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Opinion

Newcastle United false dawn

2 months ago
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As Newcastle United fans, we know better than to get our hopes up.

The defeat at Chelsea on Monday night was expected by the overwhelming majority of football fans, given their position, squad depth and quality in comparison to Newcastle’s.

However, it was the manner in which Newcastle United lost that has become far too regular an occurrence this season.

Too many times have the team been tentative both in and out of possession, the game passing them by.

On the back of victories over Southampton and Everton and a spirit performance against Crystal Palace, some Newcastle United fans’ pessimism about the direction Bruce is leading the club in, had faded ever so slightly.

Since the formation change to a 4-3-1-2 many of Newcastle’s players seemed to be more comfortable with playing (to a certain extent) ‘on the front foot’  and in particular, some players turning in far better performances with the help of a system that allowed them to get further up the pitch, such as Miguel Almiron.

Newcastle were starting to win the ball higher up the pitch and creating more chances.

For example, Almiron’s second (and match winning) goal against Southampton was a direct product of high pressing.

Despite facing strong opposition in Chelsea, many Newcastle fans believed that this style of play was not going to change, especially with Steve Bruce still saying that it was “the way forward for us” ahead of visiting Stamford Bridge.

Well, if this is the way forward for the team, why did it not continue on Monday night?

Yes, on the surface the formation / set up remained the same, albeit with personnel changes (Clark, Krafth, Lascelles and Gayle included in place of Hendrick, Schar, Wilson and Manquillo). However, the mentality of those on the pitch was far from the pro-active, forward thinking that was on display against Southampton, Everton and Crystal Palace.

Instead, Newcastle United looked caught in two minds.

The players looked as if they didn’t know whether to sit back or push forward, making it even easier for Chelsea to unpick the defence.

To Chelsea, it was like a training match. On the back of this performance, it appears as though the victories and encouraging performances against Everton and Southampton were yet another false dawn for Newcastle fans.

Of course, on the back of years of disappointment, the majority of Newcastle United fans know better than to get their hopes up. All too many times have there been points when things appeared to be changing for the better, only for it to turn out to be yet another false dawn.

This is before you even mention the off the pitch never ending Newcastle United takeover saga which is the ultimate false dawn…year after year.

Newcastle United fans forced to accept that, as ever, the only ambition Mike Ashley has, is for NUFC to simply exist in the Premier League.

Finishing fifth under Pardew, Rafa Benitez arriving and then staying, even when we had been relegated, breaking the club transfer record twice in less than a year in 2019.

Ultimately though, even the most optimistic fans have a breaking point, where events at the club both on and off the pitch, leave them in no doubt that there is no real hope of sustained improvement, at least not until Mike Ashley eventually leaves.

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