On reflection, a 1-0 Newcastle United loss at home to the Champions Elect (remember when JFK called us that in the 90s?) isn’t that bad, however…
I thought Newcastle showed Manchester City a little too much respect last night, we basically gave up any sort of possession or pressing in the middle of the pitch and instead defended the final third until the last fifteen minutes.
Fine if we are playing anyone outside the Top Four but were we really going to hold out for the full game like this? The answer is no, so what would be the alternative?
We could have tried to go toe-to-toe and outplayed them with tic-tac Barca style play….really? With Diame and Joselu?
We’ve hardly been prolific in terms of holding the ball and stringing passes together so that is also a big No.
I mentioned the horrible JFK at the beginning of this piece as he was the manager of Wimbledon, aka The Crazy Gang, back on 12 Feb 1994 when I went to our away game at Selhurst Park.
We were The Entertainers and got completely destroyed by a side that went 4-2-4 and played Route One – the front three of Fashanu, Holdsworth and Blissett all scored, as well as Earle who joined the attack.
They missed out the midfield entirely (Vinnie Jones and Gary Elkins in midfield- hardly ball players!) and put the ball in the box every attack and we simply couldn’t cope.
Surely we could have used this tactic against Man City? Joselu isn’t that bad in the air, I’d have played Mitro (obvs) and also Gayle, with someone like Shelvey joining in as a forward midfielder.
We sort of resorted to this tactic anyway, we didn’t play our way forward from the back and often humped it forward but over the heads of our midfield, with only Joselu up front, inevitably it came straight back.
When we got in their faces and pressed, they didn’t like it and looked vulnerable. Perhaps that as the game plan, instead of absolute containment, may have yielded something.
Ultimately, this game was a giveaway and Rafa is focused on Brighton and Stoke – if so we should have just mixed it up and gone for it, anyone remember being four down against Arsenal?
Happy New Year Geordie Nation!!!