lunedì 15 aprile 2013

Paolo Di Canio get his first victory

It was a tough day for Alan Pardew and Newcastle. Sunderland secured their biggest victory at St James' Park since 1979 and Paolo Di Canio showed he can coach at EPL level.

Pardew lined up two holding midfielders in Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tioté and stuck with Papiss Cisse up front whileYoan Gouffran on the left and Sylvain Marveaux on the right had the freedom to push up and to turn inside supporting the lone forward. Di Canio started Stephane Sessegnon like an attacking midfielder behind forward Danny Graham with Sebastian Larsson and Alfred N’Diaye in the middle. This was a clash between two vertically oriented teams with both squads that tried to send the ball up front quickly. That made Newcastle unable to try to exploit Moussa Sissoko's spot in the middle of Sunderland's defensive and midfield lines. Also, Pardew dind't take the edge from Newcastle’s numerical advantage in midfield where Larsson and N’Diaye sat very deep to close gaps around Sissoko giving Cabaye and Tioté enough freedom to start the attack.

The Black Cats was playing a counter-attacking 4-4-1-1 -- and it worked like Sessegnon's opening goal showed -- but they started the game taking the initiative and didn't stay passive, pressing high up to disturb Newcatle's build up. Because Gouffran doesn't have defensive skills, Tioté had the duty to slide on the left to help left-back Jonas Gutierrez against Di Canio's right wing Adam Johnson. Like Sunderland's first goal suggested, Newcastle had trouble chasing Sessegnon which acted like a mobile attacking midfielder moving everywhere into opponents' half and having an impact on the game. Pardew'side was slow moving the ball in attack and seemed to have no other plane that send balls up the flanks in the way to exploit 1 vs. 1 and to provide balls to the penalty box. It didn't work because Sunderland lines were very tight and compact.

With Sunderland 1-0 up, Pardew started the second half with a change inserting Shola Ameobi with Gouffran removed and switching to a pure 4-4-2 formation moving Sissoko on the left. Immediately, Newcastle took control of the play with Sunderland defending with two blocks of four just inside their half. After Pardew's team got a goal nullified by an offside, Newcastle's manager reshuffled his line up once again, inserting Hatem Ben Arfa at left wing, taking off Cabaye and moving Sissoko to a central midfielder spot, free to push up. Newcastle kept Sunderland inside their half and pushed on the left flank but wasn't able to open the box playing just aerial balls from the outside. Johnson's goal sealed their fate.

At the end, the Black Cats brought away three deserved points because Newcastle didn't do anything to capture this match. Sunderland simply were significantly better.

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