As already said I was not at the game, and I didn't see any of it on tv. Thus I will not describe it as chances are you saw more than me.
The highlights program and Pardew's comments suggest that we could, and probably should, have won it. The chances shown look good for the future. Other results were reasonably kind to us also. We are reaching the point where we have to decide what we're going for. If we are not going to make the top two then we want wins for Bristol City and West Brom against teams like Palace and Cardiff. It is unthinkable that we fail to make the Play-Offs, but right now we are nearer to seventh place than we are to second.
With West Brom to yet have a blip, and they were top with ten games to go last season and finished third, there are still many teams to aim for, but even though it is probably a decent result to come away from Vicerage road with a point, I thought we needed to win there, and a quick look at the table this morning has not changed my mind. A good performance was important, but we are fast approaching that time when performances matter little and the result is the only thing that matters.
Pardew made the point that we have to play the rest of the top six at home in the remaining fixtures. I'm not sure that this is great news with our recent home form, but I would rather that than having to go away. Also they are likely, as it's so close in the top six, to come to The Valley and play for a win. This could well be what will turn our season. We have struggled, and still do despite Pardew trying to convince the world that we don't, with physical sides that come to The Valley and defend in numbers. Maybe the visits of Stoke, Palace, Watford and Bristol City will provide a run of wins at home that will make us favourites for an automatic promotion place. Away to the four teams we have managed two wins and a draw, and I'd probably take that now, but unfortunately that might not be enough.
So we now have a ten day break. More importantly we do not have another three games coming up in a week. This should give the players some much needed rest as there hasn't been a let up since the Christmas rush. Pardew now has ten games to prepare for what is clearly a must win game. I agree that he needs to play each game down. After all if he'd marked yesterday's game as a must win he would have to back track a little in training and the press this week. However, there can be no doubt, irrespective of other results, we need to beat Stoke to bring them closer to us and we must keep in touch with West Brom and Watford.
Maybe we will even bring in another player between now and then?