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Opinion

Newcastle United team and Chelsea team – Massive difference where they’re worlds apart

2 months ago
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This Newcastle United team were almost there, one foot in the semi-finals and already Middlesbrough and Fulham confirmed as two of the semi-finalists.

Then with the finishing line in sight, disaster.

Two minutes of added time played, two more left to play, a cross from the right awkward to deal with and it isn’t dealt with well at all. Kieran Trippier neither putting it out for a corner nor getting it back to Dubravka, Mudryk scoring and the rest (losing on penalties) is history.

The Chelsea team victorious.

In the aftermath, a lot of interesting stuff on The Mag today. Most of it revolving around Kieran Trippier and Dean Wilkins in particular doing a stand out article on the England defender, a must read.

I just wanted to broaden it out a bit, talk about the whole Newcastle United team, well, I suppose really I am talking about the whole squad, Eddie Howe as well for that matter. Plus all his off the pitch the people as well!

However, concentrating on the players last night is probably best, makes most sense.

I think it is fine for any Newcastle United fans to be gutted after what happened, why wouldn’t you be?

I also think no reason why any fan shouldn’t feel angry, nor indeed, why anybody shouldn’t be able to point out where mistakes were made in their opinion, or what could have been done better / differently.

However, you can do all of those things AND yet still be supportive, be appreciative of what happened in the match that was positive from this Newcastle United team, especially taking all factors into consideration. Something which is only fair AND essential, if you are going to analyse what happened last night.

I was gutted like everybody else BUT after it all was concluded, my only overwhelming feeling was one of pride, this was a magnificent effort from this Newcastle United team and one that nobody should be surprised by, we have seen it on so many different occasions this season.

Yet again down to the bare bones AND I think pretty much not a single Newcastle United player was a 100% fully fit who got on the pitch. The only exceptions probably our goalkeeper and 34 year old supersub Matt Ritchie. That is it.

Some like Botman, Burn and Longstaff are coming back from lengthy spells out, whilst the majority are the walking (jogging?) wounded.

Yet the desire to keep on going was amazing, the fact that we held that early lead meant that somehow it helped them to keep on going, even when the adrenaline had long ran out.

I have seen a number of fans today, saying why didn’t Eddie Howe do something different, why didn’t he try and attack more, why not try and keep the ball more, why not play him, why not leave him out… and so on.

Honestly, what game were they watching???

Eddie Howe and his Newcastle United team gave it everything. Sly cowardly fouls even forced him to bring 34 year old Ritchie on and a clearly not fully fit Kieran Trippier. Eddie Howe explaining that the plan was always that Sven Botman (replaced by Burn) wouldn’t play beyond half-time, as he tries to manage his return… and Burn’s! Dan Burn has already stated that he has came back weeks earlier than ideal because the team need him, I have no doubt the same case with Botman and Longstaff.

This is our Newcastle United team and squad, players / characters giving it everything and more. They play for their own personal pride, they play for their teammates, they play for Eddie Howe, they play for the fans and they play for our club.

For those of you who were around back then, it is very very much like the Kevin Keegan days. The players loved KK and would give it their all for manager and fans and teammates, same now.

Poor bloody Anthony Gordon, supposedly the (21 year old!) bad character who refused to train and forced his way out of Everton (although reality is that he was forced out by rabid fans and by a club who made him a scapegoat, as in truth they desperately needed to sell him to try (unsuccessfully!!!) and help to stay within FFP limits). Last night I doubt he was anywhere near fit, Caicedo then raked his studs down his achilles after two minutes, knowing full well you hardly ever get a booking never mind a red card when doing this so early, unless VAR there to catch you and send you off. A horrific challenge and as the half wore on it was crystal clear he was in no fit state BUT no midfield or attacking alternatives on the bench at all! No Isak, Anderson, Murphy, Tonali, Willock, Joelinton, Barnes…

It truly is astonishing how many we have missing. To have so many in midfield and attacking positions is especially cruel.

Anyway, Anthony Gordon was totally knackered by half-time BUT came out second half to give it another go and in the end it was like one of those tear jerker kids films, where the family dog has been hit by a car or whatever and yet is still trying to run after the family etc, despite very obvious injuries. It was painful just watching Gordon attempt it, until finally he sank to the floor and that was that. It was cruelly ironic that then eventually, after some time of Chelsea possession, it ended up with some applause for Caicedo due to him having been the one to kick the ball out of play for Gordon to be attended to. Caicedo of course the one who did the cowardly attack AND who shouldn’t have still been on the pitch to kick it out!

Anthony Gordon Sitting On Pitch Injured

IMAGO/Sportimage

Anyway, they were all magnificent. Their commitment to the cause without question. Which of course is all we can ask for, isn’t it???

There is a massive difference between this Newcastle United team and the Chelsea team. Can you guess where I am going with this…?

Only 24 days earlier, Newcastle played Chelsea and once United went 2-1 up, it was heads down and when can we go home now for the visitors.

If the positions had been reversed last night and Newcastle at home to a Chelsea team struggling with the players NUFC had and the condition they were in and all other surrounding factors, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Eddie Howe’s side had scored double figures.

That group of Chelsea players honestly couldn’t care a less, you can see it in their body language and so on. There might be one or two well hidden exceptions but 95% of the Chelsea squad are clearly only bothered about themselves, care nothing about their manager, the club, their fans, or each other. Ask pretty much any of them if they press a button, they would immediately be in the Arsenal squad or Liverpool squad, it would be the fastest you have ever seen any of them move, as they fought to press that magic button to get them out of Chelsea.

That is not this Newcastle United team / squad, we are very lucky to have what we’ve got AND the NUFC owners are even luckier to have Eddie Howe and what he has managed to create as a team / squad out of lesser / cheaper ingredients compared to all of the ‘big six’ for starters.

On the money invested in the club so far, the current owners have absolutely hit the jackpot in terms of what Eddie Howe has served up and I am sure they realise this. If they don’t, more fool them.

What is most important though, is that we as fans fully appreciate what Eddie Howe and his Newcastle United team have given us so far. No time more than last night, where they came so so close to what would have been an incredible victory against all the odds.

Eddie Howe Clapping Fans After Defeat

Stats via BBC Sport:

Chelsea 1 Newcastle 1 (Chelsea win 4-2 on penalties) – Tuesday 19 December 8pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Wilson 16

Penalties: Wilson scores, Trippier wide, Bruno scores, Ritchie saved

Chelsea:

Mudryk 90+2

Penalties: Palmer scores, Gallagher scores, Nkunku scores, Mudryk scores

Possession was Chelsea 78% Newcastle 22%

Total shots were Chelsea 15 Newcastle 4

Shots on target were Chelsea 4 Newcastle 2

Corners were Chelsea 7 Newcastle 1

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Attendance: 38,058 (4,300 Newcastle)

Newcastle team v Chelsea:

Dubravka, Krafth (Trippier 45), Lascelles, Botman (Burn 45), Livramento, Bruno, Longstaff, Lewis Miley, Almiron, Gordon (Ritchie 52), Wilson

Unused subs:

Karius, Gillespie, Dummett, Hall, Alex Murphy

(Absolutely loving this from Kieran Trippier – An absolute credit to Newcastle United – Read HERE)

(Chelsea 1 Newcastle 1 (Chelsea win 4-2 on penalties) – Match ratings and comments on all of the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Chelsea 1 Newcastle 1 (Chelsea win 4-2 on penalties) – Instant Newcastle United fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)

(Chelsea 1 Newcastle 1 (Chelsea win 4-2 on penalties) – Late late heartbreak – Read HERE)

Confirmed Newcastle United matches to end of January 2024:

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

Saturday 6 January 2024 – Sunderland v Newcastle (12.45pm) ITV

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

Tuesday 30 January 2024 – Aston Villa v Newcastle (8.15pm) TNT Sports

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