Stoke 0-1 Newcastle: Tenacious Toon start 2018 in style with a well deserved win at Stoke

Aghhh. Feels good doesn’t it. Those last few minutes were as nervous as I’ve felt this season, but a string of fine saves from Karl Darlow and a big effort from first minute to last has handed us a well deserved win today – and the perfect start to 2018.

The win propels us up to 13th and sees us end the ‘festive period’ with 7 points from a possible 12 – a very good return when you think one of those was against City. Certainly lifts the negative mood that was lingering around St James’ Park just 48 hours ago following our concerning stalemate with Brighton!

Now to the game. There were questions over Rafa’s decision to go without a natural striker, but playing Perez in a false 9 role with Atsu, Ritchie and Murphy in and around him worked well. A woeful Stoke defence struggled to pick them up and we could and should have been two up at the break.

It wasn’t to be, but the signs were there and thankfully we got what we deserved in the second half. Murphy had a real go in the second and got his rewards, putting in a perfectly weighted cross for Perez to poke home.

The last 10 minutes were horrible to watch as a fan, with us all knowing the importance of wins in this league (a point in the circumstances would’ve been a crushing blow) and Stoke whipping balls into the 6ft 9′ Peter Crouch, but a combination of putting bodies on the line and a couple of superb Karl Darlow saves saw us get over the line.



A huge win and a brilliant performance. As we’ve come to expect this season, the quality wasn’t always there (a better side may have been out of sight at half time), but we did not lack energy, heart and ideas.

The likes of Darlow, Diame, Perez, Clark, Shelvey and Murphy have been criticised in recent weeks but they were all brilliant today – as was captain fantastic Jamaal Lascelles who continues to offer a monstrous presence at the back for us.

The perfect start to a huge year ahead for our beloved club and a win that sets us up well for a home double-header with Luton in the Cup and Swansea in the league in two weeks.

Get in!

NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1): Darlow – Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo – Shelvey, Diame – Atsu, Ritchie, Murphy – Perez (SUBS – Woodman, Dummett, Haidara, Hayden, Merino, Gayle, Joselu).

STATS

TABLE

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About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

94 thoughts on “Stoke 0-1 Newcastle: Tenacious Toon start 2018 in style with a well deserved win at Stoke

  1. Shelvey, Diame, Atsu, Ritchie, Murphy, Perez – and Manquillo and Yedlin as full backs.

    Bloody attack minded team that for an away game like.

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  2. Cheers Olly. Work rate makes such a massive difference. We have a bit of breathing space for the time being – albeit West Ham have 2 games in hand.

    We really need a productive window here…

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  3. And yes, credit to Darlow – whi has come in for a lot of stick recently. Sounds like he had a blinder.

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  4. Does anyone here look at newsnow?
    There is a site called football now and after game they publish a story saying Toon fans have slated one player or another.

    It always generates some of the most views on the site. Sick of it.

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  5. shamrock:
    Cheers Olly. Work rate makes such a massive difference. We have a bit of breathing space for the time being – albeit West Ham have 2 games in hand.

    We really need a productive window here…

    Sham – agree mate. I guess that’s what I mean by pointing out all of those attack minded players.
    If they are working hard, closing down and defending with a high press – 1) it’s can be just as effective, maybe more than sitting back and trying to hit on the counter attack. 2) it’s a lot more entertaining to watch!!.

    Atsu could have had a hat-trick in the first half.

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  6. I wanted 5-6 points from these 3 games – that’s 4 so far and 2 clean sheets which is pleasing.
    I would love 7 points with from the 3 with a win against Swansea.

    It’ll be interesting to see what team he puts out against Luton though.

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  7. Sharpy17: Sham – agree mate.I guess that’s what I mean by pointing out all of those attack minded players.
    If they are working hard, closing down and defending with a high press – 1) it’s can be just as effective, maybe more than sitting back and trying to hit on the counter attack.2) it’s a lot more entertaining to watch!!.

    Atsu could have had a hat-trick in the first half.

    Not only that mate but Clark missed open goal from 2yds ffs

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  8. Icedog: Not only that mate but Clark missed open goal from 2yds ffs

    Ice – yeah I have to be honest mate, I thought it was going to be another one of those days today. Too many so far this season – but happily it went our way.

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  9. Interesting that Brightons approach to their games (having a go) has got themess points over the Christmas period than us. Also cost them 2 points today. Rafa – again – spot on with his tactics. He’s gone back to the keep it tight and try and nick it way and it’s working.

    Some interesting games now. Just don’t want Palace or West Ham to win.

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  10. Darlows performance has been mentioned and he deserved praise after some cracking saves today.

    But another player that stood out for me today was Diame. I definitely think he’s better suited to that deeper midfield role rather than #10. Thought he was solid in midfield today, and had a good game against WH. I know there was talk about fans booing him off prior to those games – but good on the lad, he’s reacted in exactly the right way.

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  11. Stuart79:
    . Rafa – again – spot on with his tactics. He’s gone back to the keep it tight and try and nick it way and it’s working.

    Good point.

    Significant criticism of Benitez again across pundits and forums before the game .. ala west ham .. and again we appear to boss it while playing tight aggressive football and take a deserved win.

    Is it time to accept the lad knows his players and get behind him or at least give him the benefit of the doubt for the season. Does that make me a rafa clapper

    Kind of related ..
    From my recent limited experience of away toon fans, they almost unanimously support players. Not so at home it appears. Is it coincidental our home form suffers

    Regarding penalties is it coincidental that we could or should have had a couple since gayles Man city dive and in both cases hes the one to lose out. Not saying it’s right but is his card marked?

    <

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  12. GlosMag: Good point.

    Significant criticism of Benitez again across pundits and forums before the game .. ala west ham .. and again we appear to boss it while playing tight aggressive football and take a deserved win.

    Is it time to accept the lad knows his players and get behind him or at least give him the benefit of the doubt for the season. Does that make me a rafa clapper

    Kind of related ..
    From my recent limited experience of away toon fans, they almost unanimously support players. Not so at home it appears. Is it coincidental our home form suffers

    Regarding penalties is it coincidental that we could or should have had a couple since gayles Man citydive and in both cases hes the one tolose out. Not saying it’s right but is his card marked?

    <

    yep mate his card probably is marked now, not that the refs need much reason for giving us none anyway.

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  13. GlosMag: Good point.

    Significant criticism of Benitez again across pundits and forums before the game .. ala west ham .. and again we appear to boss it while playing tight aggressive football and take a deserved win.

    Is it time to accept the lad knows his players and get behind him or at least give him the benefit of the doubt for the season. Does that make me a rafa clapper

    Kind of related ..
    From my recent limited experience of away toon fans, they almost unanimously support players. Not so at home it appears. Is it coincidental our home form suffers

    Regarding penalties is it coincidental that we could or should have had a couple since gayles Man citydive and in both cases hes the one tolose out. Not saying it’s right but is his card marked?

    <

    Yeah agreed. I dont like how we are playing on the whole and some of the signings are questionable. However, I doubt other managers would be doing a better job under the circumstances so I will hold my criticism and wnjoy the good times for the time being. Itvqas an important win today. I just hooe qe dont do the usual and waste it by letting Swansea turn us over!

    West Ham have 2 games in hand and the bottom 2 have 1 game in hand. I hope results go our way and then we turn Swansea over. Do that and we can start relaxing a bit. If not, it will be potentially 3 points between us and bottom. Going to be an interesting week or 2!

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  14. We definitely seem to struggle against teams we’re expected to attack. If a team sits back against us we struggle to create and break them down. Might explain why our away performances have been better.

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  15. Questions against Benitez on this forum have been pretty fair and balanced .. Not surprising as it’s a good forum .. but shit stirring against him and the team elsewhere is noticable

    Ref the signings, I don’t follow closely enough to question others views one way or another so happy to sit back and let those who arre more informed debate the issue 😀

    I do like a well organised aggressive set up as a team but agree all out defending is not pretty. It’s easy to allow Benitez some leeway from my point of view as I don’t go to home games (or many away games) .. I might be different if I was shelling out every week😉

    shamrock: Yeah agreed. I dont like how we are playing on the whole and some of the signings are questionable. However, I doubt other managers would be doing a better job under the circumstances so I will hold my criticism and wnjoy the good times for the time being. Itvqas an important win today. I just hooe qe dont do the usual and waste it by letting Swansea turn us over!

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  16. GlosMag – I don’t personally think we have this enough attacking players to play an expansive game. Rafa tried to be more attacking but we kept losing. He seems to have reverted back to counter attack with a solid defence and it seems to better suit our players. Maybe one day when we actually have some money to spend we can get a better quality of player in and play more attractive footie. Until then I’m happy to play crap footie of it means we stay up. Although if Ashley stays then I couldn’t give two shits what division were in.

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  17. Stuart79:
    We definitely seem to struggle against teams we’re expected to attack. If a team sits back against us we struggle to create and break them down. Might explain why our away performances have been better.

    We definitely struggle at home, it’s noticeable that our away fans give 100% support throughout every match good or bad yet sections of our home support boo and groan at every misplaced pass. Little wonder some players are terrified of making a mistake and end up hiding from the ball or pass it back /sideways. They are only human and I’m sure we’d get more from them confidence wise if these fat just give it a rest.

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  18. They may be paying customers but they are supporters first and foremost so imo need to support the lads , that’s the best way to get the best from them. Save the boo’s for players who really deserve it , the can’t be arsed and I’d rather be at Arsenal types, you know who I mean.

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  19. kimtoon: We definitely struggle at home, it’s noticeable that our away fans give 100% support throughout every match good or bad yet sections of our home support boo and groan at every misplaced pass. Little wonder some players are terrified of making a mistake and end up hiding from the ball or pass it back /sideways. They are only human and I’m sure we’d get more from them confidence wise if these fat just give it a rest.

    Chicken and egg situation Kim. I was at the Brighton game and the players looked frightend long before the crowd got on their backs. No matter how bad the performance I don’t believe we should be booing the players but it if you are passionate in following your team it is difficult sometimes to hold your frustrations in. For good or bad the game is about passion.

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  20. Stu,
    Agreed the attacking quality seems lacking and yes priority this season is survival in the PL and wait far the fat boy to go. I’m not sure we can hope for much more

    I think mostt of our games have been single goals defeat or victory so we’ve been in them pretty much till the end.

    Until the Stoke& Wham games we did seem to be losing out to most of our lower league rivals tho which was worrying. Hopefully we can turn that around

    Stuart79:
    GlosMag – I don’t personally think we have this enough attacking players to play an expansive game. Rafa tried to be more attacking but we kept losing. He seems to have reverted back to counter attack with a solid defence and it seems to better suit our players. Maybe one day when we actually have some money to spend we can get a better quality of player in and play more attractive footie. Until then I’m happy to play crap footie of it means we stay up. Although if Ashley stays then I couldn’t give two shits what division were in.

    9

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  21. If you ate in a restaurant and the meal was poor you’d either complain, never go back or both.

    But just to clarify – other than Diame a few weeks ago – which player is regularly getting booed?.

    These fans have stuck by this club, managers, players – through thick and thin. The football at SJP has been crap for years now & they still fill a stadium during 2 relegations.

    I’m not a season ticket holder anymore, but some of the lads I sat with are, so I occasionally get tickets for the games. It’s a very different experience watching it at the ground than on SS or Bein or whatever – generally a lot more expensive too I might add.

    Our fans get behind their team, and if you don’t think that ALL fans don’t moan at a misplaced pass or what looks like a lack of effort – you’re sadly mistaken.

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  22. Lovely result. So refreshing to see a Joselu less team. We had four attack minded players who all can control the ball, keep it, turn, beat a man. It makes a huge difference to banging it up to Joselus head which never comes to anything. Diame’s return to form along with Shelvey playing well again made another huge difference but a special mention for the back five. Superb.
    5 more wins needed or 4 with 3 draws is very doable.

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  23. Sharpy, I have spent many an afternoon/evening at various grounds in my youth and have been to a couple of Toon away games too in recent times, seemed to me that away fans are far more tolerant but that’s just my experience.

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  24. I am going on a rant. Seriously, when was the last time we got a penalty? Ritchie last year, or when Churchill was Prime Minister? There must be some stat man that can tell me that we are awarded the least penalties in league history over the past 5 years? Premandup?

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  25. kimtoon:
    Sharpy, I have spent many an afternoon/evening at various grounds in my youth and have been to a couple of Toon away games too in recent times, seemed to me that away fans are far more tolerant but that’s just my experience.

    Kim – an away fan is a different bread I think. I’ve been to toon away games to and they never stop singing. The passion they show for 90mins is unreal – and to be fair, that includes a lot of travelling fans that visit SJP.
    As I say, home grounds up and down the country will have their core of negative fans who will get on players and managers backs – look at the Arsenal bunch, and they get far better football and more success than our lot.
    But regards our lot, they pay their money and turn up week in week out, despite bottom half or relegation finishes. If that’s not support and loyalty, I don’t know what is 🤷🏼‍♂️

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  26. kimtoon: Quality mate, but he’s an example of a supporter slagging off the entire team bar two players on social media.
    He slagged off Diame who has been poor but actually had an effective game yesterday for once . Was wondering if Diame is fitter now and that’s why he’s improved ?

    Kim – the Stoke fans booed Shakira off yesterday – fortunately for us he had an awful game & Hughes saw that and subbed him – as Rafa did with Diame afew weeks ago.

    They know that Shakira can do so much better than he did yesterday, and was rested so he was in good shape to face us. But for whatever reason, he didn’t turn up.

    We know Diame can perform better than he had so far this season – and those boos aren’t ‘we hate you and never want to see you in a toon shirt again’. The Stoke fans haven’t turned there backs on Shakira – he’s probably their best player.
    The boos are, that’s not good enough lad & we expect better.

    All credit to Diame, he has reacted in exactly the right way & put in 2 very decent performances since those boos. But in doing so, we now know he’s capable of performing at that level – so it’s down to him to maintain it.

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  27. Eric we had 3 in the 15/16 season and scored them all.

    This season 4 teams have had no penalties: Us, West Brom, Burnley and Swansea.

    Spurs and Chelsea have only had 1.

    At the top end it is:
    7 – Everton.
    5 – Man City.
    4 – Palace.

    There is no big club bias…

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  28. Yeah in the PL mate. 14/15 we had 1 along with Villa and Everton.

    Man City, Everton, Arsenal and Palace were top that year.

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  29. My problem with the penalty situation this season is the level of inconsistency – despite it being such a hot topic every season.

    Palace got a soft penalty last week with Zaha showing enough strength to hold his man off until they get into the box, then he manages to take the fall.

    Burnley had a nailed on penalty where the keeper brought the player down – but it’s not given.

    Arsenal get a penalty against them for a handball that never was.

    It’s such poor refereeing and in a league worth hundreds of millions of pounds. How and why they haven’t introduced video reviews is beyond me. They review tries in rugby to make sure they get the decision right. They review LBWs in cricket to make sure they rightly dismiss the player or not. They review shots in tennis to make sure the points are awarded correctly or not.

    I dare bet there is more money in the sport of football than all 3 of those sports put together.

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  30. Eric Sykes:
    So that is only 7 REAL goals for Fat Wayne then.

    I believe that would still be more than double what our leading scorer has managed this season.

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  31. Could be crap ( normally is) lot of tweets that the deal is just about done as price agreed,next move is proper person check,God I hope it’s true,keeping it quiet because of transfer window as it could cause price increase on transfer deals,
    Just putting on what going on,don’t shoot the messenger

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  32. Icedog:
    Could be crap ( normally is) lot of tweets that the deal is just about done as price agreed,next move is proper person check,God I hope it’s true,keeping it quiet because of transfer window as it could cause price increase on transfer deals,
    Just putting on what going on,don’t shoot the messenger

    I’d settle for a signing or two at the mo mate. Thanks for the update though .

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  33. Icedog:
    Could be crap ( normally is) lot of tweets that the deal is just about done as price agreed,next move is proper person check,God I hope it’s true,keeping it quiet because of transfer window as it could cause price increase on transfer deals,
    Just putting on what going on,don’t shoot the messenger

    oh Ice, I know it could be false, but still it makes my day. It is the hope you give me!

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  34. Icedog:
    Could be crap ( normally is) lot of tweets that the deal is just about done as price agreed,next move is proper person check,God I hope it’s true,keeping it quiet because of transfer window as it could cause price increase on transfer deals,
    Just putting on what going on,don’t shoot the messenger

    Ice – god I hope so mate. Said in reports last week that they were £50m – sounds a lot but to billionaires it’s the equivalent of car mats and a tank of fuel I reckon.
    I hope and pray it comes off soon.

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  35. Stavelwy is not a billionaire though. She jas investors backing her and I’m sure we would be doing Man Cityesque sponsorship deals if she got the place – but her personal wealth is only about £150m… Maybe it is not as straight forward as it seems to get that sort of money up front – who knows.

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  36. shamrock:
    Stavelwy is not a billionaire though. She jas investors backing her and I’m sure we would be doing Man Cityesque sponsorship deals if she got the place – but her personal wealth is only about £150m… Maybe it is not as straight forward as it seems to get that sort of money up front – who knows.

    Sham, it is ok. Rafa does not need MC kind of investment to do well. A moderate investment say around 40M- 50M every year will be more than enough for him to push for top 4 in a couple years. With the TV fee increasing these years, I think it is doable even without a rich owner. The most important things is, the true support from the owner he will get from Amanda, because I believe they share the same ambition to the club.

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  37. Just saw SSN about Trevor Sinclair getting a drink drive ban.
    But according to the hearing he also took a piss in the police car that pulled him & was racially abusive towards the white cop that dealt with him. Now I’m not saying any form of racism is different to another – but I bet if that was a white footballer/pundit who racially abused a black cop we’d have heard a lot more about it.

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  38. funrafa: Sham, it is ok. Rafa does not need MC kind of investment to do well.A moderate investment say around 40M- 50M every year will be more than enough forhim to push for top 4 in a couple years. With the TV fee increasing these years, I think it is doable even without a rich owner. The most important things is, the true support from the owner he will get from Amanda, because I believe they share the same ambition to the club.

    Rafa – I think that’s wishful thinking a bit mate, and you’re expectations are never going to be met if you think £40-50m a year will be enough to see us put any kind of challenge on the top 4 in afew years – no chance mate.
    That kind of money we would do excellently well to be in the top 8 regularly imo.

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  39. Sharpy17: Rafa – I think that’s wishful thinking a bit mate, and you’re expectations are never going to be met if you think £40-50m a year will be enough to see us put any kind of challenge on the top 4 in afew years – no chance mate.
    That kind of money we would do excellently well to be in the top 8 regularly imo.

    Well, I hope we will get a chance to see who is right. 😉

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  40. Thats a dream acenario at this point though. Got a sale to get on with and then see what the new owners are axtually made of.

    Just want a decent striker or 2 for now!

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  41. funrafa: Well, I hope we will get a chance to see who is right.😉

    Rafa – the top 6 I would class as Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Lpool, Arsenal & Spurs – the first 4 mentioned spend close to £100m each window (and sometimes more). Arsenal & Spurs chip in with a fair spend too.
    I think £40-50m even for the next 5yrs won’t see us get close to putting a challenge on those 6 clubs – simply because we are already so far behind their squads – and they will improve those squads over those 5yrs too.
    Everton now how money to spend too, and their squad now isn’t too shabby.
    I think Leicester aren’t a bad squad either, so if we can get in amongst the likes of Everton & Leicester in 5yrs time, then I’d live with that like.

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  42. Ice
    Thanks for the update, also seen on .com that Stavely has just set up a ltd company today, maybe that could be the new holding company ready for the sale

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  43. Simon:
    Ice
    Thanks for the update, also seen on .com that Stavely has just set up a ltd company today, maybe that could be the new holding company ready for the sale

    That could be right mate,good spotting pal

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  44. I wish Ice just something I saw on there, lots of talk about it, let’s just hope something will come from it

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  45. On the takeover. Don’t believe any of it. I’m told that nothing is likely to be done until end of season at the earliest.

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  46. Haha well – that’s 2 sides well and truly in the shit now – West Brom with no new manager bounce on a Pardew death spiral alrwady – and Swansea – both 6 points behind us.

    Meanwhile Southampton dragged right into the relegation battle.

    Could be worse. Starting to feel a bit more confident now – and keep an eye on Watford. They taken 4 points from 27 since beating us and are slipping big style.

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  47. Palace and West Ham always had too good a squad to get relegated and now their form is showing that. My main worry is that from us down, (exc Swansea/WBA) we are probably the least talented squad and will do the least amount of business in January.

    We need to take advantage of our home game against Swansea next. Our home form is rank though… ☹️

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  48. Stoke in the drop zone now. Hughes will.be sacked and they have a good enough squad to turn it around with a new manager – who will be taking points off our rivals but not us. Happy days.

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