Newcastle 2-3 Leicester: Relegation fears deepen as third straight home defeat spoils the party

There was a feel-good factor around the ground prior to kick off to mark the club’s 125th birthday, and although Joselu gave us the lead after just 4 minutes, it quickly turned sour as Leicester inflicted our third straight home defeat to deepen our relegation fears.

Before I get started on the game itself, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the incredible scenes inside St. James’ Park in the moments before kick off.

An incredible spectacle on our 125th birthday, making it all the more deflating that the result couldn’t do it  justice:

Now to the game itself. I’m scratching my head at what I’ve seen from us over the past week weeks and once against yesterday. What happened to the compact, difficult to break down side that we saw earlier on this season?

We’ve conceded FITEEN goals in our last 5 games. It was said over the first few months of the season that our big problems was goals up front. Ironically, both our strikers netted last night but it was our leaky looking defence that let us down.

I loved the way we came out the traps. In their faces and right up for it, but those energy levels were unsustainable and we were picked off all too easily. Our 4-4-2 system can look great when we’re on top, but Merino and Hayden have a huge amount of work to do. Any mistakes or over commitment in that area leaves our back four so exposed.

Time to revert back to 4-2-3-1 I think. We can’t go on conceding cheap goals like this and must try and regain the discipline, determination and organisation that saw us at least compete in most early season encounters.

Rafa has real work to do on this team and his tactics, but Lascelles and Dummett’s return can’t come quick enough.

On the plus side, it was good to see Gayle and Joselu get on the scoresheet. We’re not blessed with great options up top, but they’ll take confidence from that – the most important trait for any striker.

With two of our next four games being against Arsenal and Man City, a win against Everton on Wednesday is badly needed – but this one does nothing for our confidence. I can see Staveley’s interest being shelved until the summer if we see another bad result in that one.

Talking of confidence and current form, it’s not just our system that looks all over the shop. What’s happened to Ritchie? To Lejeune and Clark? Yedlin? So many players are offering so little (struggling to know what Hayden did at all yesterday) who had been doing a very decent job not so long ago.

The lack of quality in the squad falls on Ashley’s door and that was evident today. I honestly don’t know if a single NUFC player would get into that Leicester side right now and that sums up where we’re at in that respect.

That old chestnut can’t be our excuse every week though. It’s a valid point and the reality of our overall situation, but we Benitez and the boys still have a job to do on the pitch each week and they’re not doing it well enough at the moment.

We must wake up soon or we could quite easily find ourselves in the relegation zone come January – a month that could make or break our survival hopes.

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

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.

129 thoughts on “Newcastle 2-3 Leicester: Relegation fears deepen as third straight home defeat spoils the party

  1. I’d also like to point out that many of the goals we’re conceding are individual mistakes. That’s purely down to the quality of player.

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  2. In the ten years Jabba has owned NUFC we have spent £42m net. That’s £4.2m a year!

    Can someone explain to me how on Earth we’ve only been relegated twice???

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  3. Stuart79:
    I’d also like to point out that many of the goals we’re conceding are individual mistakes. That’s purely down to the quality of player.

    Or their poor workrate in not tracking their man ?

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  4. Sharpy17: Or their poor workrate in not tracking their man ?

    Sharpy – it’s not always about poor work rate when that happens. Basically it’s more often a lack of discipline or concentration and that’s what seperates good from bad imo

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  5. Stuart this will be relegated 3 times. I’m nervous we will go down this season. Are team is not good enough to stay up.

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  6. Swansea possibly Georgio, thought the baggies matched us and Huddersfield seem to have a bit more fight right now.
    You didn’t mention B&HA ? yet they lost to Hudders at the weekend.

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  7. We’ve lost as many as West Ham and Palace and one less than Swansea and 2 of those teams have new managers and are improving .
    We have lost 11 points from a winning position too
    worrying to put it mildly

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  8. Stuart79:
    Every team down there will invest more than us in Jan.

    125 year anniversary party and our owner is away on holiday ! say’s it all really, no other club would that happen.

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  9. kimtoon: 125 year anniversary party and our owner is away on holiday ! say’s it all really, no other club would that happen.

    He couldn’t care less.
    I think fans would rather he is not there.

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  10. Stuart79:
    Normally you can see a few teams that might be worse than ours but this season?

    I think it is better bottom now than later, at least the owner has chance to do something. If we are ok now but slowly slide to bottom in the 2nd half, the fate will be carved in stone.

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  11. Georgio didn’t Huddersfield beat us as well ? Even Swansea are a threat to this side. I don’t see how we can underestimate any team in this league considering the way we are playing.

    Even with Rafa I still fear relegation.

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  12. I don’t mean to labour the point but having watched MOTD2 and the City v Utd derby – they themselves highlight the workrate of City and the likes of Silva & De Bryne getting in the faces of Utd. Even though they have the quality – they still graft.

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  13. Sharpy – Did you miss the bit where Pérez scores an own goal while tracking all the way back to our goal? You’re view that the players don’t run around enough does not really have any evidence to support it.

    We miss chances, we make individual mistakes that lead to goals like not marking a player, giving the ball away or miss placed headers. We don’t lose because the players don’t run enough.

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  14. Stuart79:
    Sharpy – Did you miss the bit where Pérez scores an own goal while tracking all the way back to our goal? You’re view that the players don’t run around enough does not really have any evidence to support it.

    We miss chances, we make individual mistakes that lead to goals like not marking a player, giving the ball away or miss placed headers. We don’t lose because the players don’t run enough.

    Stu – ironically the very example you use backs my point up completely mate. He jogged back watching Okazaki running passed him – literally shoulder to shoulder – then only decided to sprint when it was too late. There are plenty of clips of the incident – but I was screaming at my TV in real time at it.

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  15. http://www.nufcblog.co.uk/2017/12/10/nufc-man-slated-after-tv-cameras-capture-shocking-off-the-ball-incident-during-leicester-defeat/

    Stu – have another look. I’m sure your response will be along the lines of it’s one incident, but it’s not mate. Merino left Hazard in the Chelsea game and he scored too.
    I don’t see our players breaking their necks to win the ball back the way other teams do. That’s down to athleticism rather than talent.

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  16. Not having it, Sharpy. Movement is one of things that makes good players good because it’s hard to always pick them up. It’s probably down to awareness more than actually not being arsed.

    I don’t accept we have a lazy team that doesn’t work hard. Having said that, a team full of Steve Crams wouldn’t do much either if they’re as average as many in our team.

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  17. Stuart79:
    Not having it, Sharpy. Movement is one of things that makes good players good because it’s hard to always pick them up. It’s probably down to awareness more than actually not being arsed.

    I don’t accept we have a lazy team that doesn’t work hard. Having said that, a team full of Steve Crams wouldn’t do much either if they’re as average as many in our team.

    Stu – I’m asking you to mate, that’s the beauty of football, and the point of the site. We all have our opinions, and that’s mine. I’m not saying they are the laziest team in the league – but I do think they could work harder.
    At 2-2, I expect Perez – or any of our players in that position, to be breaking their necks to keep up with Okazaki.

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  18. There’s more effort in this team than the two previous relegation years. But it’s not enough. Rafa asked for key areas to be strengthened and not one of them were granted.

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  19. In the Daily Mail, Craig Hope makes a case for Rafa Benitez as he predicts a battle against relegation.

    “And that is how it will be for his side between now and the end of the season, hoping that opponents do not punish their abject defending, hoping they are lucky enough to find three worse than them in the Premier League,” he writes.

    “When your first thought post-match is to check the scores of Crystal Palace and Swansea — and this in December — you know you are already in a relegation scrap.

    “Benitez blames a summer of under-investment. Some supporters, however, are starting to blame Benitez. To do so is wrong. He is not the problem, he is their best chance of survival. Yes, the manager is making mistakes, but so would any boss given the meagre resources at his disposal.

    “The detractors will argue that Benitez bought the 10 outfield starters against Leicester. But a few of those would have been discarded after last season’s promotion had he not been given a close-season budget of just £40million.”

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  20. The Daily Star’s Ian Murtagh says the comparisons with Steve McClaren’s team – which went down – are growing: “Rafa Benitez may be more popular than Steve McClaren but his squad is inferior to the one that failed to beat the drop.

    “Back then, there was a feeling too many individuals lacked motivation and were underperforming.

    “Commitment and attitude are no longer a problem, but quality-wise this Toon squad is a step down

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  21. Apart from Merino this is still our championship team and Rafa’s still doing weird rotations. The second half against West Brom was our best in ten or so games, yet he still wont go with that selection. I find that alarming from a so called world class manager especially starting Joselu and Manquillo, Hayden instead of Mitro, Mbemba and Shelvey. Aarons looked really good too. I just don’t get it.

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  22. georgio:
    Apart from Merino this is still our championship team and Rafa’s still doing weird rotations. The second half against West Brom was our best in ten or so games, yet he still wont go with that selection. I find that alarming from a so called world class manager especially starting Joselu and Manquillo, Hayden instead of Mitro, Mbemba and Shelvey. Aarons looked really good too. I just don’t get it.

    On the face of it I would agree – it looks strange. However I think it’s prudent to remember that Rafa sees them in training every day. Apart from that, Shelvey has been poor for the last few games he’s started. I can only assume Mitro turns up to training with a cigarette and a can of Stella.

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  23. I see both times we play Man City is on tv, Sky this month and BT in January. Media just loves to show us get walloped 👿

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  24. Isn’t it absolutely madness that Rafa doesn’t know his budget for January yet? Ashley has completely cleaned his hands of the club. Really is staggering.

    I notice we’re the youngest team in the league too. Inexperience and lack of quality = ????

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  25. Stuart79:
    Isn’t it absolutely madness that Rafa doesn’t know his budget for January yet? Ashley has completely cleaned his hands of the club. Really is staggering.

    I notice we’re the youngest team in the league too. Inexperience and lack of quality = ????

    Totally expected though Stu, like a discarded toy .

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  26. Ashley is used to making his moves at the very last minute so don’t be surprised if it’s Jan 25th before a signing arrives. Way too late in this instance.

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  27. Rafa said at his presser today “Hopefully we get a win on Wednesday, there’s some news and everybody is happy.” The press are reading much into this. I’m not.

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  28. When you think about the quality of our players it might be interesting to think of a combined 11. How many of our players would get into a combined NUFC – Leicester 11? Maybe 3? Even teams like Brighton or Huddersfield we would probably only have about half the team. They will struggle and we will struggle.

    Then we have Man City and literally NONE of our players would get into their team. Same with probably Liverpool, Spurs, Arse, Man U, Chelsea.

    How many would get in the Everton team? I know I made fun of them earlier in the year but that was more about the press giving them the transfer window trophy and Koeman playing 3 number 10s. Again, my guess is maybe 3 of our players would get in their team.

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  29. I’m thinking about our players. How many would get in the bottom 6 teams?

    Lascelles
    Ritchie
    Shelvey

    How many more based on performances in PL?

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  30. I am not convinced I would Shelvey in there either. He has been less productive than Hayden or Merino in most aspects of a midfielders game so far his season.

    Ritchie has tailed right off.

    At the minute I probably only back Lascelles to be a 1st team regular at most PL clubs outside the top 8.

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  31. I also have this feeling that it may only take about 35 points to stay up this year. There is this mythical 40 points figure when in reality has been about 37 points to stay up in 6 of the last 7 years. Now with the top 6 slaughtering everybody else and all of us bottom dwellers getting some draws I just have a feeling 35 will be close and 36 will be a certainty.

    Palace and Huddersfield getting beat so we are not the only sh!t team.

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  32. Hudders just have no fight about them look worn out,not closeing down at all,closeing down was aways a big part of their game

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  33. well we have 1 more win than 3 of the bottom four clubs so we really need something tonight, if the baggies or West Ham can get a win and we lose we drop into bottom 3.

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  34. George Caulkin‏Verified account
    @CaulkinTheTimes

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    Understand that #Nufc are close to agreeing a takeover by Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners group. An increased bid of around £300m has been submitted and significant progress made over last few days. No comment from either side at this stage.

    4:37 am – 13 Dec 2017

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    Cam Rennie Janet Rob Terry Jones Peter Willis Gregory Christie SeánJ JY

    48 replies . 323 retweets 432 likes

     Reply
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    Funny enough I read on a certain rival blog yesterday someone posted that an announcement to be made today.

    George Caulkin‏Verified account @CaulkinTheTimes · 31m

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    There would, I understand, be compromises on both sides: some money to be released for transfers next month, even if a deal not finalised, and the continuation of Sports Direct ads for a limited period

      (Quote)

  35. kimtoon:
    knew he’d want them bloody ads kept up, that’s all we ever were, an advertising board

    i dont mind the boards being there for a short time if it means we get rid of the fat greedy swine

      (Quote)

  36. icedog: i dont mind the boards being there for a short time if it means we get rid of the fat greedy swine

    Likewise mate. I’d get Sports Direct tattooed on my ******* if it meant getting rid of him … well SD at least ??

      (Quote)

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