x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Newcastle's cold shoulder for Pardew

Best and worst: Pardew's reception on his arrival at his new club was hostile while Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Andrew Carroll was the weekend's best lookalike.

Newcastle United fans make their feelings known about Mike Ashley, the club owner, prior to Saturday night's game with Liverpool, following his decision to fire Chris Hughton as manager and replace him with Alan Pardew. Mark Thompson / Getty Images
Newcastle United fans make their feelings known about Mike Ashley, the club owner, prior to Saturday night's game with Liverpool, following his decision to fire Chris Hughton as manager and replace him with Alan Pardew. Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Worst welcome: Pardew

When they start life at a football club most managers are given a warm reception by the club's supporters for his first game in charge.

Sadly for Alan Pardew that was not the case when he took his bow as Newcastle manager in Saturday's 3-1 win over Liverpool.

Roy Hodgson, the away manager, will have glanced across to the opposite dug-out before kick off and thought to himself: "I'm glad I'm not in his shoes ... anymore."

Pardew's reception on his arrival at his new club was more overtly hostile, with angry banners protesting against Mike Ashley, the club owner, and his decision to fire Chris Hughton and replace him with Pardew, than the muted one which an underwhelmed Liverpool faithful greeted Hodgson in the summer.

A few Newcastle fans politely applauded Pardew's arrival at pitchside. However, the clear message from the majority in the Toon Army was: don't make yourself too comfortable, you will not be here long.

"It was OK," Pardew said of his greeting in his post-match television interview. "It was more negative, but I was expecting that."

Worst accessory: the scarf

When West Ham were 3-0 in arrears against Manchester City, Avram Grant, their manager, must have looked across the touchline at Roberto Mancini, his opposite number, and thought: "Why can't I be like him?

"He's got it all: the players, the salary, the transfer kitty, the brains, the good looks. And he is stylish," he may have wondered.

At least he could try to imitate the suave Italian on the last one, so he sent for a club scarf, like Mancini wears, and tied it just like Mancini does. And he still crashed and burned.

Go for the snood in future, Avram. Or, alternatively, put a few logs on the fire, fetch the slippers and watch the game on television as your time on the touchline looks like it is running out as West Ham sit at the foot of the table.

Best real man: Yaya Toure

Manchester City's midfield general would not register on the Sir Alex Ferguson Masculinity Measure, judging by his get-up against West Ham United on Saturday.

The Ivorian was wrapped up snugly against the biting English winter, wearing the gloves and snood combo so despised by "real men" everywhere.

No matter what Norman "Bite Yer Legs" Hunter and Ron "Chopper" Harris would have made of the outfit, Yaya Toure proved he can play a bit nonetheless.

The rangy midfielder has been growing in prominence in the City midfield lately, following a slow start after his lucrative summer switch from Barcelona.

His two-goal salvo at Upton Park capped his best performance yet in sky blue, laying the platform for the 3-1 victory which sent City joint top of the league on Saturday evening.

Carlos Tevez's subsequently revealed transfer request may be a double-edged sword for some of his teammates.

Perhaps Toure will profit from some hand-me-down snoods before City's captain pops off back to Argentina.

Best double: Carroll/Kyrgiakos

Andy Carroll had a ubiquitous reminder on Saturday afternoon of what he might look like in the future if he carries on with all the off-field excess, in the form of his man-marker, Sotirios Kyrgiakos.

The pony-tailed Greek centre-half is a decade older than the man he was charged with stopping, and looks just like a frayed version of the Newcastle striker.

They play a little alike, too. Their duel was a microcosm of the altered standards of the two great clubs they represent.

Newcastle and Liverpool played out the match of the 1990s - twice - in two games full of bravura football, peopled by some of the most talented players the Premier League has seen.

Saturday's meeting was still entertaining, but in a carnal, bear-baiting kind of way, as the default route to goal now appears to be to boot it into the mixer and leave the big blokes to fight over it.

Worst collision: Berra

Anyone who recalls seeing Phil Babb get caught amidships while colliding with a post during his days at the heart of Liverpool's defence can probably still feel the pain they felt on his behalf.

Christophe Berra, the doughty Wolverhampton Wanderers defender, just avoided suffering the same fate yesterday.

Even if he did escape being hit in quite such a tender place, he was still dealt a fearful blow.

Chasing a far-post cross that was always just going beyond him, he smashed into the frame of the Birmingham goal, and immediately crumpled up holding his hip.

No wonder the Scottish centre-half is such a favourite of his manager, Mick McCarthy, the like-minded former defender.

Berra got up, dusted himself down, and carried on, to help his side to victory.

pradley@thenational.ae