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Newcastle United now on the brink – Fans simply have to accept this

3 months ago
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What a reaction from Eddie Howe and his Newcastle United side on Saturday.

All the hype flying around about Chelsea but he just stayed calm and had his team simply focused on doing what they do best.

Newcastle United running out dominant winners with that lovely combination of total commitment and high levels of ability.

However…

We all know that Newcastle United are living on the brink.

I couldn’t get to the match on Saturday and so ended up watching online with English commentary.

It was ‘interesting’ to hear their comments about the Newcastle United bench.

I recognised their voices but couldn’t quite work out who they were, but the commentator and former professional footballer sitting alongside them, had this take on the NUFC subs.

They both thought it was amusing that Eddie Howe had ‘chosen’ to include three goalkeepers amongst his subs, they said ‘you don’t see that very often’…

Whilst they both thought it was great the Newcastle United Head Coach was giving so many young players their chance by including them in his matchday squad, alongside the ‘more experienced’ Matt Ritchie and Paul Dummett.

I had to check it wasn’t April Fools Day and / or this wasn’t an elaborate comedy routine, whereby football commentators and former players suddenly display intelligence and comedic genius.

However, no, this wasn’t the case, the pair of them repeatedly made out that this subs bench was actually Eddie Howe’s ‘choice’ on Saturday. That naming Ritchie and Dummett alongside a a load of kids and goalkeepers was actually something the NUFC Head Coach had chosen to do, at least to a large degree, rather than the reality. Which was of course, the only real ‘choice’ for Howe was either leave a load of seats empty or load them up with kids and goalkeepers and a couple of ‘mature’ left footers.

So, until, those two goals went in only second apart around the hour mark, I just felt Newcastle United and Eddie Howe were living on the brink.

Unless Nick Pope got injured, we would have been looking at a serious drop off in quality if Eddie Howe had needed to make ANY outfield subs.

Newcastle United fans watching inside St James’ Park and online, on TV around the World, will have all been like me when with the score at 1-1 in the first half, Anthony Gordon lost his footing and went down very awkwardly, close to Eddie Howe in the dugout. It looked so much the typical kind of slip that ends up with a serious injury and Gordon clearly in pain, I honestly never¬† thought for a second he was getting back up. Thankfully it somehow turned out to be one of those awkward in the moment pains, not recovering for nine months kind of pains. Anthony Gordon able to continue AND Newcastle United still on the brink BUT not having to step off it and make a substitution.

Which brings me to now and the upcoming games.

Apart from goalkeepers and kids who aren’t Lewis Miley, these appear to be the players that Eddie Howe currently looks to be relying on for PSG on Tuesday night and then Man U on Saturday night:

NUFC v PSG:

Miguel Almiron, Paul Dummett, Anthony Gordon, Bruno Guimaraes, Lewis Hall, Alexander Isak, Joelinton, Jamaal Lascelles, Tino Livramento, Fabian Schar, Kieran Trippier

NUFC v Man U:

Miguel Almiron, Paul Dummett, Anthony Gordon, Bruno Guimaraes, Lewis Hall, Alexander Isak, Joelinton, Jamaal Lascelles, Tino Livramento, Fabian Schar, Kieran Trippier, Emil Krafth, Matt Ritchie

Of those on the missing list…

Eddie Howe said on Saturday night that Sean Longstaff had been nowhere close to available for the Chelsea match and was very unlikely to be under consideration for PSG. Maybe we can hope he could be back for Man U? Who knows? Eddie Howe quite rightly gives nothing away AND often misdirects the opposition ahead of matches.

It turned out Emil Krafth missed Chelsea due to illness and so he along with Matt Ritchie should be in the squad for Man U, though neither were named in the 23 man Champions League squad so aren’t available tomorrow night.

Maybe Callum Wilson could be one who may return at any time BUT for sure, Eddie Howe won’t be taking any chances with him at all, considering the striker’s past history with injuries and absences.

So I think my message to all other Newcastle United fans is to accept this situation and not overreact if things go against us.

Eddie Howe’s NUFC squad hammered Man U away in the cup and then totally deserved that victory against Arsenal, before then fatigue and the ever growing missing list caught up with us to an extent at Dortmund and for sure at Bournemouth.

If that first eleven who dismantled Chelsea so effectively on Saturday, could start and finish (or at least play vast majority of) these games against PSG and Man U this week, then I would have every hope of getting one or two more excellent results.

However, if Eddie Howe is forced to make changes to start these matches or during games when they are still in the balance, then just accept that this could prove a step or two too far for even these remaining available band of brothers that are fighting our cause.

We know that whoever is on the pitch will do their best and that is what we also have to do as Newcastle United fans. If Mbappe ends up running at Paul Dummett, we know the Geordie defender will do everything in his powers to stop him and if a totally inexperienced teenager is thrown on to play up front or on the wing in Paris, just accept that this isn’t Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon, or whoever.

I am not throwing in the towel, I absolutely believe that Newcastle United can do it in these upcoming matches, BUT we need lady luck to be riding back on our side after a lengthy absence.

Starting on Tuesday with a trip to PSG and ending on New Year’s Day at Anfield, Eddie Howe and Newcastle United face 10 matches in a five week period, no easy games AND most of them looking tough.

It is a time for simply supporting the manager and team.

Newcastle United go with what they currently have and we just have to hope that as we go along, no more injuries (or suspensions!) and players to start gradually coming out of the treatment room, then get to January and the possibility of maybe a few reinforcements to arrive in the transfer window.

Newcastle United confirmed matches to mid-January 2024:

Tuesday 28 November 2023 – PSG v Newcastle (8pm) TNT Sports

Saturday 2 December 2023 – Newcastle United v Man U (8pm) TNT Sports

Thursday 7 December 2023 – Everton v Newcastle (7.30pm) Amazon

Sunday 10 December 2023 – Tottenham v Newcastle (4.30pm) Sky Sports

Wednesday 13 December 2023 – Newcastle v AC Milan (8pm) TNT Sports

Saturday 16 December 2023 – Newcastle v Fulham (3pm)

Tuesday 18 December 2023 – Chelsea v Newcastle (8pm) Sky Sports

Saturday 23 December 2023 – Luton v Newcastle (3pm)

Tuesday 26 December 2023 – Newcastle v Forest (12.30pm) Amazon

Monday 1 January 2024 – Liverpool v Newcastle (8pm) Sky Sports

(Weekend of Saturday 6 January 2024 – FA Cup third round matches)

Saturday 13 January 2024 – Newcastle v Man City (5.30pm) TNT Sports

(If winning at Chelsea in the quarter-final:  Carabao Cup Semi-Final (first leg) Рw/c 8 January 2024 and Carabao Cup Semi-Final (second leg) Рw/c 21 January 2024)

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