Any Newcastle fan looking forward to Match of The Day on Sunday night would have been disappointed.
Unless that is you came in from the pub after recording it and only watched the match highlights, then fast forwarded through the embarrassing pundits.
I suppose there was an extra clue in it being Match of The Day 2 last night, as in second rate.
If it had been the A Team of Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, and yes, even Ian Wright, I don’t think it would have plunged anywhere near the cringeworthy depths it did on Sunday night.
The fact that presenter Mark Chapman actually embraces his ‘Chappers’ nickname tells you everything, joined by former Mackem Kevin Kilbane and chief clown, Chris Sutton.
Sutton must surely be the very worst player turned pundit walking this earth, which is pretty impressive considering he is up against the likes of Merson, Owen, Savage, and the rest.
Actually Kilbane was the best of a bad bunch but that isn’t saying much, in fact, nothing at all.
You definitely feel at times that a script has been prepared and then something comes along like Newcastle United’s performance yesterday, putting big red lines through their entire pre-prepared patter.
I have little doubt the Match of The Day script was that Newcastle’s win over West Ham was going to be proved to have been a fluke, Swansea would put Newcastle in their place with a convincing home win, with then the main talk centring around how the returning Wilfried Bony had impressed, but mainly how loan wonder kid signing from Bayern Munich (cost them over £40m as a 19 year old and final figure could be over £70m based on hitting targets), Renato Sanches, had tormented the visitors with a classy performance far beyond anything that Newcastle could offer.
The end debate would then have been about how long Rafa Benitez will still be at Newcastle United with a rubbish team adding to his ongoing problems with Mike Ashley.
The reality though…£5m bargain buy Joselu proved to be easily the best striker on the pitch, a very good all round game and only denied a goal by a world class save from Fabianski…whilst there was a very talented young midfielder on loan from a German club who ran the game BUT his name was Mikel Merino!
After the highlights were shown, instead of concentrating on an excellent away performance where Newcastle had been easily the better team for all but the first 20 or so minutes, the presenter & pundits shifted their agenda to something quite different.
They only wanted to concentrate on the two big talking points, of their choosing!
These were Matt Ritchie’s high foot on Alfie Mawson and Mikel Merino’s dive.
These are incidents you see in every match that go without any great comment usually, yet they were done to death last night.
Yes Merino deserved a yellow card just like any other diver does but the pundits struggled to accept that even under the new rules, there could be no retrospective punishment, as Newcastle gained no advantage from the Spaniard’s dive, whereas if say they had got a penalty it would have been different.
There is still no excuse though for not giving Merino the credit his overall display deserved.
As for Matt Ritchie, yes his foot was high and came very close to the Swansea defender, but any contact was minimal whereas Sadio Mane’s boot put the Man City keeper out of the game.
The two incidents were not the same, similar up to a point, but not the same. I think Mane did make a calculated decision to risk making contact with the keeper, as if he had got the ball first he would have had an easy scoring chance with the keeper having left his goal. With Ritchie, it was just a normal middle of the pitch challenge where he was stupid to have gone in with his foot so high.
If Ritchie’s was a red card then you would have one pretty much every match and certainly anybody attempting an overhead kick would be instantly sent off, if anybody within striking distance.
One again though, yes cover these incidents but give Newcastle credit for the attacking display and great team performance.
Maybe it summed them up though when they did cover the very sly incident where Joselu jumped for a ball and on purpose, wonder kid Renato Sanches deliberately kicked him between the legs from behind, leaving the Spaniard writhing in pain. Presenter and pundits thought it was a right laugh!
Stats from BBC Sport:
Swansea 0 Newcastle 1
Newcastle: Lascelles 76
Possession was Swansea 62% Newcastle 38%
Total shots were Swansea 10 Newcastle 16
Shots on target were Swansea 4 Newcastle 8
Corners were Swansea 7 Newcastle 5
Referee: Mike Jones
Elliot, Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Gamez, Ritchie, Hayden (Diame 69), Merino, Murphy (Atsu 59), Perez, Joselu (Gayle 78)
Woodman, Shelvey, Yedlin, Lejeune
Crowd: 20,872 (2,000 Newcastle)
(Garth Crooks picks Newcastle star in team of the week and adds some great words on Ashley/Rafa situation HERE)
(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction after final whistle HERE)
(Read Alan Shearer’s reaction to the Newcastle win HERE)
(Give us your Newcastle player ratings v Swansea HERE)
(Credit to Swansea boss Paul Clement for this post-match reaction HERE)
(Steve Claridge says Newcastle ‘Nicked it’)
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])