Eyebrows Raised…Even if Flags Weren’t

Newcastle players raised a few eyebrows on Tuesday night with a terrific display to gain a good point against Manchester City in a game they could have won if it wasn’t for a shocking offside decision and Joe Hart’s excellent late block.

I’m not particularly fond of attributing whole results on refereeing decisions and think that far too often managers, players and fans would rather blame the officiating team for a disappointing result than actually acknowledge that their team wasn’t good enough. Linesmen, or referee’s assistants have a difficult job.

The pace of Premier League is such that making an instant decision during open play with players moving in opposite directions and constantly changing parameters for what part of the body is considered to be offside and whether players are ‘active’ or in the ‘second phase’…it is a minefield. And we are lucky that our officials usually get things right or at least a pretty desirable proportion of decisions right.

The call on Tuesday was not, however, a difficult one. There was nothing difficult about it. The ball was stationary, Aguero was stood, for an age, in an offside position. It could not have been more straightforward. And yet somehow, the linesman kept his flag down. Even Aguero was bemused by the decision as he immediately looked to the official, fully expecting to trot back upfield to face a Darlow free-kick and then almost embarrassingly began a guilty celebration.

It was a kick in the teeth for a Newcastle side that started well. It took the sting out of the crowd but the players didn’t lose heart. Cheick Tiote was back to his combative best, his best in years in fact. In one glorious moment, right at the end of the first half, Tiote leapt like a gazelle to tower a good 4 to 6 inches above YaYa Toure to beat him in the air. Pure determination.

Sissoko has been totally reinvigorated by Benitez and was again, outstanding. His pace and power so much more effective in a central position and it was his brilliant pass that picked out Vernon Anita on the right, who controlled, cut inside and curled a beautiful left footer in off the bottom of the post. It was a magnificent goal, one of real quality and Anita again showed he has the determination and the quality to be a vital component of our fight for survival.

Where many had expected Newcastle to go down without a fight, four points in the last two games have given United a platform for survival and more importantly, the players are showing a determination, belief and desire to survive. That is, in large part, down to Benitez. A trip to his beloved Anfield is next.

185 thoughts on “Eyebrows Raised…Even if Flags Weren’t

  1. Shamrock:
    Tell you what , having Rafa about shows juat what a difference having a proper manager makes to a team. Why did the board not work this out years ago? Coming back from 2 down away at an in fodm Jurgen Klopp led Livwrpool is bloody impressive..especially with our squad. If we manage to keep Rafa then i will be excited whether we stay up or drop.

    Sham I said as much last week and that the players arn’t as ****e as a lot of people said they were. Under a proper manager they have proved they can play and arn’t as gutless as they were before.

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  2. Well it’s St Georges day so nice to see some fighting spirit second half from the lads, didn’t quite slay the dragon but wounded it. 😉

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  3. No thread leading up to or during the game? Lads I thought you came with grand plans?! The consistency is weird. Sometimes put a thread up for a couple of hours then replace it, other times no thread for days and no pre-match or match thread? Not gona attract new readers that way… SRF seems like a good writer btw but none of the owners or new writers actually comment very often if at all. Feels like a very commercial venture poorly put together with no passion.

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  4. For the first time in a while, I believe we can get at least four points from the next two games.

    The major problem is I fear Sunderland and Norwich will likely match it knowing our luck.

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  5. Shamrock:
    No thread leading up to or during the game? Lads I thought you came with grand plans?! The consistency is weird. Sometimes put a thread up for a couple of hours then replace it, other times no thread for days and no pre-match or match thread? Not gona attract new readers that way… SRF seems like a good writer btw but none of the owners or new writers actually comment very often if at all. Feels like a very commercial venture poorly put together with no passion.

    Spot on mate I agree 100%

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  6. Sham I meant to say for me one of the most important things for a blog master is to talk to the bloggers but it seems as if the blog masters don’t really want to mix with their bloggers, which does leave a nasty taste in the mouth. One thing that made .or good was that at least work would always try to converse with the bloggers then when Toonsy started here he was on very regular, at times everyday . But to be honest I get the feeling that the new guys are here for the hits with all the links and spam that is now on the blog. It almost feels as if the blog has been took over by a Jabba only this time it’s not just for sports direct. Which is the main reason I couldn’t be bothered with it anymore

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  7. Sometimes you just have to say good goal. Nobody was at fault for their first it was a quick free kick and our players couldn’t foul Sturridge because it would be a penalty. They were close to him but beaten by some exceptional skill. Sturridge is one of the top 3 strikers in the PL along with Aguero and Kane. All you have to do is look at his goal record to see that. The Lallana goal we backed off but 9 times out of 10 they end up in the stands.

    What I am saying is that our defense looked OK and were beaten by some good skill. It would be nice if we turned up in the first half though as that seems to be a pattern.

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  8. Hidden by Leicester’s finish last year is that the Mackems went on a good run to stay up as well. They can’t do it 3 years in a row surely? We have a chance now.

    It is going to be a nail biter and there are some story lines that could develop:

    – us relegating the Mackems or them relegating us.

    – Pards giving us a vital 3 points or spoiling the party

    – Villa frustrating us again and their odious fans celebrating our relegation. Or, us mocking them on their relegation as we plot our great escape

    – Last day showdown with Spurs going for the title and us looking to survive.

    Hold on to your hats lads and lasses. I am not sure if I can take it.

    I did predict 2-2 today.

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  9. Well that was a brilliant comeback, looks like I should nick off more often!

    Agree 100% regarding the blog, one thing is lacking new threads but having the blogmasters not bothering to comment themselves is rather a pity. All somewhat unfathomable considering the coming of Rafa, the excitement of the relegation run in, and our upturn in form. We have some great bloggers on here, pity things are falling flat….

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  10. What annoys me a little bit is some idiots saying Benitez failed at Real Madrid. When he was sacked Real Madrid were 2nd in La Liga, 2 points behind Barcelona. He was sacked because of footballing style and the loss to Barca. He did not fail and was only given half a season. They are now 3rd and 1 point behind Barca.

    This is the team that sacked Ancelotti after he had won them the European cup and finished second the next season in La Liga.

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  11. Wow Ed has dedicated readers. he posted an article 15mins ago and already its attracted 1,700 votes 😯 😐

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  12. Sunderland arent great at home but I can see it being a tight game this afternoon.

    The tramps will get into Arsenals face from the off. If Arsenal hold tight and nick an early goal, I could see it being 1-3

    Come on the Gooners!

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  13. We’ve looked steady since Dummett came back but he had a hand in both of Liverpool’s goals yesterday. 1st goal he got his feet mixed up allowing Sturbridge to turn unchallenged and the 2nd came from a total waste of a cross by Dummett.

    My other gripe from yesterday is the pace of shelvey, very laboured going forward and getting back. Does he have a 3rd gear? Don’t think I’ve seen him sprint yet

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  14. Gashley, agree 100% regarding Dummett, he was involved in both goals. The first goal both he and Lacelles, who had switched off, went awol. We also committed the cardinal sin of not standing on the ball for the free kick, and preventing them lumping the ball forward. All in all that first goal was shocking.

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  15. Munich Mag:
    Sunderland will pick up one point today..

    Hope not as I can see them beating Stoke away unless Stoke show some pride. They’re terrible, especially down the flanks. I can see Sunderland beating Everton at home too. 7 points possibly?

    Nothing will go as planned, for us too. Maximum points v Palace, Villa or Spurs is needed but I can see us getting 5?

    I’m still not totally convinced and have set my mind for failure, this way it will be easier to handle the drop but will be doubled the celebrations if we stay up ?

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  16. Gashley, all we can do is try and win our games, and hope the rest slip up.

    Norwich and us I’m afraid…

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  17. My nerves are getting stretched on this run in. Can we really get two wins and a draw from the next three. Three wins?
    Don’t think the unwashed will get anything today but can see them getting maybe five or six from their last four and they have a much superior goal difference

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  18. Toby. They do, but then so did Norwich before a 6 goal rout the other week. Every loss for them and win for us alters that by at least 2.
    Have a gooner mate who watched the Derby with me the other week, I’ll be wishing him all the luck today. Would normally join him but got drunkenly roped into a tandem cycle across the Somerset levels last night.
    I have been promised a pub lunch mind.

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  19. Baggies, Swans, Bournemouth, Watford,Everton and Stoke have all got their flipflops on now. Safe for another season and mentally on the beach, we can expect zero effort from them. Scum have Stoke Everton and Watford to play and Norwich have Everton and Watford coming up so these are very winnable games. We are to face Pards Palace albeit at home but I’m sure he’ll do his upmost to sink us, though he’ll give lip service to the contrary of course. Villa are still scoring despite their relegated status, the only good thing is their defence is crapper than ours is. And you just know Spuds will need to beat us for the title now that Leicester have been dealt the body blow of losing Vardy for a couple of games. Don’t think I can remember a ****tier season fixtures wise than this, we started with a shockingly hard set of fixtures with a weak squad and manager, little wonder we are where we are. That we are still in with an outside chance of survival is quite something. Think Defoe may have something to say about that though.

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  20. If we are to go down though I just pray our fate isn’t sealed at villa again, the travelling lads don’t deserve that one bit.

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  21. YouYew:
    Toby. They do, but then so did Norwich before a 6 goal rout the other week. Every loss for them and win for us alters that by at least 2.
    Have a gooner mate who watched the Derby with me the other week, I’ll be wishing him all the luck today. Would normally join him but got drunkenly roped into a tandem cycle across the Somerset levels last night.
    I have been promised a pub lunch mind.

    Well it’s nice and sunny today but very cold, perfect for a bike ride, especially rounded off with a pub lunch 😉 enjoy youyew, better than stressing over another teams performance that we can’t control. what will be will be and all that.

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  22. YouYew:
    If we are to go down though I just pray our fate isn’t sealed at villa again, the travelling lads don’t deserve that one bit.

    agree, so glad those scummy gits are sunk, softens the blow of us possibly going too

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  23. Clubs might be on holiday but Sunderland and Norwich aren’t that good. They’ve still got to beat them.

    It will go down the last game of the season and if we get 39 points we will stay up.

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  24. Munich Mag:
    Gashley, agree 100% regarding Dummett, he was involved in both goals. The first goal both he and Lacelles, who had switched off, went awol. We also committed the cardinal sin of not standing on the ball for the free kick, and preventing them lumping the ball forward. All in all that first goal was shocking.

    On their 2nd goal the guy ran from the m/f Siko ran five yards behind the goal scorer surely his job was to pick up m/f runners not keep them company ffs

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  25. DAVE/SHAM I said y/day the blog is going down,I wish one of yous could have taken it over,these new guys seem to have a couldn’t care attitude, not a way to get bloggers to commit to the topic or even feel they can have a bit crack or air their views on all things toon,wish there was another blog apart from eds as I would be off

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  26. Ice so would I mate. Id be gone anyway if not for the regular crowd we have here.

    New thread >>>>>>>>>>>

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  27. Ice, I’m getting used to the new lay out of the blog , but I do agree it would be nice to chat with Andy and Nicky a bit and get to know them. Match threads should really be up too and a match report. Sadly to keep a blog current and thriving I guess it has to become more commercial in a sense but it’s important to interact with the bloggers too.

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  28. Icedog, agree about Sissoko, the bloke was just ambling back, has been all season in fact, the bloke is a liability…

    Also agree regarding the blog, if there was a better format around somewhere I would be off too…the lads on this blog are making no effort as far as I can see..

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