All of the time: Mistletoe and Tyne

Wimbledon Guardian: Paying the penalty: Hatem Ben Arfa makes it 3-0 to the Geordies Paying the penalty: Hatem Ben Arfa makes it 3-0 to the Geordies

Every single thing about Saturday was miserable.

My journey to Selhurst was marred by drenched clothes, sodden shoes and a fierce battle with my umbrella to avoid a Mary Poppins impression off the side of the Tennison Road Bridge.

Then the football was akin to our most dismal spells in 2013 - conceding goals at the worst possible times, using players out of position, desperately chasing the game before being casually finished off.

And throughout the 90 minutes bitter wind and piercing clouds of rain whirled around the ground.

Maybe it’s the cold I’m suffering from now that’s messing with my head and influencing this statement, but I can’t recall many games I’ve ever attended that have had as dire weather.

Before kick-off, reading that Joel Ward would be playing in midfield felt like an anomaly.

Yes there was no KG or Stuart O’Keefe to provide steel alongside Mile Jedinak, but with José Campaña and Jonny Williams on the bench, plus Mariappa relatively unaccustomed to our first team, it seemed especially odd.

Moving our best player from his best position – particularly with opponents as in form and skilful as Yoan Gouffran tearing down that flank – was asking for trouble.

While Ward was certainly signed as a holding midfielder as well as a right back, I can’t remember seeing him play in the centre of midfield at any other time in red and blue. The decision was clearly a risk.

Sadly, against a really impressive and cohesive Geordie side the enforced experiment was an unsuccessful one.

If I were to be cynical I might argue it was the sort of move made by Tony Pulis to underline to our owners how badly we need “his sort” of signings in January.

Campaña won’t do. In fact, I can hear the Charlie Adam tabloid speculation already…

Then there was Dean Moxey; dreadful even by his topsy-turvy standards. Where on earth he was and what he was supposed to be doing during the first and second goals is beyond me, but we may as well have had 10 men.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Solid: Why was Joel Ward put in midfield alongside Mile Jedinak?

Clearly he was rushed back from injury a bit too quickly; the left back looked more out of his depth than he has done during some of his worst games in the Premier League, which is saying something.

To wring a positive from the game, Marouane Chamakh again looked a different class in moments.

It was as though he was playing in utopian conditions while those around him were flustered, windswept and bogged down.

The Moroccan leisurely sidestepped and slalomed past Newcastle players, wrong-footed defenders and played neat passes - my only criticism being that he needs to be more selfish.

Nonetheless, it was an all-round disappointing afternoon in south London.

To be brutally honest the Toon were very good, could have scored several more and I was just glad to get in and get my socks on the radiator.


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