144 thoughts on “Newcastle United v Fulham: Waving the Lilywhite flag

  1. Not sure about Gamaz & Colback being in your team mind Andy, but I do think it is a game we will win.

    I like the lad they have Cairney. I know we had a reported interest in him & wouldn’t mind seeing us follow up on that on. I think him or Will Hughes at Derby would be a nice shout for the attacking midfielder we need.

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  2. With Yeds OOA I see no reason not to put him in again.

    Matt Smith who scored their goal in the last game is also a handful but not checked to see if he’s playing mind.

    Sharpy17:
    Not sure about Gamaz & Colback being in your team mind Andy, but I do think it is a game we will win.

    I like the lad they have Cairney.I know we had a reported interest in him & wouldn’t mind seeing us follow up on that on.I think him or Will Hughes at Derby would be a nice shout for the attacking midfielder we need.

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  3. Andy The Magpie:
    With Yeds OOA I see no reason not to put him in again.

    Matt Smith who scored their goal in the last game is also a handful but not checked to see if he’s playing mind.

    I’m less worried about Gamez than Colback, but I’d still favour Anita at RB personally mate

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  4. Don’t think Matt Smith will likely make the matchday squad, as he signed for QPR in January 😉

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  5. Fulham have been a strong team throughout the season – based on some of the underlying statistics, they’re just behind Brighton, right on level with teams like Wednesday, Norwich and Huddersfield. They’ve just been a bit unlucky with results. Still, we’re the top team in the division pretty much no matter how you slice it, so our mentality should always be that we’re going to go out and win.

    Given that they’re just outside of the top 6, draws aren’t that useful to Fulham, so you’d think they’ll need come out and try to score. Hopefully that opens things up and we can capitalize.

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  6. To be fair, Andy, I had to check to make sure where he was playing. I thought Fulham just bought him in the summer, so it seems weird that he moved on so quickly. Maybe the goal he scored against us was a rare bright spot for him.

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  7. There still seems this fear sometimes that it is all just going to fall apart. I suppose that is to be expected given our history, but it really doesn’t factor in the history of Rafa Benitez. It is like when Bobby Robson managed us, when he had had nothing but success in his career (with the possible exception of some of his time at England, but that is England) and some were always expecting the worst.

    I saw a few times that people would have been happy with 5 or even 4 points from the last 3 games. Admittedly, that was on Ed’s or The Chronicle comments so maybe it doesn’t count.

    We are exactly where I thought we would be. If you extrapolate our current points total for the full season we get 98. The only reason that we are not currently walking this league is the great job that Hughton is doing with a projected total of 95. To put this in perspective, The Championship was won last year with 93 points.

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  8. I am going for 2-1 to us. Gayle is back which is a positive, Hayden is not which is a negative. Agree that Anita should start.

    I used to think Colback was OK because he has a lot of energy and I remembered that goal he scored for the Mackems against us. Slowly, but surely he has gone down in my estimation to the point that I don’t want him in the squad. He does a lot of running around but has absolutely no end product and commits realy stupid fouls in dangerous areas of the pitch. It is almost like I want him to get that 10th yellow so he gets the 2 match ban.

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  9. When I said people said they would have been happy with 5 or 4 points from the last 3 games I was meaning to say that their implication was that we would get less. It is that attitude I am talking about. The expectation that it will go wrong.

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  10. Eric-

    I agree with you – my point about Fulham was more to say that I think they’re a bit underrated and that they’re actually quite a bit better than their current place in the table. But we should definitely be beating them, especially with the added motivation of avenging our opening day loss.

    I said a while back that I think we’ll end up finishing at least 9 points clear of third, and I still think we’ll do that. Huddersfield are a decent side, but they play an extraordinarily high number of close games – they’ve only won TWO games all year by more than a single goal, and both of those were 2-goal wins. They’ve been able to win a lot of those games, but it only takes one piece of bad luck to turn a win into a draw or a draw into a loss.

    For comparison’s sake, we’ve won 14 games by 2 goals or more, and we’ve only lost by 2 goals or more once (against Wolves). A win is a win, but I do think Huddersfield’s close results are an indication that they’ve been a bit lucky, and that there’s a decent chance they’ll drop points here and there over the last 11 games.

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  11. Also, based on at least one statistical model, we have roughly a 99% chance of automatic promotion.

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  12. Charlie Prince: I wasn’t referring to you when I said that sometimes NUFC fans expect a comeuppance. It is almost impossible not to react that way after years of suffering, but I think we have to fight against the “here we go again attitude”.

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  13. The other thing to look at as CP alludes to is Goal Difference. Points tell most of the story but when you look at any league the winner almost always has the best or second best GD. One follows the other you might say, but as CP is pointing out with Huddersfield sometimes it doesn’t. I think this is another reason why we will certainly get guaranteed promotion.

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  14. Yes, goal difference is huge. Obviosuly, results are what count, but GD is a better predictor of future performance. It’s a good indication that our position in the table is well-earned and that it should be sustainable.

    Related to goal difference (but not identical), I also think “close” games vs. “blowout” wins or losses is interesting. For example, it seemed to me like part of the reason we struggled our last few years in the PL was that we would go a goal down, drop our heads and end up losing by 3, 4, or 5 goals. In those games, it didn’t matter if we got a bit of luck in our favor, because it would have taken multiple things going in our favor to make any difference.

    On the flip side, we’ve been in with a chance of a win or draw in all but one game this season, with 14 games where we put ourselves in a good enough position to be unaffected by a bit of bad luck. In my opinion, that’s the difference between us and teams like Huddersfield and Reading.

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  15. Hoping to see a really good home performance tomorrow as a bit of pressure is off after recent results.
    Andy, print is still tiny mate by the way.

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  16. We do not have it in us to take the game gung-ho to Fulham. Expecting another cagey toon performance, and a 2-0 win.

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  17. Is it just for the box where you type comments or is it everywhere? Also what browser are you using?

    kimtoon:
    Hoping to see a really good home performance tomorrow as a bit of pressure is off after recent results.
    Andy, print is still tiny mate by the way.

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  18. Nah I did actually mean Matt Smith. A colleague of mine was playing university football with him about 5 years ago, so he’s come a long way in that time.

    He scored for Oldham Athletic against L’pool in the FA Cup a few years ago if I’m not mistaken.

    Sharpy17: Andy – did you mean Chris Martin (that’s who I thought you meant) he’s a handful too

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  19. Yeah I’d not heard a peep from him since that goal tbh so he must have fallen out of favour at Fulham for whatever reason. Odd one that.

    Charlie Prince:
    To be fair, Andy, I had to check to make sure where he was playing. I thought Fulham just bought him in the summer, so it seems weird that he moved on so quickly. Maybe the goal he scored against us was a rare bright spot for him.

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  20. Alex Neil sacked and Villa 15th and in a mess. When people said it would not be easy to return the PL even with parachute payments they were correct. Just shows what a fantastic job Rafa has done and he even made net profit.

    Some might say that is because he had some decent players to sell, or hawk in Sissoko’s case, but that is not the full story. We had a big advantage with the parachute payments but so did Villa and they actually massively outspent us on a net basis over the last 2 or 3 years.

    The Mackems are in the same situation as Villa if they go down. A disinterested owner, massive debts and a squad with very little value even though a lot was spent. I can see them spending at least a couple of years in the Championship.

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  21. Brighton beating Derby 1-0 already Knockheart with the goal.
    I know it’s looking likely anyway, but I do hope for Houghton sake they come up with us – they deserve it too, playing good football here.

    Don’t know if that Will Hughes is injured for Derby, but he’s on the bench again for Nugent this time.
    It could just be the grin reapers tactical genius of course ?

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  22. Google Chrome? Yeah I have that issue too. Just tried on Firefox and seems fine.

    Is it small enough you’re having issues seeing it?

    icedog:
    google

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  23. Derby are only mid-table and if they lose today they have nothing to play for the rest of the season. That should be motivation, but look who their Manager is.

    I would be worried if I was Schteve. He has already been sacked by them once and will they give him any money to invest in the summer? Do they trust him enough? My prediction is that he will be given very limited funds if he makes it that long, and will be gone after 10 games.

    Remember though that McClaren asked to be judged after 10 games with us and we were absolutely ****e so he kept on adding on time for him to get it right. I don’t think he will be afforded that luxury this time around. The fans already know his patter as well so I think they will be much quicker to get on his back, even towards the end of this season if they do not show improvement.

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  24. Ah, I see MBemba made the bench against Reading so he may still be in Rafa’s plans. If Mitro doesn’t make the squad tomorrow does that spell the end for him unless we have injuries? Just wondering, because I think he has only started 4 games of 36 and that is a worry for a 13 million pound forward (even in today’s crazy transfer market that is a decent fee).

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  25. Well looks like Brighton and joining us at the top again, pressure, pressure, pressure. 2-0 up and Derby are looking rubbish. We need a win tomorrow.

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  26. Stuart79:
    If Knockeart got injured Brighton would probably get relegated!

    Not from what I’ve seen Stu. He’s certainly their stand out player, but they have other decent players like Dunk in defence, and Baldock, Murray & Hemed.
    They would struggle without him, but then we did when Shelvey was out as well.

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  27. McClaren really is a gutless wonder. His team rolled over and had their tummy tickled. They had a bit of possession as usual but had one shot on target. They have lost 6 of 7 away since the turn of the year and McClaren is on an almost Pardew-esque death spiral.

    Brighton actually have a bit of a defensive crisis but you would never know it because Derby haven’t tested them. They have an easy run-in though.

    Even so, I still think we will be Champions. We have 6 of the final 10 games at home. Despite our great away form that should be what we would want.

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  28. I just checked Schteve’s 2017 record after watching an unbelievably limp display that reminded me of his time at NUFC. He was even grinning and joking at Chris Hughton as his team were going down with less than a whimper. He seems to have no control over his facial expressions and no wonder some called him the Grin Reaper.

    Anyway, his 2017 record:

    Won 3
    Drawn 3
    Lost 7

    That is a 23% win percentage. Almost Carver-esque but in a lower league with far fewer injuries. Maybe Derby should hire Ugly John?

    He also has a total of 12 points from 39. Again, that is a Pardew death spiral if ever I saw one.

    These are the 3 Managers before Rafa who basically called Charnley asking for the job and so I cannot give any of the hierarchy any credit for hiring Rafa. Just look at the records of who they hired when left to their own devices 🙂

    I cannot even give them any credit for hiring Hughton either because he got the job by default after they had pissed Shearer around and were breaking up the squad and no experienced manager in their right mind would touch it.

    I think McClaren has a maximum of 3 games to save his job. Maybe a bonding trip to Malaga would help. Or New York like the Mackems 🙂

    YCMIU

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  29. You might think I dwell on previous managers and you might be right. However, I think it is worthwhile pointing out how fcking useless our owners/directors were pre-Rafa. On a day when Rafa would not commit his long term future to NUFC it is worth looking at what they did when following their blueprint.

    I do think that Rafa is playing mind games with Ashley to an extent. So he should though. He needs the assurance that he will be backed in the transfer market because we all know this squad is not good enough for the PL. If he doesn’t get it, and walks, there will be hell to pay.

    Or we will be sold.

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  30. OMG. YCMIU. Norwich want Pardew.

    What is it with our ex-mangers? They keep getting massive payoffs and then getting recycled into other jobs. I had just finished detailing the latest failure that is Steve McClaren and then read that Norwich are after Pards.

    Pards is a serial failure but keeps getting jobs. We all know the pattern by now. He will probably do well for the first year, probably make the playoffs. He may even be promoted through the backdoor, but then it will all fall apart in a spectacular death spiral.

    He would be mad to pass up this opportunity because Norwich’s funding will be far more than the rest of the division except for Villa and the relegated
    teams. The way the parachute payments work he will have about 30 million in the coming year and then another 20 million in the following year.

    At least Toad of Toad Hall does have a record of keeping clubs up even if he is a corrupt blow hard who mostly plays appalling football.

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  31. Wouldnt it be great, the toon to pump up the volume and win the next 4 games, should be possible. Just the job.

    Norwich and Pardew, made for each other imo, great fit.

    Regarding Schteeve, apart from a brief hiccup in Holland he has been pretty useless for the last 3-4 years. Went abroad to resurect his career, failed in Germany, failed miserably at every step of the way back in England. Obviously one of those cheap but somewhat high profile options, a serial loser who obviously never struggles to get a job. Funny innit ? It will all change after Brexit, get rid of those dastardly europeans, when those brilliant British managers can rise to the top and show there mettle. Not.

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  32. as predicted… pards might as well go to Norwich as no Prem team will give him a go!

    I hate these games at SJP. tough encounters that gets the fans frustrated within 20mins.

    Let the lads do their thing and gag your gobs to stop the load groans etc

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  33. Gashley, if the players can’t handle the pressure of playing at SJP then they need to look at developing themselves. The problem may be that they don’t have the nads for the occasion, and if that is the case then they are in the wrong place. The pressure of being top of the Championship is a doddle compared to fighting relegation from the Prem or having, Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool et al on your case.

    Rafa knows this too, fingers crossed he gets us promoted without breaking the bank. The next year will be massive as far as recruitment goes, we need good and brave players at the club. The sooner we get promotion tied up the better, then we can get a commitment from Rafa that he will be staying on and we can get started with the recruitment for the new season. I reckon we will cash in on Timmy and Mitro to give Rafa some spondoolicks to play with.

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  34. Will be a good game today I reckon. Nice and open and hopefully if Gayle is playing that will play into our hands. I wonder if Rafa’s is tempted to set us up more like an away game seeing as we seem to win most of them.

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  35. Delusional Jawdee:
    Gashley, if the players can’t handle the pressure of playing at SJP then they need to look at developing themselves. The problem may be that they don’t have the nads for the occasion, and if that is the case then they are in the wrong place. The pressure of being top of the Championship is a doddle compared to fighting relegation from the Prem or having, Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool et al on your case.

    Rafa knows this too, fingers crossed he gets us promoted without breaking the bank. The next year will be massive as far as recruitment goes, we need good and brave players at the club. The sooner we get promotion tied up the better, then we can get a commitment from Rafa that he will be staying on and we can get started with the recruitment for the new season. I reckon we will cash in on Timmy and Mitro to give Rafa some spondoolicks to play with.

    defo Delusional. its a weird 1. sometime i feel more confident going away then when we play at home.
    Our record at home is good but I get nervous. Totally trust Rafa. Away we sit tight and defend followed with decent counter-attack. At home we still remain cautious, this is where the fans get a bit vocal..

    Fulhams had some cracking results of late home and away. It will be a tough match

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  36. Gash, the days of the rabid toon atmosphere are long gone, a reflection on the reserve in society these days, no one wants to step out of line..

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  37. Well I have had the electrician out today and now the boiler man in an attempt to track the source of a strong smell of fumes coming and going . Only me and one other person seem to smell it. though the gas guy said he’s getting a faint whiff. Worrying. Hopefully the Toon won’t stink today.

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  38. I don’t understand the FA Cup semi-finals being played at Wembley. Is it some financial crap to justify the cost of Wembley? There are plenty of other stadiums now around the country that could easily hold these without the hassle of London. I think it cheapens the final. It is like having your honeymoon in Paris but going there the weekend before with your parents.

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  39. Ice: Colback’s not your favourite then 🙂 I know he is in as defensive mid mainly, but maybe the odd goal would make up for the free kicks in dangerous positions.

    Anybody have that radio link. I can never get it on my phone. Talking about Radio Newcastle, would it be too much to ask to have someone actually from the area to do the commentary or co instead of an Irishman or Londoner? That might sound petty but there must be someone, even the Waddler?

    I can understand having impartial national TV and Refs but it is Radio Newcastle, it is not like we will not understand the accent.

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  40. And since I am on a moan… I am watching FC Bayern and they are waving massive flags behind the goal for the whole game. I know it looks good on TV but if I had paid 100 euros for my seat and was sat behind them I would be well pissed off.

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  41. I have nothing against Lowes and just read that someone from Bedlington is taking over from him. So that was only the 25 years that he did it then.

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  42. I guess this is the match thread… so, Fipulham score the first… crap. We always do this at home ????

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  43. What the hell are we doing here…? My radio link keeps stopping … very annoying, a bit like the Toon

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  44. Colback is on his last warning and we don’t have a midfielder on the bench. Seems like we are being dominated there and need a change:

    Anita to midfield, Gamez on Colback off?

    or,

    Diame to midfield, Murphy on Colback off?

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  45. It is the midfield problem, I guess (I am only reading the live commentary). Shelvey is well marked by them and Colback got a yellow from the very beginning. They took the mid-field, so if they want to press they press. If they want to sit back, they sit back. If they control the mid-field, they control the game.

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  46. Unbelievable how many first halves we have done this. We may as well stay in the dressing room first half as we never play football.

    Colback needs to come off. Or better still let him get his yellow so he is banned for 2 games then take him off. Waste of space.

    I like and trust Rafa but at times he leaves me scratching my head… we are so one dimensional. Now we play catch up at home again. Fed up.

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  47. We have 4 attacking players on the bench. I would take off Colback, drop Diame back and then bring on another attacking player, Murphy would be my choice, but ok with Perez too.

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  48. Too many hopeful balls over the top and too many back passes to Darlow who boots it upfield usually to the opposition. What has happened to our passing and moving?

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  49. DT: I am having the same problem with the radio cutting off. It has happened before and I wonder why they haven’t fixed it. Cannot be the mics as that would mean they would get a lot of complaints at Radio Newcastle. It has to be the NUFCTV internet feed. I am not even sure who you would complain to there about it.

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  50. Or change the formation to have 3 or 5 midfielders. We have to strengthen the control in midfield and at the same time, keep the 3 lines compact.

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  51. Groucho, sounds like we have reverted to Timmy-the-hoof days. If we are going to do that then get a target man on to flick on to Gayle. I don’t care which of Murphy or Mitro it is, but get them on and Colback off.

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  52. Eric Sykes:
    DT: I am having the same problem with the radio cutting off. It has happened before and I wonder why they haven’t fixed it. Cannot be the mics as that would mean they would get a lot of complaints at Radio Newcastle. It has to be the NUFCTV internet feed. I am not even sure who you would complain to there about it.

    Second half seems better, not cutting out at the moment. Not sure either how to complain when I’m in Dubai and this is my only option to listen. ?

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