Newcastle 1-1 Blackburn: A nightmare result for NUFC as Rovers earn replay

After 3-1 January wins in our last two FA Cup outings in 2017 and 2018, it was anything but a comfortable victory today, with a late Matt Ritchie penalty securing a replay at Ewood Park.

Given we have some tough fixtures to come against Chelsea, Spurs and City along with a vital home game with Cardiff in the league, a midweek cup replay is just about the last thing Rafa needed right now.

The first half was a pretty uninspiring affair for the 36,000 at St James’ Park. We found Blackburn’s two banks of four hard to break down, meaning the promising Longstaff struggled to get into the game as much as we’d have liked. Jacob Murphy looked completely lost and incredibly low on confidence (or quality), Woodman got nowhere near far too many crosses and seemed pretty vulnerable when pressured in the box, and then there was Joselu. He seems a top bloke and he tries his best, but you know a striker is going to struggle when they struggle to hold up the ball or finish.

On the plus side, Lejeune looked classy on his comeback and was comfortably the best player in black and white for me. Kenedy showed flashes early on when he hit his stride and started running with the ball, but his lack of vision and spacial awareness so often costs him. He needs to learn when to dribble and when to pass, but, like Murphy, he’s another who looks shot for confidence.

Ritchie saved Benitez’s blushes late on, but it really was a poor performance and a big chance missed to boost our worryingly low confidence levels at home. The likes of Muprhy, Joselu and Kenedy had a huge chance here to give something Rafa to think about and make a statement, but I’m struggling to think of one good thing they did unfortunately.



I know we made 8 changes, starting three youngsters and several players who don’t often start when everyone’s fit, but it looked like it could’ve been a Championship game when looking at both sides.

Now we face an unwanted midweek trip to Ewood Park – a game I’m not too confident of coming through given Benitez will be forced to field a very weak side against a Balckburn side who’ve lost just 2 of their last 33 at home.

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

About Olly Hawkins

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

139 thoughts on “Newcastle 1-1 Blackburn: A nightmare result for NUFC as Rovers earn replay

  1. Didn’t see the game but it seems that I was right about Woodman after having seen him in the summer.

    Is Rafa paralyzing some of the players with too much information? Not Joselu, he is just crap. But Murphy and Kenedy. Or does Kenedy not fancy the NE winters?

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  2. The worst outcome a draw. That’s the last thing we needed.

    I’ve really fell out of love with all things NUFC at the moment. Gonna need either the club sold or some real significant signings to get my interest back now I think – neither of which I see happening any time soon.

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  3. Sharpy17:
    The worst outcome a draw.That’s the last thing we needed.

    I’ve really fell out of love with all things NUFC at the moment. Gonna need either the club sold or some real significant signings to get my interest back now I think – neither of which I see happening any time soon.

    Aye, i had a mini rant this morning mate on the last thread. It wears you down.

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  4. Kim – it’s more a confession than a rant – I don’t even see the point in ranting anymore. It’s like a depressing acceptance really.

    Today was just another aspect to my dismay with all things NUFC. Manquillo, Hayden, Murphy, Kenedy, Joselu were all very poor today – all players signed by Rafa
    Woodman just looked so scared out there. Sterry and Longstaff looked ok but will be dropped again after today – basically there is no youth development or confidence shown in them.

    The tiny positive to come out of today was game time for Lejeune – who looked head and shoulders the best player out there despite a long time out and return well ahead of schedule.

    But as we have looked pretty good at CB so far this season, it is a very tiny positive really.

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  5. Maybe a draw isn’t such a bad thing. Almost certainly it means there’ll be a second string playing (not that there’s that much difference between 1st and 2nd eleven) so most of these guys will get another run. They need as much game time as possible.

    Though it interrupts preparation for the league game next week. And it makes it difficult to give the u21s a run coming so close to the Sunderland game.

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  6. Icedog:
    Joselu it’s a true saying it’s rare for **** players to get injuredwhich in his case it’s true

    Ice – I really wish he would get bloody injured. It’s the only thing that would force Rafa to try something else up front. It’s annoying that it looks likely it’s gonna take him getting injured for Rafa to promote one of the better performing younger player.

    I don’t think he’s doing the likes of Joselu or Kenedy any favours keep putting them in there when they are playing badly and clearly low on confidence – but it’s certainly not helping the young players either coz I’m sure the big reason Sorensen hasn’t signed a new deal yet is coz he just doesn’t see a route into the first team squad – despite scoring for fun in the U23s.

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  7. Brisvegas:
    Maybe a draw isn’t such a bad thing. Almost certainly it means there’ll be a second string playing (not that there’s that much difference between 1st and 2nd eleven) so most of these guys will get another run. They need as much game time as possible.

    Though it interrupts preparation for the league game next week. And it makes it difficult to give the u21s a run coming so close to the Sunderland game.

    Bris – I know what you mean, and for the likes of Sterry and Longstaff it probably is their best chance of a first team game.
    But with the results we’ve been getting recently, and the fixtures we have coming up – a comfortable 2 or 3 nil win today could really have helped.

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  8. Ryder must have watched a different game to Olly because he gave out a lot of 7s. Woodman got a 7 when Olly gave him 2. Joselu got a 5. Maybe he got the extra points for being able to tie his shoe laces and not putting his shirt on backwards?

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  9. So, we have had 20 league and 2 cup games and after each the Chronic’s man on the spot Chris “the intern” Waugh learns 5 things. That’s 110 things so far this season and its a pity we don’t seem to have implemented any changes. What are the golden nuggets of wisdom from The Chronic’s crack reporter?

    1. Kenedy and Murphy are shyte.

    2. Lejeune is good.

    3. VAR is welcome

    4. Our home form is crap.

    5. We didn’t want a replay.

    GENIUS.

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  10. Some fans will start to turn on Rafa with our next run of games especially if we lose to Blackburn and do not beat Cardiff. With City and Spurs after that, the atmosphere will feel like a funeral.

    I am going to ask again. Is Rafa overcoaching some of these players? We saw it with Mourinho where the players heads were stuffed with so many instructions that they forgot to play. All OGS had to do was take the shackles off. Our squad is a shadow of theirs but Kenedy, Murphy and Perez have no confidence and the Manager must be held accountable in part at least.

    If they can’t fit Rafa’s system then don’t play them. Admittedly, apart from Perez, Rafa seems to have already come to that conclusion. He should take it to its logical outcome and send Kenedy back to Chelsea and free up a loan space.

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  11. So Ashley has supposedly offered Rafa a 1 year extension with transfer funds available if he signed.

    Sunday morning nonsense.

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  12. Rafa is a very lucky guy. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of admiration for the way he conducts himself. I think he is lucky because we have such a terrible owner that a large number of fans blame Ashley for everything that is wrong with NUFC at the moment. More funds would undoubtably help but do we always make the best of what we have? Or should I say do we make the worst of what we have. Against Man U we went two up very quickly and should have
    made it three with a penalty we should have had. The lads showed they were capable of good football with movement and short passing on the ground. Rumour has it that we are after a Marseille striker who has scored fourteen goals in 71 appearances. Hope it’s not true. Why won’t Rafa give a run out for Sorensen who has a better record than that or even Roberts. We all know except Rafa that Joselu is useless. Kenedy is now hopeless. I do think Rafa is blinded sometimes by favouritism and likewise by unfavouritism. He made it clear that he did not want Mbemba no matter how he played. I remember a friendly in Spain where Mbemba was the standout player and hit a low ball the full length of the field right onto Ritchie’s toes who scored. Mbemba did not appear in the second half and I don’t recall appearing for Newcastle after that. When asked why he took him off Rafa said he had a slight injury. Mbemba was not everyone ‘s favourite but surely most would put him above Manquillo or Hayden. He was good cover for many positions. My biggest complaint at the moment is that the football we are watching at the moment is some of the worst I have ever watched. We never look like scoring. It is so depressing and boring. The football is driving me away as much as Ashley. Would it b e different under new owners? I wonder.

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  13. Groucho:
    Rafa is a very lucky guy. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of admiration for the way he conducts himself. I think he is lucky because we have such a terrible owner that a large number of fans blame Ashley for everything that is wrong with NUFC at the moment. More funds would undoubtably help but do we always make the best of what we have? Or should I say do we make the worst of what we have.Against Man U we went two up very quickly and should have
    made it three with a penalty we should have had. The lads showed they were capable of good football with movement and short passing on the ground. Rumour has it that we are after a Marseille striker who has scored fourteen goals in 71 appearances. Hope it’s not true. Why won’t Rafa give a run out for Sorensen who has a better record than that or even Roberts. We all know except Rafa that Joselu is useless. Kenedy is now hopeless. I do think Rafa is blinded sometimes by favouritism and likewise by unfavouritism. He made it clear that he did not want Mbemba no matter how he played. I remember a friendly in Spain where Mbemba was the standout player and hit a low ball the full length of the field right onto Ritchie’s toes who scored. Mbemba did not appear in the second half and I don’t recall appearing for Newcastle after that. When asked why he took him off Rafa said he had a slight injury. Mbemba was not everyone ‘s favourite but surely most would put him above Manquillo or Hayden. He was good cover for many positions. My biggest complaint at the moment is that the football we are watching at the moment is some of the worst I have ever watched. We never look like scoring. It is so depressing and boring. The football is driving me away as much as Ashley. Would it b e different under new owners? I wonder.

    I think there is some truth in what you say Groucho, and probably more and more fans starting to ask questions of Rafa (me included). It’s clear that Ashley is shackling Rafa and the whole team, but I believe if Rafa was a bit more flexible and allowed a bit more freedom we may show some better results. We also have such a poor record of bringing youngsters through. He constantly plays shi.te like Joselu. There has to be some questions asked of him too I guess.

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  14. First, second and third question I’d ask of Rafa is Why the fck are you selecting Joselu and Murphy? They’re obviously not up this level or in Joselu’s case any level. Gateshead wouldn’t want him FFS.
    Just stop it. With those two playing it’s actually worse than playing with nine men. At moments like these I genuinely wonder if Rafa really is right for NUFC.

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  15. Groucho:
    Rafa is a very lucky guy. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of admiration for the way he conducts himself. I think he is lucky because we have such a terrible owner that a large number of fans blame Ashley for everything that is wrong with NUFC at the moment. More funds would undoubtably help but do we always make the best of what we have? Or should I say do we make the worst of what we have.Against Man U we went two up very quickly and should have
    made it three with a penalty we should have had. The lads showed they were capable of good football with movement and short passing on the ground. Rumour has it that we are after a Marseille striker who has scored fourteen goals in 71 appearances. Hope it’s not true. Why won’t Rafa give a run out for Sorensen who has a better record than that or even Roberts. We all know except Rafa that Joselu is useless. Kenedy is now hopeless. I do think Rafa is blinded sometimes by favouritism and likewise by unfavouritism. He made it clear that he did not want Mbemba no matter how he played. I remember a friendly in Spain where Mbemba was the standout player and hit a low ball the full length of the field right onto Ritchie’s toes who scored. Mbemba did not appear in the second half and I don’t recall appearing for Newcastle after that. When asked why he took him off Rafa said he had a slight injury. Mbemba was not everyone ‘s favourite but surely most would put him above Manquillo or Hayden. He was good cover for many positions. My biggest complaint at the moment is that the football we are watching at the moment is some of the worst I have ever watched. We never look like scoring. It is so depressing and boring. The football is driving me away as much as Ashley. Would it b e different under new owners? I wonder.

    Groucho – I think you’re spot on mate and make your point very well. I think the closest comparison is Jose at Man Utd. I know they have players of far greater quality than us. But Jose seemed to complicate things and stifle their play – he didn’t get away with it coz he managed Man Utd and got to spend something like £400m on players.
    I hope to god Rafa gets his chance to show what he can do, and who he can bring in with a bit of a budget behind him.
    But Rafa also goes on about improving the youth set up – and I agree with that, but if that’s what he wants, then he has to trust and develop the young players more imo.

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  16. If Pardew was playing the sort of turgid crap we have played all season I would be all over him. Rafa does get a free pass to some extent because of Ashley. Also, the only real long term injury has been Lejeune, it is not the full on crisis that Ugly John faced and yet the football is the same. We have 35% possession against teams like Watford. Every game is a grind. No wonder with Hayden and Joselu as back ups.

    Shelvey has been a miss but it seems like he could have played if necessary. And Rafa was still giving Muto limited minutes even including the Man U game. He was trusting the Spanish donkey more, which can’t be right.

    And when he said that it would take a miracle to stay up that was Moyeseque at Sunderland. I completely disagree with that because of the message it sends to the players.

    I have mentioned these points a few times but I am very reluctant to lay into Rafa because of his record. But the boring football has stopped me going to the pub to watch us when we are not on regular TV here. It is not only the results, it is the style of play.

    I know other teams have got better but we seem to have regressed and that is even with some additions. We have last years squad PLUS Fernandez, Schar, Ki, Rondon and Muto. The only one we lost was Gayle.

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  17. Does anybody expect us to win the Blackburn replay? We lost 3-0 away at Oxford last year FFS. We will throw in the towel and the excuse will be that we can now concentrate on the league and with Cardiff only 4 days after…

    The fans will sing Rafa’s name but this season he doesn’t deserve it. We have not punched above our weight, we have punched about our weight with his players whether they were 2nd choices or not. If you spend 9 million on Muto then play him ahead of Joselu. If you spend 10 million on Murphy then play him ahead of grooming a Chelsea loanee who looks like he doesn’t want to be here anyway.

    Has Rafa caught the Mourinho disease and just can’t cut it in this brave new world?

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  18. I could have signed up for a 7 day free trial of ESPN Plus yesterday and watched the match. I didn’t because if I forgot to cancel I would owe $5 a month and there really isn’t anything on that channel. BUT, I refused to sign up because of the small effort it would take and a very small risk of a very small financial loss. Shows how much faith I had in our team and more importantly the likelihood of any decent football to watch from us. I must admit that I had also seen the teamsheet and knew how we would set up.

    And yet 36,000 turned up. Is it free with a season ticket or did people actually shell out extra money for that crap?

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  19. And a message to Man City fans – stop the fcking whistling when the other team has the ball. That is one of the most irritating things when watching Real Madrid etc. You are a pathetic bunch of new plastics who stole that stupid Posnan celebration and now you whistle like a bunch of entitled [email protected] And the camera pans to the crowd and some of your fans are crying when you lose one game midseason.

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  20. I believe we may have reached information overload for some players. Too much about tactics and keeping shape and not enough about playing football. We play not to lose and winning seems like an afterthought. How many good games have we seen us play this year – we are 22 games in?

    I am sure quite a few on here have played golf. If you step up to hit the ball with 8 different practice tips going through your head you hit a bad shot. You have to free your mind and concentrate on one or two things. I am sorry, but I think Rafa might be confusing a few of them. Pep does sort of the same thing but he drills it into players so it become instinctual, second nature. Rafa has the players thinking too much. They seem paralysed sometimes and even the defenders are losing their man on set plays.

    It doesn’t help that we have a few sh!t players especially midfielders and forwards.

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  21. Chris Waugh saying in the Chronic that Kenedy is playing crap because he lacks motivation having had his head turned by interest from the likes of Bayern, Arsenal and Liverpool in the summer. Yeah right, Chris. Are you so stupid not to recognize an Agent putting out false stories to boost his clients’ profile. I don’t know what’s up with Kenedy (probably doesn’t want to be here and overcoaching) but interest from these 3 clubs is not it because it was made up in the first place.

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  22. Rooney arrested at the airport and uses the old sleeping pill excuse. Said he mixed them with alcohol, but how much? He would have been in 1st class and that flight from Saudi Arabia is like 14 hours. So a couple of champagne’s and then 10 of those little vodkas.

    I have done a similar flight after 1st 9 hours from Thailand which was a killer so I don’t blame Wayne for getting wasted but just don’t give us the sleeping pills excuse. Surprised it wasn’t the painkiller excuse which everybody for doing something stupid.

    I am sure it says on the bottles – do not mix with alcohol.

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  23. Oh, and Wayne was arrested for swearing as well as intoxication. The pills would have made him zombie whereas the booze could explain the aggression. I call bullsht.

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  24. I don’t get this at all. Rooney is worth $100 million plus, doesn’t he have a minder. It was a private jet so it is not like they would be paying an extra fare. In the last couple of years you had him drunkenly crashing a wedding and then getting a DUI whilst going home with some chick. Doesn’t he have a driver?

    I am not really admonishing him for his behavior, more stupidity in not having people look after him and mixing pills and booze. With the tabloids following him and having hotlines for anybody with even a vaguely scandalous story it makes no sense that he doesn’t have a minder.

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  25. Not really bothered about bringing up Rooney again because the NUFC stuff is so depressing. There is no denying we are a club in crisis:

    * 2 points from relegation spot

    * Manager leaving in the summer, taking all of the infrastructure with him. Coaches, scouting etc.

    * No money for transfers.

    * playing terrible footballer

    * 2nd top scorer on 2 goals after 20 games

    * sale in limbo again causing malaise at the club with management and players – AGAIN

    * terrible run of games coming up which will make things worse

    * club binned 4,500 pounds worth of flags for no reason that supporters paid their own money for to support the team.

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  26. Why is Rooney getting a special Gala farewell evening at Wembley after he was already given that send off when he had already retired? Not sure if any other players got this, especially when they are still playing but I am guessing there were other worthy candidates. Off the top of my head, some England World Cup winners – Moore, Charlton, Banks. Some other captains, Keegan and Bryan Robson. Managers – Ramsey and Robson. Class and goals – Lineker.

    Some may have had Charity events, I am not sure, but I bet it was much later if at all.

    What is it with Rooney that they feel they constantly need to honour him and tell us how great he is. Even when he is in MLS they (pundits and papers) report on his every move when he is playing Championship level.

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  27. You know I just lurve Lee Ryder but how does he square his “article” with his player ratings? What does Joselu have to do to get below a 5, murder someone. And he trashes Kenedy and gives him a 6. Here are his ratings then compare the REVISIONIST article he wrote today. It is as if it was never in Saturday’s paper or online giving his player ratings.

    Woodman 7 (Olly gave a 4 🙂 )
    Sterry 7
    Schar 7
    Lejeune 8
    Manquillo 7
    Ritchie 7
    Longstaff 7
    Hayden 5
    Kenedy 6
    Murphy 5 (Olly 2)
    Joselu 5 (Olly 3)

    https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/newcastle-uniteds-fa-cup-no-15636321

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  28. My level of interest in the Toon is definitely waning. I only switched on to watch at half time and really wished I hadn’t bothered as the Toon were dreadful. Lejeune was Ok and Longstaff looked alright. The rest were rubbish.

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  29. Eric Sykes:
    Not really bothered about bringing up Rooney again because the NUFC stuff is so depressing. There is no denying we are a club in crisis:

    * 2 points from relegation spot

    * Manager leaving in the summer, taking all of the infrastructure with him. Coaches, scouting etc.

    * No money for transfers.

    * playing terrible footballer

    * 2nd top scorer on 2 goals after 20 games

    * sale in limbo again causing malaise at the club with management and players – AGAIN

    * terrible run of games coming up which will make things worse

    * club binned 4,500 pounds worth of flags for no reason that supporters paid their own money for to support the team.

    About sums up the current situation. Eric. Sad…

    As for Rooney – I wasn’t even aware they sell alcohol on flights to or from Saudi? BA don’t!

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  30. Stuart79: About sums up the current situation. Eric. Sad…

    As for Rooney – I wasn’t even aware they sell alcohol on flights to or from Saudi? BA don’t!

    Private Jet.

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  31. OK. Can we please stop with the Andy Carrol links. What club in their right mind would give a lucrative contract to someone who is always injured. It is like giving Jack Wilshire 140k a week. Doh! He plays for Wham as well. But still, even on a free Carrol is not worth it because he is always recovering from an injury and just as he is getting match fit he gets injured again so you never see the real player.

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  32. And wouldn’t you believe it but Ki picks up a hamstring injury playing for Korea. Chronic says that we do not know the extent of it yet. However, hamstrings are usually 4-6 weeks minimum and longer if there is a tear.

    So what to do? With Shelvey still hurting we are desperate for a central midfielder. Hayden is Championship at best and his head isn’t in it. To save our season we need this and Almiron at least.

    Ashley should stop playing contract games with Rafa and think of his own interests to keep the club in the PL. Accept Rafa is gone but at least give him the players to keep us up.

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  33. And how much longer can this blind faith in Rafa continue when we play such awful football. Fine, against Liverpool and Man City, but Blackburn!!!!

    I accept that he hasn’t had the budget but there are many examples of teams making the best of a limited budget. Just like there are examples of teams buying good players and still failing – us under Schteve. Then there are many examples of teams having a decent budget but buying the wrong players, mercenaries mostly. The Mackems anyone.

    It is not ALL about the budget and Rafa has been given a free pass up until now.

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  34. I am not saying we should turn on Rafa but it is time that this site stopped with the undying love and wrote a realistic article about him. Everyone has their faults and our terrible football is not just down to the owner. It is in part due to the manager and the players, most of whom the manager bought or did not move on. Even if Rafa did not buy the players, they are still his players because he did not shift them. We know there has been no reluctance to get rid if Rafa feels a player doesn’t fit – Mitro, Saivet, Colback, Murphy, MBemba, Mbabu among others.

    This season Rafa has been living off past glories. Is he the new Jose? We are playing like Burnley FFS. How long can we put up with this and when will there be any impetus from the terraces and media for Rafa to expand our style a bit, at least against the likes of Blackburn? If we play for a 1-0 counter attack 35% possession win against Cardiff I will go mental.

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  35. The problem is that we have no alternative to Rafa. He is currently a dead man walking of his own making. In these situations the players usually give up. Rafa says that the only way we achieve the “miracle” is if the players stay up because they do not have the innate talent. It is all down to him and his tactical and organizational skills. That’s nice to hear. There would be a mutiny in the crowd if Fat Man got rid but there is a malaise with Rafa, partly due to the contract and partly due to his totally negative tactics and probably his overcomplicating it for some players.

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  36. If Pardew played this football there would be the restoration of sackpardew.com. Rafa is getting a free pass and the Magpie Group are only interested in Ashley. True, it has been 11 years of stagnation but this football is some of the worst and none of the other managers bar McClaren had a big budget. Look at Hughton. He had NO budget and got us promoted as Champions.

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  37. I will say it again THESE ARE RAFA’S PLAYERS because he has no reluctance to get rid of anybody he doesn’t like for whatever reason. If they are here, and that includes Joselu and Hayden, it is because Rafa wants it that way.

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  38. Send Kenedy back to Chelsea and loan Llorente from Spurs. They are both gone in the summer anyway so do this swap.

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  39. I am at the point of becoming a bit sick of the unfailing love for Rafa from the terraces, the fanzines, the blogs, The Chronic, The Magpie Group. He is not without fault and we are playing awful football AND not getting results. The worst of both worlds.

    What are the 2 best games under Rafa? End of season against Spurs and Chelsea when he took the shackles off. True they had nothing to play for, but neither did we.

    I have said it before but have mainly let it slide – that Rafa could have kept us up with the squad he inherited from McClaren. We accept it was all Schteve’s fault but that squad was good enough from the position Rafa picked it up in. Sissoko, Townsend, Mitro, Wijnaldum, Shelvey, Lascelles, Dummett were the nucleus of a good team that should have survived. I have only said this a couple of times because I did not want to be perceived as hyper-critical after my rants against Pardew and Ugly John. Maybe we left it too late to fire Schteve but again Rafa got a free pass from the fans because they wanted him to stay based upon past glories.

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  40. The young Dane must be stupid.

    Eric, Rafa isn’t without blame but I think it’s obvious he has decided we aren’t good enough in attack so the only way we can pick up points is by being defensive. I don’t like watching it but I happen to think he’s probably right. Bit like Joe Royals “dogs of war” for Everton. Allardyce usually does this too when he has a job of keeping teams up with average players.

    I suppose the question is, would we conceed more goals if we attacked more? I doubt we’d actually score more as if any chances fall to anyone but Rondon we miss almost every time.

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  41. Stuart79:
    The young Dane must be stupid.

    Eric, Rafa isn’t without blame but I think it’s obvious he has decided we aren’t good enough in attack so the only way we can pick up points is by being defensive. I don’t like watching it but I happen to think he’s probably right. Bit like Joe Royals “dogs of war” for Everton. Allardyce usually does this too when he has a job of keeping teams up with average players.

    I suppose the question is, would we conceed more goals if we attacked more? I doubt we’d actually score more as if any chances fall to anyone but Rondon we miss almost every time.

    I know Stuart. Just had to vent a bit because Rafa is held completely blameless by some and that’s not right and some of the choices were his to make. It is not ALL down to Ashley, maybe 75%.

    My main point is that this is his team by default because he is the one who chose who to get rid of and who to keep. This is a separate issue to who he brought in.

    Like everything at NUFC it is complicated though as I am sure that when he sold Mitro, for example, he expected to get those not too insubstantial funds (22-27 million) to spend elsewhere.

    I am just fed up at the moment and know it will only get worse as this transfer window and run of games grind on.

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  42. And Stuart: maybe the Young Dane is not so stupid as he sees who is in front of him in the pecking order. A loanee – Rondon. Muto, who Rafa has hardly played. Perez is not even an out and out forward, or at least Rafa doesn’t play him as one.

    AND, and… Joselu.

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  43. I fully expect us to be in the bottom three by the 1st Feb and added very little to the squad. Utter farcical.

    To be honest I sometimes wonder how on earth we have managed to stay out of the bottom three consider how badly the club is run in almost every dept. I had somebody recently defend the club by saying that they had made changes to the disabled viewing area ffs! Is that how these people judge progress at NUFC…!?

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  44. We played crap last season as well. It was hidden by a short winning streak that got us safe and a last game win that pushed us to 10th. I think we could have been anywhere from 15th to 10th on that last weekend. We certainly did not play like a 10th place team and don’t give me any of that – the table never lies, because it does sometimes, cough, Burnley.

    Basically, since promotion we have been dull as dish water eeking out survival in the PL and scared of our own shadows against anybody in the top half, never mind the top 6.

    Part of it is we have been outspent by traditionally smaller teams. It is true that if you are not moving forwards in the PL you are not just standing still you are moving backwards. But we have improved as well in terms of personnel. Whether they cost a fortune or not we have a better squad – Ki, Rondon, Schar, Fernandez and Muto should have been a much stronger bench than last year at the very least. And what has Rafa done most of the season – brought on the Spanish Donkey as first sub.

    And still. In my opinion we are even harder to watch.

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  45. And the Joselu experiment has to end now. It is not fair on the lad himself. He is Spanish 2nd Division quality and is totally out of his depth. If this goes on, the fans will get on his back and that will cause an even worse atmosphere at SJP. For everyone’s sake he has to be ditched.

    Think of him as a sad eyed, non-ginger Colback if that helps Rafa.

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  46. So Rafa has said Murphy isn’t playing well coz his confidence is low, and playing well will improve his confidence. But he can’t get game time coz he’s not playing well coz his confidence is low 🤔🤯.
    He’s also said already this season that Kenedy and Perez are suffering low confidence too – who the hell is in charge of boosting confidence???.

    The difference is of course that he keeps playing Kenedy – and I would rather him play and work on Murphys confidence actually. He’s our player after all. No wonder his confidence is shot when he’s watching Kenedy play poorly on a regular basis, but he’s still behind a poor performing loan player – I reckon that would piss me off too.

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  47. Kenedy cannot play against Chelsea. Assuming Shelvey is crocked as well, as he is seeing a specialist in Barcelona. Then Ki and Muto not available because of that stupid Asian Cup. Then, as Sharpy says, Murphy is low on confidence so he will be saved for Blackburn and Hayden played crap last time out and wants off anyway.

    So, who do we play against Chelsea? I assume 3 centre backs because that’s what we have. I would play Schar midfield if the only other option is Hayden.

    Just buy Almiron FFS.

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  48. Dubravka

    Yedlin Lejeune Fernandez Dummett Ritchie

    Schar Diame

    Atsu Perez

    Rondon

    Yes, I would drop Lascelles. I don’t want their forwards playing against him just in case they are still interested 🙂

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  49. This really is the first injury/players away on international duty that Rafa has had to deal with. Let’s see how he does. Remember Ugly John had trouble even fielding a full matchday squad at one point. He failed miserably but was dealt a bad hand.

    Rafa has chosen his own cards, admittedly with the short stack if I want to carry on with the poker analogy.

    Will bad results at Chelsea and Blackburn force Ashley’s hand for once? Even he cannot want us in The Championship just to spite Rafa, can he?

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  50. Just realized I didn’t pick Clark or lascelles so we have 2 spare centre halfs, even with already playing 4. If we score, look for the famous 7-1-1-1 formation for the last half hour.

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  51. Ki injured in the Asian cup !, so that’s Shelvey and Ki injured and a want away Hayden. Really looking good isn’t it.
    Ki, has hamstring issue that apparently needs a weeks rest !!!! really ? Hamstring issues can be trouble and normally a week is extremely optimistic on the healing front.

    So day 8 and still no takeover or signings. Aye it’s all looking grand, if your’e jabba that is.

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  52. You’re all worrying unnecessary man, Ashley’s taking them all out for another Spag Bol up Gosforth again – it’ll all get sorted 👍🏻

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  53. The lack of progress on signings is almost negligent criminality. What on earth is the club up to? Doing nothing? Is that it. Do nothing and nothing bad can happen? How long can this continue?

    That Almiron kid was POTY in Argentina 2 years ago. It’s not exactly a league for softies so he’ll be ready for the PL. £25m. Is that a lot for a PL playmaker? Like Coutinho? I listened to the Wolves game last night and was totally jealous for the way that club is going about things.

    Embarrassing!

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  54. georgio:
    The lack of progress on signings is almost negligent criminality. What on earth is the club up to? Doing nothing? Is that it. Do nothing and nothing bad can happen? How long can this continue?

    That Almiron kid was POTY in Argentina 2 years ago. It’s not exactly a league for softies so he’ll be ready for the PL. £25m. Is that a lot for a PL playmaker? Like Coutinho? I listened to the Wolves game last night and was totally jealous for the way that club is going about things.

    Embarrassing!

    Almiron is not lightweight either just has a skinny torso like Coutinho or Ozil. He rides tackles and draws fouls and is quick. He can also pick a pass in the final 3rd which, for all Shelvey’s ability, Jonjo cannot do as seen by how few assists he gets.

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  55. Ashley has managed to turn a silk purse into a sow’s ear!

    I agree with you Eric on Almiron. I had Cabella fears but they’ve long gone. There’s no chance we’re signing him though. Or probably anyone.

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  56. Absolutely staggered that the Almiron deal is falling through due to his wage demands and agent fees. How do other clubs cope?

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  57. Stuart79:
    Absolutely staggered that the Almiron deal is falling through due to his wage demands and agent fees. How do other clubs cope?

    If he wants 100k a week it is a no-brainer. That is less than Jesse Lingard.

    It is not like it is going to have a domino effect on player wages at NUFC, FFS.

    Can you see Joselu going into Charnley’s office and demanding a raise on his 30k a week because Almiron gets 100k? Or Hayden?

    Our players get what they are worth and Shelvey is the only one on decent money by top 10 standards. That was all part of the fallback plan for possible Championship football.

    Just buy him FFS. If we go down, sell him on at a small loss.

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  58. Deal for Almiron was never happening, wages and agent fees would of been apparent from the get go. Are they seriously telling us they only just found out wage demands and agent fees now lol.

    No signings
    No takeover
    No hope
    Get used to it lads and lasses

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  59. used to have ambition , used to have hope
    now it’s a money making mission
    for a nasty crooked bloke. 🙁

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  60. team against the Mackems shows how short we are for the weekend. Longstaff may even start but I am guessing Rafa will go with wantaway Hayden. Sterry and Woodman will probably be on the bench.

    I would loan Woodman and have Elliot as 3rd choice (2nd at the moment with Darlow injured). I just do not trust Woodman and he has a lot to prove and is better off doing it in League 1 (I doubt a Championship team would play him). The problem with this is that Elliot’s confidence is probably now shot with Rafa making him 4th choice and trying to sell him.

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  61. I know it is only the U21s but did we really need MORE bad news? Also, shows the dearth of talent at the club as a whole. I am not exactly doing back-flips at the quality of the players being asked to step up with our injuries and absentees. I don’t trust Woodman and Rafa hasn’t trusted Sterry or Longstaff until he is forced to and still plays Hayden and Manquillo.

    Still, U21s have at least been better this year. I wonder if we will sell one of them to Bayern for 35 million (Odoi) or to Madrid for 22 million (Diaz), or Bournemouth for 19 million (Solanke) or keep hold of one after a 17 million bid (Abraham).

    Even our U21 scouting is sh!t. These reserve players are going for fortunes at the top clubs and the English youth teams look to be providing a platform for England to do well at the Euros and then the next WC.

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  62. I admit I am being hard on Woodman from a small sample. I saw him twice in that summer Toulouse tournament. But he was so bloody awful that I made up my mind that he was miles away from PL standard and needed at least a couple of years on loan before being trusted. As I have said before, he has since slipped to number 3 in the England U21s and Saturday seemed to prove he is not ready. A lot of the scouts seem to rate him, so maybe I am wrong. I highly doubt it though. His strong suit was supposed to be his distribution which was appalling. And his positioning was terrible as well. You can teach that, but only to an extent because a lot of it is instinct. I read that he was flapping at a lot of crosses on Saturday which sort of proves my point.

    Stay fit Martin Dubravka.

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  63. I don’t trust Rafa’s judgement on Elliot either. He is an OK backup keeper. He is a good shot stopper and has decent distribution. His problem is command of his area. You could say the same about Darlow but he always seems nervous to me which is why I would have him ahead of Darlow.

    Why am I talking about keepers? Because Woodman is on the bench and shouldn’t be. He should be on loan.

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  64. Why do they play a 2 legged semi-final for the League/Carabao Cup. Nobody is interested in the final never mind the semi-finals. I think the final is played on a regular PL weekend competing against those games. I suppose Burton Albion will make some money from it.

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  65. Since Kenedy cannot play this weekend I have thought about his, and our situation. He is not our player. We owe him nothing and should send him back. It is not our job to nurse the confidence of another team’s player. I don’t know why he is playing badly but have a feeling it is information overload and having no motivation to be at NUFC because it is highly likely to not be permanent. Then you look at a return to Chelsea and he has a zero percent chance of a fulltime place in their squad, nevermind team. The lad is in limbo. Let him be in limbo at Chelsea and not NUFC.

    That frees up a PL loan spot which we desperately need because Kenedy is not making the most of that spot. The problem is that the most likely team to have a useful player is Chelsea and we don’t want to p!ss them off. City have plenty of players so they may be an option?

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  66. I am not even sure if we CAN send Kenedy back. Maybe one of the intrepid reporters at The Chronic could DO THEIR JOB and let us know. As far as I know, this has not even been brought up in The Chronic but it seems a pretty obvious question to me given the form of Kenedy for the whole season, not just the last few games.

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  67. Stuart: what is interesting is whether we will have to put a team of centre halfs out against Chelsea as it seems the whole midfield is injured.

    Nobody has explained yet WHY Hayden feels he has to be closer to his family and why they cannot move closer to him. I didn’t hear Nobby Solano complain that he wanted to move closer to Peru!

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