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Match Reports

Newcastle United with only these 9 positions needing strengthening…

1 month ago
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Back to reality? Not really. We always knew we were that bad.

Even before the Spurs game, and following our fantastic run of form, I do not think anyone is under any illusions about the challenges that lie ahead for the owners with regard to the playing squad.

Sunday was a reminder though, for those that needed it, that Newcastle need to markedly improve in every single position on the bench if they are to move in the right direction post summer.

I think we could do with a new goalkeeper. Our full back options, despite Trippier, remain weak. At centre back, Schar and Burn have been a good pair but they are the minimum, rather than the ultimate standard, we should be aspiring to attain to.

Jonjo Shelvey isn’t good enough and he has pulled the wool over many a new manager’s eye for too long now. Willock and Joelinton should have a place in any future Newcastle squad, but as starters? I would hope not, especially for the former.

Even in Sunday’s brief cameo, Bruno showed he is already head and shoulders above his teammates in terms of ability. If he can translate his good start here into consistency, with most importantly, the correct attitude, then along with Trippier, those are two players that should set the standard for where we want this team to go.

Perhaps I am missing someone there… he who it would seem at the moment cannot be mentioned. I don’t think ASM falls into the same category anymore. I used to think he was our best player by far. I’ve changed my mind. It’s probably better to describe him as by far our most dangerous attacking threat… and arguably our only attacking threat at times.

There in lies the conundrum… many fans now believe we can probably do without him. I don’t think that is true, but I do believe for the right price, we could replace ASM with a far more consistent attacking player who buys into Howe’s high energy, high press team dynamic.

For all ASM is a fantastic footballer, and a great character, every time I have watched him lately, he just seems like a guy who thinks he is too big for his own boots. Of course, in an ideal world we’d love to have someone on the opposite flank who is just as good as ASM, maybe then, that would give him more freedom to do what he does best. We saw the best of Hatem Ben Arfa when he had a steady player on the opposite side of the front three (be it Gouffran or Demba Ba).

Anyway, this was meant to be a match report…

This was the first time I have ever seen us ‘not win’ at Tottenham. The first 45 minutes it appeared Newcastle’s game plan was spot on. However, all unravelled in the second half. I did however, take one positive out of the capitulation. Unlike previous years, especially under Bruce, this was not a case of a side simply downing tools. It was clear after the second goal that Newcastle were just too eager to try and push to get back into the game. Our full backs were bombing forward, Dan Burn was desperately trying to intercept passes that were none of his business… all in the hope of getting the ball back. In the end, we were just picked off by a very good side with two world class players in Kane and Son.

A sh.t day at the office, but we were well beaten by a far better side… aided by our own naivety, rather than a lack of effort or commitment.

No disrespect to Chris Wood but we are severely lacking at the top end of the field. A new striker in the summer is essential, and to be honest, as long as Wilson remains injured, I’d go with ASM as the front man for the rest of the season, rather than Wood. The lack of goals I don’t mind, especially when you are a big lone striker. However, I don’t rate his hold up play, he doesn’t win that many headers, and contributes very little.

Mark Viduka wasn’t a massive hit on Tyneside, he didn’t score a great deal of goals either, but boy you know what you were going to get from him. Drill that ball into Viduka’s feet and it would stick like glue, and he’d pop it off to someone else. I am not quite sure what Wood is bringing to the team at the moment, except a name on the top end of the teamsheet.

We just need that spark at the moment… that bit of life to get the momentum going again. We can’t always do it ourselves and that was evident by the away end on Sunday ,which was one of the flattest away ends I can remember?

Goal Sign SpursMomentum is massive in football and although Newcastle would probably have to lose every single game from now until the end of the season to go down, you can never say never.

Wolves is a big game, as will be, Leicester, Crystal Palace and Norwich too. It’s integral we take four points from those games to give us some really clear breathing space.

Onwards and updwards.

Last word:

F… Martin Atkinson, VAR and Mike Riley. Not fit for purpose. A disgrace.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Sunday 3 April 4.30pm

Goals:

Tottenham:

Davies 43, Doherty 48, Son 54, Emerson 63, Bergwijn 83

Newcastle:

Schar 39

Half-time stats in brackets.

Possession was Tottenham 62% (65%) Newcastle 38% (35%)

Total shots were Tottenham 19 (8) Newcastle 8 (4)

Shots on target were Tottenham 6 (2) Newcastle 1 (1)

Corners were Tottenham 2 (2) Newcastle 3 (1)

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquillo (Guimaraes 59), Schar, Burn, Targett, Shelvey, Willock, , Joelinton (Murphy 59), Fraser, Saint-Maximin, Wood (Lascelles 70)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Dummett, Gayle, Longstaff, Ritchie, Krafth

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(Newcastle United sail into perfect storm – Read HERE)

(Eddie Howe wonders how Newcastle go from 6 goals conceded in 900 minutes to 3 in 11 – Read HERE)

(Antonio Conte sees brilliance as he reflects on Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(This is embarrassing over the top reaction to Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to Sunday’s hammering – Read HERE)

(Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @jonnyinsg

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