Early finish from work to get on the road to see how the lads get on, it’s a Monday night but exceptions are made for one of two ‘local derbies’ this season, the other being Huddersfield.
It seems it’ll be a while before Newcastle United travel the short 14 miles to that doomed place where bins aren’t used and crisp packets and Greggs wrappers swirl in a continuous vortex round the feet of the people they cannily call footballers.
But anyways, back to the game in hand.
Our recent form gave me a confident feeling going into this one, usually a bad omen, but the lads give a lot to be positive about. The games can’t come quick enough at the moment, the excitement and buzz going to the match, that has been slowly worn down this last 10 years, is back in abundance.
I believe we can beat anyone these days, and that’s down to Rafa and the bunch of lads he has assembled and organised, into a well drilled team fighting for the cause.
Much like the approach to the Southampton game I thought we’d at least get something out of the game against Burnley. Both ourselves and Burnley don’t score too many goals and are pretty sound defensively so everything pointed to a low scoring, tight affair, much like how I thought Southampton would pan out which end up 2-2, so what do I know?
To the game itself, Diame’s inclusion in the first eleven was a surprise and there was an audible shock around the Cricket Club pre-match at Merino being withdrawn from the match day squad. Hopefully Merino’s injury isn’t too bad because he was a miss this evening.
The first half neither side really threatened to score, with not much in the way of football being played, just hard work and discipline, but I was reasonably happy to go in level at half time.
Second half was a different story, Burnley changed tactics, went route one and we struggled to cope with it. By that I don’t mean we weren’t able to defend, Lejeune and Lascelles were arguably our best players on the pitch, it just meant Burnley were able to set themselves defensively, putting the onus on us to break them down which we struggled to do.
It’s become a common theme that when we have more of the ball in games we don’t tend to win, whereas when we’ve had little possession we more often and not come away with something.
I was keen to see how Perez fared, he struggled against Palace last time out and things weren’t to improve any, as he unfortunately gave the ball away in a crucial part of the pitch which led to their goal. I’d argue that he was potentially fouled and he was played a difficult ball when the better option might have been to clear our lines, easily said after the event I suppose.
From my view in the away end the home support was poor, I at least expected some sort of Sean Dyche love-in as potential suitors are circling and with it being the 5th anniversary of his time in charge, the only time I heard them was after their goal.
I felt we were generally toothless throughout the 90 mins, our passing wasn’t great but the same could be said of our opposition, the game was there for the taking and we didn’t force the issue and ultimately paid the price for one mistake which is probably the most disappointing thing after the final whistle.
The game was almost a reverse of last weekend’s game against Palace, you win some you lose some I guess, which is indicative of a mid-table side.
Rafa is only working with what he’s got. Based on what I’ve seen so far this season, the team is good enough to finish anywhere between 8th and 14th, January might bring investment that takes us to the top end of that.
This game was disappointing yes, but I believe that we’re a decent side that can compete in the Premier League, we can chalk this one up as an off day and move onto a winnable home game against Bournemouth on Saturday. Aim for 3 points that will have us looking up the table again.
Howay me bonny lads!!!
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