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Opinion

Interesting to see this media reaction to Oxford 2 Newcastle 3 – Deluded?

8 months ago
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We could all enjoy Oxford 2 Newcastle 3.

An FA Cup match that was great entertainment for neutrals but which Newcastle United won, what’s not to like?

After the event you can look back and because you know the ending/result, your worries/fears when in the moment become forgotten or something to laugh about.

Newcastle dominated from the first whistle, scored on 15 and 30 minutes, making this look like a regulation win for a Premier League side over one from two divisions below.

Then of course as the second half progressed, Oxford had a go and Steve Bruce had his team attempting to defend deeper and deeper, inviting more and more pressure.

There had been warning shots fired but just when it looked NUFC had for once escaped any late scares, Oxford scored with six minutes to go, then equalised with pretty much the last kick of added time.

Extra time didn’t look a contest of two teams 40 places apart in league position, as the match could have gone either way.

Some individual brilliance from ASM the only difference between the two sides in that final half hour, producing an end product at last to his dribbling skills on the night.

I loved the fact that we had won and at last got to the fifth round and I think the player did deserve credit for the first half and then battling to the end.

However, I was surprised (although not really) at how over the top the media (especially local media) was to Tuesday’s match.

We all want the team to do well and improve but for me there was much delusion in what I was reading.

Newcastle had knocked the ball around well in the first 40 or so minutes and three very good finishes…but this was against League One opposition.

The Oxford defending was especially poor and I think against a Premier League side it is all but certain Newcastle’s goalscorers would never have had those opportunities to score.

Naive and slow, we saw this especially on Joelinton’s goal, a long ball and the Brazilian was left one on one with a lumbering Oxford defender who got in a poor position, Joelinton finished well but chances like that don’t come in the Premier League. Yet the media were claiming they had seen a new Joelinton, I saw somebody who did ok and punished poor defending, but no surprise that two of his there goals have come against League One clubs. Never mind scoring goals, he hardly ever gets into scoring positions in PL matches, though the all but non-existent service hardly helps.

The final stats saw both teams have 50% possession but Oxford with more shots (20 v 16) and corners (6 v 4).

An open game and Newcastle just came out on top in 120 minutes of football against League One opposition.

The Newcastle players should have enjoyed the more open spaces and been able to play better football, which they did for 40 or so minutes and then in small patches.

Sean Longstaff did well and so did brother Matty but to translate this to the Premier League is a massive jump.

Certainly not anything as easy as the media were claiming.

It is usually the fans who are labelled deluded but this was nothing more than Newcastle thankfully showing they are capable of doing it against lower league opposition.

This FA Cup game showed that NUFC can play well (at times) against League One opposition ( we have seen up AND downs against both Oxford and Rochdale) in over six and a half hours of football in the four games.

Oxford even sold their best two midfielders to Brentford on deadline day, just to give Newcastle an extra helping hand.

In time the Longstaffs will get better and better and that is why it is shameful that Mike Ashley has refused to give them proper contracts, both of them on a pittance that was agreed before either had made their Premier League debuts. It is also a potential massive own goal if it then forces one or both to then say they’ve (quite rightly) had enough of Ashley’s treatment of them.

Just the same as after each of the other three games against League One opposition, we will undoubtedly see Steve Bruce’s usual all out ultra defensive tactics and formation, the only tactic to make it as difficult as possible for the other team to score and for Newcastle to be as difficult to beat as possible, as Steve Bruce had admitted was the case against even bottom club Norwich at home.

We are in the FA Cup fifth round. That is it when it comes to the actual positivity to be found, apart from having watched an entertaining game of football for once.

Back to reality against Arsenal in 10 days time, even though they have won only five of 24 Premier League matches since winning at St James Park on the opening day, when they had most of their best players missing.

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