Anybody who cares about Newcastle United can’t really claim bad luck has blighted their season.
Yes, Friday night at the City Ground was a pitiful example of how a match shouldn’t be managed by the officials but overall, I think this season has been pretty kind for NUFC.
On the subject of referee Steve Martin and his assistants, if you come from a sport that already uses technology/TV replays to help the officials, you would simply be dumbstruck that a situation is allowed to continue whereby a contest can be decided thanks to so many obvious wrong decisions being made.
Even if Newcastle had been allowed to keep 10 men on the pitch I think we would have won comfortably, especially taking into consideration how comfortable the team looked after Shelvey’s departure and the fact United actually took the lead in that period.
So safe to say that bad luck/officials cost Newcastle United three points there – but what about the other 18 matches?
I think that all things considered, Newcastle deserved to win at Aston Villa, rather than draw.
As for the other four defeats (not including Forest) though, I don’t think any of us can claim that Rafa’s team were cheated out of anything or that they had comprehensively outplayed the opposition. The likes of the Fulham and Blackburn games Newcastle did probably deserve a point but nothing more, whilst Wolves and Huddersfield were on balance maybe deserving of their wins.
On the other hand, I think fair to say that Newcastle have emerged with wins from a number of matches where a draw could easily have been the outcome. Away wins at the likes of Bristol City, Rotherham and Preston were achieved with pretty much every shot on target bringing a goal.
Very few games have seen Newcastle really take the opposition apart and show their superiority in terms of goals, with QPR the glaring exception.
Of course comfortable wins have still been achieved such as in the wins over the likes of Derby, Reading, Brighton, Brentford and Ipswich.
Newcastle’s players did their best not to win games against Norwich and Cardiff at home, when draws (or worse in the Norwich case) could have been on the cards as the team went missing for significant spells of those matches.
Whilst Rafa Benitez will no doubt still feel aggrieved about this latest Nottingham Forest defeat he must be more than happy with this 40 points total after 19 matches. His safety first and gradually squeeze the opposition tactics often don’t carry big margins for error, with a reliance on keeping a clean sheet whilst pressuring the opposition into a mistake and the opening goal, as happened at Leeds and in other games.
Better (hopefully) to have got all of our bad luck and really bad officiating out of the way in one go, so here’s hoping/expecting that we are back to business as usual on Saturday when Birmingham City visit.