Why We Should Lay Off Mitrovic and Lascelles

Newcastle’s 2-2 draw against Norwich City on Tuesday night seems to have brought up some interesting opinions, from a certain group of the Newcastle fanbase, on Aleksandar Mitrovic and Jamaal Lascelles.

Some supporters were seemingly unhappy with the contributions of Lascelles and Mitrovic, stating their inconsistencies as the reason.

However, it is important to remember how young they are, and that they play in the two positions that usually require the most experience.

Mitrovic leads the line well, he is strong, relatively mobile, passionate and great at allowing those around him to play. In fact, the only part of his game that appears to be hit and miss is his finishing.

Lascelles meanwhile, is physically great. He is strong and fast, he also appears to be a great leader.

However, he is still very inconsistent, something that is not unusual for young centre backs.

John Stones, for example, cost Manchester City £50 million in the summer, and he suffers from the same problem.

In these two positions, there is no substitute for experience, and Newcastle fans need to allow Mitrovic and Lascelles to make their mistakes, learn from them and grow as players, if they wish to see the best of them.

98 thoughts on “Why We Should Lay Off Mitrovic and Lascelles

  1. Jake, I am inclined to agree but having said that Lascelles does tend to dwell on the ball when he should just clear it. He also often loses his man at corners and is often out jumped . He will improve and does need time but time is a commodity in short supply when you are in the PL and mistakes can and do cost teams dearly. He has the summer to really work on the areas he is lacking in and in Rafa has the best coach able to improve him .
    As for Mitrovich, I like the lads passion but that only gets you so far, I have liked how well he links people in and he just needs to learn some more composure in front of goal. His confidence is low that’s clear but he still has, I think 8 in 10 starts which isn’t that bad. Is he good enough for PL , I’m not sure at the moment.

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  2. Just to add, these are two players who always give 100% and when you see some of the lily livered excuses for footballers who have pulled on the shirt for the last few years, well I’m glad they play for us.

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  3. Sharpy, he’s exactly why Gunners fans deserve nowt imo. Banging on about his son being embarrassed. He’s not wrong with him for his old man 🙄

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  4. kimtoon:
    Sharpy, he’s exactly why Gunners fans deserve nowt imo. Banging on about his son being embarrassed. He’s not wrong with him for his old man ?

    Kim – the overreaction to these games is hilarious. Bayern are a European giant – one of the top 5 clubs in WORLD football – capable of destroying team like that in such a competition. Yes Arsenal weren’t great, but Bayern are bloody brilliant – and a team that will always go for the jugular if they smell blood.

    I also read after the Barca game that it was ‘the end of an era’ ?. What are these people on?!.

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  5. Sorry Jake, an article related comment.

    I agree to a point. The club elevate these players to the first team, pay them big wages & in Lascelles case, make him captain.
    But I think it can be easy to forget that although they are getting game time, they are still young players still learning their trade. Mitrovic is 22 and Lascelles is 23 – both have a good 10yrs ahead of them and a lot of learning and development to get through.

    But to be fair that’s always been the case with football and young footballers.

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  6. I’m a fan of Lascelles. Like Kim, I love the fact he and Mitro have a desire to do well and give everything they’ve got. Rafa realises that he has to drop Lascelles every now and again to keep him on top form and Mbemba is apparently chomping at the bit to get in there. As for Mitrovic, I think his recent performances show one thing…if Gayle is fit; he starts!

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  7. Sharpy: Not only the end of Barcelona but the end of Tiki Taka! I watched both games and Messi gave up in the end because he didn’t get any service. That was astonishing but I doubt it will happen again. That was a one off and not a blueprint until Messi and Suarez are gone at least.

    Arsenal on the other hand do not have the squad to compete at a high level. I have said before that they have become flat track bullies in the PL even. Usually when they come up against the PL top teams they fail (apart from Chelsea 1st time and then Chelsea changed their formation and beat them easily).

    Shamrock said Wenger brings through players but even Gibbs is 27. I never said anything about Arse before because this is a NUFC blog. But they were linked to Rafa so I thought I maybe would vent.

    Barcelona are not finished, Wenger is, and has been for a long time. He has assembled a crap team and it wasn’t just that Bayern were good.

    As for that Gangsta. Who finishes every sentence with “blood”? 🙂 Can you imagine his kid in school talking to the teachers “excuse me Miss, can I have a pencil, blood”. Speak English little Ali G, I have told you before we are not in Compton, I mean Staines, now.

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  8. And Sharpy: Arsenal are the 5th most valuable club in World football, behind only Barca, Real Madrid, Man U and yes, Bayern. It was an embarrassment. But so was the Barca loss but that will be a one off. Arsenal should be able to compete with Bayern given their relative resources but are miles behind. It will take 3 years for the next Manager to fix it. Wenger will retire in the summer.

    They only had one player who would get in the Bayern team – Sanchez. That is an embarrassment.

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  9. Eric Sykes:
    And Sharpy: Arsenal are the 5th most valuable club in World football, behind only Barca, Real Madrid, Man U and yes, Bayern. It was an embarrassment. But so was the Barca loss but that will be a one off. Arsenal should be able to compete with Bayern given their relative resources but are miles behind. It will take 3 years for the next Manager to fix it. Wenger will retire in the summer.

    They only had one player who would get in the Bayern team – Sanchez. That is an embarrassment.

    Eric – Lets be honest though mate, it counts for very little now, I mean aren’t we in the top 10 or 15 or something like that?!.
    In terms of football and not value, Barca, Madrid and Bayern leave clubs behind and have done for years.

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  10. As for Wenger, I agree it probably is time for a change there – but this lack of respect shown towards him by their own fans is disgraceful.

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  11. Sharpy – I don’t think even Sanchez would get in the Bayern team!

    Jake – when players make consistent mistakes again and again the fans will get on their backs, it’s only natural. It’s a nice idea to give them time but you’re never really sure that they will get better and reach their potential. Sammy, Vuckic and a whole host of others have shown that.
    Meanwile points are dropped. It’s a fine balance mate.

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  12. Georgio – Arsenal are ran as a business, similar to the way we are. They could have bought Suarez, but they stuck to a budget and ended up with Sanchez. They could have had Kante, but Xhani (or whatever he’s called) was a more financially sound option.
    Sticking to a wage cap has lost them all kinds of talent.

    Financial they are in with the elite, but football wise they are 2nd tier. They have a decent enough squad, they just need to spend big on a couple of top players to make that difference imo

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  13. Stuart79:
    Young players need time as inconsistency is always a problem.

    spot on mate,you get the odd ones that hit the top early,Rooney,Owen but others take time

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  14. Watched the first half of the Spurs game. The American commentator asked after 30 minutes “what is Sissoko doing on the pitch, he has only touched the ball twice”. Then on 70 minutes he was subbed.

    Levy has a reputation for being a savvy transfer negotiator but I think Charnley and Rafa picked his pocket for 29.9 million. And that’s being charitable saying Sissoko is worth 100k from what I have seen whenever I have watched him play for Spurs.

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  15. Can’t understand the love affair with Mitrovitch. He may be young but surely because he is young he slould be able to move.

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  16. Jake, big mistake comparing Lascelles and Stones (though there is only 1 years difference between them). Lascelles couldnt tie Stones shoe laces.
    Mitro is slow and cumbersome, he needs players buzzing around him creating chances for him to score.

    Ignoring the facts, for both players, when they are obvious won’t get us anywhere. They are both old enough t be put under pressure, it’s part of the improvement process, if they can’t handle the pressure and expectation then they will be moved on.
    Rafa knows the score thank goodness.

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  17. Groucho, spot on. Call a spade a spade.
    I hope the lad will improve, but he seems to have gone backwards this season after a promising start.
    Has he been “Rafa’d” ? ??

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  18. Eric Sykes:
    Watched the first half of the Spurs game. The American commentator asked after 30 minutes “what is Sissoko doing on the pitch, he has only touched the ball twice”. Then on 70 minutes he was subbed.

    Levy has a reputation for being a savvy transfer negotiator but I think Charnley and Rafa picked his pocket for 29.9 million. And that’s being charitable saying Sissoko is worth 100k from what I have seen whenever I have watched him play for Spurs.

    Rafa did a great job building him up he’s a artist at it,next in line Mitro need to get that 13 mil back he needs the money for the kitty so expect plenty build up of him until season ends,except Rafa will say he doesn’t want to sell him just to get a extra mil or two for him

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  19. Delusional Jawdee:
    Groucho, spot on. Call a spade a spade.
    I hope the lad will improve, but he seems to have gone backwards this season after a promising start.
    Has he been “Rafa’d” ?

    I really thought the lad was just the ticket at one point but Ime afraid his level is the ccc,one of the things you need to be a 15/20 goals a season in the PL is “pace” among other things a football brain and able to score from outside the box,so imo I guess it’s ccc for him

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  20. Ice: that almost makes me want Palace to stay up because if they do then I am sure they will be back in for Mitro. I haven’t quite given up on him yet as he can head well and I have never seen anybody use his chest as well as Mitro does. The problem is that he scuffs a lot of shots.

    I really hope he goes on a good run and scores some goals because I do want him to succeed.

    We will probably get our money back anyway because the market is mental. I use McCormack at Villa as the benchmark of crazy because he is over 30, not that good and cost 8 figures. And Siisoko of course 🙂 If he is worth 30 million then I am a …. (fill in the blanks).

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  21. Icedog: I really thought the lad was just the ticket at one point but Ime afraid his level is the ccc,one of the things you need to be a 15/20 goals a season in the PL is “pace” among other things a football brain and able to score from outside the box,so imo I guess it’s ccc for him

    Icedog: I really thought the lad was just the ticket at one point but Ime afraid his level is the ccc,one of the things you need to be a 15/20 goals a season in the PL is “pace” among other things a football brain and able to score from outside the box,so imo I guess it’s ccc for him

    Ice: Ruud van Nistlerooy only had the football brain, no pace and do you know that he never, ever scored a goal from outside the box in his Premier League career. That is another fun fact brought to you by ES 🙂 And Lineker never got a yellow card in his entire career.

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  22. Eric Sykes:
    Ice: Ruud van Nistlerooy only had the football brain, no pace and do you know that he never, ever scored a goal from outside the box in his Premier League career. That is another fun fact brought to you by ES And Lineker never got a yellow card in his entire career.

    I agree on your points mate there’s always exceptions to the rule but the game has moved on a lot from those years plus a good coach knows how deal with that sort of player,however it’s not easy to deal with pace and a bit football nouse,but I know those strikers cost a lot of dough

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  23. Shamrock:
    Ice that Arsenal fan video is shocking. That bloke needs to calm down! And learn English…..

    It was a shocker that one,it was KIM vid mate not mine

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  24. Waaaaaay too early to call time on Mitro… Most strikers of his ilk do not reach peak form until later in their careers. Playing the big target man, single handily holding up play and dealing with lunk head centre halves is a tough day job. The goals will come with maturity and time.
    I hope we stay patient with him… If it clicks for him, he will be a beast in front of goal(in a good way)
    :mrgreen:

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  25. Mitrovic has 13 in 51 for us which is around 1 every 4 games. That’s not a bad return, but when you consider he was 21 and our first choice striker last season – coupled with our atrocious form for most of last season, I think the lad has done pretty well personally.
    If he doesn’t make it it will be down to his temperament over his ability IMO – and that could be a big factor for whether Rafa keeps him or not.

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  26. I’m torn really about Mitro. Part of me really likes his attitude and fight and his obvious love of the Toon. The other part sees him missing chance after priceless chance. I’d keep him but, in another turn around from me, I really like Gayle now. The goal he scored at Brentford was amazing and finally convinced me on him.

    Is Villa a potential banana or will (as I believe) we not lose another game this season?

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  27. Deary me Georgio that’s some statement to make.
    15 matches undefeated. :-!
    Unfortunately I think we will lose a few more times this season. Other teams are working us out and it’s still painfully obvious how badly we defend corners and Arial balls into the box.
    But for what it’s worth I have us down to win another 10. Which will still be enough.
    I don’t see us reaching 100 points mind.
    Then the summer fun will bbegin and we will all see what the fat controllers intentions really are.

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  28. Oh and on Mitrovic, I get the counter argument, but he just doesn’t suit the lone striker role imho.
    If we were ever to stick 2 up top, then I think he would score alot more than he does. But for me he is too slow and not sharp enough.
    Mind he does get battered by defenders and rarely gets anything from the crap referees in this division.
    It’s maybe too harsh to say get rid but we do need to see a marked improvement.
    He should be practising his penalty kicks if he ever wants to take one again.

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  29. I have thought about this a bit more and I am going to come back to this but what do you get for 12-14 million now? You get Ross McCormack, so when you think of Mitro in those terms I think he deserves at least another season.

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  30. I read about a recent game whereby he was getting stick because we created 20 plus chances and he didn’t convert. The point being missed was his part in the build up to those 20+ chances where he helped create a lot of them. The fact that he missed his chances is only a part of the game. If he had not been there how many chances would we have created

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  31. You are also comparing Mitro to Gayle who is having an amazing season. Here are a few of his stats:

    20 goals scored

    67% of shots on target

    88 minutes per goal

    So he is on more than a goal a game and that on target % is unreal. When you look at it, it is not surprising we have missed Gayle. He probably would have converted the QPR and Norwich draws into wins with the form he is in and if he had played the full games.

    With Gayle starting I am feeling pretty comfortable with home wins against Villa and Bristol. We can begin to pull away a bit because we have 3 tough games after that. However, since we are playing our rivals one after the other it also presents an opportunity. Beat one or two of Huddersfield, Brighton and Reading and do not lose the other game(s) and I think that virtually guarantees promotion.

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  32. Spot on Eric with that last para! Was thinking the same thing myself and they all play each other too. For example Reading’s next two are (I think) Brighton and Huddersfield. I think Huddersfield are the only ones capable of catching us so a win there would probably finish them off.

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  33. Oh **** do we have to put up with bloody Colback for the next four weeks now that Hayden has had a ankle opp,perish the thought 😈

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  34. georgio: I am not taking it “one game at a time” though mate. I am committing the cardinal sin in football of looking past the next opponent to consider a bigger picture. I guess I will never work for The Chronicle or Sky.

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  35. Ice: Anita is back in training. He is not ideal and I think he is a much better right back. But if it comes to a choice between him and Colback in midfield I would choose Little Vurn. We haven’t really seen him that much at this level, so fingers crossed. I am just sick of Colback giving away those cheap fouls around the box.

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  36. From the games I have seen we have two major weaknesses in The Championship:

    1. If Gayle doesn’t play there is no outlet pass from Shelvey and nobody to stop the opposition defenders pushing up to the half way line. He keeps them honest.

    2. We are still weak at set plays which is why Colback and his stupid fouls are a liability.

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  37. It just seems that we always have a marked man who Refs want to give fouls against around our box. It used to be Tiote and now it is Colback. The problem is that they probably deserve(d) it but they don’t get away with anything and the first niggle is automatically a foul, and the next a yellow so they are playing scared for the rest of the game.

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  38. Eric Sykes:
    From the games I have seen we have two major weaknesses in The Championship:

    1. If Gayle doesn’t play there is no outlet pass from Shelvey and nobody to stop the opposition defenders pushing up to the half way line. He keeps them honest.

    2. We are still weak at set plays which is why Colback and his stupid fouls are a liability.

    Ime just pleased he keeps out the box we would be giving two pens away every game

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  39. The Spurs fans are really kicking off with Siko,me I would give Rafa a knighthood for getting thirty big ones for him,Levy really got it stuck up him on that one,we got Townsend for twelve not done Spurs transfer money a lot of good

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  40. Icedog, I’m so happy to have both Pardew and Sissoko light years away from the toon.
    Rafa is taking baby steps at the moment moving the club forward, Ashley would be insane to let this all go off the rails.
    I really do detest the flake Sissoko, an absolute prat of the highest order.
    Pardew still out of a job eh, clubs not clambering to get him signed up, surprising eh ?
    We are well shot of both of them, 30 mill for the flake, amazing, and a pair of black and white toon donkeys ears for the spuds.

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  41. Delusional Jawdee:
    Icedog, I’m so happy to have both Pardew and Sissoko light years away from the toon.
    Rafa is taking baby steps at the moment moving the club forward, Ashley would be insane to let this all go off the rails.
    I really do detest the flake Sissoko, an absolute prat of the highest order.
    Pardew still out of a job eh, clubs not clambering to get him signed up, surprising eh ?
    We are well shot of both of them, 30 mill for the flake, amazing, and a pair of black and white toon donkeys ears for the spuds.

    theres talk Pardew is in for the Rangers job,poor sods

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  42. We get a lot of Spurs game in the US. Sissoko has actually regressed if that is possible. Rafa had him doing OK towards the tail end of last season. He was doing the one thing that we know he can do well, that is run fast and directly at opponents with the ball, although with no end product. At least it got the ball out of our half. Now he cant even do that.

    The Spurs fans must be so frustrated because unlike us last year they have people like Kane and Alli who can finish. I assume that’s what Levy thought when he bought him, that it wasn’t Sissoko it was our shIt strikers. But it was Sissoko, thanks for the 30 mil Daniel.

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  43. yes it’s all very very funny really.
    I always said Pardew was out of his depth in the premier league – Proven
    and Sissoko was a sodding disgrace and a coward
    we are well rid of both.
    Now we just have to hope Fatty keeps Rafa happy and on side

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  44. Do you know that Sissoko is Spurs’ all time record signing along with Lamela, who isn’t that great either? They seem to do well low and mid market and then spunk loads-o-money on duds. Here are their top 4 ever:

    Sissoko 30 Milllion
    Lamela 30 Million
    Soldado 26 Million
    David Bentley 17 Million

    Lucky they got 80 million for Bale and got lucky with Alli.

    They also spent 16 million on Darren Bent when 16 million was a **** load of money, but they got Modric for the same amount so they offset.

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  45. I think Rafa is biding his time with Mitro and will develop him over the next 2-3 seasons unless we get a high offer for him and Ashley gets greedy.

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  46. Interesting stuff on Spurs Eric. They have wasted a load of cash but still they are a very entertaining side to watch and have several good young players.

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  47. So to play devils advocate here. When you highlight just how much money Spurs have spent on ****e – and let’s be honest, the same could be said about Lpool, City, Man Utd, Arsenal & Chelsea – does that not put perspective on our transfer failings, baring in mind the greater restraint placed on them by Ashley?.

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  48. BB – an understatement indeed. That’ll make it 19 unbeaten!

    Sharpy – earlier you mentioned Arsenal’s spending. They could have got Suarez (he wanted to go) if they’d bid more for him than Sanchez and they could have got Kante too for far less than they wasted on Xhaka. Imo it’s Wenger’s biggest downfall and has been going on for years. I just don’t see Coquelin, Xhaka, Gibbs, Iwobi, even Oxlade and others as being the kind of top drawer that lifts trophies.

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  49. Well if you’ve called it rright Georgio, then that will be some achievement.
    I reckon that would take us well past 100 points too.
    Howay the Lads

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  50. Anyone watching Burnley vs Lincoln? 0-0 at half time is quite surprising. Prem vs non-league… ??

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  51. Sharpy: pointing out Spurs’ failings was an afterthought and I know most teams waste a lot of money on failed transfers. I was just as much trying to put Sissoko in context of what they had paid and then when I looked it turned out that their top 4 transfers had all been massive failures (I would include Lamela in that).

    As far as our transfer business is concerned it has been a massive fail because we have been relegated twice, obviously aided by stupid decisions on Managers. We have probably made money in terms of net spend but that will not have offset the money the Fatman lost due to the relegations.

    The value of Spurs’ squad is one of the highest in Europe so they have done a lot of things right. Again, I wanted to put Sissoko in context but on the whole I do not think Spurs fans can complain about the team, just certain individuals.

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  52. I am usually interested in our high profile transfers and watch them at their next clubs. I wanted Gini to do well because he was classy about his move. The Liverpool fans started off wondering what he was about and now a lot say he is the hub of the team. On the other hand, Sissoko made his mouth go and has turned out exactly as I would have expected. I had wondered whether playing with better players would raise his game as was suggested had happened at the Euros, but it didn’t.

    At the Euros I think Sissoko was flattered because Pogba played so badly or was invisible, given the expectations. But Sissoko did not have any end product even there.

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  53. That has to be one of the funniest simulations from Barton, he even stood on the other players foot to begin with to provoke him.

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  54. Wow, well done Lincoln… a bit of history there. Joey should hang his head in shame.. not just for the simulation… both him and Flanagan should have walked … 2 reds for me… fantastic for the little team…

    The magic of the FA Cup lives on!

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  55. Well done Lincoln City (who play in the same league as the Heed). Showing the pampered millionaires and PL “best league in the world” fanboys who’s boss. 🙂

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  56. Newcastle lost away at Hereford in a replay, Burnley were knocked out at home! I think we’ve just lost our giant-killing title.

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  57. ‘The result, a 2–1 extra time victory for Hereford, is notable for being one of the greatest shocks of all time in the history of the FA Cup. It was the first time a non-league club had beaten a top-flight club in a competitive fixture since Yeovil Town’s victory over Sunderland in 1949’. (wiki)

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