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3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Blackburn 2 Newcastle 4

5 months ago
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Tuesday night ended Blackburn 2 Newcastle 4.

Newcastle two up within 22 minutes, only for Blackburn to come back and equalise before half-time.

As the match stretched into extra-time, Rafa’s side got the breaks.

Joselu and Perez scoring to give the scoreline a much more comfortable look than was deserved.

The Editor asked me beforehand to write about 3 positives and 3 negatives from the game, so here goes…

POSITIVES

The Winner Takes It All:

We won.

I want Newcastle United to win every game they play and I don’t care whether they have a more important game four days later or whether that game is worth “£130million”.

I fully embrace the mantra which Sevilla have used so well for the past two decades: win the next game and move on.

No matter what the cost in injuries, tiredness or the tedium of watching a game drift towards and through a first half of extra time, I want NUFC to win. That happened. We can stop there. We should stop there but the editor asked me to entertain you for a little longer.

Young Guns Go For It:

At last there was a little bit of hope that some players in our Academy are worth watching.

Longstaff continued his progress after an encouraging display against Chelsea with an energetic goal-scoring performance last night. Callum Roberts also scored and while he ran out of steam, at least he had some steam.

blackburn 2 newcastle 4

I don’t remember a huge amount about Jamie Sterry’s performance but he played and we won. Freddie Woodman, very highly rated but so far from what I have seen in domestic football he has been shaky and looked what he is, a young keeper finding his feet. He looked nervous early on but he got better. Hopefully with more games he will get much better and fulfil his potential.

I was pleased that Rafa played a mix of younger players and first teamers and that it paid off, rather than lumping a load of kids in with some has-beens and watching them flounder. Every team needs a bit of youthful vigour in it, a bit of local colour (in Longstaff’s case he obviously holidays in Whitley Bay Caravan Park every summer) and the honesty, effort and pride that brings.

Plan B:

Joselu had one job last night and he exceeded all expectations.

I have no doubt that Rafa sent him out with the instructions “stop  Rondon getting injured, play the full game”.

blackburn 2 newcastle 4Not only did he do that but he scored. It was very, very marginally offside. It was a little disrespectful of Tony Mowbray to say his team had been “let down by the linesman”, it was very close, a could have gone either way decision.

We weren’t let down by Joselu last night though, he wasn’t brilliant but he stuck to the managers plan completely. Rondon is fit for Saturday, Joselu scored and we won. Take the rest of the week off son.

NEGATIVES

Rules are there to be broken:

What are those players having to play extra time for in the FA Cup third round? They’ve already been playing for three hours, let them take some penalties and go home. Let the fans go home while the pubs are still open and the buses are still running.

A few years ago Jose Mourinho said that in the English cup games, each team should be able to make as many subs as they liked. There would still be the three substitution ‘windows’ for each team, so the game wouldn’t be any more stop/start or the substitutions used to break up the game any more than they are. He said that if he had seven players on the bench, why couldn’t he bring them all on? Mourinho just wanted to be able to change as many players as he wanted three times in a cup match.

blackburn 2 newcastle 4

If the FA wants to make the FA Cup special and stop teams playing ‘weakened’ teams they should embrace some rule changes that doesn’t involve 22 knackered players and bored fans indulging in an unnecessary thirty minutes of football. They know most PL managers can do without the English cups, something needs to be done to make them more enticing. It’s hard to see a future for the competition as things stand. Not that NUFC have got much of a future in it anyway.

The In Crowd:

Yesterday, Blackburn started with two players who were born within 10 miles of SJP. Neither had a chance at Newcastle, one literally because we never had him on our books. The other, Armstrong, was one of three scorers from players who came through Newcastle’s Academy. I don’t know when the last time that happened was but I presume United weren’t one of the teams involved when it did.

blackburn 2 newcastle 4

Young players have to play and be given a chance. Armstrong never got a chance at NUFC. He’s still only 21 and yesterday he showed that while he might not make it, is he any better or worse than the likes of Perez, Joselu, Manquillo, Atsu and Hayden? The £1.5million we got for him was nothing compared to the chance to develop a young player into someone who might have a career at NUFC, inspire younger Tyneside Juniors to think that they do have a chance, play with his heart and save the Fatman a few quid along the way. Time to change the In Crowd.

Where Have All The Bootboys Gone?:

Why Lascelles went on yesterday is baffling to me but what it meant was that two of our centre halves got injured yesterday.

Thankfully we’ve got a few of them who are pretty good so it might not be too costly but if it had been Rondon and Joselu then who would be playing up front on Saturday? Me or you. One of the pitfalls of not developing your young players and not replacing them when you offload them is that you end up with very few players.

blackburn 2 newcastle 4

Fair enough the club has a few injuries but they knew Ki and Muto would be away this month and that there were lots of games coming up, the squad is looking very fragile at the moment.

I’m not asking for a £100million bid to go in for Hazard but if the club don’t want the young players to step up then they need to pick up either a loan or free agent midfielder and striker immediately or suffer the consequences. There are players available and it needs to be done now.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Blackburn 2 Newcastle 4

Goals…

Newcastle – Longstaff 1, Roberts 22, Joselu 105+3, Perez 106

Blackburn – Armstrong 33, Lenihan 45+1

Possession was Blackburn 55% Newcastle 45%

Total shots were  Blackburn 13 Newcastle 22

Shots on target were Blackburn 4 Newcastle 10

Corners were  Blackburn 8 Newcastle 6

Referee: Lee Probert

Newcastle United:

Woodman, Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark (Lascelles 46 (Hayden 57)), Sterry, Ritchie (Atsu 109), Schar, Longstaff, Murphy, Roberts (Perez 94), Joselu

Unused Subs:

Harker, Yedlin, Rondon

Crowd: 14,228

(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match go HERE)

(Read match ratings and comments on all NUFC players after beating Blackburn HERE)

(Tony Mowbray blames match officials for defeat to Newcastle – Read HERE)

(Rafa Benitez discusses luck, confidence, injuries and scoring goals after beating Blackburn – Read HERE)
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