Saturday finished Newcastle 0 Brighton 1.
A game where for once Newcastle United had the lion’s share of possession, corners and shots.
However, despite 27 shots Rafa’s players couldn’t manage a goal, whereas the visitors basically had one chance (before the very final stages) and scored a deflected winning goal.
The Editor asked me beforehand to write about 3 positives and 3 negatives from the game.
Fulham, Huddersfield and Cardiff
The only real positive for Rafa Benitez at the moment is that we are only 3 points off 17th. One win can put us back into a position in which things don’t look so disastrous. That is the main hope for the manager this season – not putting together a decent side, but merely surviving and at the end of the day, hoping that there will be three teams worse than us in the league this season.
Huddersfield are yet to pick up a win, while Fulham look like the type of team who you never know what sort of performance you’re going to get. Although, I think rest assured, if they are still performing badly come January, Mr Khan will likely bring in reinforcements. As for Cardiff, they scored 4 goals at the weekend, with a certain Murphy brother playing a blinder. If Newcastle do stay up this season, it will be by the skin of their teeth.
Lets not forget that Brighton had one shot in the game, and scored from it via a deflection. This wasn’t an awful Newcastle performance, but it was more a case of an incredibly frustrating one. If Ayoze Perez had taken his chance in the opening 5 minutes it would have been a different game perhaps. The same can be said for big chances for Ritchie, Kenedy and Muto.
It certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying. The team remains committed and organised but just not good enough.
Winnable games to come
Southampton, Watford, Bournemouth, Burnley, West Ham. All winnable games. If we fail to take at least 7 points from those games, then there may not be another chance for the team to claw back some points. It is sad that we have to look at games against those sides, and think “hey, we’ll be doing well if we can get a point.”
I wrote a little bit in the match ratings straight after the game about how disappointed I was with the support, and majority of the fans on Saturday. I thought perhaps my opinion would change after I had calmed down a little but it hasn’t.
Fans have paid their money and therefore have the right to express their feelings however they want. I will write an article on this but for the moment I just have one point.
Rafa Benitez is a football manager and will make mistakes. He will make decisions that some of us don’t agree with. Some weeks he will play Joselu, some weeks he will make substitutions too late, and other weeks he will set the team up too negatively. That is football, it is a game of opinions. It can be quite frustrating. It is for me when I have paid all that money for a season ticket only to watch a poor standard of football.
However, if the event that is getting you out of your seat to boo or scream, or moan is an honest manager making honest decisions in the best interests of the team, while you sit there doing absolutely nothing about an owner who has expelled club legends Keegan and Shearer, changed the name of St James Park, stripped the club from top to bottom, taken money out and transferred land from out of the club, lied to the fans, lied to the press, has the club in an HMRC investigation, shafted Jonas when he had cancer, stuck his fingers up to the fans, lied to the manager (I could go on)… oh and on top of that, ran a sports company which has been brought to parliament on the topic of how they treat their own workers… then it is my opinion that you just don’t care enough.
A caller on BBC Newcastle after the game referred to those fans as ‘scabs’, that was completely out of order and not true. But I have to ask the question, do you really care about Newcastle United?
How long have we said this for? No cutting edge up top. Again, whose fault is that? I come back to the reaction of the fans who gave Perez a lot of stick, and booed when Joselu replaced Muto.
Who would you play instead of Perez? There is nobody else. Who would you have brought on from the bench? There is nobody else. Rafa Benitez has his hands completely tied.
People might raise the question, what about Rondon? Rafa wanted him and he has been lacklustre to say the least. Well, that is a fair point, but you’re certainly missing the bigger picture. You are living in Walter Mitty land if you think Rafa wrote a list of signings at the start of the summer and rang Lee Charnley “Mr Charnley, my number 1 wish for the summer is that I would really love it if we could bring in Rondon on loan, at the end of pre-season, and I know that will be difficult financially, so offer them our no.9 as a makeshift.”
As I have said on social media, and in previous articles, until Rafa leaves, we will never know exactly what the story is behind some of these signings.
Bottom of the league
It says it all. 9 games, no wins.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 0 Brighton 1
Brighton: Kayal 29
Possession was Brighton 32% Newcastle 68%
Total shots were Brighton 8 Newcastle 27
Shots on target were Brighton 2 Newcastle 6
Corners were Brighton 2 Newcastle 10
Referee: Andre Marriner
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy, Perez, Muto (Joselu 74)
Darlow, Atsu, Murphy, Schar, Hayden, Manquillo
Crowd: 50,329 (Brighton approx 1,300)
(Can these statistics from Newcastle 0 Brighton 1 be misleading? Read HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the defeat HERE)
(Lee Charnley “We’ll do better when we play the lesser teams” – Read HERE)
You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn