Three players who impressed me in our 2-0 defeat to Spurs on Sunday

Newcastle’s eagerly anticipated return to the Premier League was met with a slightly sobering defeat to Spurs, however there were some positives to take – three being the promising performances of Christian Atsu, Isaac Hayden and Mikel Merino.

Christian Atsu

The Ghanaian divided opinion in the Championship last season, leaving many to wonder whether he would be capable of making the Premier League step.

He has looked full of confidence throughout pre-season and has took that form into the new season if his display on Sunday was anything to go by.

Given our defensive set up, he often had little support but carried the ball well, took on his man on several occasions and was without doubt our most threatening outlet all afternoon. He also looked in very fit and kept running right until the end as we looked to cope with just 10 men.

 

Isaac Hayden

It was Hayden’s Premier League debut and given the imposing midfield duo of Dier and Dembele that he was up against, I thought he coped very well and helped unsettle their attacks.

He got stuck in, retrieved possession on several occasions and looked fairly assured, giving little time for the majestic Moussa Dembele to make things happen.

A promising display from the former Arsenal man, especially given Jonjo Shelvey did very little to help him out.

 

Mikel Merino

The Spaniard only came on for the final 15 minutes but certainly added something to the side despite his brief cameo.

He looked well balanced, moved the ball quickly and pulled off some slick passes – making more successful passes in 15 minutes than Shelvey managed in his 60 minutes prior to his dismissal.

It’s hard to juddge him properly – at this point Spurs were 2-0 up and crusiing – but he certainly gave us something and his quality on the ball was there for all to see.

About Olly Hawkins

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

638 thoughts on “Three players who impressed me in our 2-0 defeat to Spurs on Sunday

  1. Aarons been the best player by a country mile. Deserves his goal and deserves to start on Saturday imo.

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  2. Stuart79:
    Aarons been the best player by a country mile. Deserves his goal and deserves to start on Saturday imo.

    Agree mate, sounds like he’s been class, well certainly compared to a lot of them anyway. Defence sounds all over the bloody place tonight.

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  3. NUFCfans․com‏ @nufcfans · 2h

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    Charlie Nicholas has just claimed the crowd are getting on the back of NUFC. We are at the game and no they aren’t you lying *******.

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  4. I suppose it is hard to compete with Forest…

    One thing I’ll never understand about Rafa. We’re losing and it’s the cup, there’s 15 mins to go and he brings on a striker but takes one off!

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  5.  NUFC 360 Retweeted

    Mike Ashley‏ @MoneyMikeAshley · 2h2 hours ago

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    Tough to compete with the likes of Nottingham Forest. I can’t, and I won’t.

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  6. So it seems clear now that we can only bring in once players leave – and I get that to be fair.

    But personally I’d be giving the ****ers away – not playing them in the ******* cup!!!!

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  7. 27.000 watching more ****. Ashley is making a right mug of us.

    Win cups etc!!. You can’t win cups with championship players

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  8. kimtoon:
     NUFC 360 Retweeted

    Mike Ashley‏ @MoneyMikeAshley · 2h2 hours ago

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    Tough to compete with the likes of Nottingham Forest. I can’t, and I won’t.

    I can’t and I won’t what? give you a cent? We already knew.

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  9. Before we all start booting off with Ashley. Rafa has identified that Lazaar, Hanley, Gamaz, Saivet and Mitrovic is not in his plans – we wants rid and knows he can’t bring new signings in until he has moved players on. So why have ALL of these players featured tonight?!?!?!!

    Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect our strongest 11 out there tonight – but why risk injury to players you’re trying to shift – and before people talk about shop windows – these players are SHIT!! (Bar Mitrovic).

    Listen, the way things are at the club at the mo, EVERYONE desperately needed a win, and to go with 5 players who know are not wanted by the club – were they really out there giving it their all?!.

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  10. Sharpy I said the other day, and people will call me deluded, stupid and ungrateful or whatever – but I’m seriously wondering if Rafa has developed his strategy in keeping with modern football. The game is much more dynamic now and has a mechanical feel to it. I’m not sure negative formations with slow, laboured, narrow and deep play is a recipe for success against any opposition in the PL. He has achieved so much in the game and deserves respect, but you cant live on former glories in a particular field if you dont deliver a consistent level in the present. I’m probably overreacting, but its not been enjoyable to watch us for a long while despite finishing top of the league last season and I dont care how many shots on target against Huddersfield we had – we were outplayed and outfought against relegation rivals and today we werw dumped out of a cup competition in the first round by a team from a lower league AT HOME!

    Its not because we have a poor squad that we are playing those tactics – thats just his style. I am convinced if we played more positively then we would look better and get better results.

    His scouting network needs recalibrating because little money or not, his hit rate on signings has so far been average at best.

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  11. Sharpy, I take your point but not with Mitro. I think it’s clear he’s staying. The rest Rafa wants out so it was a surprise to see them playing.

    Aarons only had cramp which is a relief.

    I doubt this result will have an effect on Saturday. The way I see it, Most of them players won’t be playing. Although I’d give serious consideration to Aarons and Mitro.

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  12. Sham – Not sure I agree with you too much. I think the likes of Dyche and Pulis have over achieved playing a type of negative football and that’s mostly due to the type of players they can afford. I’d like to see us play more expansive football. It firstly, I don’t think he has the budget to bring them players in but secondly he has never been that expansive anyway.

    Regards his transfer success rate, I suppose Lazaar, Hanley and Gamez have been less than successful but having said that, they were signed to be back up for the Championship and Hanley in particular did that job well. Given he brought in about 10 players last season he’s got 70% right. That’s not bad. Personally I don’t even think we can judge his incoming players this season either because he’s shopping at Aldi and as we know the quality isn’t very good. When you pay £5m for a striker these days who can’t get in a Stoke team what do we think we will get? The same with a defender who had a mare last season in a relegated team.

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  13. Oh and you’re spot on about Ashley and Rafa. I would have a lot of respect for Rafa if he just said forget it, you’ve lied and I’m better than this.

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  14. Yeah no doubt he is hamstrung Stu. He is risking his reputation staying at this club under Ashley. It’s baffling.

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  15. shamrock:
    Sharpy I said the other day, and people will call me deluded, stupid and ungrateful or whatever – but I’m seriously wondering if Rafa has developed his strategy in keeping with modern football. The game is much more dynamic now and has a mechanical feel to it. I’m not sure negative formations with slow, laboured, narrow and deep play is a recipe for success against any opposition in the PL.He has achieved so much in the game and deserves respect, but you cant live on former glories in a particular field if you dont deliver a consistent level in the present. I’m probably overreacting, but its not been enjoyable to watch us for a long while despite finishing top of the league last season and I dont care how many shots on target against Huddersfield we had – we were outplayed and outfought against relegation rivals and today we werw dumped out of a cup competition in the first round by a team from a lower league AT HOME!

    Its not because we have a poor squad that we are playing those tactics – thats just his style. I am convinced if we played more positively then we would look better and get better results.

    His scouting network needs recalibrating because little money or not, his hit rate on signings has so far been average at best.

    Sham – I agree to a large extend. I have to be honest I really don’t like the system we play – yes it’s effective, and yes Rafa got us promoted – but it was far from pretty.
    I love the bloke as a footy man, but he is very much set in his ways – and the other thing for me is – is he taking too much on himself?!.
    There is so much to do in a transfer window nowadays – he’s the main man talking to clubs who we are trying to sell players too, talking to clubs we are trying to buy players from, talking to players we are interested in – it’s one thing doing all that in the close season, but now the season has kicked off is it taking his attention away from preparing the team properly for the games.

    Of course WH isn’t a must win game, but it’s become bloody important!!!. 4 defeats in a row in the first month of promotion is some hole to start digging out of IMO.

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  16. Stuart79:
    Sharpy, I take your point but not with Mitro. I think it’s clear he’s staying. The rest Rafa wants out so it was a surprise to see them playing.

    Aarons only had cramp which is a relief.

    I doubt this result will have an effect on Saturday. The way I see it, Most of them players won’t be playing. Although I’d give serious consideration to Aarons and Mitro.

    Stu – yeah I bracketed bar Mitrovic, coz I agree with you there – but to be fair, for a long time it looked like he was a gonna. I still think a £15m plus offer would be enjoy to see him sold as well to be honest.

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  17. No it would not be a good start thats for sure Sharpy. However when West Ham beat us on Saturday, it will put the Rafa to Hammers rumours to bed!

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  18. shamrock:
    No it would not be a good start thatsfor sure Sharpy. However when West Ham beat us on Saturday, it will put the Rafa to Hammers rumours to bed!

    Sham – ? Every cloud mate.

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  19. I didn’t see the game tonight but Nottingham Forrest beating us at home is very bad. I hope Rafa doesn’t turn into another yes man.

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  20. Well, just woke up here in Shanghai to find that we lost vs Forest. Gutted. On top of that, the scum won on Tues. team morale will not be good.

    The only good thing here is that we see Mitro and Aaron’s are decent players. Be interesting to see if they play at the weekend.

    How come there were 4 subs? Is it a rule change for cups now?

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  21. Wasn’t at the game but listened on the radio but it sounded as though Diame should be shown the door ahead of Saivet who at least seemed to be trying. It is not as though this is the first bad game by Diame. Get rid I say.

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  22. Still pissed off tbh, I know it’s only the Caraboa cup but it was a chance of silverware and likely our best chance. Why not chuck on a second forward for last 30 mins, what’s to lose ?
    Really bloody concerned tbh, I try to look at the positives but I can’t see any other than Mitro and Aarons were good-ish .

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  23. Club badly need a win just to raise the city and club if nowt else. You look at the Spurs game and we were doing ok and by rights Kane should of seen red and it’s a different game. Likewise Shelvey keeps his head and it’s possibly a different outcome. Last sunday Huddersfield should of lost two players to reds, A flying tackle to the head of Mbemba was dangerous play ( straight red to their number 9 ) and the step on Haydens tummy whn he’s on his back on the ground another red imo. Had that happened we’d have at least 3 points to date. But the truth is we are not finishing our chances, and no goals = the drop. Now moral will be low whether they admit it or not and the pressure just increased after last night. The refs need to start giving us a few decisions because it’s getting beyond a joke that Huddersfield finished that game with 11 and Spurs with 11 too.
    Little fact I read yesterday, in our last 93 PL games not one oppo player has been sent off yet we have had 15 ( 1 rescinded ) sent off, if refs had done their jobs properly regarding decisions and cards in our relegation season we would of finished 14th !

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  24. Fuck me the cowboys that run this place really only give a **** about churning those cash cow articles out – another 8 already today ????????.

    Another match goes by without a pre or post match article.

    We’ll get it while it’s hot boys, coz when the window shuts there’ll be no more cashing in on other people’s speculation ?

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  25. Sham – You are correct. However, how do we improve in these areas with a budget that’s, shall we say thin? Doesn’t the fact our major striker signing costs us £5m say everything about the quality of player we can afford? Where do we go from here? In my mind it’s clear. we have to hope and pray we stay up and hope more money is available next year. But for what? Mid table?

    I’ve said it many times, under Ashley, to quote a very famous last line of a diarist “Oh what’s the bloody point?”

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  26. Stuart79:
    Sham – You are correct. However, how do we improve in these areas with a budget that’s, shall we say thin? Doesn’t the fact our major striker signing costs us £5m say everything about the quality of player we can afford? Where do we go from here? In my mind it’s clear.we have to hope and pray we stay up and hope more money is available next year. But for what? Mid table?

    I’ve said it many times, under Ashley, to quote a very famous last line of a diarist “Oh what’s the bloody point?”

    Well it’s certainly a carry on mate at the moment.

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  27. It’s pretty obvious to me, and although he won’t admit, Rafa threw that game last night. 10 changes? Never ever going to work and he knew it. It was a training exercise and the fans should have been let in free.
    Aarons (Rafa said it was cramp) and Mitro did OK. The rest bar Barlaser are rubbish.
    Where we go from here I cannot guess but it doesn’t look like up.

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  28. georgio:
    It’s pretty obvious to me, and although he won’t admit, Rafa threw that game last night. 10 changes? Never ever going to work and he knew it. It was a training exercise and the fans should have been let in free.
    Aarons (Rafa said it was cramp) and Mitro did OK. The rest bar Barlaser are rubbish.
    Where we go from here I cannot guess but it doesn’t look like up.

    Georgio – with the injuries & suspension we already have with the first team, I don’t mind the changes too much – all teams make numerous changes in Cup games.

    What I don’t understand is why select 5 players you’ve actively been looking to shift this summer?!. Mitrovic aside, I understand that if he’s still undecided on whether he’s keeping him or not. But Lazaar who’s just been out to Italy for a move. Hanley, who knows he’s not wanted anymore. Gamaz?!?!. Saivet, who’s kicked back moves to France. These players are not going to be motivated to give 100% for a club that don’t want them.

    Play the youth players. I’m not saying they are going to do so much better. But you’d expect at least 100% from those looking for a way into a first team where recruiting new players has proven difficult.
    We bought 3 CBs in the last 2 windows – play one of them ahead of Hanley. Fernandez went to Ireland, bring him in and show there’s opportunity.
    At least it would have suggested we had some kind of plan for the future. It just felt a bit stale with those players in there last night for me.

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  29. shamrock:
    Going down. Lets face it. I wouldnt laugh at sunderland.

    I agree but I have a little feeling Rafa is letting players down by keep going on about club not backing him,they are not backing him but keep it out of the rags every day,the fans know what’s going on to keep bleeting about it is not doing anyone any good

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  30. Mackems seem obsessed with their near neighbour, so we can laugh at them. Any success they have they always relate to Newcastle. Any defeats, and they relate that as well. I can laugh at them.

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  31. Sharpy – I don’t think Rafa had much choice but to choose them players. How ridiculous would it look if he played Ritchie, Lascelles, Gayle and Merino and a couple got injured? The squad is so thin on quality that the under belly only consists of players Rafa doesn’t think are good enough so hence he told them to find other clubs. Since then Rafa has realised what a **** Jabba is and is left with the consequences i.e. Unhappy players. This is where Jabba has absolutely no idea about the dynamics of a team.

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  32. I’m still struggling to come to terms with the state we’re in. The club’s seemingly desperately hard up. Huddersfield and Brighton aren’t. They’re signing the players they want with little problem. They’re not huge fees but they seem to be team improvements.
    Rafa just seems to stock up on numbers to feed his rotation policy. Why do we need four wingers? Why spend £12m on an untried young one when we obviously need a playmaking attacker. I struggle to understand Rafa. He seems to have one way of doing things from signings to formations and is unwilling to ever deviate. He’s also signed some total duck eggs and given them long contracts. The squad is as weak as any I can remember. Despair.

    I’ve also been thinking like Shamrock about Rafa – is he yesterday’s man, now totally behind the likes of Pochettino, Howe, Wagner etc? Sacrilegious thoughts?

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  33. Stuart79:
    Sharpy – I don’t think Rafa had much choice but to choose them players.How ridiculous would it look if he played Ritchie, Lascelles, Gayle and Merino and a couple got injured? The squad is so thin on quality that the under belly only consists of players Rafa doesn’t think are good enough so hence he told them to find other clubs. Since then Rafa has realised what a **** Jabba is and is left with the consequences i.e. Unhappy players. This is where Jabba has absolutely no idea about the dynamics of a team.

    Stu – no i appreciate that mate, that why I said go with youth instead. Cut through that under belly of dead wood and let the shoots of youth come through.
    They may well have struggled, they may have took a hiding. But if they are going to break through into the first team squad, then they have to be blooded, and that isn’t likely to happen in a PL game – Forest at home sounded perfect.

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  34. Apparently Cagliari have approached us about Mitro. No chance I would suggest while we have no strikers of proven PL quality.

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  35. http://c.newsnow.co.uk/A/899294588?-11058:809:0

    Stu – give them a chance and play them, or things like this happens mate. We’ve already lost Gibson.
    Stuff like this worries me coz these boys aren’t just gonna sit in the U23s or go out on loan all the time. They want to know there is a route through to the first team if they are good enough – if they don’t see it, or they are sat watching unwanted players getting game time ahead of them, why wouldn’t they leave.

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  36. icedog:
    the blog is getting like the game last night.no effort being put in

    Does anyone have a line into our illustrious leaders of the site, coz this is getting stupid now like.

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  37. Have they gone on holiday? They might have a auto set for news articles to release so many a day whilst away. 😳

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  38. Sharpy17: Does anyone have a line into our illustrious leaders of the site, coz this is getting stupid now like.

    Only one know of is Shamrock,but I think the lad has been put-on enough

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  39. I emailed Andy and Olly with the complaints of the regulars. Fingers crossed for a speedy response and resolution.

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  40. Shamrock:
    Iemailed Andy and Olly with the complaints of the regulars. Fingers crossed for a speedy response and resolution.

    Great mate well done but it should not down to you to sort their problems,what would the site do without you,crash properly

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  41. Shamrock:
    Iemailed Andy and Olly with the complaints of the regulars. Fingers crossed for a speedy response and resolution.

    thank you Sham, appreciated.

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  42. No worries Kim/Ice.

    Us regulars go back a long way now. Be a shame to see the place fizzle out into nothing except a sea of adverts and no comments.

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  43. Now that you mention GoT, Stuart.

    I always wondered how 50 men of the Nightswatch fought off 10,000 wildlings.
    Then 10 people fought off 15,000 of the army of the dead this week.

    But, then I remembered I had to put logic aside because I accept there are dragons and red witches.

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  44. Eric – I am late to the GoT malarkey. I’ve just finished series 5 on box set, so can we only discuss up to there…? 😎

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