Newcastle United have made it a habit of scoring first this season, only to then throw it away and end up with either a draw or a defeat. The total points for this is 17, as leading positions were thrown away against Southampton, Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester, Burnley, Palace, and Bournemouth.
Now discounting the defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea away, as we were never likely to get points from these realistically, that is still eleven points thrown away over the course of the season – which would see Newcastle on 40 points and therefore safe from relegation.
Instead of this, however, because of our inability to close out games, we find ourselves on 29 points and buried deep in the relegation mix.
Of these games mentioned, the two which particularly annoy me are Burnley at home and Bournemouth away, this is because in both of these games we should have been out of sight of the opposition, but instead we were punished for not taking our chances and conceded late equalisers in both games.
In the Burnley game, we missed a penalty before Lascelles put us in front, then Joselu missed a one on one. I think everyone could see this drained the confidence from the team, they retreated deeper and deeper, only to later concede from a set-piece which is something we usually are very good at dealing with.
The Bournemouth game was perhaps more irritating, as this time we were two-nil up with ten minutes to go and still blew it. Realistically we should have been 4-0 up as Perez and Shelvey missed two absolute sitters, which spoiled their otherwise impressive performances. Both misses, for premier league footballers, were unacceptable, clearing the crossbar on two open goals from less than 10 yards out is quite frankly embarrassing.
Then Adam Smith scored a screamer from the edge of the box which left Dubravka with no chance, the equaliser then had a sense of inevitably about it. Whilst it has to be said, that if the game went on for 10 minutes longer, we probably would have lost.
There does, however, remain an excellent chance for Newcastle to stay up with winnable games coming up at home and also away (Everton and Watford should be safe by the time we play them).
What has to happen in all of these games is better game management from all involved and if this side of our game improves, then we will stay up – despite the fact that we should already be safe if we hadn’t already thrown vital points away…
(ED: In the interests of fairness and as a comparison, whilst Newcastle have lost 17 points after scoring the first goal, they have also gained points from losing positions after conceding first. There were 17 points lost as Jack points out about but Rafa’s team have also fought back to get six points after leaking the opening goal – Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1, West Brom 2 Newcastle 2, West Ham 2 Newcastle 3, Newcastle 1 Swansea 1)