Newcastle United were defeated at home 3-2 by Hull City on Saturday and only have themselves to blame.
Coming off the back of three straight wins in all competitions, Newcastle were oozing confidence and class in the opening stages of the game. Stroking the ball around with ease, three points looked nailed on as Newcastle took an early lead.
However, Hull then hit back with what was effectively their first attack of the game and with that goal went all Newcastle composure. Although Newcastle did get themselves in front again before half time, they completely lost their shape and slick passing rhythm and were perhaps fortunate to go in leading at the break.
Despite being given a let-off with that second goal, Alan Pardew's side did not learn from their mistakes and Hull drew level almost immediately after the restart. Their misery was compounded by a stunning strike from Sone Aluko in the 76th minute and, a glaring miss from Loic Remy aside, Newcastle posed very few questions from that point onwards.
Having drawn blanks in their first two games against Manchester City and West Ham, Newcastle's main concern was thought to be surrounding their inability to fashion and take enough chances to win games. But with seven goals in four games since then, finding the back of the net appears to be the least of their worries.
Instead, the defence is now finding itself under severe scrutiny from all involved. Excluding the 4-0 collapse at Manchester City, the defending up until Saturday had appeared fairly promising. Three clean sheets in a row and an outstanding performance away to Aston Villa that limited the home side to just one shot on target had given a renewed sense of optimism that the holes that leaked 68 goals last year had been plugged.
However, the three goals conceded on Saturday were far too reminiscent of last season's disastrous campaign in that they were all easily avoidable.
For the first goal, Debuchy left his man, Brady, to Ben Arfa who in turn decided to pretend he wasn't there and unsurprisingly Brady capitalised. For the second, the Newcastle defenders lost their runners and Elmohamady nodded in from a simple free-kick. The winner, whilst an excellent strike from the edge of the box, was scored by yet another completely unmarked player in the shape of Sone Aluko. Any extravagant attacking play was undone by equally sloppy defending.
But negativity to one side, this was a setback for Newcastle and nothing more. Occasionally you lose to worse teams at home, it happens. Liverpool had their unbeaten run ended at home by Southampton on the same day as if to prove the point. Newcastle's shock fifth place finish of two years ago was not without its hot and cold defensive performances either. A six-game unbeaten run was ended by a 4-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic, to cite just one example.
There was likely an element of complacency against Hull, an element that was duly punished, but one bad performance should not overshadow a string of good performances and vice versa.
Truly good teams are able to dust themselves off and carry on after a disappointing result and Newcastle will need to do just that if they are to take anything from Goodison Park in a week's time.
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