Decent February For Newcastle
In the shortest month of the year, Newcastle still found themselves up against a number of teams. In the Premier League, they played three games against Fulham, Aston Villa and Manchester City. They also played in the Europa League 1st Knockout Round against French side AS Monaco, who Newcastle manager Alan Shearer rejected months earlier. The other competition they played in was The FA Cup 5th Round against Npower Championship side Birmingham.
: Alessandro Matri
Newcastle kicked off February away to London side Fulham. Newcastle started well and Alessandro Matri put them in front when he tackled Fulham defender Brede Hangeland in front of the Fulham penalty area. Matri went clear of the defense before firing past the goalkeeper. Newcastle doubled their lead when Demba Ba drilled a low cross into Matri. Matri took a shot which deflected off a defender before looping over a goalkeeper. Straight after half time, Fulham pulled one back when Marcello Trotta picked up Alexander Kačaniklić's pass and fired past Tim Krul. Minutes later, Fulham fantastically equalized when Davide Astori headed fullback John Arne Riise's cross into his own net. The game stayed 2-2, which will have been seen by Newcastle as a disappointing result. Attendance: 22,120.
: Alessandro Matri
Newcastle had to come from behind twice to beat Aston Villa, when they traveled to The Midlands. Villa took the lead when Nicklas Helenius's free-kick flew into the top corner. Minutes later, Newcastle were level after Alessandro Matri fired in Hatem Ben Arfa's cross. After half time, Villa took the lead again when Marco Capuano was adjudged to have fouled Christian Benteke in the penalty area. Helenius got his second as he converted the penalty with ease. Newcastle equalized when Matri, who looked set to shoot, squared the ball to teammate and ex-Villa player Gabby Agbonlahor who tapped the ball into the open goal, with the keeper having rushed out to Matri. Newcastle took the lead for the first time when Matri picked up Tom Cleverley's short pass, before taking it past two defenders and slotting it into the net. Attendance: 32,888.
: Vurnon Anita
Newcastle hosted league leaders and last years' champions Manchester City. Newcastle took the lead when Alessandro Matri. He then cut inside, taking the ball past three defenders, before rounding the keeper and passing the ball into the net. This goal saw him score his 5th league goal of the month and also earned him the Barclays Goal Of The Month award. Manchester City equalized when Raphaël Varane headed David Silva's corner past Tim Krul. Manchester City transfer target Hatem Ben Arfa put Newcastle back into the lead before half time when Vurnon Anita's shot was saved by Joe Hart. However the ball was only pushed as far as Ben Arfa who fired past the floored Hart. After half time, Manchester City equalized again when Edin Džeko picked up Sergio Agüero's fantastic lofted pass, took a touch before marvelously lobbing the ball over the oncoming Krul from 25 yards out. With less than ten minutes to go, Ben Arfa scored his second of the game when he picked up Anita's short pass inside the penalty area before curling the ball past Hart and into the bottom corner. Attendance: 51,812.
FA Cup 5th Round: VS Birmingham
: Davide Astori
Having beaten Middlesborough and Rochdale to reach the 5th Round, Newcastle faced a trip to Sky Bet Championship side Birmingham. Newcastle took the lead when Italian center back Davide Astori volleyed in Davide Santon's corner. In the second half, Newcastle loanee Steven Defour picked up an injury which could only be treated by a specialist. Newcastle decided to terminate his loan and he was sent back to FC Porto to receive treatment. After this incident, Newcastle doubled their lead when Alessandro Matri converted a penalty after Mitch Hancox fouled Moussa Sissoko in the box. Newcastle finished the game off after Davide Santon crossed the ball into Alessandro Matri, who headed in his second goal of the game. This set up a 6th Round tie between Newcastle and Championship side Brighton after Brighton knocked Tottenham Hotspur out. Attendance: 29,409.
Europa League 1st Knockout Round: VS AS Monaco
Having easily qualified from their group, Newcastle faced a tougher challenge in the form of rich French side AS Monaco. They traveled to France for the first leg.
: Papiss Cissé
Newcastle visited France where they faced AS Monaco. They came up against former Newcastle striker Papiss Cissé, who came back to haunt them. Monaco took the lead early on when
James Rodríguez picked up Falcao's through ball before slotting the ball past Tim Krul, into the bottom corner. Papiss Cissé doubled Monaco's lead minutes later when Rodríguez's header found him in the center of the box. He chested it down before firing past the keeper. After half time, Newcastle pulled a goal back when Tom Cleverley's through ball found winger Nicolás Gaitán who touched the ball down before firing a shot across goal and into the net. However, Monaco restored their two goal lead when Clément Chantôme picked up Cissé's short pass before smashing the ball into the top corner. Monaco held a two goal lead going into the second leg but Newcastle had one positive to reflect on - an away goal. However, Davide Astori picked up another yellow card which saw him suspended for one Europa League match after picking up a total of three yellow cards and Moussa Sissoko was on the end of a slight injury which would see him out of the clash. Attendance: 7,697.
: Fabricio Coloccini
Newcastle needed to win 2-0 to see them through on away goals against Monaco when they hosted them for the second leg at St James's Park. Newcastle took the lead after just five minutes when Hatem Ben Arfa began a huge run from inside his own penalty area before cutting inside the box and firing past the Monaco goalkeeper. Tom Cleverley doubled their lead when Alessandro Matri played a through ball which cut the defense open. Cleverley picked it up before smashing the ball past the keeper into the bottom corner. As things stood, Newcastle would be going through on away goals. Nicolás Gaitán got a third after half time when his 30 yard free-kick flew beautifully into the top corner. With less than ten minutes left, Falcao crucially equalized for Monaco when his free-kick was drilled into the top corner past Krul. The goal took the sides to extra time where neither side could find the net after the first half. However, with time running out in the second half, Alessandro Matri picked up Ben Arfa's through ball, before catching the Monaco keeper out with a shot that found the net via the near post. Newcastle won the tie 5-4 on aggregate, setting up a 2nd Knockout Round tie against Turkish side Galatasary. Attendance: 44,639.
Alessandro Matri picks up two awards this month. A Mail Online Player Of The Month award and more importantly, the Barclays Player Of The Month award. The striker scored eight goals in all competitions, with some of the goals being crucial.
The Young Player Of The Month award goes to Davide Santon, after the left back set up two goals and played very well in all games that he played in.
Newcastle manager Alan Shearer picked up Barclays Manager Of The Month award after leading his side to two wins out of three, including a win over champions' Manchester City.