Don't overthink this one. Newcastle had the better of the play for the vast majority of the second half in a tough venue against a team that monopolizes possession. Regardless of the final result, this was still a performance that demonstrated that Newcastle is headed in the right direction.
That said, you need to be opportunistic to get road wins against the Premier League's better teams, and Newcastle's finishing simply wasn't good enough today. Papiss Cisse's boom or bust season in front of goal continued, and Yoan Gouffran also wasted a premium chance. Newcastle look a bit too dependent on Moussa Sissoko to create scoring chances and, while the powerful Frenchman had his moments today, he needed a bit more help in the attack.
Can someone please explain to me how this game only included one goal? Both teams looked bright going forward and shaky at the back, although Newcastle clearly endured more wobbly moments.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, so impressive last week against Southampton, was much less composed in his first Premier League start. The Wayne Routledge cross that led to Luke Moore's goal (seriously, Luke Moore is still in the Premier League?!!) was Yanga-Mbiwa's ball to win, regardless of whether Davide Santon also had a chance to clear it.
Yanga-Mbiwa and goalkeeper Rob Elliot also had a series of mixups throughout the game. Really, Steven Taylor was the only member of the back five (including Elliot) who had a good game.
Newcastle's January spending spree greatly strengthened Alan Pardew's squad. But it's worth noting that Pardew was still lacking the sort of game-changing options from the bench that could have turned Newcastle's second-half surge into a win today.
Fans often clamor to see more of Sylvain Marveaux, which is understandable based on some of his skillful displays this season. But the diminutive Frenchman, who came on with Shola Ameobi in the 90th minute, is best suited to play in the hole, which also seems to be where Moussa Sissoko can most influence a game.
More than anything, Pardew could use a powerful striker as an alternative to Cisse — Shola fits that description, but is too inconsistent — and a couple of wide forwards or wingers who can add a bit of incisiveness to the attack. Hatem Ben Arfa's imminent return from injury will help, but a little depth and competition never hurts.