3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1
Saturday afternoon ended Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1.
Newcastle United creating chances but not taking them in the first half, then totally losing their way after the break and the League One side taking their opportunity when it came, with the help of some not great NUFC defending.
Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game, this time it is David Punton.
Play the long game
This one will polarise opinion, and with some fans it’s as popular as a fart in a wet suit, but getting knocked out of the FA Cup is a blessing.
It gives me no pleasure to trot this one out but the focus has to be staying in the Premier League. A cup run would have tired minds and tired legs. It would have created distraction.
We also now avoid a run to the quarter finals where we more than likely get a nigh on impossible game against Man City which ends up on BBC One, giving Gary Lineker and Micah Richards the chance to take the mickey out of NUFC on live television. That happened under Bruce, you may recall.
On the shots
We created a lot of chances. We’ve had 23 shooting attempts. Under Brucey it would have been under five.
The opportunities to win the game were created, we just lacked the extra edge to get the ball into the back of the net.
Usually when you miss a hatful the other lot do a smash and grab, which is exactly what happened.
The players need to keep plugging away because eventually – and hopefully – some of these efforts will start flying in soon.
Solid debut for Kieran Trippier
Our new right back got some vital minutes with his new colleagues and it was a decent enough debut.
He didn’t really put a foot wrong and there is more to come from him. His delivery into the box looked as expected – very good. Now we need someone to be on the end of all the overlaps he was able to create. He looks a great outlet and you can see why he’s an England player.
At the end he was calling for players who went straight for the tunnel to applaud fans – that shows leadership qualities.
Cup of woe
United’s fortunes in this competition almost feel cursed. After the disallowed goals I said to the bloke next to me ‘it’s going to be one of them days’. So it came to pass.
It was a strong (ish) line up from NUFC too. It’s not like Eddie Howe rang massive changes, giving him an excuse in defeat. He went for it and the players let him down. Too many bad decisions on the ball and with the final pass.
Insult to injury was the fact we have succumbed to League One opponents. A cup final for them and a huge day out. They battled, got their goal, and as their manager said, at times they rode their luck.
It was a tough one to take in a season where Newcastle have still only won one game of football and we’re into January.
When Willock emerged from the bench I thought he could be ideal to get on the end of something.
Sadly, his form from that loan spell has evaporated. He looked low on confidence and didn’t do much with the ball. Eddie Howe needs to find a role for him in this team. He was better as the fulcrum of the attack with late runs into the box last season, notching 7 in 7 games. He basically helped to keep us up. We need that back, or the move could start to look like it’s backfired.
Blunt as a spoon
The final half an hour we ran out of ideas and there was no target man in the box to rescue us. All game it was noticeable. No proper centre forward depth due due to injuries and the Ashley era legacy.
Howe must know that NUFC cannot persevere with midfielders deployed as strikers if he wants to escape the bottom three.
We looked short in central midfield, left back, and at centre back too. Matt Ritchie is a great lad but playing him as a full back is looking like cruelty now.
Schar and Kraft as the central defensive pair looked makeshift and they were always likely to leak one at some point.
The only way to turn this negative into a positive is to sign some new players, urgently too. The owners were there. They can see the problems and where we are deficient. If they’re as ambitious as they say then get us at least five new signings.
We need that shot in the arm and we need it now.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Saturday 8 January 3pm
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Cambridge 42% (40%) Newcastle 58% (60%)
Total shots were Cambridge 7 (4) Newcastle 23 (10)
Shots on target were Cambridge 4 (2) Newcastle 9 (6)
Corners were Cambridge 1 (1) Newcastle 12 (5)
Crowd: 51,395 (4,830 Cambridge)
Dubravka, Trippier, Krafth, Schar, Ritchie (Manquillo 78), Shelvey, Sean Longstaff (Almiron 60), Murphy (Willock 60), Fraser, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin
Gillespie, Dummett, Hendrick, Anderson, White
(Cambridge fans comments after trip to Newcastle United and a 1-0 win…Read HERE)
(Newcastle United owners meet with players after Cambridge disaster – Read HERE)
(Eddie Howe reflects on Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 “I thought we played OK” – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s defeat – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton
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