3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 2 Burnley 0
Tuesday night finished Newcastle 2 Burnley 0.
Rafa’s players making four Premier League victories in a row at St James Park.
NUFC following up the wins over Huddersfield, Cardiff and Manchester City.
Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives after the final whistle.
This time it is Ben Cooper:
Most people at the club can take some credit for the fact that NUFC don’t even appear on the BBC’s picture of the bottom six this morning.
I hope that those in positions of authority at the club will very soon realise that with some investment and forward planning the club should not be anywhere near this picture.
As supporters we have seen over the past few weeks that the team we watch is considerably better than at least three teams in this division.
I live in hope that the investment needed to remain considerably better than some of the teams in the Premier League will follow but for the time being, I am happy that this morning I woke up to see my team not on this picture.
This Scharming Man
While Schar should get the obvious plaudits for a super-strike, the Scharmpagne moment that put us 1-0 up, the return from injury of Lejeune for me is a key reason for the recent upturn in results. He has been consistently good since he came back in the side with seemingly no hangover from his injury.
His cover of Ritchie has allowed the wing-back to get forward with confidence and not leave an obvious gap behind him for the opposition to exploit. Lejeune looks to have given confidence to Lascelles, who has been back to approaching his best in the last few games.
The return of the Frenchman has also meant that we have two centre backs who can get forward and two centre backs with accurate long range passing, a key element of Rafa’s new game-plan.
Last season we were talking about Lascelles being worth big money and potentially moving on to a Champions League club. Now I think all of those teams will be more interested in Lejeune.
‘Lejeune: You’ve Got Everything Now’
Keep On Running
There are many positives that the signing of Almiron has brought but the main positive of it last night was the speed with which the team now play.
NUFC were plodders until two weeks ago, there was little pace in the team and while there was movement it was slow, obvious and predictable. This led to passes and attacking play being equally easy to predict and defend against. Now the ball zips.
Newcastle only played with that sort of energy for part of the first half against Burnley but when they did it was great to watch. Almiron is the main instigator, everything he does is quick and direct but some of the others are joining the party and now the team are first time passing the ball through the opposition.
It is early days in this transition and I am not suggesting that the team have become Barcelona overnight but the early signs are that the players are gaining the confidence to be a ball-playing team.
The last 45 minutes of the Burnley game were scrappy.
The players looked a bit tired later on but that can’t be an excuse for sitting back and letting Burnley lump balls into the penalty area, that’s exactly what Burnley wanted to do.
Yes, United got away with it due to a mixture of good defending and an off-form opposition but the efforts to keep the ball were poor.
One reason was that Almiron rarely got the ball, Matt Ritchie in particular looked reluctant to pass to him. The club have paid £21million for a player who looks has had an immediate effect on the vitality of the team, the least the other players can do is give him the ball.
‘First half Scooby, second half Scrappy’
When the club bought Almiron I was expecting him to challenge Perez and Muto for the number 10 position. Instead, Rafa seems to have slotted him in to the same 5-4-1 formation which the team have played for the last couple of months.
I mistakenly thought this 5-4-1 was a back-to-basics attempt by the manager, to allow the team to grind out the points needed for safety and once more attacking players were available, then the team would become more expansive. That has partly happened but the formation has remained.
For most of the second half against Burnley, NUFC were very 5-4-1, whereas moving Almiron further up the pitch would have both given Newcastle an attacking option and pushed Burnley further back. I will look forward to that happening.
The rise of the Korean pop music sensation has not only taken over the pre-pubescent pop market but it seems to have taken over Paul Dummett’s hair as well. I know he is not getting his game recently but I don’t think that is the way to get yourself noticed.
‘The Dummetts: The new Jacksons’
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Burnley 0
Schar 24, Longstaff 38
Possession was Burnley 46% Newcastle 54%
Total shots were Burnley 12 Newcastle 12
Shots on target were Burnley 2 Newcastle 3
Corners were Burnley 7 Newcastle 4
Referee: Craig Pawson
Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Hayden, Longstaff (Diame 85), Almiron (Dummett 80), Perez (Joselu 87), Rondon
Darlow, Ki, Yedlin, Atsu
Crowd: 48,323 (Burnley 1,300)
(Match ratings for all NUFC players after the 2-0 win HERE)
(Must see video as Alan Shearer celebrates that Fabian Schar opening goal! Watch HERE)
(Instant reaction from NUFC fans/writers after the victory – read HERE)
(Read HERE Rafa’s amusing reaction when asked after the 2-0 win what he would say to Mike Ashley)
(Sean Dyche give very honest reaction after the defeat – Read HERE)
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