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‘This is a reality check for Newcastle United’ – Really???

2 weeks ago
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Newcastle United lost 1-0 to Liverpool on Saturday.

A spirited performance by those in black and white but struggled to provide much of an attacking threat.

Liverpool had most of the ball and the attacking play, the score kept to one thanks to Martin Dubravka, committed and often last ditch defending, plus some wayward finishing at times by the visitors.

Now something I have heard quite a lot in the media since the first Premier League home defeat since 19 December 2021 is that ‘This is a reality check for Newcastle United.’

Hmmm, I don’t think so, because what the vast majority of journalists, pundits etc are clearly intimating, is that everybody connected to Newcastle United (head coach, players, owners, fans) had been under the illusion that suddenly NUFC had become a team of world beaters.

I don’t think anything could be further from the truth.

Indeed, if you had asked 100 random Newcastle fans what would happen in Saturday’s match, you would have got pretty much the same answer from all but one or two. All those NUFC supporters predicting that the match would turn out very much as it did, with Liverpool dominating possession and chances, though you still have that hope (not expectation!) your keeper has a blinder (which Dubravka did), that the Keita goal is ruled out due it turning out to be a foul (which it wasn’t) on Schar in the build up (meaning Newcastle snatch a very unlikely draw), then in the real dream (very much not expectation!!) scenario, that late Bruno chance is buried into the bottom corner (meaning Newcastle win!!!) instead of not quite connecting as well as he could and a comfortable save for Alisson.

In the pubs after the game and wherever I have been since, I haven’t heard anybody saying how they couldn’t believe Newcastle lost and Liverpool dominated the match, what a ‘reality check’ it had been…

Bottom line is that as always, our enemies want to make out that especially the Newcastle fans, are getting totally carried away with themselves, believing it will be NUFC going for the quadruple next season, rather than Liverpool.

What we hoped was that, certainly in the short-term, Eddie Howe could make Newcastle United competitive, difficult to beat, start edging some wins, give us a a chance of avoiding relegation. In a remarkable six months, Howe has a Premier League record of won 11, drawn 5 and lost 8, 38 points in 25 PL games, at an average of 1.58 points a match, which over a 38 game run would equal 60 points.

The fact that ten of the eleven wins so far had come in a run of just over three months and 14 matches, isn’t really such a massive surprise, once you take into account various factors. It taking time to get the players up to the necessary fitness levels after two plus years of Steve Bruce, getting discipline (and cutting out so many daft individual mistakes that undermined early matches under Eddie Howe) and a proper team plan in place that the players fully understood and bought into…once again, taking time after Brucey’s time here. As everybody (Newcastle fans!) agrees, every single player pretty much has improved under Eddie Howe, whilst of course the new signings in January have helped, though not to the extent our enemies want to claim is the case.

There is also another big factor, in the timing of all but one of the Eddie Howe wins…

Premier League table on Tuesday 3 May 2022:

Premier League Table 3 May 2022

Look at these results (wins) under Eddie Howe….

Newcastle 1 Wolves 0 (8 April 2022)

Newcastle 2 Brighton 1 (5 March 2022)

Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 (17 April 2022)

Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0 (20 April 2022)

Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 0 (13 February 2022)

Brentford 0 Newcastle 2 (26 February 2022)

Southampton 1 Newcastle 2 (10 March 2022)

Newcastle 1 Burnley 0 (4 December 2021)

Leeds 0 Newcastle 1 (22 January 2022)

Newcastle 3 Everton 1 (8 February 2022)

Norwich 0 Newcastle 3 (23 April 2022)

As you may notice, I haven’t put them in date order, instead I have put them in order of current Premier League placings…

Eddie Howe on an astonishing Newcastle United run in 2022, he has beaten every single club in 2022 that is eighth or lower in the current Premier League table, apart from Watford (who equalised in the last minute, due to individual errors – Almiron and Lascelles) and Burnley (who Eddie Howe’s NUFC beat in December 2021).

What Newcastle United haven’t done under Eddie Howe is beat the teams at the top, we have been getting a ‘reality check’ pretty much every time NUFC have played one of the better teams.

Six of the eight Premier League defeats under Eddie Howe have been to those in the top (big) six, the exception (when playing a top six club) was the 1-1 draw against Man Utd when actually Newcastle absolutely deserved to win. Though if we are honest, Man Utd haven’t been playing much like a top / big six club for the vast majority of this season. No matter what Steve Bruce said when claiming they were world beaters back in September 2021 and ended up crushed 4-1 at Old Trafford, Bruce accepting defeat even before the match kicked off. Whilst the other two Eddie Howe defeats were the scruffy 1-0 at Everton when they scored with their only decent chance, plus the 4-0 at Leicester when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

They say that for a club to succeed in the Premier League, it is all about week in week out beating those teams outside the small usual group of ‘big’ clubs.

Well, that is what Eddie Howe has done and to a quite astonishing degree.

Just think what could happen when he gets the chance to do proper recruitment in the summer, on top of the pressurised but brilliant business in January 2022?

No doubt our enemies in the media will be claiming it as another ‘reality check’ for Newcastle United when (if…) Eddie Howe’s team lose to the other member of the best two clubs in the world club, next Sunday.

Man City away is a daunting prospect but with Eddie Howe getting NUFC into this remarkable position of safety, despite what he inherited, we can approach it with hope of just maybe…rather than sheer dread.

Hopefully then have a real go at Arsenal in the final home game of the season and just maybe, register our first win under Eddie Howe against the self-appointed elite, whilst at the same time damaging the Gunners’ hopes of top four.

Then it is Burnley away on the final day of the season, Newcastle United fans simply interested spectators when it comes to seeing who ends up going down with Norwich and Watford, this Everton, Leeds and Burnley three-way battle set to be a classic.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Liverpool 1 – Saturday 30 April 12.30pm

Goals:

Liverpool:

Keita 19

Newcastle:

Possession was Liverpool 66% Newcastle 34%

Total shots were Liverpool 24 Newcastle 4

Shots on target were Liverpool 10 Newcastle 2

Corners were Liverpool 6 Newcastle 0

Referee: Andre Marriner

Attendance: 52,281 (Liverpool 3,200)

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Krafth (Murphy 85), Schar (Lascelles 61), Burn, Targett, Guimaraes, Shelvey, Willock (Wood 67), Joelinton, Almiron, Saint-Maximin

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Dummett, Longstaff, Gayle, Ritchie, Manquillo

(Match Report – ‘Still, being on the same pitch as Liverpool next season is an achievement in itself…’ – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Liverpool 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 0 Liverpool 1 – Read HERE)

(‘This defeat to Liverpool exposes which Newcastle United players have/haven’t what it takes’ – Read HERE)

(Newcastle United stay top half and Everton now halfway through relegation trapdoor – I’ve had worse days – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Liverpool 1 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to Saturday’s defeat – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Liverpool 1 – The three big points that I’m taking from the match – Read HERE)

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