I then realised it might be more fun to watch paint drying or Mrs Brown’s Boys…
There are a lot of conspiracy theories flying around the country in the current climate, with some entering the realms of the dangerously absurd,.
So it was a bit of a worry that I found myself considering not one, but two, mad theories to subscribe to around today’s final round of Premier League matches.
The first, when Man Utd saw off Leicester by virtue of their FOURTEENTH Premier League penalty (20 in all competitions!) of the season (pretty sure if you counted back 14 NUFC penalties Shearer would be taking them) was that the FA/PL had set up a ploy to ensure the status quo was maintained in the Champions League spots, to the detriment of the upstarts from the East Midlands.
The second, which brings me on to the matter at hand, was that the newly crowned champions decided in their changing room beforehand to have themselves a little side bet, and challenge each other to still win the game if they gave Newcastle a goal head start.
Crackers, I know, but you had to wonder how the utterly dominant visitors managed to concede the quickest goal of the season from the kick off, with Shelvey’s long ball over the top into the darting run on Dwight Gayle a real flashback to the Championship winning season. Gayle beat Allison for his fourth goal since the restart. Prolific.
To be fair, no one cared did they?
This season seems to have been painful for a hell of a lot longer than it hasn’t and it was fizzling out in one of the few fixtures in the Premier League that had absolutely no bearing on anything.
In fact, it was after I agreed to do this match report that I realised it might be more fun to watch the Leicester v Man Utd Champions League shoot out, or one of the three matches dictating the outcome of the three-way relegation scrap, or Avengers Endgame on Disney, or paint drying or Mrs Brown’s Boys. But I was committed now wasn’t I?
I’ll tell you what as well, this was a massive favour by the fixture computer. Liverpool have been miles ahead this season, and we have basically got away with not playing them until it held no meaning whatsoever. While we were scraping points to edge away from the relegation scrap, the other teams in there had to accept getting smashed about by Klopp’s merciless Champions elect knocking them off track.
It’s just as well we did do that point scraping too, because this game did not go well from 00:27 onwards. Liverpool rested their ominous front three and started with Origi, Minamino and Oxlade-Chamberlain who are all far better than anything we could muster up front, but a bit of a change all round that saw them squander a bit up front in spite of constant possession (aye, that again).
Dubravka saved well from Minamino but the first half was well on the way to being unexpectedly navigated when Van Dijk headed in Oxy-blabla’s cross despite their being about seven Newcastle players stood in front of him.
Second half summary: Origi scored easily due to stand offish defending and Mane came off the bench to do likewise in injury time.
The most notable thing from a Newcastle perspective was a seemingly drastic change in tone from the commentary of Steve McManaman, whose eye rolling remarks at Man City had been replaced with glowing compliments about visiting Newcastle (club and city) and a vehement insistence that the supporters are quite right to hope for better than 13th place each year , and it is neither acceptable or sustainable for this to continue, as well as echoing the frustration over the takeover misery. I wonder if he picked up on some of the backlash after City to reeducate himself, and if he did, fair play to him.
There was a spoiler alert there, as we have come 13th again, thanks more to Spurs for drawing with Palace than anything our own lot managed.
I would suggest though, that such a middling position is highly unlikely for a third year in a row next time out. If the takeover happens, we will surely be aiming at least a bit higher. If it does not, I would echo McManaman’s new found viewpoint that nothing other than a deeply disappointing, miserable and disastrous season can possible follow.
There has been a lot of unnecessary nonsense written about comparisons between Bruce and Benitez, often with zero context or balance. Well Bruce fell one point short of last season’s total but that could not be less relevant. His real challenge to prove his worth could come next season, which is either lurking ominously on the horizon or set to be eagerly anticipated.
Oh well, time for a bit more waiting.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Liverpool 3 – Sunday 26 July 4pm
Van Dijk 38, Origi 59, Mane 89
Possession was Liverpool 75% Newcastle 25%
Total shots were Liverpool 14 Newcastle 3
Shots on target were Liverpool 6 Newcastle 2
Corners were Liverpool 4 Newcastle 2
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Rose (Watts 74), Shelvey, Bentaleb (Sean Longstaff 49), Almiron (Hayden 70), Lazaro, Ritchie, Gayle (Carroll 70), Saint-Maximin (Joelinton 45)
Darlow, Muto, Young, Yedlin,
(Steve McManaman facing accusations of talking common sense about Newcastle United – Read HERE)
(After Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce chat, Alan Shearer speaks out on ‘doubtful’ Newcastle United takeover -Read HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Liverpool 3 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s defeat – Read HERE)
(Michael Chopra calls out pundits on ridiculous over the top Steve Bruce comments – Perfect response – Read HERE)
(How much TV money each of the 20 Premier League clubs will get for 2019/20 before ‘deductions’ – Read HERE)
Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf
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