Newcastle United 5 Stoke City 1: Loic Remy knew he'd return to scoring ways despite barron run that saw doubts creep into his mind
The 26-year-old striker scored twice in the demolition of nine-man Stoke
Friday 27 December 2013
Loic Remy never feared his touch in front of goal had deserted him after ending his mini-drought.
The 26-year-old striker missed a penalty before claiming a double in the 5-1 Boxing Day demolition of nine-man Stoke to take his tally for the season to 10.
Remy's first, a 44th-minute equaliser which cancelled out Oussama Assaidi's superb opener, ended a five-game wait for a goal since his header against Norwich on November 23.
However, while the Frenchman admitted doubts had entered his mind, he was always confident the goals would start flowing once again.
Remy said: "It's true, there's a moment when doubts do start coming into your head, but I wasn't too worried. I knew it would come.
"I wasn't sure when it would come back, but I knew it would come. I play in this team and I get fantastic service. People always give me great balls into the box, so I knew it would come straight back.
"It's a good example for kids watching, that in adversity you have to be able to react, you have to be able to face up to these difficult times.
"But I got those two good goals and hopefully over the rest of the season, I will be able to get some more."
For all there were many positives for Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, the final score reflected only a fraction of what happened at St James' Park during 90 minutes which will remain long in the memories of both sets of players, if for vastly differing reasons.
Cheick Tiote's absence through suspension prompted Pardew to throw the more attack-minded Hatem Ben Arfa into the mix, and while the mercurial France international made a stunning contribution, Tiote's bite and organisation were missed during the early stages.
Indeed, the visitors enjoyed the better of the opening half-hour and deservedly led through Assaidi's curling 29th-minute effort.
However, the game turned inside four madcap minutes which saw Stoke reduced to nine men and Remy denied from the spot by goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen before then levelling in a breathtaking passage of play.
Midfielder Glenn Whelan, who had earlier been booked for kicking the ball away after conceding a free-kick, hacked at Yohan Cabaye and received a second yellow card with 40 minutes gone.
He was joined in the dressing room within three minutes by defender Marc Wilson after he dragged Remy back when he was in on goal and was shown a red card by referee Martin Atkinson.
Sorensen palmed away Remy's penalty, but the misery was far from over for Potters boss Mark Hughes, who had been sent to the stands in the meantime, with Atkinson deciding not to penalise Magpies defender Mike Williamson for handball and allowing Ben Arfa to race away and set up Remy to score.
Newcastle returned with their tails up and, as Ben Arfa and later substitute Massadio Haidara ran riot down the flanks, they established an unassailable lead through Yoan Gouffran, Remy and Cabaye before Papiss Cisse converted an 80th-minute penalty to claim his first Barclays Premier League goal since April.
Remy said: "Given the context of the game - two men were sent off, they went down to nine men - we had to go out there, we had the chance and we took that chance.
"But when you look at the match, we knew we really had to go out there and earn those points and that's what we did."
The win was Newcastle's seventh in nine attempts in the league and cemented the in sixth place on 33 points, their highest total from the first 18 games of the season since 2001-02, when they went on to finish fourth.
They now head into Sunday's home clash with leaders Arsenal, a game Remy, who grew up idolising compatriot Thierry Henry, is relishing.
He said: "It's true he was one of my idols when I was growing up and it's quite a special match for me, I have to admit.
"But you need to remember that every game is important for us, especially these massive games like on Sunday where you have got two really top teams going against each other.
"That's where you see the best and the men sort themselves out from the boys, so it will be a good test for me.
"I know it will be a battle, but I think we can go out there and it would be a fantastic Christmas present for Newcastle fans."
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