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With these three signings Newcastle United wouldn’t be needing to rely on such small margins

4 years ago

Newcastle United didn’t exactly tear the Championship apart but in their 29 wins from 46 games, there were many matches where we saw comfortable wins, especially when taking an early lead and gradually squeezing the life/hope out of the opposition as they looked for a way back into the game.

We all knew it was going to be a different matter in the Premier League.

Odd mistakes you might get away with in the second tier are invariably punished in the top league, plus of course Newcastle were always going to find it tougher in terms of creating opportunities.

Looking at the three matches so far, I think the players probably deserve to be standing on four points, though it could easily have been seven.

The win against West Ham was clearly deserved and I feel that without Shelvey’s indiscretion, there was no reason to think that match wouldn’t have ended in a goalless draw.

Overall, I would say Newcastle didn’t deserve anything from the match at Huddersfield, mainly due to the lack of attacking intent for most of the game, but the reality is that it was one of those games…where one moment would decide it either way.

The home side were the better team but in reality created few dangerous moments.

The game ended up being decided on two moments: Aaron Mooy scoring an excellent winner, whilst previous to that – what would have been an excellent winner from Matt Ritchie, was fingertip deflected by what looks to be a very good keeper they signed in the summer. Three clean sheets for Huddersfield so far, is clear supporting evidence.

I thought at the time and I still think it now, if the goalkeepers had been reversed that day then I think it could/would have been Newcastle that had taken three points from the match.

Elliot is an ok keeper for the Championship and maybe a reserve in the Premier League but I don’t think he is one who can make the difference, as Huddersfield’s keeper did that day – and has suggested he could do throughout this season.

These small margins at both ends of the pitch are what could, and almost certainly will, decide Newcastle’s season.

Rafa Benitez was desperate for a new number one keeper and a first choice striker, he ended up with neither of them.

Newcastle’s strengths have arguably ended up in the middle of the pitch, with central defenders Clark and Lejeune looking full of promise, whilst in midfield – Shelvey, Hayden and Shelvey look to have the quality between them to do a good job this season.

We all hope Dwight Gayle will bounce back to his best and that the likes of Joselu, Perez, Elliot and Mitrovic can all play a part.

However, I look at out team and think that if only Rafa Benitez had been backed to bring in a new goalkeeper, number ten and centre-forward, Newcastle United wouldn’t be needing to rely on such small margins this season.

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