New Season – Same Old Problems

Friday evening was supposed to be the start of something special, a signal of intent, a message to all that Newcastle were genuinely the team to beat in the Championship this season. A team to be feared and a team capable of winning the title.

The incredible optimism brought by Benitez’s ‘Rafalution’ had many fans believing a Championship title would be relatively straightforward. Friday’s fateful fall to Fulham is a stark wake-up call to all associated with Newcastle. This league offers no easy victories and no free points; everything must be earned.

The performance against Fulham was just about the worst Newcastle fans could have imagined. With so much optimism before the game, to see the players perform so badly was soul-crushingly disappointing. And for all the talk about stone-wall penalties, one thing remains painfully clear…Newcastle are still a poor side.

Now it is only one match and we have 45 games left to play so there is no point being too dramatically pessimistic about this result but it was a really sobering performance from United. What we must remember is that this is the beginning of Rafa’s transformation not the end of it. With five debutants starting the game, we surely shouldn’t have expected the team to have gelled perfectly already.

Putting the disappointment of the result to one side, the game did present a few significant insights into Newcastle and the future. The performances of two United players were particularly concerning. Jack Colback was so worryingly dreadful Benitez had to hook him from the field after an hour of misplaced passes and mindless persistent fouling. How on earth the ginger one is ahead of the bald one is a total mystery. And Perez, given the opportunity in his preferred position, just off the top-man, could not control the ball, make a pass or even make a decent run. In that position Perez – who has undoubted talent – should have sparkled, dazzled and excelled against a pretty ordinary Fulham side. He blew it big time, clearly flummoxed by the expectation placed at Newcastle’s feet.

The other truly horrifyingly obvious misdemeanour was Newcastle’s inability to defend from set pieces. The Championship may be a step down in quality but it will still punch you in your nether-regions should you make such schoolboy errors. Anybody who knows anything about football knows that Fulham striker Matt Smith is good at pretty much only one thing…he can head the ball. To leave him with a free-header from around 8 yards out is frankly criminal. It was a mistake though and we can all make those, so we shall forgive young captain Lascelles for that one.

Going forward Newcastle were even worse, unable to register a shot on target in the first half. That is unacceptable. And if you think the addition of a great striker will help, Lionel Messi could have been playing up front and it wouldn’t have made a slight bit of difference. Gayle did the best he could, it’s not his fault that his teammates provided him with absolutely nothing to work with. A creative midfielder is desperately needed. Matt Ritchie tried hard but showed his lack of ability when incredibly shooting directly at the goalkeeper when it would have been easier to score. You get the feeling he may produce something every now and again but Newcastle can’t rely on him to provide goal-scoring opportunities game in game out. Diame will be a welcome addition to the midfield we saw at Fulham.

Rolando Aarons also has an important part to play and he should have started the game. The decision to play Anita at right midfield does have logic, providing Janmaat with a bit of cover so he can bomb down the right as he so loves to do. Having said that it made the midfield very conservative and Rafa soon realised he needed to add some impetus to Newcastle’s attack.

As disappointing as the game was, it’s important to remember that we are still evolving as a club and a team. It will be interesting to see how the players respond. But if anyone thought this was going to be easy, this has just shown otherwise.

92 thoughts on “New Season – Same Old Problems

  1. Excellent read SRF, cheers.
    Repost from previous thread, picking up on your Perez concerns mate, agree about Colback too, not good enough by a country mile.

    Kimtoon

    August 7, 2016 at 10:51

    Am I the only one who is really concerned about Perez too? He doesn’t look like the lad we signed, he was terrible on Friday night and honestly I don’t know where his position should be. He is not a forward that much is certain, should he be out wide? He needs a position to master as at present I don’t know how he fits in. Talented lad with out doubt but I am confused as how best we utilise him

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  2. SRF great write up mate, I like your style, tell it like it is.
    Poor players make poor decisions, and play poorly.
    I think Rafa learned a massive amount on Friday… I hope is expensively assembled squad of prima donnas take heed..

    not trying to be negative or owt like ??

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  3. a very fair take on the game SRF well done,i think Rafa thought the same,ime not worrying yet takes time to gel,mind Fulham also had a lot of new two bob players on show and they did well,players will have to understand that every team want to beat the toon and will always put that bit extra into their game we have to be up for it

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  4. KIM from last thread on Perez,do you think all this talk of big clubs want him and made bids for him have un-settled the kid a bit,he seems happy here but the mind can do funny things in kids??

    have a go for Bony City want 15 mil for him he was at a higher price but they had no bids so have lowered his price,would he drop down a lge??

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  5. Munich Mag:
    SRF great write up mate, I like your style, tell it like it is.
    Poor players make poor decisions, and play poorly.
    I think Rafa learned a massive amount on Friday… I hope is expensively assembled squad of prima donnas take heed..

    not trying to be negative or owt like

    you negative nah perish the thought,truthful now theres a maybe 😆 😆 😆

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  6. Ice, yep, that’s a possibility mate, maybe he fancies a return to spain but in truth he hasn’t looked too hot since back end of last season to me. I know he did well pre season but the fact is the opposition was weak and I said the other day ,had we really been tested.

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  7. I do trust Rafa to right the ship, the guy knows his stuff as they say. My main concern is we still look lightweight up front or rather we are not supplying the forwards with quality. We are not getting on the end of crosses well and haven’t for a long time.

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  8. i see Taylor got off to a fine start for his new club,scored a own goal after 10 min and was hauled off 😆 😆
    Siko shouting his gob off again about moving i wish he bloody would ime sick of him

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  9. I also think we will find it hard to break down teams that will set out to defend at all cost and then hit us on the break.

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  10. Ice, yep Taylor has had a nightmare, no doubt he’ll develop an injury in next week or so and rest out the campaign on the physio couch.

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  11. Cheers SRF. Ties in nicely with the stats from the last thread. Definitely work to be done – on the transfers front, on the training ground, on tactics and on attitudes. Not a lot then!

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: The NUFC blog premier league dream team for the year has been set up. Season kicks off in 6 days, so please get signed up. Still lots of places up for grabs and I’d rther the places were taken by visitors to this site than opening up to wider public – because the prospect of banter will be lost! Join here: https://fantasy.premierleague.com
    1225866-323734 is the code to join the free.
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  12. Mark Douglas ‏@MsiDouglas · 17m17 minutes ago

    Heard #htafc new-look side was impressive in winning their opening game yday. Make no mistake: #nufc have to be ‘at it’ to win next week

    indeed

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  13. just watch Shelvey implode, theres no way he’ll hack the Championship…
    we’ll have journeyman championship players with something to prove swarming all over our pampred superstars…the light will go on around November…still enough time to turn things round. when all else fails Ashley will release anothef bucket load of spondoolicks to buy his way out of trouble.

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  14. Sham: I mentioned Walters a couple of weeks ago and nobody took me up on it. He had a contract dispute with Stoke that was sort of reolved and he has 18 months left. I doubt if he is on big money though and we could probably get him. Hughes is going a different route with their football so I am not sure his face really fits anymore.

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  15. The funny thing is, Timbers were 3 Nil down when Saylor got hooked after 60 mins. By full time Timbers had won 4-3 😳

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  16. There needs to be a link between midfield and attack whilst the smaller strikers are all that is available. The likes of Gayle, Perez and Armstrong need the ball into feet. I would go with Diame and Shelvey in the next game to see if they can provide something.

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  17. well imo we have a real good l/b at the club,the swiss lad is tough nut bit of a beast i understand hes back fit,he ran the defence in that under 23 game

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  18. Shamrock:
    The funny thing is, Timbers were 3 Nil down when Saylor got hooked after 60 mins. By full time Timbers had won 4-3

    Just shows what garbage players like S Taylor were. He will struggle to get a game for a 3rd division US club yet up until last season he was supposed to be good enough to play for NUFC in the premier league. Is it any wonder we’re in such a mess. I wonder where Williamson, R Taylor, Shola and others are now and whether they get a game!

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  19. icedog:
    well imo we have a real good l/b at the club,the swiss lad is tough nut bit of a beast i understand hes back fit,he ran the defence in that under 23 game

    Yep Mbabu looks a good player Ice, hope he can stay fit, certainly better than Dummett who always looks much better at CB.

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  20. Kimtoon:
    Ice, thought there was talk of Mbabu being loaned out back in july

    there was talk about a loan i hope not surely PB should keep Rafa up to date,lso i agree 100% dummy is a c/h hes lost at l/b imo

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  21. Having been a regular at SJP since the mid fifties , one in four of the games I have been to were in the second division.
    It is a very difficult league to get out of and when we have achieved promotion it was with a team full of players who were determined to try and win every game and gave their all for the cause for the full 90 minutes . Sadly I do not see a single player in our squad of that ilk never mind a team full of them.
    I certainly do not expect to see a top six finish this season.
    We may need Mitrovic and De Jong playing regularly to even achieve a top ten finish.
    Negativity may be my second name but when I want to see a very poor team I need look no further than our squad list.

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  22. icedog:
    well imo we have a real good l/b at the club,the swiss lad is tough nut bit of a beast i understand hes back fit,he ran the defence in that under 23 game

    Ice – I like Mbabu too mate, but he’s been very injury prone during his time with us. I would much rather see him get his chance, but we need cover – I think this loan deal works as we aren’t getting some in permanent to stop Mbabus progression – but he’s there if injury strikes again.

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  23. Mark Douglas ‏@MsiDouglas · 3h

    NUFC say they have no interest in selling Mitrovic. Fairly unequivocal…

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  24. Leeds fans aren’t happy

    Mark Douglas Retweeted

    Phil Hay ‏@PhilHayYEP · 1h1 hour ago

    Leeds players applauding the away end but are taking pelters and chants of “what the ****ing hell was that?” #lufclive

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  25. Kimtoon:
    no whispers about another forward or creative mid I suppose

    Kim – I haven’t seen a thing about wingers or forwards – which were the 2 positions Rafa said in his interview he wanted to strengthen.

    Do you think there would be any remote possibility that we could tempt Loic Remy back to SJP?
    I don’t, but would love to see us try coz he would be perfect for what we need IMO.

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  26. Mark Douglas ‏@MsiDouglas · 32m32 minutes ago

    Gibbo says he’d ‘rather have all his teeth pulled out with pliers than see Sissoko play on Saturday’:

    Me too

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  27. Kimtoon:
    Mark Douglas ‏@MsiDouglas· 3h

    NUFC say they have no interest in selling Mitrovic. Fairly unequivocal…

    Which raises the question why the flock the clubs supposed Media partners the Mirror broke the story in the first place?

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  28. Sharpy17: Kim – I haven’t seen a thing about wingers or forwards – which were the 2 positions Rafa said in his interview he wanted to strengthen.

    Do you think there would be any remote possibility that we could tempt Loic Remy back to SJP?
    I don’t, but would love to see us try coz he would be perfect for what we need IMO.

    Can’t see it mate, he didn’t wanna be here when we was PL. Couldn’t get away quick enough so no way he’ll return in a lower division . Would do a job though I have to agree.

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  29. Sharpy17: Kim – I haven’t seen a thing about wingers or forwards – which were the 2 positions Rafa said in his interview he wanted to strengthen.

    Do you think there would be any remote possibility that we could tempt Loic Remy back to SJP?
    I don’t, but would love to see us try coz he would be perfect for what we need IMO.

    Good player mate, but he took the Mickey out of us twice. If we somehow got him in, he would not appreciate being at the club. Do we want players who’s heart is not in it?

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  30. Sham, It’s been too quiet on the Toon glum and comedy front for the press liking me thinks. This is honey to them, us losing the opener, gives them the perfect chance to stir up some **** and cause fan unrest.

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  31. According to reports in Portugal, Newcastle are battling with Southampton and Sporting Lisbon to sign Dutch striker Luc Castaignos from Bundesliga side Frankfurt.

    23-year-old Castaignos only moved to Germany last summer but failed to make an impact – netting just four goals in 19 games.

    However, the former Inter Milan striker is still considered a top propsect and would likely improve and rebuild his confidence were he to join Newcastle under Rafa Benitez.

    The report in Portugal claims that Frankfurt will listen to offers in the region of €3-3.5million for him.

    Newcastle are looking for a striker before the window closes.

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  32. Kimtoon:
    According to reports in Portugal, Newcastle are battling with Southampton and Sporting Lisbon to sign Dutch striker Luc Castaignos from Bundesliga side Frankfurt.

    23-year-old Castaignos only moved to Germany last summer but failed to make an impact – netting just four goals in 19 games.

    However, the former Inter Milan striker is still considered a top propsect and would likely improve and rebuild his confidence were he to join Newcastle under Rafa Benitez.

    The report in Portugal claims that Frankfurt will listen to offers in the region of €3-3.5million for him.

    Newcastle are looking for a striker before the window closes.

    Kim – I’m sure we were linked with him when he was at Twente

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  33. Who is Brendan Galloway?

    So Newcastle United are interested in signing left-back Brendan Galloway from Everton. Here’s a bit more about the 20-year-old:
    •Galloway was born in Zimbabwe but has represented England at youth level
    •He came through MK Don’s academy to be the youngest player ever to make a first team appearance for them. He was handed his debut from the bench in FA Cup win over non-league Nantwich at the age of just 15 in 2011
    •He would make 17 appearances for the Dons in total before departing for Everton in the summer of 2014
    •With Leighton Baines injured, Galloway was forced to start the season as first choice left-back last year at Goodison Park and he would make 15 Premier League appearances in total last season
    •In December 2015 after impressive form, he signed a new deal at Everton which means he is currently contracted until 2020
    •Stats specialists WhoScored.com list his strengths as tackling and blocking, but say his weaknesses are holding on to the ball, passing and aerial duels
    •They rated him on average 6.89 out of ten in his 15 games last season where he provided one assist in total
    •What Galloway would bring to Newcastle’s back four is pace. Unlike current left-back Paul Dummett, Galloway has bags of pace and that helps him to cover at the back and also get forward

    Weaknesses doesn’t bode well does it ?

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  34. Think all the posters are either sleeping off sunday lunch or watching Olympics.

    Can’t decide whether to watch Villa game or the charity Shield match, CS would be the better but interested to watch Villa also to see what kind of job Robbie M has done.

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  35. Kimtoon: Aye Ice, we need him and hopefully he’ll feature in more games this season if he keeps his cool.

    I think hes tailer made for ccc they wont knock him about,must keep his head like

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  36. I’d take that lad 6’2”, can play wide, almost 1 in 2 goals or assists everywhere he’s been. 19 appearances in Germany with 4 goals and 3 assists.

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  37. Shamrock:
    I’d take that lad6’2”,can play wide, almost 1 in 2 goals or assists everywhere he’s been. 19 appearances in Germany with 4 goals and 3 assists.

    who mate ?

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  38. I reckon Mitrovic could be one of the best CF in the championship, but all of the other teams are going to be trying to wind him up, so he needs to keep his head together. I’m watching Sheffield Wed and Villa and watched Leeds vs QPR before. We shouldn’t panic, none of these teams look anything special and they are supposed to be the top 10. They will get better with matches though. I think we will be alright after the new players bed in and Mitrovic comes back but I don’t think we will run away with it. Huddersfield will not be pushovers but we need to attack them at SJP. Diame could make a big difference and brings championship experience.

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  39. Well halftime and Wednesday matching Villa well. Lots of niggly fouls and a nasty clash of heads between Elphick and Fletcher. Wednesday are a fast team, then again everyone looks faster than us.

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  40. Villa have McCormack and Vested to knock the ball up to. I can’t believe we only have one CF in the championship, unless you count Riviere.

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  41. Thanks for the comments all. I actually wrote this after the game on Friday so was worried it might have been a bit negative. Sham I enjoyed reading your thread btw some really interesting stats from the game.

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  42. Kimtoon:
    Well, all I can say is that the Villa owner should of kept his gob shut gloating about our loss.

    Aye, true that Kim. What goes around, comes around. I can’t understand how such a massive club as them lost. 😛 . (and the press will not bat an eyelid, unlike when we lost)

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  43. Nice bit of profit from the Pogba sale for Juve. Purchased for £800k, sold for £89m! Crazy. Not seen enough of him to judge if he is the best midfielder in the world. Guess time will tell. Hell of a fee though. He best be worth 40 goals or assists per year.

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  44. Well written Shearer’s mate. 6 consecutive matches that should tell us a lot about our club and how it will do this season lads. Beginning Aug. 27th Brighton, Derby, QPR, Wolves, Villa and Norwich. If we can gather 12 points or more from those 6 I’ll be satisfied.

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  45. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: The NUFC blog premier league dream team for the year has been set up. Season kicks off in 6 days, so please get signed up. Still lots of places up for grabs and I’d rther the places were taken by visitors to this site than opening up to wider public – because the prospect of banter will be lost! Join here: https://fantasy.premierleague.com
    1225866-323734 is the code to join the free.
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  46. Kyran Kennedy
    Twitter › Marinaoholic

    @Dr_TonyXia I cannot believe this, my little brother is crying and I have ripped up my season ticket I fear us being relegated. Sort it out.

    Overreaction or what?!

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  47. Shamrock:
    Kyran Kennedy
    Twitter › Marinaoholic

    @Dr_TonyXia I cannot believe this, my little brother is crying and I have ripped up my season ticket I fear us being relegated. Sort it out.

    Overreaction or what?!

    😆

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  48. Could well do Sharpy. He’s still on staff and is very experienced. Not all his signings were poor so I’m sure Rafa will give him the time and make his own joint assessment.

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  49. If there’s any Twitter or Facebook savvy people here, please post a link to the PL fantasy footy league h2h I set up because I dont think the league is going to work unless we get lots more people signed up in next few days. Much appreciated.

    https://fantasy.premierleague.com
    1225866-323734 is the code to join. It takes 5 mins to set up and gives you a whole seasons worth of banter and competition. It’s completely free!

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  50. So the Pogba deal looks like it’s finally going through – could that trigger a bit of a bidding war for Sissoko – Juve and Madrid maybe?!.

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  51. We need to get moving this week IMO. Get rid of the those he doesn’t want or who he knows will be leaving & get moving with those he wants in.

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