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Match Reports

Rafa Benitez unhappy comments are ominously terrifying…

2 years ago

Here, this was awful. Imagine being me right, having to find something to say about this, knowing that the day before Christmas people must be in advanced stages of boredom to want to relive a of a game that, despite bringing our third most successful home result of the season, was basically 90 minutes of nowt happening.

I realise that this has taken me a while and is probably running into the crack for the next match at Liverpool, but I’ve been drunk for most of the weekend, so apologies to the instant information on demand generation for this anachronism.

However, I have been writing this type of thing since it was published on paper and was one of very few fan perspectives and old habits die hard. Now the editor might say I wasn’t great with deadlines back then either, to which I would reiterate that I enjoyed drinking then too.

The Saturday imminently before Christmas is a magnificent day to have a home match as the pubs are full of festive vibes and happy punters. It’s also irritating for the same reasons.

I’m libertarian enough to respect anyone’s right to enjoy themselves, but some office party screaming on like he’s just discovered the fifth element because he’s been “bonkers” enough to order a tray of jäger bombs, is enough to drive nice reasonable types like me to anti-social behaviour. And before the internet bores kick off, I’m not having a go at anyone for not being brilliant at binge drinking, the issue I have with once a year drinkers is purely down to etiquette.

Peoples probably thinking this has nowt to do with Newcastle’s match with Fulham, but if you have even a passing familiarity with how this game went, you’ll understand why I’m filling this page with wiffle.

Again, I’ll throw in that I was drunk, but my recollection of the game can be summarised as follows: at one point in the second half, Schar had a header that was narrowly high and wide. This was our only effort at goal. Towards the end of the match we looked set to contrive to throw it away as Dubravka was almost caught in possession by Mitrovic in what would have been a depressingly horrendous moment before Kamara’s powerful run was snuffed out by Lascelles’ excellent saving tackle.

To be more insightful, Fulham are set up as a side with attacking impetus and not much at the back. They have tried to attack with abandon and been taken apart by several better teams. However, Ranieri has clearly set them up to be disciplined and do the basics, with two clear defensive lines strung across the pitch whenever United tried to launch an attack.

Newcastle, by contrast, have no attacking guile and rely on absorbing pressure and hitting on the break, an impossible tactic when the opponent doesn’t venture forward until the 90th minute. Those charged with providing the spark disappointed, as Atsu was poor and Ritchie tried gamely again, but came up short. I really noticed today how often he can waste attacks with needless fouls but it is splitting hairs given the undoubted effort.

For ages I held the view that we had only one potential to change the game: Kenedy. If the Brazilian turned it on as he can, he could unlock the questionable and so far today untested Fulham defence. His only contribution of note was to go down under Bryan’s clumsy challenge in what looked like a decent penalty shout. Not as obvious as, say, someone taking an elbow clean in the dish, but I’ve given up even getting out my seat when these sort of shouts go up. Bring on VAR.

None of you really need me to say that the post-match comments of a clearly unhappy Rafa are ominously terrifying as he seems to have given up hope of adequately addressing the glaring shortcomings in his overwhelmed team. Despite their shoddiness, I honestly can’t think of anyone in that team who didn’t give it a go today, and I don’t think they deserved the derisory jeers at full time. We have a team that tries (what we demanded), they are just hopelessly underfunded, even compared against bottom of the league, newly promoted outsiders.

We all know where the blame lies but the desire to take action en masse is non-existent from those who prefer to voice their derision through full time boos. The saddest thing Ashley has done is reduce my regard for the Newcastle fan base, and there’s a plethora of damaging actions to pick from there.

I’ll end on a positive I suppose. At least we didn’t lose and there’s still a few days of drinking to go before what may be one of the biggest months in the club’s history.

Merry Christmas friends.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Fulham 0


Possession was Fulham 46% Newcastle 54%

Total shots were  Fulham 4 Newcastle 9

Shots on target were Fulham 2 Newcastle 0

Corners were  Fulham 0 Newcastle 6

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquillo (Yedlin 84), Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Ki, Diame, Atsu (Kenedy 72), Rondon, Perez

Unused Subs:

Woodman, Joselu, Muto, Hayden, Fernandez

Crowd: 51,237 was announced but looked around 49,000-50,000 in reality (Fulham around 500, large minibus)

(Rafa Benitez needs to hold his hands up to this one? Read HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to this bore draw – Read HERE)

(Claudio Ranieri claims Fulham had 4 or 5 chances to win but Newcastle didn’t have single shot at goal – Read HERE)

(Alan Shearer savages Newcastle United match ahead of Match of The Day – Read HERE)

(Paul Merson only sees bleak times ahead for Newcastle United after covering the match against Fulham – Read HERE)

(Rafa Benitez says it will be a ‘miracle’ if Newcastle aren’t relegated – Read HERE)

Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf



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