Yohan Cabaye - Newcastle United Football News

Yohan Cabaye’s first strike for Newcastle ensured the Magpies’ incredible start to the season continued as they saw off a spirited Wigan side at St James’ Park.

It took a longer than expected 81 minutes for the home side to make the breakthrough, with Wigan turning in a performance that didn’t reflect their 19th place position at the start of the day. The visitors even had chances to steal an unlikely victory, but Tim Krul was equal to everything Roberto Martinez’s side could throw at him.

Eventually, the Latics’ resistance buckled when the French legion of Sylvain Marveaux and Cabaye combined and the former Lille man curled home a delicious winner past the despairing dive of the ever-impressive Ali Al-Habsi. There was time after the goal for Mohamed Diame to spurn a golden opportunity to equalise but the Magpies were able to hang on and make it nine games without defeat, as they moved level on points with Chelsea in third.

The visitors started well, with no sign of the calamitous defending that marred last week’s crushing defeat by Bolton remaining. In fact it was the Lancashire side who were on the attack and had it not been for the superb reflexes of Krul, they could have taken the lead early on. However, the Dutch international made a stunning save away to his left to deny Victor Moses, after Emerson Boyce’s cross had found the former Crystal Palace winger.

Hugo Rodallega was next to go close for the visitors, when he latched on to David Jones’ fine pass but failed to test Krul as he sliced his shot wide.

It took over half an hour for Newcastle to fashion their first chance of the afternoon and they should have done better with it. Jonas Gutierrez tormented and teased his marker before delivering a superb left-footed cross onto the head of Leon Best, who could only header into the ground, giving Al-Habsi the chance to claw it away for a corner.

With Newcastle not looking at their recent effervescent best, Alan Pardew introduced Hatem Ben Arfa at the beginning of the second half to try and force an opener. The French international’s skilful dribbling and direct play caused Wigan numerous problems as the Latics’ defence looked vulnerable to pace.

It was a former Wigan player who nearly provided the opening goal for Newcastle, when Ryan Taylor’s wicked curling cross was glanced towards goal by Demba Ba. However, Al-Habsi was sure to keep the ball the right side of the line from a Wigan point of view, despite his body being behind the goal line.

With chances few and far between, Hugo Rodallega wasted another decent half-chance when he lashed wide after collecting a fine pass on the counter attack.

The game looked to be petering out into a draw but there was one last act of class to separate the sides. Taylor made good ground down the left before finding Sylvain Marveaux with his cross and the Frenchman could control on the chest before cushioning his pass into the path of Cabaye. The summer signing never even thought about taking a touch as he curled an exquisite shot away from the dive of Al-Habsi into the far corner.

There was still time for Mohamed Diame to waste a golden chance to equalise when he spurned a free header but Newcastle held on comfortably. The Geordies now sit comfortable in fourth in the table and can’t go any lower after next week’s tough trip to Stoke.

The win wasn’t quite like what we’ve been used to in recent weeks but does prove that there is some steel behind the attacking, pretty football everyone on Tyneside has been treated to so far this season. The combination of grinding out wins like today and blowing teams away like we did against Blackburn could go a long way this season and the bubble hasn’t quite burst yet.