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Opinion

A sign of better times ahead for Newcastle United?

2 weeks ago
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On seeing Sunday’s team sheets when revealed at 11am on Sunday morning, a huge boost for NUFC as Nick Pope was missing for Burnley.

With Krafth also dropped as Clark and Fernandez came in for him and the injured Lascelles, the Newcastle United defence still looked strong and arguably more solid.

Allan Saint-Maximin and Wilson on the bench also massive boosts, hopeful for some influential cameos, if needed…

Some very unattractive football for the first 15 minutes or so, long ball ugliness all round, but the first blow came Burnley’s way as the defence inexplicably stood off Wood, allowed him to wander down the side of the box and square it to a free and clear Vydra who finished smartly. Not the best start.

The main controversy of the half…how was that not a penalty?!

For those who did not watch, Tarkowski literally kicked Longstaff fully in the face as he contested for a ball in the Burnley box. VAR check– apparently that’s now completely fine and within the rules, good to know.

That decision was even more galling after an identical challenge on Longstaff was penalised later in the game. The only difference? Outside of the box. You figure it out.

The second half was a much improved bag as it progressed, particularly after a certain pair were introduced just over 10 minutes after the break, as the game threatened to run away from Newcastle.

Aimless balls, aimless running

The first half was full of pointless long balls to no one, as well as wasted passes into channels which were miles ahead of runners. Even when carrying the ball, far too many blind alleys were ran down, and nothing was made out of the few positive spells of possession we had.

Only when more accomplished players were brought on in the second half did we look purposeful, reminded yet again about ASM, just how invaluable he is to a team like ours.

Why change a playing style that worked?

Something I just don’t understand.

When our playing style worked so well last time out against Spurs, getting a deserved draw, why then throw all that out the window and play long balls and punt it hopefully up to two strikers who are not target men?

I understand needing to tweak play styles to suit your opponent but why willingly hamstring your own players? Brucey tactics I suppose.

Substitution saviours

Hopes raised when I saw ASM and Wilson brought on for the ineffectual Gayle and Joelinton.

Almost immediately ASM showed his class, driving into the Burnley defence and teeing up Murphy for his second goal of the season.

And if that wasn’t good enough, five minutes later he picks up a pass, runs at the defence, ties them in knots and scores a fantastic drive to make it 2-1.

Only seven minutes on the pitch, a goal and an assist, and from zero points to three.

Even after that initial impact, Allan Saint-Maximin almost set up a third Newcastle goal in the dying minutes, only for Almiron’s shot to be blocked on the line.

Hopefully, this is a sign of better times ahead…

Stats from BBC Sport:

Burnley 1 Newcastle 2 – Sunday 11 April 12pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Murphy 59, Saint-Maximin 64

Burnley:

Vydra 18

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Burnley 57% (49%) Newcastle 43% (51%)

Total shots were Burnley 24 (11)  Newcastle 10 (4)

Shots on target were Burnley 4 (2) Newcastle 5 (1)

Corners were Burnley 13 (1) Newcastle 3 (4)

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Almiron (Hendrick 90+30), Gayle (Wilson 57), Joelinton (Saint-Maximin 57)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Carroll, Willock, Krafth, Lewis, Manquillo

Crowd: 00,000

(Former top Premier League referee rules on this Burnley v Newcastle controversial incident – Read HERE and watch the incident and match highlights)

(Steve Bruce makes it up as he tells Sky Sports about Newcastle winning run after Burnley – Read HERE)

(Burnley 1 Newcastle 2 – A massive relief but a couple of things…Read HERE)

(Burnley 1 Newcastle 2 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(The Elephant in the room at Newcastle United – Read HERE)

(Allan Saint-Maximin gets emotional after MOTM turn around “I give this win to the supporters” – Read HERE)

(Burnley 1 Newcastle 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s dramatic win – Read HERE)

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