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Apr 28, 2014

Magpies go meekly in defeat at Arsenal

The last time Newcastle United lost six games on the spin, it resulted in star player Peter Beardsley questioning the club's ambition to then boss Willie McFaul. That was back in 1986-87 when the Magpies were regarded a "selling club" by fans.

Beardsley was promptly sold soon after. Fast forward to 2014 and you could argue that not much has changed on Tyneside. For Beardsley in 1987, read Yohan Cabaye in 2014.

Monday night at the Emirates Stadium, the star players that did return to the Newcastle team in Loic Remy and Mathieu Debuchy didn't make too much difference to the outcome of the latest loss, a glum 3-0 defeat at Arsenal.

- Report: Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle - Cox: Three things: Arsenal vs. Newcastle

Once more this Newcastle team appeared to be focused on nothing but a break. They've had nothing to play for since January in truth when they were dumped out the FA Cup by Cardiff City.

Since then, fading hopes of Europe have come and gone and the Magpies may just scrape a top 10 finish. But that doesn't seem to be worthy for a club that still attracts 50,000 fans every other week.

Gone are the days when Newcastle genuinely rubbed shoulders with the likes of Arsenal. Those days went when the Magpies decided to get rid of Bobby Robson back in 2004. Of course, that decision had nothing to do with Mike Ashley, but the current owner has gone through his fair share of managers in the time that has elapsed since. Now he has reached the point where fans feel the time for change has come again.

Manager Alan Pardew's team don't look motivated right now and he doesn't seem to be able to offer a game plan that will even test teams around him the Premier League, let alone the top four or top six. In his defence, he has had nothing to spend in the last two transfer windows, but the question of whether he can be trusted with the transfer kitty needed to change things is up for debate.

That is the dilemma facing Ashley this summer. Although, the irony of it all is that Pardew's bank balance will be injected with a bonus if they finish in the top 10.

That's something that will irk the Toon Army in the next few weeks, but victory against Cardiff at the weekend, the team that ended the Magpies' cup hopes, could trigger a pay-out for the man who has guided the club to 14 defeats in 19 games.

It is an appalling record and that's why fans who made the long journey to Arsenal were so upset on Monday night. They gave it a bit of a go in the first half but were still 2-0 before the break.

It could have been a hammering, but Arsenal -- with thoughts turning to the FA Cup final perhaps -- appeared to ease up on them after goals from Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and then Olivier Giroud compounded Newcastle's plight. Even a consolation wasn't on the way for the Geordie fans.

Now focus and attention turns to Cardiff at home. This is a game that will probably see the Bluebirds get relegated should they fail to win. The Magpies haven't looked they are capable of fighting sleep at the moment, never mind seeing off a team fighting for their lives.

And while Pardew said he didn't enjoy the reception after losing his sixth game in a row, the fans will make it clear how they feel one way or another on Saturday afternoon. For some fans, they may not be coming back if threats to renew season ticket go through. Others will be back, but whether they are watching a new team or a new manager remains to be seen.

Pardew is simply surviving at the minute. But if it's seven defeats on the spin then many will feel he has had enough time. A quick look at his contract though shows he has six years to go.

And that sums up why Toon fans are just frustrated.