Word of warning: When Newcastle beat Chelsea…
The mood was understandably upbeat in the pubs on Saturday night, Newcastle v Chelsea hadn’t proved to be the mis-match so many had predicted.
That ‘so man’ had included the vast majority of our supporters .
It was great to throw the drinks down with talk of what could be if this result is built on, especially the positives of playing two up front and what Mitrovic & Perez could give the team.
However, on waking up on Sunday morning and reading various headlines, quotes and opinions from press and fans alike, I did start to feel a bit uneasy.
I don’t take that much notice of journalists because they are never going to go down a middle line, what sells is highs and lows, so after such a miserable past month they were always going to go with a dramatic u-turn.
More worrying for me was reading stuff from fans and what a few of the players and Steve McClaren had said.
For many it was almost as though Saturday’s 90 minutes made any previous concerns redundant.
I find it a bit strange to be told that you shouldn’t take any real notice of no wins in six because it is early in the season, not necessarily representative of what was to come etc etc…but then supposedly meant to feel resurgent after one more match without a win, where the team had played well for an hour before badly failing and eventually conceded two late goals for a 2-2 draw.
Saturday didn’t really tell me that much that was new. Chelsea have been pretty poor this season, it was obvious (to everybody but Steve McClaren) that Ayoze Perez should have been playing every game, whilst if Mitrovic could stay on the pitch he would also be an asset.
Also in Newcastle’s favour, without Diego Costa there was no real threat in the air where Newcastle have been so feeble this season, plus without the striker Chelsea had nobody to effectively hold the ball up.
United did do well to hassle in that first half and the early stages of the second but creating chances was still a rarity.
When the goals came it was through shocking mistakes by Chelsea which were punished by cracking finishes from Perez and Wijnaldum.
We have already seen this season that Newcastle were capable of showing spirit, with the Manchester United and Arsenal matches evident of that, but trying to go on the front foot against supposedly lesser teams has seen Newcastle at their worst.
If you recall last season, Chelsea visited in December and were then unbeaten in the Premier League.
The 2-1 win was well deserved and a bit comfortable, despite Steven Taylor’s red card giving Chelsea a lifeline and third choice keeper Jak Alnwick having to come on at half-time.
As the records show, Chelsea won the league easily last season, comfortably the best team in the division – this season they are not.
After that win last season on 6 December, Newcastle only won 4 of the final 25 matches of the season.
In the immediate four matches after the win over Chelsea, Newcastle lost all four, including the third one being a dreadful 1-0 Christmas present home defeat to Sunderland, only 15 days after humbling Jose Mourinho’s team.
Back in the present day, I take it as guaranteed we will lose at Manchester City, if it is anything else it will be a massive bonus.
It is the next two matches against Norwich and (3 games after the Chelsea win…) Sunderland, where I am looking for the follow-up to Saturday’s encouraging 2-2 draw.
If Newcastle get 4 points or better from those two matches then I think it will be a really positive sign.
Anything less and we will be 10 games into the season, in the bottom three, with six points at best.
One-off games against the better teams are almost an irrelevance when it then comes to the games against the 15 or so teams that make up the rest of the division.
Newcastle United under Steve McClaren are yet to show they can provide a regular supply of chances and possession in the final third to compete this season.
If the stats don’t add up after Norwich and the mackems then I will start to really worry.
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