Why Sunday’s win was much more than 3 pts – FIVE observations that bode well for the rest of the season

Sunday marked our biggest win of the season and ensured the return of the feel good factor on Tyneside. With us in the relegation zone at kick off, Newcastle stepped up to cause one of the shocks of the season and extended Jose Mourinho’s miserable record at St.James’ Park. The three points has lifted us to 13th, but the confidence gained feels like it was more important than just the points.

Here are five big positives I’ve taken from the game that bode well for our vital run in…

1. Shelvey looked like a changed man 

Shelvey was awarded the man of the match award by pundits as he arguably completed the best 90 minutes of his Newcastle career to date. Gone were the usual wild, wasteful passes of perceived lack of effort and in its place was a wonderful performance of controlled aggression, excellent distribution and showing intelligence off the ball. Will be a real asset for our run in on this type of form and looks like he is forming a good partnership with Mo Diame.

2. Lejeune looks a class act next to Lascelles

Lascelles was outstanding again but fitness permitting, it looks like Lejeune is the man to play regularly alongside him. His display against Manchester United showed just why Benitez fought so hard to land him from Eibar in the summer. He set up the goal nicely, was solid positionally, looked strong in the air and calm on the ball.



Clark’s patchy form hasn’t helped the NUFC backline this season, so hopefully Lascelles and Lejeune can get some real momentum together and build on Sunday. It’s worth mentioning that the Frenchman had a big wobble in form when playing alongside Clark prior to his injury, but he looks so much more settled next to the skipper and we saw that again on Sunday.

3. Dubravka didn’t look like a one-hit wonder

 I was hoping Dubravka would be thrown in against Man Utd as I viewed the game as a free swing before the Bournemouth game. His performance surprised us all and things won’t get much better for the Slovakian after getting a 10/10 in the Chronicle match report.

He pulled off key saves from Martial and then at the death to deny Carrick to see us over the line. He also seemed to bring some communication and a calming influence over the back four, which we have sorely missed this season. He also looked assured from crosses and it looks like we may have unearthed a real bargain if the £4m permanent fee is to be believed. It won’t get any harder for him this season, being thrown in at the deep end against such a top side, but he passes this test with flying colours and looks to have the makings of a very good all round goalkeeper.

4. Ritchie off the mark and looking much better

It has been a tough season for Ritchie, after starting so well with a flurry of assists. He has rightly been dropped recently after not providing enough of a threat recently so it was nice to see him get his first goal of the season in such a key game to match the effort he puts in.

His work rate can never be questioned, but he was much more involved in this game after being on the fringes of so many recently. hopefully this can give him the confidence to get us a few more key goals over the coming weeks.

5.NUFC turn the corner at SJP?

Our poor form at St.James’ is well documented, with three points on Sunday our first win on home soil since October. The characteristics of this Newcastle side appear to be better suited to hitting teams on the counter and playing away from home and after failing to beat the likes of Swansea and Brighton at home recently, three bonus points from a game against one of the top sides was all the more welcome.

We found a nice balance on Sunday at home, we offered a nice balance of defending and going forward. We have been picked off at home against the likes of Leicester and Bournemouth for committing too much going forward, so it was refreshing to see the team get the balance spot on. We defended well, showed great aggression and also a threat going forward. Slimani can hopefully help with the cutting edge of the team once fit but breaking our duck at home can only help our confidence with key home matches against the likes of Southampton, Huddersfield and West Brom to come.

What was your highlight from Sunday? Do you think we will now stay up?

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

61 thoughts on “Why Sunday’s win was much more than 3 pts – FIVE observations that bode well for the rest of the season

  1. Great article, Newcastle were fantastic against Man Utd Shelvey pulling the strings in midfield had a excellent game, Diame is like a new player ever since we beat West Ham he has upped his game and looks a class act with Shelvey, they bossed the midfield against Man Utd Lejeune also deserves huge credit he looks a class act when he plays he and Lascelles were solid at the back it was a great team performance by all i was also impressed also with the hard working Dummet who has been excellent for us since coming back from injury gives his all and works hard for the team. I normally slate Perez who is mostly inconsistent but even he had a decent game and give his all. was also pleased for Ritchie getting his first Premier league goal and what a time to get it against Man Utd my man of the match was the keeper on his debut but it could of been anyone, and it was a lovely goal Shelvey with the free kick Lejeune with the knock down to Gayle with a lovely pass to Ritchie who smashed it home for a hard fought excellent but deserved win.

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  2. Haven’t done the relegation calculator yet, but usually there is a bit of a pattern:

    1. One team gets cast adrift either through a bad squad, bad management or both. That looks like West Brom. Pulis did them no favours by getting ultra conservative and Pards has not had his usual honeymoon period. He has started like he is mid life Pards which does not bode well.

    2. A team that is “too good to go down” usually does. This year it could be Stoke or Southampton or even Palace with their injuries.

    3. Usually one of the promoted teams goes down, hopefully it is not us.

    4. Similar to 1 above, but, a team that is favourite at the beginning, has a crap squad, and struggled in previous years. Swansea, but they have turned it around lately. Will it last?

    I know that is four relegated teams, so 3 from those scenarios as that is usually how it pans out.

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  3. West Brom have sacked their Chairman and CEO, the men who appointed Arrogant Alan and by default also Ugly John. Will Pards survive this clearout?

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  4. I did that calculator thing and it pretty much confirmed my ideas and biases. NUFC were safe in 11th.

    I had West Brom, Swans and Stoke relegated but Stoke on GD. Southampton 4th bottom. Even though I did the predictions I am still thinking Stoke are too good to go down.

    Top 4 came out like I thought at the start of the season with Man City on record points. Was them, Liverpool, Man U, Spurs.

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  5. I also looked to see how biased I am. Of the top 6 that we still have to play I had us losing to Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool and drawing against Chelsea. Obviously, then, I see our survival as being based on how we do against the teams around us. My guess is that is most NUFC supporters’ opinion.

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  6. I think our club captain says things he shoul not,now he’s said Rafa was right to drop Darlo,not what team mates want to hear imo

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  7. Sorry to accuse Jose of being disingenuous but were Man U “lucky” when they beat Arsenal 3-1 earlier in the season? Here are the stats:

    Arsenal 76% possession

    Shots on Target – 14

    Shots off Target -19

    Total Shots – 33

    A masterplan by Jose or a world class keeper playing the game of his life? If you remember that game, it didn’t help that Arsenal were asleep for the first 10 minutes.

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  8. Icedog:
    I think our club captain says things he shoul not,now he’s said Rafa was right to drop Darlo,not what team mates want to hear imo

    You are right of course. But Darlow is gone in the summer anyway.

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  9. Icedog:
    I think our club captain says things he shoul not,now he’s said Rafa was right to drop Darlo,not what team mates want to hear imo

    I agree with you ice. I would feel more comfortable if he did not say those things.

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  10. funrafa: I agree with you ice. I would feel more comfortable if he did not say those things.

    A good captain should have said when asked would be its the manager choice who plays,he maybe has a lot to learn with off field comments although he’s good on the pitch

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  11. Looks like domestic PL money has topped out. The main games have been sold and it seems that there is little or no increase. Next bids are Thursday. I haven’t seen an analysis yet but it looks like more games for less or the same money. Unless one of the tech giants dips their toe in with a bid for a small package I don’t see how this can be looked at as anything other than a disappointment.

    How will this affect the Fatman’s valuation and Stavely’s bid.

    Growth will have to come from overseas but this is still a shit load of money. I think this helps Stavely as Fatty was probably expecting an increase.

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  12. Eric Sykes:
    Looks like domestic PL money has topped out. The main games have been sold andit seems that there is little or no increase. Next bids are Thursday. I haven’t seen an analysis yet but it looks like more games for less or the same money. Unless one of the tech giants dips their toe in with a bid for a small package I don’t see how this can be looked at as anything other than a disappointment.

    How will this affect the Fatman’s valuation and Stavely’s bid.

    Growth will have to come from overseas but this is still a shit load of money. I think this helps Stavely as Fatty was probably expecting an increase.

    Don’t think it’s all quite Sussed yet mate,their waiting for the like of Facebook Amazon ect for the two packages left to bid for

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  13. Icedog: Don’t think it’s all quite Sussed yet mate,their waiting for the like of Facebook Amazon ect for the two packages left to bid for

    Main ones have gone though. What’s left would be dipping their toe in the water and then the money is locked for the next 4 years. The last 2 increases were 70% each and this will probably be flat.

    Even with Facebook or Amazon getting a few games that would not be a game changer. My guess is that they would be more interested in overseas rights at this point as they would not be bidding against Sky who use the PL to piggyback their subscriptions and other programmes on.

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  14. Ice: I looked at the PL money again and it will probably end up less than the current deal. What is known so far:

    Most of the games are bought for 4.5 billion, about 700 million less than the TOTAL current deal, but there are 40 games left on the table.

    This is about 9.3 million per game.

    If the 40 games left out for bid go at the same rate that will be under 400 million.

    If it pans out like this the new deal will be worth about 300 million LESS than the old deal.

    Of course Amazon and Facebook could intervene for the 40 remaining games but the main games have already been snapped up by Sky and BT.

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  15. There have been whispers for a few weeks now that it wouldn’t be that much improved on the previous amount.
    All the talk of Amazon, Google facebook is pie in the sky. I’m glad it’s not loads more as money is ruining the game, it’s gotten stupid and has affected transfer fees and wages to a ridiculous level.

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  16. Talk Pardew is to get the bullet after cup games,the players are kicking off at his training methods,maybe they don’t like being Pardewed 😀😀

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  17. Icedog:
    Talk Pardew is to get the bullet after cup games,the players are kicking off at his training methods,maybe they don’t like being Pardewed

    Ice: his cycle is usually about 18 months but seems to be 18 weeks at the Baggies 🙂 I think they are doomed anyway because they need about 1.8 points per remaining game to stay up. There is not a single team outside the top 6 that is anywhere close to that.

    That has to be the end of Arrogant Alan and Ugly John. Will see Pards on the pundits couch for the World Cup. Back to “The Debate” or watch out Icedog because Bein have a habit of employing washed up has-beens.

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  18. You have to laugh though when the Chairman and CEO get sacked for HIRING Pards and Ugly John. What did they expect?

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  19. I think this new deal consolidates both Ashley’s and Stavely’s position. The money isn’t changing much and is guaranteed for the next 4 years. If we stay up we are probably worth nearer the Fatman’s valuation, ESPECIALLY if Stoke go down.

    You have seen all of these Finance Gurus and Professors weigh in and the consensus is about 280 million. What they don’t really factor in is the scarcity value. There is really only us and Stoke up for grabs. If Stoke go down that probably adds another 30 million to our value.

    Every other team in the PL has rich or new owners. Teams like Villa and Wolves who will probably be promoted have new owners.

    With this new deal Fatty doesn’t really have to sell unless Rafa makes a real threat to walk. Hello West Ham?

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  20. You know that the Dildo Brothers have been meddling in transfers? Moyes has convinced them that they are not good at it and they have stepped back. That may seem good for Moyes but it also is ready made for Rafa as he would have free rein there. Could be interesting if both clubs stay up.

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  21. shamrock:
    Quiet today

    Sham: it is Valentine’s Day you should be having a romantic dinner and not thinking about football. Plus we don’t have a game for 10 days and the FA Cup seems to have lost the glamour and excitement it had in days gone by. I am not even sure what channel it is on over here.

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  22. Eric Sykes: Sham: it is Valentine’s Day you should be having a romantic dinner and not thinking about football. Plus we don’t have a game for 10 days and the FA Cup seems to have lost the glamour and excitement it had in days gone by. I am not even sure what channel it is on over here.

    Nah mate. Already have birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, Mothers day and wedding anniversary to contend with. Valentines can go swivel haha.

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  23. I am going to go with Madrid by at least 2. PSG have a great front 3 but I don’t know how their midfield are going to get the ball.

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  24. shamrock: Nah mate. Already have birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, Mothers day and wedding anniversary to contend with. Valentines can go swivel haha.

    I call it the Hallmark Card Day. I got my girlfriend a small gift but I refuse to go out on the day. You can’t get a reservation and it is so packed that the service is sh!t – the restaurants try to fit in an extra service so all the staff are in a bad mood as well. I might seem like an old grump but I have always done this since I was a young grump 🙂 Will go out on the weekend.

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  25. Eric Sykes: I call it the Hallmark Card Day. I got my girlfriend a small gift but I refuse to go out on the day. You can’t get a reservation and it is so packed that the service is sh!t – the restaurants try to fit in an extra service so all the staff are in a bad mood as well. I might seem like an old grump but I have always done this since I was a young grump Will go out on the weekend.

    Sound just like me mate 😁

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  26. Ronaldo is having one of those days that he had earlier in the season. Bale on the bench. That’s a gamble.

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  27. shamrock: Nah mate. Already have birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, Mothers day and wedding anniversary to contend with. Valentines can go swivel haha.

    It’s just a idiots tax for blokes😀

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  28. 75 minutes. If this keeps up they are going to be calling for Zidane’s head- a legend with consecutive CLs and the doubles that year. What I would give for that sort of failure. They sacked Ancelotti after he won the CL. Heynkes as well I think.

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  29. What was that about parking buses at home against teams like Man City and Liverpool. That’s why Stoke have a -27 gold difference.

    Not pretty but Madrid now 2 up 🙂

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  30. I have to have another go at Carragher and Neville after Basel got beat at home 4-0 by City and Porto (who are unbeaten in their league) got [email protected] 5-0 by Liverpool. These 2 have 40 years of playing under great managers and one of them even worked under Benitez. Then they come out and say what they said about NUFC tactics about Man City. It is naïve at best and I would say plain stupid. What did they expect? They usually make sense, unlike Phil Nev, but they now look like idiots. Especially when Swans used exactly the same tactics and beat Liverpool.

    I expect us to use exactly the same approach as Swans when we play Liverpool away. Against teams with such great attackers you really have to ride your luck and then hope you can hit them on the break. You know Liverpool could beat us 5-0 but you hope they spurn their chances as they sometimes do. Again, WTF do they expect; go for it and lose 7-2 like Stoke and end up minus 27 GD in a scrap that might come down to GD.

    I know I have said this before but these results just bring it back. I could understand it from Merson or Robbie Savage but these 2 are supposed to be the best that Sky have.

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  31. Looks like it will be a football free weekend – has everybody seen the FA Cup draw? Huddersfield/Man U is about the best of it and is anybody excited about that. The only interest would be to see Jose’s face if they get knocked out because that is their only shot at a trophy. Maybe glance at a La Liga game.

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  32. I think it’s good to have some distance between the Manu game. They need to prepare well and forget about that. I trust Rafa to get that right.

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  33. Paul Dummett signs new deal. Good. Sharpy in particular will be happy!

    Sounds like Rolando Aarons is struggling in Italy. The manager is likely to be sacked, Verona are 5 points below safety and Aarons has shown nothing in his time there so far. Cant be easy going abroad to a struggling side and trying to make an impact mind. He needs time to adjust. Bjt the fans are not impressed by him and are bamboozled by the decision to loan Pazzini out when they need goals.

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  34. On some of the articles:

    I don’t think we should have too many regrets regarding Thauvin. I don’t think he ever wanted to be in Newcastle and more importantly I think his girlfriend was unhappy.

    Is anyone surprised that Lawrensen had bad things to say about Slimani? When has he ever missed a chance to have a go at NUFC?

    Well done Dummett. The modern day Frank Clark who was much underappreciated at NUFC and then won the European Cup at Forest.

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  35. And Liverpool finally might have a team to live up to Lawrensen’s predictions. You know they never lose according to his predictions and now after about 10 years he might get it correct. Pity the fool who had been relying on him to make bets in prior years.

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  36. C’mon, nobody agrees with me that is the worst 5th round FA Cup draw ever? There is not a single interesting match-up.

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  37. Well done Paul Dummett , never over complicates the job of defending, just gets it right . Probably our most under rated player .

    Stu,Goa 😎 you lucky sod, we are all hanging here still, could do with a shot of sunshine.

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  38. I listened to a spanish commentary (don’t ask) a few backs and they kept referring to Iota. It took me ages to realise they were talking about Perez. Pronouncing the o as in dog and the z as a t and the e as an a. Ayota Perez. That’s about as interesting as this week’s FA Cup or a Goa beach.

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