcastle United career.
For the most part, it seemed the former Lille man had finally found his feet at Villa Park, and rivalled Hatem Ben Arfa for the man of the match award in the eyes of many.
Against Hull City, however, he was up to his old tricks once more, and continually went missing in a defensive capacity, allowing the visitors time and space to capitalise.
His sense of positioning was at fault for Hull’s opener, with Robbie Brady given the freedom of the penalty area. Alan Pardew spoke of consistency after the game, and Debuchy needs to find some—and quickly.
Papiss Cisse Needs a Goal Almost as Much as Danny Graham
Hull forward Danny Graham couldn’t buy a goal in the red and white of Sunderland last season, and he continues to frustrate for City, missing a couple of gilt-edged chances against Newcastle on Saturday.
But if ever a striker needed to find the back of the net, it is Papiss Cisse.
United’s Senegalese attacker has failed to score in his last 11 Premier League games and never looked like breaking that unwanted run against Steve Bruce’s men.
Alan Pardew and the Geordie fans are well aware of Cisse’s ability, but the 28-year-old needs to get off the mark soon, or his place in the starting XI will be under threat.
Loic Remy Must Be Signed on a Permanent Basis
In his post-match press conference, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew hailed Loic Remy as one of the rare highlights of Saturday’s defeat to Hull City, and it was easy to see why.
The creative forward was a constant threat to Hull’s back line and showed his efficiency in front of goal with two instinctive finishes in the first half.
His temporary switch from Queens Park Rangers means the Frenchman’s future could lie elsewhere once his season-long loan ends in May.
Even at this early stage, Remy’s quality stands out in the Magpies’ three-man attack, and the club’s hierarchy should move quickly to make the move permanent in January, much like they did with Hatem Ben Arfa in 2011.
Newcastle’s Defence Must Learn from Their Mistakes
For the third time in their last nine home games, Newcastle conceded three goals at St. James’ Park, and against Hull City, they looked edgy at the back all afternoon
Steve Bruce’s side continually asked questions of the Magpies’ back four as the visitors created a number of good chances before and after the break.
A unit consisting of Mathieu Debuchy, Fabricio Coloccini, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Davide Santon is considered by many to be Alan Pardew’s best option in defence.
But they must begin to display an air of stability if the Toon are to progress this term, and they need to get Saturday’s performance out of their systems quickly.
Hatem Ben Arfa Can’t Be Relied on Every Single Week
As good as he has been so far this season, it’s inevitable that Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa is going to have the odd off day, and against Hull City, he certainly didn’t have things all his own way.
The Frenchman saw a lot of the ball in both halves on Saturday, but such is United’s reliance on the 26-year-old’s creativity; they often look as if they're out of ideas if Ben Arfa isn’t at his best.
At times, the former Marseille winger can be unplayable, much like he was against Aston Villa last weekend, but the Magpies desperately need another attacking outlet.
Loic Remy certainly looks like he could be the answer on the left of the Toon’s front three, and his ability might just take some of the burden off Ben Arfa over the coming weeks.
Moussa Sissoko Is Beginning to Show His True Colours
After arriving in the Premier League with a bang in January with three goals in his first four games, Moussa Sissoko lost his way at the back-end of last season and struggled to find any consistency at Newcastle.
Since being installed in United’s midfield this term, however, the French international has looked solid alongside Vurnon Anita, and continues to grow in stature.
His display on Saturday against Hull City—particularly in the first half—underlined his importance to Alan Pardew’s side, and his pace and power played a big part in the Magpies’ opener.