0 Newcastle United 3-0 West Ham United MATCH REPORT

ROB’S MATCH REPORT

Newcastle United 3
West Ham United 0

Goals:
Joselu (36)
Clark (72)
Mitrovic (86)

Elliot 6
Mbemba 7
Clark 8
Lascelles 7
Manquillo 7
Hayden 6
Merino 8
Atsu 7
Perez 7
Ritchie 9
Joselu 8

Mitrovic (on for Joselu, 71) 7
Diame (on for Hayden, 82) N/A
Murphy (on for Ritchie, 88) N/A

A much needed win for Newcastle, and a deserved one at that. The game took a while to get going with not a lot of goalmouth action in the first half. On 16 minutes, Atsu forced a corner after his header from Joselu’s cross was deflected wide and Mbemba had a speculative effort from 20 yards, just over, following said corner. West Ham came into the game a bit between 20-30 minutes but were limited to shots from outside the box, none of which troubled Rob Elliot.

On 36 minutes, the deadlock was finally broken when Atsu sprinted to recover a slightly heavy pass from Merino. His cross was met bu Joselu, who was able to tap the ball in under pressure from the West Ham defence for 1-0.

Merino almost doubled the lead a few minutes later after a great through-ball from Mbemba but his effort was well saved. Atsu also tested Joe Hart just before the break, but the England ‘keeper saved and held with ease.

The second half was much the same, though with a few more chances. Newcastle dominated the possession an Perez didn’t take long to make Hart work again. On 52 minutes, slack defending nearly cost us a goal when Manquillo was caught out of position and West Ham were able to break on the left hand side. After the first effort, one of the West Ham forwards was faced with a simple tap-in but couldn’t convert, as the ball was cleared off the line by Ciaran Clark.

On 63 minutes, the referee played advantage after Perez was fouled. Ritchie picked up the loose ball and charged forward before curling a shot between the legs of a defender but Joe Hart was equal to it. Joselu had the rebound snatched away from him at the last second.

Goalscorer Joselu was subbed off for Mitrovic on 71 minutes and the Serb took over nicely with decent hold-up play and lay-offs. Seconds after, Newcastle’s lead doubled when Matt Ritchie skinned a couple of defenders and crossed for Ciaran Clark who had snuck in between two defenders. Clark’s header hit the left post before it hit the net. Well taken, but very poor defending from West Ham.

On 76 minutes, Mbemba embarked on a cracking run up the left hand side and when his cross fell to Matt Ritchie, a last ditch block saw what would’ve been a certain goal deflected wide. Shortly afterwards, Merino escaped from a double-up to cross for Mitrovic who headed narrowly over the bar.

A defensive mistake almost gifted Perez a tap-in on 79, but somehow he managed to pass it onto the post and out. Diame then replaced Hayden on 82 minutes. On 85 minutes, Merino played a superb through-ball to release Mitrovic who really should have scored when one-on-one with Hart, but he smashed his shot straight at the dandruff-free goalie.

Only a minute later, though, he redeemed himself in almost the exact same situation. Perez got the final touch on the through-ball after more slackness from Hart and the West Ham defence; this time Mitrovic had more time to compose himself and he rounded the keeper before passing the ball into the net for 3-0.

Murphy replaced Ritchie on 88 minutes and that was the last notable action really – a standing ovation for the winger who had had a brilliant game.

Honourable mentions… Mbemba did a great job at left-back despite being out of position – he was caused a few problems by West Ham’s Michail Antonio, by far West Ham’s best player, especially in the first half. Merino’s tackling was outstanding and he bossed the midfield – certainly a worthwhile replacement for Shelvey in the short-term and leaving the Geordie faithful with watering mouths at the prospect of seeing him and Shelvey together. Manquillo had a MUCH better game, especially in the first half when he was arguably the best player on the field. Second half though, he was caught out of position a couple of times. There is potential there, for sure, but he needs to work on his positioning.

Perez looked very sharp and chased everything down, but had a couple of chances to finish and couldn’t hit the target. Joselu held up everything in the final third and did well for the goal… didn’t really put a foot wrong, but there was one other who outshone him today…

Man of the Match: Matt Ritchie. Just utterly, utterly brilliant from the beginning. Was unlucky not to score a couple of times, every first touch was gold, and his assist was only one of about a dozen incisive passes that ripped the West Ham defence open on several occasions.

Let’s hope this properly kick starts the season, now.

0 Newcastle United 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur MATCH REPORT

ROB’S MATCH REPORT

Newcastle United 0
Tottenham Hotspur 2

Goals:

Alli (61)
Davies (70)

Elliot 7 – Nothing he could do about either goal, held some shots that Darlow would’ve palmed away.

Clark 6 – Looked domineering at times and distribution was good, but was basically in charge of the defence, despite who the captain is, and didn’t organise them well enough in that second half.

Dummett – N/A – Off injured after 8 minutes, replaced by Lascelles.

Lascelles (on for Dummett, 8) – 7 – Our captain didn’t start, and probably won’t start if everyone else is fit. If it wasn’t for injuries he’d not have come on today, more than likely, but he wanted to fight for his place and that was evident in his tackling and distribution today.

Lejeune – 7 – Looked solid before going off injured after 34 minutes. Let’s hope he’s not out for a prolonged period as he really should be the lynch pin in our defence this season.

Mbemba (on for Lejeune, 34) – 6 – Didn’t have a bad game, but the defence in general looked stronger before he came on. If I’m honest, I’d like to see him at right back. He has pace and awareness but I really don’t like him at CB for some reason.

Manquillo – 5 – As I suspected, this guy is not the answer IMO. Too early to condemn him completely, but he let Alli drift past him for the first goal and his passing was dodgy all game. Baptism of fire and all that, but the mackems I’ve spoken to recently don’t rate him at all, and I’m counting the days until Yedlin’s back at the moment. Hopefully he’ll prove me wrong.

Hayden – 6 – Made some cracking tackles, but didn’t boss the midfield like he should’ve, given his height. If Shelvey gets sent off, our other central midfielder needs to take charge and, while I like the guy, I’m not sure he’s the right man to do that.

Shelvey – 5 – Didn’t look on form, despite a couple of great passes in the first half. Deserved his red card and, no, it wasn’t a stamp, but he deliberately stepped on Alli’s ankle to hurt him. While I want him in the side, I hope he gets a ban and a fine, and that Rafa slaps him a few times. Based on the first half, I think 0-0 would’ve been the final score if we’d kept 11 men.

Ritchie – 7 – Decent performance, and worked well with players around him, but didn’t really scare Spurs’ world-class defence. Deserved his yellow though; bad challenge.

Atsu – 8 – Comfortably Newcastle’s best player and was unlucky not to claim a consolation goal towards the end. Really glad we’ve managed to sign him permanently – I can see him destroying lesser defences this season.

Perez – 7 – Seemed to be causing distress, but no final product… however, a lot of the time, this seeomed to be because nobody was there to help him. Hopefully he’ll prove, this season, that he’s as good as we thought he’d be when we signed him.

Gayle – 6 – Got into some interesting positions but was largely ineffectual because his chief providers on the wings weren’t supported enough from the deep-lying central midfielders. In the Premier League, we need to be playing 4-4-2 with Gayle playing off a target man. I know Mitro isn’t everyone’s favourite, but I want to see the two of them start against Huddersfield and I think we’ll stick 3 or 4 past them.

Merino (on for Gayle, 75) – 7 – I think it’s pretty clear that, if we hadn’t lost 2 players to injury, Merino would’ve come on pretty much straight away after Shelvey was sent off, to make sure we had a ball-playing midfielder on the pitch. When he was on, he challenged for every ball and played a couple of beautiful dinks over the top. I see great things for this lad, if he plays regularly.

*******

Overall, the first half wasn’t really that exciting. Spurs only had 2 shots on target, both of which were effortlessly handled. It looked like we were going to be able to keep Spurs shooting from distance as the defence was well organised, despite losing two of the starting line-up early on. Atsu looked dangerous on the counter attack but, basically, when the lads went in at half time it was set for a well-fought goalless draw.

Second half, we started under the cosh, but again looking like causing problems on the counter attack and, just maybe, like we might surprise a team that have been near-champions for the last three years.

That was all ruined 3 minutes after the break, when Jonjo Shelvey, coming out of an inocuous battle with Dele Alli, decided to deliberately step on the latter’s ankle. It wasn’t a stamp, but it was a deliberate off-the-ball foul and Shelvey absolutely deserved his red card. The thing that annoys me the most about this, is the fact we’d made 2 subs due to injury in the first half. You would think that a guy who started the game with the armband would keep his head together, but his actions were petulant and pathetic. I hope he gets the book thrown at him. Maybe if Merino gets the nod during the forthcoming ban, Jonjo will realise he’s not guaranteed a place in the first XI despite his obvious talent, and start behaving like a grown-up.

Bottom line – Shelvey cost us the game. I’m not saying we definitely would’ve claimed 1 or 3 points if he’d not been dismissed, but 11 v 10 was never going to work out in Newcastle’s favour. We held on for a while though, defending generally pretty well until Dele Alli got drifted past a clueless Manquillo to tuck away Eriksen’s pinpoint cross on 61 minutes.

Eriksen, my Man of the Match, turned provider again on 70 minutes and this time Ben Davies, a promising young lad, was responsible for the conversion.

After that, Kane hit the post, Atsu came close after a great incision into the Spurs box, but ultimately Spurs deserved to win the game and Newcastle deserved to lose it.

With 10 men, it could’ve been a lot worse for Newcastle, but there’s no excuse for the way we fell apart. Huddersfield next weekend, and we need to see a 4-0 or 5-0 drubbing to make the Premier League realise what this bunch of lads are capable of, if they don’t fuck it all up.

Man of the Match: Eriksen. 2 assists and generally looked like the only truly world-class player on the pitch.

Newcastle’s best: Atsu. I was excited when we first signed him as I thought he was right to be frustrated to be sidelined by Chelsea for so long. Really pleased with his performance, and can’t wait to see how influential he will be when we’re up against lesser opposition.

Final comment… yeah, I had a bet on Newcastle, but I didn’t really expect to come out with anything. The manner in which we lost was like several consecutive testicle kicks, but we certainly showed that we’ve got some fight.

Shelvey, sort yourself out and you’ll make a fine de facto captain. Right now, you’ve put yourself in a position where you’ve got LOADS to do before you win the fans back over.

2 A question for concerned Toon fans…

Who do Newcastle need to sign?

There has been a lot of speculation about Newcastle’s apparent lack of proactivity in the transfer window thus far. I, for one, think it’s a bit much to be honest. There’s nothing wrong with being calm and calculated, especially when the market’s so ridiculously inflated at the moment (eg. Kyle Walker for £50m… really?!). That said, Newcastle definitely need some new signings. At the time of publishing this, we’ve got Christian Atsu after a successful loan spell, and Florian Lejeune who seems to be something of a bargain according to his perceived market value. My questions are as follows:

What is a realistic league position for Newcastle this season, if everything goes to plan?
What gaps do we need to fill in order to achieve that position?
…and, finally,…
If we don’t sign anyone else, who gets into our first XI, if there are no injuries?

So, I invite you to comment with your ideal first XI – this can be any formation of your choosing though, because I believe this is what Rafa will do, I’m going with 4-2-3-1.

GK – Rob Elliot

DL – Ciaran Clark
DC – Florian Lejeune
DC – Jamaal Lascelles
DR – Chancel Mbemba

DMC – Jonjo Shelvey
DMC – Isaac Hayden

AML – Christian Atsu
AMC – Ayoze Perez
AMR – Matt Ritchie

SC – Dwight Gayle

With that in mind, I think our priorities would be a full back at each side (as I’ve named 4 centre-backs in my starting XI, because I think Clark and Mbemba are our best options in those positions, at present), and an attacking midfielder or target striker in place of Perez. Nothing against him, but I think we need some power and strength in the attacking third otherwise we’ll find it very difficult to break down these Premier League defences. Finally, Isaac Hayden has done well so far, but I think we need a more consistent option than him in the Premier League, to play alongside Shelvey.

So, my IDEAL line-up is as follows:

GK – Rob Elliot

DL – NEW SIGNING
DC – Florian Lejeune
DC – Ciaran Clark
DR – NEW SIGNING

DMC – Jonjo Shelvey
DMC – NEW SIGNING

AML – Christian Atsu
AMC – NEW SIGNING
AMR – Matt Ritchie

SC – Dwight Gayle

I think that would be a passable side, given that we sign the right people, though I’d probably be looking at a both-sided winger and another quick striker to bolster the squad.

Thoughts?

0 Congratulations!

From everyone at Toontalk, congratulations to Chris Hughton and his Brighton and Hove Albion side, for achieving promotion to the Premier League. We wish them all the best, and hope to join them in the top flight next season.

0 An Open Letter to Mike Ashley

This was written to Mike Ashley, 2 years ago today. Obviously, since then, we’ve been relegated and now it looks like we’re going to come straight back up, but not as comfortably as many of us thought (myself included). After a dismal season when we only just barely stayed up, the fact that Ashley spoke to the press and the fans for the first time and assured everyone that he meant to make this club successful again, means that relegation was inexcusable in the first place.

I hope and believe that we will be looking forward to a season in the Premier League by this time next month, but really that puts us in the same position we were in before the 2015/16 season… in the division, but expected to struggle.

Things are looking more promising with Rafa at the helm, of course, but I hope that Mr. Ashley really does take it seriously this time and not pull the rug out from underneath Rafa, the players, and the fans, like he has done in the past.

This open letter is just as relevant now as it was then.

***

16/04/2015

Dear Mr. Ashley,

My name is Robert Waters. I am a life-long Newcastle United fan and have been a season ticket holder since 1998. I have recently become a co-moderator of a small Facebook group [name omitted] that invites fans to share their opinions about the club, and about happenings in football in general. From this recent experience, I feel it necessary to provide you with a summation of some of the thoughts of some of the fans of the club, including myself.

In 1998, I lived in Kent and regularly made the 600-mile round trip to see the home games at St. James’ Park. My family and I willingly made this trip as, whatever the result, we enjoyed the style and quality of football played by our team, week-in, week-out.

Living in Kent, I was surrounded by fans of the London clubs and the otherwise heavily-supported clubs from elsewhere in the land. The most common were Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham. I was constantly the butt of several jokes and jibes at school, but I would often retort (and rightly so)… “well, we’re better than you”. It is safe to say that I was a very proud Newcastle United supporter.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the situation has changed drastically in recent years. Now, children are sometimes ridiculed in their own city for supporting the local team and the state of affairs at Newcastle leaves them completely helpless to defend themselves. Now, suggesting that we are better than any other Premier League team, given our performances this season, can rightly be met with derision from pretty much any other club’s supporters. There is a very real danger that the club is about to lose an entire generation of fans due to the continued floundering of a club, the stature of which should have us challenging for European football every season, not fighting relegation.

I think it is safe to say that all Newcastle fans feel that the football club needs to be run as a football club first, and a business second. We understand that you have balanced the club’s finances and we are grateful for that, however as the people without whom the club could not continue to function we feel that we deserve better. For too long now, the club has been run without treating the game as a priority and this, quite simply, is unacceptable and an insult to tens of thousands of people. This may not be your city, but if you are going to represent it, at least treat the indigenous people with some dignity and respect as opposed to the apathy and contempt you have displayed thus far.

Promises of money spent on signings, or appointments of new staff, need to be honoured, not used to temporarily appease the fans then reneged upon as soon as the transfer window is over. An example of this is the appointment of John Carver as head coach of Newcastle United. I do not have any experiences of Carver’s influence in training or in the dressing room, however it is clear to see from his conduct on the touchline (for several seasons), his tactical decisions (this season) and post-match interviews (this season) that he possesses neither the mentality nor the ability to manage a football club of this stature. Not only that, but he had no experience as a manager anywhere other than Toronto, never mind in the top flight of one of the most prestigious leagues in the world. His win percentage before he was Newcastle manager was 31%. Since becoming Newcastle manager, his win percentage has been 13%.

The only conclusion that the fans can draw from Carver’s appointment is that he was the most cost-efficient and convenient option available and not a single consideration was given as to whether he might actually be the right man for the job. This is one of many situations that need to be resolved as soon as possible. Should we still be in the Premier League at the end of this season, which I desperately hope that we are, we need a manager who has the maturity, the tactical nous and the man-management ability to run a football club at this level.

Aside from the manager, the level of ability in the squad is not congruous with a club of this size. Without disrespecting any individual players it must be said that there are several first-team regulars who are not of sufficient calibre to represent a Premier League club, let alone one of this stature. There are a few exceptions but the squad on the whole must be improved if the club is to even stay in the Premier League, let alone challenge for silverware or European football. This means spending money on quality players and building around them, not looking for bargains who can be sold at a profit, thus never giving the core of the team a chance to gel together.

Newcastle fans do not necessarily expect to win trophies, but we do expect a team of decent quality to perform to the best of their ability in every game, and to finish the season in a league position befitting the relative stature of the club. Whether this is a top-half finish or a European challenge may not be for me to say, but we should be outdoing the teams around us who are not in as good a position, financially, as we are. There aren’t many clubs that can come close to matching us in this aspect, yet we are languishing in the bottom half, fighting relegation and relying on youth players to fill in the gaps. We have lost 6 games in a row, equalling a Premier League record which will likely be broken on Saturday when we host relatively in-form Swansea City. This run of form is inexcusable for a club of our stature.

The fans will not accept another relegation, especially one from which we are much less likely to recover with the players at our disposal. They will not accept another uneventful transfer window, especially after the recent figures from Companies House which suggest there is over £30m available for transfers and players’ wages. I implore you to take this seriously or we will surely be relegated next season. The only thing that has kept us up this year was the anomalous 5-game winning streak under Alan Pardew; we cannot count on something that unlikely happening again.

This message does not come from a Newcastle fan who smashed windows after a defeat against Sunderland, but from one who watched it happen and fully expects to watch it happen again. It comes from a Newcastle fan who, after 17 years of season ticket holdership, recently decided to boycott a match (against Spurs) for the first time ever. The boycott may not have had the desired effect, but the truth remains that no fan, whether they attended on Sunday or not, wants to see factions of the most passionate football fans in the world refusing to watch the game out of disdain for the atrocious performances and the incomprehensible contempt shown for them by the people in charge.

This city and its football club, while they may not be close to your heart, deserve the best representation they can get. In the name of all of the legends; Hughie Gallacher, Jackie Milburn, Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and many others whose legacy you deemed fit to chuck in a skip only last week, please start running this club like a football club, rather than a device to make money at the expense of the people who make it possible.

If you do not want to run a football club properly, please leave, along with your money, and invest in something else.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Waters

1 Newcastle United vs Leeds United (14/04/2017)

NEWCASTLE UNITED            (0) 1 – 1 (0)             LEEDS UNITED
Lascelles 67 (Mitrovic)                        Wood 90+5 (Roofe)

Darlow 8
Dummett 7
Lascelles 6
Mbemba 8
Anita 7
Shelvey 7
Hayden 8
Gouffran 7
Perez 7
Ritchie 8
Mitrovic 7

Colback 5 (for Hayden, 79)
Yedlin N/A (for Ritchie, 84)
Diamé N/A (for Perez, 90)

Overall, a good performance from Newcastle and one that, had the game finished 0-0, we might have viewed differently. Newcastle were comfortably the better side and, other than Leeds’ equaliser, the away side didn’t really threaten for most of the match other than on counter attacks, which were dealt with pretty well by Newcastle’s defence on the whole.

That said, it was Leeds who had the first sniff, Pedraza rattling the bar with a curling effort from the edge of the area. The rebound fell to Kemar Roofe but his header was exquisitely saved by Karl Darlow to keep the score level after 9 minutes.

After that, it was almost all Newcastle. Ritchie had a shot well saved by Rob Green on 15 minutes, and 10 minutes later a succession of Newcastle corners saw the home side come very close. Shelvey’s first corner was a shot on target, with Green saving well again. Ritchie came close from distance after a good ball by Paul Dummett, and a great cross from deep by Isaac Hayden glanced off Leeds defender Kyle Bartley’s head, almost into his own net.

Leeds had their second close effort of the game on 35 minutes, when Hernandez shot from out wide. It looked like Anita was impeded off the ball on his way to close down, but nothing was given… unfortunately that was the story of the game from referee Chris Kavanagh.

On 42 minutes, Newcastle piled on the pressure. Gouffran controlled a loose ball well after a Leeds error, before turning and shooting through a defender’s legs, only to see his shot cannon off the post. Ritchie’s follow-up was deflected over and, from 2 resultant corners, Mbemba had a bullet header well saved by Green, and Perez saw his close-range shot deflected over the bar after a scramble in the box.

We’ve seen several 0-0 scorelines at half time this season; similar to past occurrences, this one could easily have been 3-1 or 4-1 but, credit to Leeds, their defence was excellent, if not a bit fouly.

Second half, Newcastle continued to dominate and Rob Green was called into action again on 48 minutes, saving low to his right when Matt Ritchie curled a dangerous free kick round the wall.

On 53 minutes was the epitome of the poor standard of refereeing we’ve come to expect in this division. A great ball by Anita for Mitrovic to run onto, but the Serb was cynically dragged to the floor for what could easily have been a red card. Only a booking (the first of the game) for Pontus Jansson, though. Kyle Bartley was booked 2 minutes later, as well.

On 57, there was a clear shout for a penalty after Mbemba was brought down – not given. Replays have shown that the referee got this one wrong as well.

The first sub of the game was on 61 minutes, Leeds bringing on Hadi Sacko for Alfonso Pedraza. Only moments later, Mitrovic controlled a ball into the box before deftly chipping the ‘keeper, but still needed to follow it up with a header. Jansson was across quickly to steal it off his head at the last second, preventing what would have been a certain goal.

Newcastle didn’t have to wait too long for the breakthrough though. A long cross from deep by Gouffran was nodded back across goal by Mitrovic, for Lascelles to get above the Leeds defenders and nod the ball just over the line. Rob Green almost kept it out but couldn’t quite get down in time – I minor blip in an otherwise superb performance by the Leeds goalkeeper.

Kalvin Phillips was booked on 75 minutes… to be honest it was staggering that this was only Leeds’ third yellow of the game. There were a lot of dangerous tackles flying in and they were certainly lucky to keep 11 men on the pitch. The resultant free kick was taken by Shelvey but was placed narrowly outside the left-hand post.

Former Mackem Liam Bridcutt was subbed off for Charlie Taylor, then the game settled a little with Newcastle not pushing so hard (some would say not hard enough) for a second goal. The home side also made changes with Hayden, Ritchie and Perez being replaced by Colback, Yedlin and Diame respectively over the next 15 minutes or so.

Shelvey was booked on 90+2 for time-wasting at a corner, then Colback was booked a minute later for an horrendous tackle. It was this action that gave the ball away for Leeds’ final attack, which proved to be their most important. Newcastle were sitting too far back and not closing players down. It was far too easy for Chris Wood to run, unchecked, towards the near post and volley Roofe’s cross past a helpless Karl Darlow for 1-1.

Overall, a game that Newcastle really should have won, and comfortably so. 3-0 would not have been a surprising outcome given the flow of play and, if we’d already been 3 goals up when Wood scored, I’d have won £42.

If the game had finished 0-0, I think people would have been proud of the lads and commiserating with them for not quite doing enough to get 3 points. The kick in the teeth here, is that we DID do enough to win the game in 90 minutes, but YET AGAIN fell asleep in injury time at the end of a half, thus throwing the game away in the dying seconds.

The referee wasn’t absolutely shocking, but still not good enough, and missed several incidents. He at least tried to keep the game flowing. Both teams could easily have had a man sent off before the end. The 5 minutes added time seemed like a lot, but when you consider it’s supposed to be 30 seconds per goal and 30 seconds per substitute, he’s only added on 90 seconds for stoppages which was probably about right. That said, he didn’t seem to add anything more on for that stupid fat bastard who came on the pitch and got clouted by his own player, nor did he add enough time (I don’t think) after Leeds’ equaliser. I think that if Newcastle had conceded on 80 minutes, they’d still have won the game given the way we’d played up until then.

Jack Colback is an absolute liability (I know, change the record, right?) and I desperately hope he gets shipped before next season. Give him back to Sunderland.

Man of the Match: Rob Green. Leeds would’ve had a hiding if not for him. Honourable mentions to Pontus Jansson and Chris Wood, whose hold-up play was very good as well as his finish.

Villain of the match: Pablo Hernandez – loads of fouls. Surprised he wasn’t one of the ones booked.

Newcastle’s best: Isaac Hayden. Honourable mentions to Mbemba and Ritchie. Dummett was decent as well but certainly still guilty of ball-watching. He failed to track Kemar Roofe into the box in the first half and if Darlow hadn’t claimed the cross at the near post, the Leeds #7 would have certainly finished from close range, completely unmarked. He needs to improve that part of his game massively if he hopes to play for Newcastle in the Premier League. If he can’t do it, he needs to be replaced.

Looking forward, I think we’re looking at 7-10pts from the last 4 games. We need 8 for it to be a mathematical certainty, but I think Huddersfield will only get 11 from their last 15 available, so a win, a draw and 2 defeats should be enough for us, and I definitely think we’ll fare better than that. Let’s hope so, anyway.

#werenewcastleandweregonnafinishsecond