April Improvement For Newcastle
It was a busy month for Newcastle, with a massive 8 games being played in April. Four of the eight games were in the Premier League with matches against Norwich, Wigan, Hull and Manchester United. They also played in the Europa League Quarter Final against Arsenal and would have to play the 1st leg of the Semi Final if they got through. The other competition they played in was The FA Cup Semi Final against relegation threatened Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley.
: Sébastien Bassong
Newcastle played their first league game of April when they hosted Norwich City at St James's Park. Just after half an hour had been played, Italian center back Davide Astori was sent off for a second bookable offence when he apparently pushed striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel on the halfway line. Nobody could understand why he had been set off but the referee was adamant that he had made the right decision. There were no goals in the first half but the second half opened with one. With not even five minutes gone, Hatem Ben Arfa played a fantastic cross into Alessandro Matri, whose header hit the bar before bouncing in. Attendance: 48,547.
: Fabricio Coloccini
After their win over Norwich, Newcastle hoped to get another win under their belt as they entertained Wigan Athletic at St James's Park. They were without the services of vice-captain David Astori, who was sent off in the match against Norwich. The first goal came when Alessandro Matri reacted first to a defensive mix-up and took the ball in the penalty area before firing past the angry keeper. Wigan equalized when James Mcarthur crossed the ball in. Fullback Mathieu Debuchy missed a crucial header and the ball went through to Chris McCann who headed the ball past Tim Krul. After half time, Newcastle regained the lead when Gabby Agbonlahor beared down on goal. He looked set to shoot but he unselfishly squared the ball to winger Hatem Ben Arfa who tapped the ball into the empty goal. They made it 3-1 when Gaël Bigirimana played a fantastic ball to Agbonlahor who shot at goal. The shot was saved but only pushed out to substitute Giuseppe De Luca. He was tackled by Mcarthur, but the ball went through to Agbonlahor, who poked the ball into the open goal. Attendance: 48,409.
: James Chester
After two consecutive league wins, Newcastle looked to make it three as they traveled to Hull. However the game didn't go to plan for Newcastle and they conceded when Robert Koren's free kick found James Chester, who took a touch before firing past Tim Krul. A disappointing result for Newcastle but after performing so well for the majority of the season, they will surely be praying that their good form doesn't end here. Attendance:23,030.
: Marouane Fellaini
Newcastle faced their toughest league game in April, when they traveled to Old Trafford to play Manchester United. They managed to keep United at bay for the first 45 minutes but they managed to find their scoring boots after half time. Manchester United scored the first goal of the game when Vurnon Anita fouled Marouane Fellaini in the penalty area. Wayne Rooney stepped up to take the penalty and slotted it into the bottom corner. The lead was doubled when Danny Welbeck's cross found Rooney, ho headed he ball past Tim Krul at the near post. The final goal came when Welbeck headed in Nani's corner. Attendance: 75,765.
Europa League Quarter Final Result: VS Arsenal
Having beaten Galatasary to reach the Quarter Final, Newcastle faced a more familiar opponent in the form of fellow English side Arsenal.
: Hatem Ben Arfa
Arsenal traveled to St James's Park for the first leg where Newcastle played host. Newcastle took the lead after just two minutes when Alessandro Matri picked up Moussa Sissoko's short pass before dribbling the ball past three defenders and firing into the net. They doubled their lead after half time when Hatem Ben Arfa's free kick found captain Fabricio Coloccini in the box, who headed past the Arsenal keeper and into the top corner of the net. They really showed how much they wanted to win when they scored another. Tom Cleverley took a shot at goal. The keeper saved it but only pushed the ball out a far as substitute Gabby Agbonlahor, who fired past the floored Szczęsny. The three goal margin was a brilliant victory for Newcastle and they should defend it in the return leg. Attendance: 52,405.
: Moussa Sissoko
Newcastle looked to hold on to their comfortable lead as they visited London for the second leg against Arsenal. The first goal of the game came in the second half when Gabby Agbonlahor's cross deflected in off French midfielder Moussa Sissoko. Ivorian midfielder Cheick Tioté was then sent off for a second bookable offence when he tripped Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla. Minutes after he was sent off, Newcastle doubled their lead when Laurent Koscileny tackled Shola Ameobi in the box. The ball came back out to Alessandro Matri who smashed the ball past the keeper at the near post. Arsenal pulled a goal back when Urby Emanuelson's cross found Olivier Giroud. His header hit the bar but bounced back out to youngster Joel Campbell who tapped the ball in. Arsenal equalized when Campbell's through ball found Theo Walcott who slipped the ball past Tim Krul at the near post. Newcastle retook the lead when Ameobi's fantastic lofted ball found Sissoko who slotted the ball under the keeper for his second goal. The scores remained 2-3 which meant that Newcastle would go through to the Semi Final with an aggregate score of 2-6. The next opposition would be Spanish side Atletico Madrid.
Europa League Semi Final 1st Leg Result: VS Atletico Madrid
After their magnificent 6-2 aggregate win over Arsenal, Newcastle traveled to Spain for the first leg of the Semi Final against Atletico Madrid.
Newcastle had surprised a lot of people by reaching this stage but they were going to have to contain their excitement if they were going to get a good result at Vicente Calderón. Atlético Madrid scored the only goal of the first leg when young midfielder Koke headed in Gabi's corner. The only other talking point of the game was when Diego Costa received a straight red card late on when he elbowed Fabricio Coloccini in the face in an off the ball incident. He will now miss the return leg. This will be seen as a good result by many people, as Madrid were expected to beat Newcastle by more. Newcastle can easily over turn this result if they play well at home in front of their own fans. Attendance: 54,851.
FA Cup Semi Final Result: VS Sheffield Wednesday
Having beat Brighton in the 6th Round, Newcastle faced relegation threatened Sheffield Wednesday in the Semi Final at Wembley.
: Gabby Agbonlahor
Newcastle and Sheffield Wednesday faced off in the Semi Final of the FA Cup at Wembley, with Newcastle the favourites to progress to the final. Newcastle took the lead when Davide Santon's cross found Gabby Agbonlahor at the near post. He planted his head on the ball and powered it past the Wednesday keeper. The second and final goalof the game came when substitute Lazar Markovic reacted frst to a goal line scramble and smashed the ball past the sea of defenders. Newcastle will now play London side Arsenal in the FA Cup Final in May at Wembley.
The Player Of The Month award goes to Alessandro Matri, who scored four goals in all competitions.
The Young Player Of The Month award goes to young Italian center back Marco Capuano, who despite only playing twice, performed extremely well when needed for cover for the injured Astori.