Ok, no overreaction, no need to panic at Newcastle United…yet.

For me, a few things arose from the Arsenal defeat yesterday.

Firstly, the good points.

We were decent in the first half and we could have been a goal or two up. The common consensus before the game was that the Arsenal back line can be got at. We did that, but sadly, whilst he is our current top goal scorer, Joselu is very limited, had little impact and should have came off at some stage yesterday. The same sort of criticism can be levelled at Perez. Looks decent at times but the majority of the time looks distinctly poor.

Moving forward, we’ve got another of the top six out of the way, games that we generally ‘shouldn’t do well against’ in theory. I know we beat a few of them at home last season, but that was then, this is now. It could have been said that Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United were ‘On the beach’ when we played them last season and whilst that might be a trifle unfair, it’s reality and a valid point.

We haven’t shipped any more injuries. Fair enough, Lascelles supposedly turned his ankle in the warm up and Yedlin looked like he’d been in the wars, but both should be ok to face Crystal Palace in a week’s time, as should the benched Shelvey, Rondon and Kenedy. Down London, all three must start.

That’s where the positives end I’m afraid, a defeat is a defeat, no points come our way for any of the positives in the game.

That bring us onto the negatives and there are a few. What the hell is wrong with Kenedy? In his sub role against Arsenal, he didn’t look like a player that was bothered about chasing the game. I would have accused him of being a big time Charlie, but surely those sort of players are supposed to step up in the big games? He seems to be a player that if everything is going well, then the player turns up, if the chips are down then he can’t bothered.

Next we have Isaac Hayden. If ever there was a limited footballer then he is it personified. Championship player at best and the second he stated he didn’t want to be here, that should have been that. Train with the kids if you have to but keep well away from the first team. Going through the motions against Arsenal would have summed his day up in a nutshell and with the emphasis on work ethic being high due to our lack of quality, shirkers are not needed. The likes of Kenedy and Hayden are currently a waste of a shirt or two and that we simply can’t afford. The former has quality, the latter doesn’t, and should be jettisoned asap.

Critically, the second that club captain Jamaal Lascelles failed to appear after half time, we were on a downer. Put simply, without his influence on the back line, the defence swings open like a barn door in the wind. Ciaran Clark’s a decent defender but only when he has Jamaal alongside him. My personal preference is a Lascelles/Lejeune partnership or Lascelles/Fernandez while Lejeune is out, but the overriding factor is that Lascelles is vital to any defence working effectively.

Then we have the substitutions, or rather lack of them. The second we went two down yesterday, we were crying out for two subs. The creativity of Shelvey and the power and thrust of Rondon, yet neither came. Going like for like with Kenedy coming on for Murphy did the side little good.

As I remarked on the train back home to fellow supporters, that was arguably the poorest Arsenal side I’ve seen play at St James’ for ten years or more and they were there to be beaten. If Newcastle can cause Arsenal some problems then there’s every reason that other teams can, and they will. They won’t finish top four, that’s all but certain. We just didn’t have enough to turn our chances into goals, Arsenal on the other hand, had no such problems.

For a side that ‘won’t finish in the top four’ to have spent what they spent in relation to Newcastle is staggering. The difference between the two sides is one has gone out in the summer and strengthened by buying quality and that cost money. Torreira for example came on yesterday and was instantly in the game causing us problems. He cost Arsenal over £25m whereas we signed Ki Sung-yeung for free. What Arsenal have spent on one player, we’ve made back in profit, in other words- we’re worlds apart.

Another question to arise from yesterday was that of why didn’t Rafa bring on subs sooner. From the moment captain Lascelles went off, there was always the worry about the whole thing crumbling once Arsenal got wind of our defensive frailties and so it transpired, at one stage they threatened to run away with the game.

The only thing I can see as a positive from the lack of subs coming on was that Rafa was saving them for games that are in theory more winnable. I see the logic in that, but that relies on the team actually beating the teams we have a better chance of beating, which is not a certainty and quite a gamble.

So, like I said at the start, no panic yet, but it’s a long way to 40 points and safety. I for one don’t think it will take 40 points, but if we don’t have 15 by the start of December, or 20 by the time Santa’s coming down the chimney, we are going to be in dire trouble.

We can rightly point out that the owner having no interest in the club is the biggest problem the club faces and as his reputation took (another) dent this week at the annual S****s D****t AGM, quotes attributed to him are a worrying eye opener for anyone who defends his running of the club. In case you missed it-

“The people within the Sports Direct group, including House of Fraser, are and will continue to be my number one priority.” – Mike Ashley, 14th September 2018.

So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak.

Then again, since when were Newcastle United and it’s supporters interests ever part of Ashley’s thinking? He has caused the malaise at the club, which manifests itself on the pitch, which Rafa is doing his utmost to stem.

Until the owner checks out for good, it’s going to be a long uphill battle for the manager saving this club from being in the Championship a second time in three years. He has been warned for the umpteenth time and for the umpteenth time he ain’t listening …

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  • Sickandtired

    Nowt wrong in that assessment, Paul. Subs continue to be a sticky point for me as well. Even when brought on, Rafa seems intent on like for like and within the same formation.

    • Kenny

      i think he held back Rondon & Jonjo as the game was lost & they will be 100% for next week, poor sod (Rafa) has to play the long game all down to the Fat Rat

  • Tweed Mag

    Agree with everything. A team can carry one player out of sorts, but three or four? No chance. I have run out of patience/excuses for Perez and Hayden should definitely go elsewhere. Lascelles might have to chin a couple of lads in training to get the show back on the road.

    • Kenny

      we have some core players who carry the rest, if any of them are out the result is there for all to see.

  • Kenny

    The only time i panic is when i run out of Whisky, you need a tot or 3 when you support the Toon.

  • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

    Agree with every word of that. Although, I am hesitant on being so harsh on Hayden (even though you’re right) when we don’t know the exact reason he wants to move back down south… could be personal/family things that we just don’t know about.

    • Kenny

      I’m disappointed in Hayden his mind looks to be in another place, I thought he would improve this year

      • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

        you’re right but i’m interested to know why he wanted to leave

        • Jimmy_toons

          His wife had a kid, I think in October and baby had some serious health problems at birth. He told Rafa he wanted to move back to London in the summer.
          Terrible what he’s had to go through but he has to suck it up that he’s here for the foreseeable future and start to earn his large salary. He wasn’t alone in his pedestrian like performance yesterday, but was up there with the worst of them.

          • Ram Kishore

            I can really feel for him but imo we should have allowed him to leave and brought on another midfielder.. Because even if he tries to be proper professional.. he wouldn’t still be the best while he’s away from his family.. He mentioned he had talked to the club in the summer, they knew Merino was leaving.. i think we had more than enough time to let him go and bring in a replacement.. the question is Was there any club who were ready to buy him?
            Did we have a a replacement lined up?

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Thing is in the real world people knuckle down and do there job until a solution is found. He’s moaning like a teenage goth. You’d think London was the deepest reaches of outer space the way he’s going on about his homesickness

      • Ron

        I didn’t like Ruud Hullet as manager but I was on the same flight as him to Holland during mid week, might be a tad more costly commute than most but they earn a tad more than most don’t they. Certainly more than I earn anyway.

    • David Richard McMeekan

      Any chance of getting Monkseaton reinstated via Mark as only a bit of banter

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Especially when theirs people like clarko & ghost rider using multiple alias and accounts on here to spew bile but they’ve never been blocked once

  • Stephen Paylor

    Agree with Paul and the plain facts are that none of our first eleven would have got into that Arsenal team. Possibly not even any of them would have made the bench. Maybe Lascelles but that is it. Like Paul said, were miles apart and probably 5 or 6 quality players short of being a decent premier league side. In todays market that would be a spend of around 120 to 150 million.

    • Jezza

      Yes I agree 100% with you, we needed to have spent £120 to £150 million in the summer but where would that money have come from? Certainly not from the £123 million television money and the £25 million transfer profit, not when most of that money was earmarked for the S****s D****t takeover of a failing department shop chain..

      • Ron

        Let’s hope someone out there wants to take over a failing football club, with more potential than failing high street monoliths.

    • Ron

      Well you know who to blame for that don’t you? If the first word doesn’t start with “M” and the second with “A” then you’re wrong have another guess.

  • jack

    Not happy with Raffas tactics or team selection, two defensive midfielders especially at home is a joke, surely at home we can play 4 4 2, with a little bit more adventure with 52000 fans behind us. Going out defensive at home like that is asking for trouble, let’s face it points are important and most of hours need to be won at home, but not with the one up front that rafa plays

  • jack

    He’s got to change the formation, I’m afraid to say he’s been found out, got mix it a little, we’ve been sussed and got away with it last season

  • Toontaff

    My lasting memory of yesterday will be seeing fans ‘protesting’, wearing the new fun888 strips!

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Couldn’t make it up could you

      • Ron

        No – not at all. Wave an Ashley Out flag, and gfo to SD for your new trainers.

    • Ron

      The mind boggles, but it’s true – Ye Gods!

  • wheyayeman

    To aid the protest movement can’t someone cheaply produce a black and white striped shirt with ‘AshleyOut’ across the middle? Sell it for £15 and thousands would wear it and would def get some media attention!

    • Ron

      The [email protected] might source them from China himself, he couldn’t care less, and if he thought he could possibly turn a profit ……..

  • wheyayeman

    Perez is about as effective as Ameobi who also stole a living and hindered Shearer from scoring another 100 goals before he retired. Joselu makes Perez look like Aguero. How the hell do we ever get the ball in the net enough times to stay up this season is anyone’s guess but I’d say even with Rafa we are nailed on to go down.

  • Paul Cannell

    Rafa knows what he’s doing, just trust him.
    Rondon will save our season

    • Natturner26

      Rafa should probably play him a some point then.

  • SuperDesHamilton

    Issac Hayden is has and always be a vanilla player. Adds nothing, improves nothing, gives nothing & we’ll probably get nothing. Hurry up and leave. I don’t care what he does in the community etc..I care what happens on the pitch, if he isn’t happy then leave. There isn’t a hope in hell he’ll get a bigger club in his 1 mile radius from his house

    • Ron

      I agree if he doesn’t want to be here – then we don’t want him either. But, and it’s a big but, he’s here until end of December so until then he’s got to get his head out of his rear end and realise who puts the butter on his bread.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Imagine working on the rigs and deciding you were homesick

        • Ron

          I’ve heard hitch hiking from there can be a tad problematic too.

  • HarryHype59

    Mbemba would have done a better job as a holding midfielder than Hayden. Even Ginger Jack couldn’t be as bad, could he?

    • Billmag

      Disappointed in Hayden he hasn’t progressed the way I thought he would, but Ginger Jack oh dear !!

      • HarryHype59

        Too many of the replacements for the “dross” are actually no better! Hayden is one example of this. The squad is littered with budget signings who aren’t good enough. Hayden, Murphy, Manquillo, the Hoss, the list is endless.

        Ginger Jack is no worse than Hayden as both are championship players.

  • Jimmy_toons

    There were too many passengers yesterday, namely Perez, Hayden and Murphy, and then Kennedy after coming on. As many have said, when we have our first 11 on the pitch we’re able to compete but they’re not going to be able to play week in, week out. After the second goal went in, the players heads dropped and they looked like relegation fodder.
    United need to start putting points on he board, and very soon, if they’re going to are a stab of staying in the league.

    • Ron

      first attempt blocked 2nd go – To tell you the truth, with the exception of Cardiff, we got exactly the points I expected so far this season. The [email protected] who withholds the transfer funds has seen to that again.
      I still have hope that Rafa can overcome the Ashley handicap for this
      season but so what, if we don’t go down this year we will next.

      At my age I get narked easier that I used too but with Ashley I ooze hatred, I’m to old to pander to his vanity I just want him gone.

  • Kenny

    From a football point of view the club is on the verge of collapsing yet 50,000 turn up for the home games, they protest before a match then happily attend the game,
    this is madness taken to a new level. the fans know full well he pockets the shirt money yet they go to his shop & pay top dollar for a new shirt.
    someone quoted Einstein in respect of the Fat Rat making the same mistake over & over again, that quote can also be used for the 50 odd thousand that go to
    St James.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      It’s the equivalent of turkeys celebrating Christmas

      • Kenny

        👍

  • gordon

    Perez dribbling style (looks like he has forgotten about the ball……every feckin time!) is really starting to vex me

  • Michael

    Start with kenedy away next week? You must be mad man! He doesn’t want to play away and only occasionally does he want to play at home. If you think he was waste of a shirt this week wait until next week. I wouldn’t even have him on the coach when we’re away.

    • Peaky

      He’s starting to look like a poor version of Wijnaldum in not wanting to play away.

  • Gary

    Agree with most to be honest…we all know Ashley is the biggest problem but rafa is getting away with murder because of it…if past managers had played this way they would of been tortured…. giving teams the ball for 70%of the game is not gonna win us games and we don’t have players to play on the counter attack…we look much better playing on the front foot just like watford Bournemouth and wolves do….. rafa bores me to death listening to his crack his team tactics bore me to death and he has one way of playing with no plan B or C…. he won’t change sit back hope teams don’t score and hope we Nick one…he done exactly the same at real Madrid and that’s why he only last 9 months… wake up to it man

  • Kenedy tried to spark something but was very risky, again taking on players just 5 feet away from our BOX! That is a risk, you should never, ever be taking at this level! If you have Messi or Hazard, yes, they can do it, but nobody should be trying nutmegs next to your own box!
    All that being said, he did well after coming on and tried to win as much ground as possible against a more tired Arsenal midfield and it worked a couple of times.
    For me, the players who are really gone are Murphy and especially Hayden, who should have the shirt taken from him! Not allowed to wear training gear that clog!
    Ritchie ran around, but his set pieces were shocking and he looks to have gained a few extra pounds which are NOT helping him at all.
    The rest did really well and actually bested Arsenal most of the time, but if we don’t have confident players giving 100% on the pitch, we can never win against teams who can afford to have World Class players sitting on the bench!