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Life after Ba looks bleak for the Toon

Everton pile misery on Newcastle with deserved St James’ Park victory

Image Credit: REUTERS
Everton's John Heitinga (R) challenges Newcastle United's Nile Ranger during their English Premier League soccer match in Newcastle, northern England January 2, 2013.
Gulf News

Newcastle, England: Newcastle United’s bleak midwinter continues. Alan Pardew’s injury-hit side’s 2-1 home defeat by Everton on Wednesday means they have now lost nine of their last 11 Premier League games and, despite there being much to applaud about their contribution to an exhilarating match, life after Demba Ba may not be easy.

Everton headed back across the Pennines still harbouring very real hopes of Champions League qualification but David Moyes’s side will know they might have struggled to collect all three points had it not been for another superlative performance from Leighton Baines. The left-back scored the equaliser and his crossing and dead-ball kicks tormented Newcastle throughout, to the extent that he might easily have completed a hat-trick. As it was, substitute Victor Anichebe bagged the winner after good work by Nikica Jelavic.

“To come to St James’ Park you have to play very well because you are going to come up against one of the top teams in the Premier League,” said Moyes. “I think Newcastle are in a false position. They’re a strong team with a strong manager.” Pardew needs such staunch support right now. “Let’s be honest, we’re on an awful run,” he said. “Everton had a little bit more guile, a little more quality, a little more experience. I need to get some players out of the treatment room and my best side out on the pitch because I can’t hide that we’re right in trouble.”

Even so Moyes’s players were insufficiently wary when, in the second minute, their defence misread Tim Krul’s long punt forward. With both Johnny Heitinga and Sylvain Distin missing the ball, it fell to Papiss Cisse, running beyond them, to direct a looping header over Tim Howard and into the net. “Are you watching Demba Ba?” chorused the Gallowgate end. The Senegal striker had fled the city earlier in the day, high-tailing it to Heathrow for talks with Chelsea after the west London club triggered the £7 million (Dh41.7 million) release clause in his contract. “Demba goes with our blessing,” said Pardew.