Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool: Brave Mags earn brilliant point – THAT is all we ask for!

A sensational Karl Darlow performance and superb effort from front to back saw us secure a well deserved point against Premier League leaders Liverpool tonight.

We defended admirably throughout, but it was the individual performance of Darlow that single-handedly kept us level, with him making four top class saves to deny Liverpool’s ferocious front three.

Newcastle looked a completely different side to the one that looked uninterested at Brentford and conceded defeat against Manchester City on Boxing Day, as this performance was one defined by character and resolve.

We expected Liverpool to have the vast majority of the ball and dominate periods of the game, but this time we weren’t sitting ducks or afraid to attack, pass the ball forwards, press, and get into the opposition half! We were brave and full of battle – not timid, negative and afraid.

Newcastle starting XI: Darlow; Yedlin, Fernandez, Schâr, Clark, Ritchie; Murphy, Hayden, Longstaff, Joelinton; Wilson.

Liverpool starting XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Fabinho, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Jones; Mane, Salah, Firmino.

It was a bizarrely positive start from Steve Bruce’s side, completely atypical of anything that the fans have had to endure so far this season. Not only was there a clear game plan, but the pressing was fierce, and passes were played with real intent. I wasn’t really sure whether I was watching Steve Bruce’s Newcastle for long spells of the opening stages.

Such was the positive start that, in the 13th minute, we really could have snatched the lead. Callum Wilson latched onto a long Matty Longstaff pass and our top goal scorer bullied Liverpool’s Nat Phillip’s off the ball before driving towards the Reds ‘goal. Unfortunately, his eventual effort was crucially blocked by Fabinho and the ball rolled away for a corner kick.

Jürgen Klopp’s side failed to register a touch inside the Newcastle box inside the first 30 minutes, but Mo Salah nearly atoned for the away side’s lethargic start with a goal. The Egyptian found himself in acres of space and one on with Karl Darlow, but our stand in ‘keeper made a sensational fingertip save to deny the opposition’s main man.

Much has been made of the return of Martin Dubravka in recent days, but Darlow proved once again how determined he is to remain as Newcastle’s number one with another sublime performance.

We failed to create any clear-cut chances apart from Wilson’s early effort. There were long-range efforts from Hayden and Murphy that forced a reaction from Alisson in net, but they were never going to seriously trouble the Brazilian and Liverpool’s goal remained unthreatened until the half-time whistle blew.

Throughout the first half, there were moments of exceptional defending from a Newcastle standpoint. The pick of the bunch came in the 42nd minute, when DeAndre Yedlin denied Mo Salah a clear shot on goal from close range with a perfectly timed last-ditch interception.

All of Newcastle’s hard work was almost undone in the dying moments of the first half. Fabian Schär lost Roberto Firmino as a cross came into the box and the Brazilian’s free header was denied by the sharp reactions of Karl Darlow.

Compared to the performances of recent weeks, I was quietly delighted with our first-half performance. We kept ourselves in the game whilst managing 6 shots on goal, albeit with only 27% possession.

It was a relatively slow start to the second half and neither team were able to create any clear-cut chances. Liverpool came closest to opening the scoring in the 54th minute, but Sadio Mane’s header missed the target.

I began to wonder whether it might just be our night as the Champions repeatedly wasted simple chances. The goal opened up for Mo Salah in the 66th minute and all he had to do was steer his effort into the bottom corner, but his shot missed the goal altogether.

Just moments later, Roberto Firmino missed an unforgivable chance that was essentially an open goal. A rare Karl Darlow error during a corner meant that the ball was able to find Firmino at the back post. Liverpool’s number nine had the entire goal at his mercy his effort somehow went wide of the goal.

As the closing stages approached, it felt as though Liverpool stepped up a gear whilst we looked considerably fatigued. Our intense pressure of the first half was non-existent and we reverted to a bank of nine men behind the ball in an attempt to see out a draw.

Against the run of play, Newcastle nearly snatched a winner late on! Matt Ritchie provided a sublime delivery from a free kick and Ciaran Clark rose highest with a powerful header that had to be saved by Alisson.

Soon after, Liverpool nearly found the winner that they had been desperate for. It seemed as though Sadio Mane had a simple tap in left after Alexander-Arnold’s saved shot fell into his path, but Fabian Schär prevented a certain goal with a sensational goal line clearance!

Then, in the 88th minute, Karl Darlow secured his Man of the Match status with another top save, getting down low to keep out another Roberto Firmino header. Not for the first time, we then got bodies around the ball and cleared our lines, but it was yet another key stop.

Four minutes were added on but we hung in and saw it out to come away with a well deserved point. Yes we rode our luck at times, but that is all we ask for – energy, ideas, heart and discipline!

Many of us feared a an absolute battering and with good reason before the game kicked off, but that was MUCH better from start to finish.

A big point for Steve Bruce and a brilliant performance from just about everyone involved.

After some deserved criticism, we must now use this as a blue print moving forward, with us brave on the ball, energetic, aggressive and showing a level of intensity at both ends that we’ve been crying out for!

Let’s hope we can build on this when Leicester come to town on Sunday!

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61 thoughts on “Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool: Brave Mags earn brilliant point – THAT is all we ask for!

  1. praising Darlow as his no1 then goes on to say we tried to get a little further up the pitch which is fair comment but then goes on to say his usual tripe of, still a work in progress, how long does he actually need, he will still be saying it come the end of the season when he has had 2 bloody years

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  2. Louise Taylor in her match report for The Guardian said there were 19 Covid cases among staff and players at NUFC. How the hell did we play the games against West Brom and Fulham?

    Some fight today. If we played like that every week Bruce would not get the DESERVED criticism he has gotten. We did ride our luck but Darlow was great again. He is not the same player he was in his last go round. Somebody has fixed his mental side. Probably Harper who was always a good positional keeper if a bit limited when he got older.

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  3. Unexpected, but it gives us some hope for the new year. I was getting sick of being so negative and not even wanting to watch the games. I tried to be somewhat balanced about Bruce given the Covid situation but it was/is hard with the stupid things he was saying. My prediction was 13 goals against in the Xmas period so I have to be happy it has not been a slaughter.

    Schar playing better is a bonus. Was he depressed or something or is he looking for a new contract? Sean Longstaff was also a passenger so it was hard to play with 8 men (Joe was crap most games).

    Now, we could even have a decent team if we are not afraid to play in the opposition half for bits of the game. Dwight is fit, St Max will be back eventually and we can sign/loan another central midfieder in just a few days. Matty has done well but it is still a gaping hole in our team.

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  4. The remit for Bruce should be:

    * do not just settle for safety in the PL

    * play higher up the pitch

    * do not play 9 men behind the ball for most of the match

    * do not play scared in most matches

    Then us fans would get off his back as long as he didnt go all Big Fat Sam and get smug about a decent result. We all saw what happened after his Anfield draw and him breaking his arm patting himself on the back.

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  5. I never thought I would say it based on previous stints in the first team but you cant drop Darlow even if Dubravka is fit. Hard on Martin but I would say they are about equal now so Karl keeps the gloves. Darlow also got a new contract so isnt going anywhere, or at least not unless we get a lot of money. I wonder if Everton will put in a bid for him 🙂

    Darlow for England.

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  6. And I did say more than a week ago that it should be Sean we would look to loan out to get playing time and not Matty.

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  7. I know I am flogging a dead horse here but the Covid outbreak at NUFC was MUCH worse than they led us to believe and there was a coverup at NUFC and the PL and BOTH the West Brom and Fulham games should have been called off. We find out the FACTS from journalists and players and training ground pictures, NOT THE CLUB OR PL. Here is a summary of some of what we know and was not disclosed:

    1. The 1st case with a staff member was 2 weeks BEFORE the Palace game.

    2. NUFC did say that 2 staff members and 2 players tested positive before the Palace game but they made up some c0ck and bull story that St Max was injured when it was clearly Covid and they were lying. How do we know this? Because he is still out and Bruce says we wont see him for a month.

    3. It took Luke Edwards to tell us that 10 plus players had Covid. NUFC hid this. I am sure the PL knew this and sanctioned games against West Brom and Fulham. Totally different to what they did for Man City and Fulham/Spurs.

    4. We find out who had Covid from Facebook, Twitter and Training Photos, not from NUFC. Typical, but can we trust anything they say? Can we Trust Bruce because he is still BSing about it.

    5. Today in her match report Louise Taylor of The Guardian says there were 19 infections of Covid at NUFC. That should have meant total shut down of the club. Did the PL know this? Who are the total incompetents running the PL if they didn’t and even worse if they knew and didnt act? In the US there are currently 121,000 people in hospital and 330,000 people have died of Covid. I dont know the UK numbers but I am sure they are similar per capita.

    Sorry to bang on about this but this has been secrecy and lies from the beginning. We are very lucky that this did not spread to other teams. We are dealing with the consequences as our best player is out for the forseeable future and our captain is out as well. Just glad nobody ended up in hospital – THAT WE KNOW OF!

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  8. Eric, NUFC is like North Korea, mate. In fact more accurate info comes from DRNK.

    Actually the outbreak at NUFC is a microcosm of the wider Covid debate. 19 cases – no hospitalisations and no deaths. Presumably as there’s no old and ill people who got it. Kid of backs up my point about shielding the vulnerable instead of everybody.

    92% of deaths are in people aged over 50. 96% of them have serious underlying health issues. That equates to circa 13m people. Surely it’s not beyond the wit of man to get these people vaccinated before February… Especially with the AstraZeneca vaccine offering protection after the first jab for 3 months. AstraZeneca reckon they can produce 2 million a week immediately. Plus the Pfizer. Let’s get on with it!

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  9. Stuart: My 88 year old Aunt is getting vaccinated on Saturday and my 78 year old mother is waiting for a call so they are beginning to roll it out.

    What I was saying is that NUFC and the PL were not acting like any other business would. How many people can there be at NUFC, about 100 – not stewards and ticketing, but players, medical staff, physios, accountants etc who will still be working. So that is a 20% infection rate. Any other business would have shut down.

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  10. Also Stuart: it is really strange when you look at the stats I pointed out the other week where bars and restaurants (2% and 1% infection rates) were not the main spreaders but then as soon as Cities like Chicago or States like California open up the cases explode.

    I think you just have to be cautious even after the numbers come down.

    I did read the numbers were down in Newcastle and they bumped it up to tier 4. That is a problem with the tier system. People will still travel and will move between tiers. Some have to travel – Lorry Drivers, Pilots etc so it can never be perfect.

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  11. The thing that most p!ssed me off the most was that they were allowing 2000 supporters into Goodison on Monday when they had seen what happened in London. You could see this lockdown coming a mile off when you saw what was happening in the South East. The PL are idiots.

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  12. Just looked it up and Liverpool was put into tier 3 as of Midnight last night. So that was 3 days after the game was supposed to be played. Told You!!!! Total Fcn Idiots.

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  13. I love Dubs but Darlow has to stay in goal until his form drops, it’s only fair .
    We may of looked a bit better last night, mainly first half, but lets not forget Darlow saved our skins on at least 4 occasions which tells it’s own story doesn’t it.
    28% possession is still very poor at home and Liverpool had their injury issues effecting them, so I don’t believe it’s as great as we think.
    What is clear is that Wilson was a helluva good buy, he defo scared them and looks an excellent acquisition to the team, pray he stays fit .
    Thought Matty had a good game and dare i say Yedlin too ! Great goal line clearance from Schar as well last night.

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  14. Eric, it’s a real pity that children cannot get the vaccine yet ( research still ongoing for children ) had that been tested and passed ok i think we would get out of it sooner.
    It seems young children and student aged people are super spreaders, often showing no symptoms but spreading it around unknowingly.
    If only we could vaccinate all youngsters then I think we’d see a dramatic drop in infections sooner.
    Luckily all over 16 can get it, so we can sort out the students at least.
    I would be bumping students up the list, i think they have the order wrong .
    Here’s the list of priority
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55045639

    I would put 4th on the list in 3rd spot and make 4th spot all over 16’s then 4th in 5th and so on.
    Sort out the over 16’s and we will start to win the battle.
    Anyone who looked at the Trafford center queues on boxing day and other large shopping centers would see how our infection levels are rising. The young cannot control themselves and cannot and will not stop in, i understand it to an extent, they are fed up and know they won’t get seriously ill from it.
    The bars in Bristol have been rammed when ever opened with people outside on pavements not socially distancing .

    Lews day center sent me a text yesterday to say they are experiencing severe low staff levels since reopening after xmas. No covid but lots self isolating after track and trace notifications to self isolate.
    That tells me that a lot of the carers have been mixing with folk outside their bubble and most of them are under 30.
    Hazel has a nurse living in the flat below her, that nurse and her husband have had numerous friends and family over for meals and parties all through lockdown. That nurse of all people should know better you would think, but again they are young.

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  15. Seriously, most folk i know over 40 have by and large complied really well with the rules. Myself i have only gone out once or twice a week for a food shop and i’m in and out quick sharp as i hate shopping anyway. All xmas stuff was bought online mostly,even cards, no way was i standing with loads of people in the card factory looking for family cards.
    The sight of mass queues for the likes of primark, and so on over xmas was really worrying and has i think been the driver for this latest increase in infections here as people sick now got ill two weeks ago roughly.
    We are now well over 70,000 dead in this country, shocking figures, and recording record new infections daily. Our NHS are really struggling to cope and january is traditionally the cruelest month for the NHS anyway. I dread to think what the final death toll will be as people are still gonna get together for New Years in homes all over they can’t help themselves. Two weeks from today you will see another rise i bet.

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  16. Stuart: here’s some perspective from the US. There have been almost 20 million people test positive. That is a big number by any definition. Since this virus is often asymptomatic I think you could fairly double that number as a lot of people havent been tested. I havent and could possibly have had it. I have met up with a friend who is a flight attendant in my house 3 times in the last couple of months. That was actually probably risky but I live alone and am going a bit batsh!t crazy on my own 🙂 I asked him how often he got tested. He said never, they take his temperature and if that is OK they dont do a test.

    We sort of isolate. He sits on one end of the couch and me the other 🙂

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  17. To clarify, my couch is about 7 feet wide so we are sort of social distancing. But we are also watching American football and drinking so no mask wearing.

    And look who got knighted LEWIS BLOODY HAMILTON. Hooray. I dont really care about honours but if you are going to give them out then it was a travesty that Britain’s greatest ever sportsman was not knighted already.

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  18. That’s assuming you think F1 is a sport which I do. It takes the same sort of skills as it does to swing a cricket bat – hand eye coordination, dexterity, speed of thought, reflexes etc…

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  19. I think the one thing that this has proved is that no country in the the West has had the perfect formula. Italy was the first country to lockdown and had the most stringent and now they have the highest death rate in Europe. All countries are different and have different dynamics but the only way we could have eradicated this is by every country closing their borders and having a total lockdown for 12 months. Lockdowns clearly don’t work unless it’s relentless and the let it rip idea also won’t work. I really think the only way is shielding the vulnerable. It’s also clear that lockdown fatigue has set in now. That’s perfectly understandable.

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  20. The Orange Loon is threatening Iran now. He knows no shame. Stewie, this is partly why I mention him because he is a danger to the world. Also, I know that he is on TV a lot in the UK with his antics so you lot see it as well.

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  21. Oh and if anybody can explain to me how Newcastle with 133/100,000 cases are in tier 4 but Sheffield with 163/100,000 stays in tier 3…

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  22. Stuart: I try to do the right thing, even with my mate coming over. I have another friend who I usually see once a week and he doesnt want to go out. Havent seen him since March. So people are acting differently.

    I cancelled a trip to Florida on the 18th of Jan. Mainly because I could get a full refund ( I set up a trip to Maine in May instead) and the numbers have gotten out of control and will get worse around that time after the Xmas and New Year get togethers. FL is probably the safest place to go with 25 degree temps and all outside but I didnt want to risk being stuck in a hospital 2000 miles away.

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  23. Stuart79:
    Oh and if anybody can explain to me how Newcastle with 133/100,000 cases are in tier 4 but Sheffield with 163/100,000 stays in tier 3…

    Can you explain why the Blue Bindippers were going to be allowed into Goodison on Monday. Does nobody have any common sense. It was obvious they would move to where the rest of the country are/were.

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  24. Some more perspective. When I travelled to Oregon 3 Months ago there were 30k hospitalized in the US, now there are 120k. I looked into it and planes are actually safer than bars because they superheat the air now to kill germs. Oregon also had the lowest virus cases in the US.

    It seemed under control and the trend was down. There seemed light at the end of the tunnel, especially with the vaccine on the horizon. Chicago bars were open.

    Now this…

    Sorry to bore people but I think anecdotal experiences are important.

    As for those idiots in Manchester going to that city centre shopping centre. I have been on that street and I wouldnt go anywhere near it. Not coz of CV-19 but that it is a Chav Palace. I wouldnt feel safe and would have to stuff my phone down my underpants.

    Should be interesting to see what happens tonight with New Years Eve.

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  25. Eric my daughter is doing a zoom party thing, not quite the same but at least they can have a laugh albeit online. On the plus side no expensive bar bills or taxi home 🙂
    I know it’s bad luck but i have taken down my tree and decorations this morning, sick of the sight of it after a while tbh.

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  26. Stu, the trouble is locking up the oldies and vulnerable indefinitely will pee off the conservative voters that seem to mostly be in that group and a populist PM like Boris is will never risk that.
    That’s been his biggest problem all the way through this imo, he’s been trying to not be too strict and save votes.
    Sadly he is not the best PM for a crisis and neither is Trump or any of the populist leaders for that matter.
    He stood in the house and called Starmer the grinch who would steel xmas when Sir Keir was calling for stricter xmas measures than the 5 day get together. In the end he changed it at very short notice and was the Grinch himself in many eyes.
    The constant u turns make you dizzy and not a little confused.

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  27. kimtoon:
    Stu, the trouble is locking up the oldies and vulnerable indefinitely will pee off the conservativevoters that seem to mostly be in that group and a populist PM like Boris is will never risk that.
    That’s been his biggest problem all the way through this imo, he’s been trying to not be too strict and save votes.
    Sadly he is not the best PM for a crisis and neither is Trump or any of the populist leaders for that matter.
    He stood in the house and called Starmer the grinch who would steel xmas when Sir Keir was calling for stricter xmas measures than the 5 day get together. In the end he changed it at very short notice and was the Grinch himself in many eyes.
    The constant u turns make you dizzy and not a little confused.

    The problem is Kim, when the government get criticism for so called u turns it makes them even more reticent to make any other u turns even when they’re needed. Only an idiot continues down the same path if things change. Starmer was calling for a two week circuit breaker in October like Wales had. When it turned out that it achieved absolutely nothing in Wales Starmer changed his mind and called for a national lockdown.

    I really don’t get the constant criticism of the government. They can’t do right for doing wrong. It’s almost like they’ve done everything wrong since March when clearly they haven’t. I see Merkel is getting it in the neck now. 3 months ago she was a hero who was doing everything right. Macron is also panicking because his ratings are dropping like a stone.

    The moral of the story is; during unprecedented times no government in the world can please everyone and one countries 80,000 deaths is a relative success and another countries 15,000 deaths is another countries failure…

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  28. Nothing has really helped that much. I think you have to look after yourself and apply common sense. The Medical Specialists over here have at least been saying the same thing since March which was wear a mask and social distance. That makes sense since the virus can be transmitted by airborne particles and people do cough and sneeze. I even have disposable gloves and a plastic face shield if I need to go to the shops. I dont think Boris has not taken this seriously it just keeps a step ahead it seems and just when you think it is under control, it isnt.

    It is not like Trump who ignored it, called it a hoax, then promoted injecting bleach and an untested malaria drug and hired a radiologist to be the spokesperson. A radiologist FFS, an X-ray tech. That’s like if you get cancer and instead of going to a oncologist you go to a podiatrist.

    I think Boris has tried his best and nobody really understands this. At least he is not an idiot like the Orange Man Baby.

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  29. Stu , i think the two week circuit break could of worked if the whole of the uk did it. Wales didn’t work because so many came into England and others didn’t stick to the rules. That is one of the reasons Starmer changed tack to suggesting a national lockdown. We are almost back in one now anyway .

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  30. They keep showing montages of what trump has said over the past year about the virus. It would be funny if so many people hadnt died. Especially the bit about injecting bleach. I think a couple actually did it. I am almost certain. And I think they died.

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  31. Eric, he took it seriously once he’d had it. He was in a hospital shaking hands at the beginning of it all and Westminster turned into a hotbed of covid cases. There was obviously very little social distancing going on there or hand washing i’ll bet.

    Look i know it’s tough on all leaders, but you have to admit, this lot flip flop like an old sandal .

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  32. kimtoon:
    Eric, he took it seriously once he’d had it. He was in a hospital shaking hands at the beginning of it all and Westminster turned into a hotbed of covid cases. There was obviously very little social distancing going on there or hand washing i’ll bet.

    Look i know it’s tough on all leaders, but you have to admit, this lot flip flop like an old sandal .

    Kimtoon: I just have the worst President in the history of the US to compare him to so anybody would look good. Boris is a narcissistic spoilt little boy whereas Trump is a narcissistic mendacious madman. Trump really doesnt care whereas I think Boris was just acting the way he always does thinking he led a charmed life – until he got it.

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  33. Did you know that the American Psychiatric Society had a protocol that they would not make public comment about public figures unless they had personal consultations and releases. Hundreds of them broke that for Trump because they thought he was that dangerous. Not having lived through this you cannot imagine how crazy this man is and yet almost half the country voted for him. They actually voted against their own self interest as he gave away their tax dollars to his billionaire Pals. He is a pathological liar and even worse I am not even sure he knows he is doing it. He makes stuff up and says it so many times he actually believes it.

    Trump rant over, but he is a mad man and he will not be going away for a while.

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  34. Mourinho is b!tching about not being given notice that the game was off. PL did not follow their own protocols again. You know the one that says if you have 14 fit players you play. Obviously that is out the window now but what has it been replaced with? Everton asked for an explanation and didnt get one. And with 19 infections at NUFC they should have been extra careful and yet let our games go ahead.

    Have we heard a peep from the PL about how they deal with this except that they are against a pause. I dont want a pause because I want to continue to watch football but it seems like the PL is going against their own recent history. The rest of the country is in lockdown in all but name and yet they are allowing football to go ahead even when bubbles are compromised i.e. NUFC. That is not what they did in March. What bunch of clowns are running this sh!tshow? We know they are clowns because of the handling of our takeover and their lies about the big six money grab. But they are dangerous clowns when it comes to Covid because they are putting peoples lives at risk.

    I dont know the answer and dont even know if football should be shut down again.

    I do know I do not trust these clowns to do the right thing.

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  35. And it is not just fit and young athletes that are at football clubs. The fatman attends games. Charnley does. The Drs, the physios, the stewards. They are usually older and some not in great physical shape judging just by watching the games.

    There’ll probably be a u-turn by the PL or Govt. Eh Stewie 🙂

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  36. I think Bruce will only make 2 changes for Leicester as he will see Liverpool as a success although again it was mainly down to Darlow. At least we didnt just sit back all game, played a bit further up the field and even pressed them in their half on occasion.

    The first change is forced because Hayden is suspended. I think it will be Hendrick with a defensive remit. He is most like for like. Sean L has looked awful in general in most games but has also given the ball away on numerous occasions at the back. Shelvey is too slow to face this Leicester team. Vardy would simply skate past him.

    Joelinton needs a rest so I think Miggy comes in. We can use his pressing anyway.

    Leicester are a strange team. The pundits all see them as counter attacking but Brendan likes to knock it around. I think they are confusing Vardy’s pace and energy with a counterattacking style. I expect them to have at least 60% possession so I dont see that as counter attack. We just have to watch for Vardy on our corners. If Bruce throws everybody up I will throw a show at my TV. We cannot have another Leeds situation where a non-counter attack team kill us on the counter attack!!!!

    I would like to see Gayle and Wilson together but this probably is not the game but Dwight might come off the bench.

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  37. I looked at the Leicester team for Palace and they rested a few players but still had 67% possession and outshot Palace. Their forwards were crap in that game. I sort of half watched it whilst doing something else. Vardy and Teilemans had to come on and they got a late equalizer. I think Brendan was saving it up for us.

    We have a shot though. Even though they are our bogey team and are 3rd in the table they do not have the quality of City or Liverpool. Could even get another draw if Darlow and Wilson are up for this.

    I expect this to be our last game for a couple of weeks. I really cannot see the FA Cup going ahead with different testing protocols across the leagues and the leagues playing each other. How do you justify a league 2 side playing a PL side with such vastly different “bubble” arrangements? The whole PL reasoning is based upon testing, bubbles and containment if the bubble is breached, ALTHOUGH THAT IS NOT WHAT THEY DID AT NUFC.

    The complication is that it is the FA Cup and they have jurisdiction. Could the PL even ask for games to be postponed?

    It is not like the League Cup either where Covid was relatively well contained compared to now. We are back in a total lockdown in all but name with record cases. They called football off in March with fewer cases and deaths so I dont see how they can continue, especially with the after Xmas surge coming. Maybe that will delay a pause for a couple of weeks as we are not at the worst of it yet. Anything can happen with the clowns running the PL who have no common sense.

    The NFL is still playing over here with record cases and deaths so who knows what might happen. Buffalo are letting in 6500 fans this weekend BUT they ALL have to have a negative Covid test. Cant see that happening in the PL or FA Cup.

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  38. Having said all that, if the PL go to a pause it will be very difficult to start up again. We just have to look at last time with deadlines coming and going. They are in a bit of a bind and I dont trust these guys. I want us to play on so I have something to watch but the right thing to do for safety reasons is to have a pause.

    I am sort of agreeing with Big Fat Sam which makes me feel dirty.

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  39. You could extend the season again, but what about the Euros? I doubt there will have been enough vaccinations by then to allow it to go ahead unless footballers jump the queue. Would that be allowed? Also, isnt it played in like 10 different countries? Maybe they could do it, they are playing Champions League matches after all.

    This is all very complicated, I wish I hadnt brought it up 🙂

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  40. Listened to a BBC podcast and Michael Dawson of Forest said that when last season was resumed they all got tested every week. Then when they started this season NOBODY GOT TESTED unless they had symptoms. I am sure they are still hugging and spitting though.

    I just dont see how the FA can allow totally untested players to come into contact with PL players who are supposed to maintain a bubble as justification for playing their games. Dawson said the lack of testing was due to money. The only way to do this is to test EVERYBODY before the FA Cup and test them twice because we know that some players in the PL tested negative and were in an incubation stage.

    So basically there is virtually no testing below the PL and whilst the public is in Tier 4 the EPL are ignoring everything that the rest of the country has had imposed upon them, such as masks, social distancing, lockdowns, no large gatherings (which a training session is by definition) only being able to meet with 1 person even outside etc. Does this make any sense?

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  41. This all explains the outbreak at Sunderland. If they werent testing then it is no wonder the virus could spread. I also believe NUFC were probably lax in their protocols, because it is NUFC and that is the way it is with money more important than health. Some teams continued testing twice a week after the PL cut back funding. Not NUFC. No wonder they were so secretive because if they did disclose what a shambles they are there would be an outcry. It has come out though drip, by drip, by drip as we all knew it would. I am sure there is more to come.

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  42. Happy new year fellow bloggers. Let’s hope it’s a better, healthier and prosperous year for us all.

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  43. My last post was to criticise Bruce for his cowardly approach to games.
    I wonder if he read it because he certainly approached the Liverpool game with some bravery .
    Let us all hope that his New Year resolution is to continue to send out the team with this more positive attitude.
    If he does , this would be a happy New Year for all of us.

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  44. georgio: Happy New Year to all.
    Thanks to Olly for all his hard work in 2020.

    Happy New Year folks!

    Thanks a lot mate, that means a lot! 🙂 Let’s hope there’s much more positive news to report on in 2021!

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  45. Happy New Year Karl Darlow. The most improved player in the Premier League. I was really fearful when Dubravka went down that Darlow would cost us points but I reckon he has probably saved us 6 or 7 points on his own. He was always a good shot stopper but so are just about every goalie in the PL. What he has added to his game is composure and good decision making. He commands his 6 yard box and never makes a mistake coming for a ball outside his box. I am surprised and amazed at this transformation. It has even translated to his kicking where he doesnt hit it into touch like he used to and the worst that happens is that his hoofs come up a bit short. I dont even blame him for the hoofs as he is often put under pressure by back passes. Even when Leeds put 5 past him none were his fault. I can hardly think of any mistakes and that is what you want from a goal keeper. A couple of dropped crosses against Burnley that he recovered himself and that’s about it.

    Darlow for England.

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  46. Totally agree with georgio Olly. You consistently write good articles and match reports and dont just bang out repeats of Chronicle clickbait. Somehow you have managed to stay away from the “5 things we learned” drivel that journos seem to love now.

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  47. For some crazy reason I am not as pessimistic about Leicester. Brendan saved his better players for us because they had 2 games in 2 days but their draw against Palace gives me a reason for optimism. It may be that at least we pushed up the field a bit against Liverpool. 2 nil to them would have been a fair result but thems the breaks sometimes. Interesting to see how entitled the scousers are, I think they expected 5-0 (maybe I did too 🙂 ). The Mag has an article on this and they are just such entitled tw@ts.

    I think Leicester fans will expect to hammer us as well. I would really like to stuff it up their ********s as I went to college there and was attacked by Chav Leicester fans on the way to a NUFC game 35 years ago. Didnt suffer any injuries just had to hit one of them and then run for my life.

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  48. I will always remember that Leicester game because me and a couple of friends had been to the Kings Head. It was a pub I went to once a week and there was no trouble at all. Then started walking to Filbert Street and a gang of about 20 started throwing industrial weight nuts and bolts at us. What a bunch of cowards. I have always hated Leicester fans after that.

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  49. 5 Man City players now with Covid. Pep says PL will not let him name the players, citing privacy concerns, but says the team will show who has it by who is not there. I highly doubt the PL told NUFC/KGB not to name players. I am sure this must be new protocol because the players at all clubs had previously been named. It all comes out as Pep said, whether by club/Manager statement or players on social media. Bruce has been reasonably forthcoming recently on Lascelles and St Max.

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  50. Pundits are lauding Solkjkaer for getting Man U near the top again. He deserves it, I think, but there is something else going on. The last 2 years there has been an anomaly with Liverpool and City getting close to 100 points. The PL is usually won with 80-90 points. Now the pack have a chance with Liverpool and Man U not winning every week and Man U and even Leicester are up there. Chelsea and Spurs should be as well if they werent so inconsistent. Still, more interesting than a 2 horse race where you usually knew the result before a ball was kicked

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  51. Before everyone gets overexcited about Bruce, when he was sacked by Villa they were 16th in the Championship. Dean Smith got that squad promoted that year.

    Our expectations are so low that we give Bruce credit for getting a few players over the half way line. However, I do have this feeling that we will not be as sh!t as usual against Leicester even though their better players are returning from a rest.

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  52. Oh, and Man U are getting penalties now for Pogba tripping HIMSELF up.

    And dont get me started on goalies taking players out and then getting the foul on them.

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  53. Can you please take Danny Higgenbotham back. Somehow he has landed over here and is on TV. It must be Covid and he is not allowed to fly. He is like Jermaine Jenas and talks a lot and says nothing. A lot of empty words!

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  54. Seriously, can you take Higgenbotham back? He has just repeated the stupidest cliche in football about Spurs/Leeds – that 2 nil is the most dangerous scoreline!

    No it is not. 1 nil is more dangerous because a goal means a draw rather than a win.

    5 nil is more dangerous because you are about 99.999 % likely to lose.

    They say this shyte and then repeat it like it is fact!!!

    Higgenbotham for England!!! A return to England, that is. Please take him back.

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  55. And I telt you about the Grealish running into people on purpose a year ago and now every commentator is pointing it out. The Refs have even stopped giving all of the fouls as it is now known what he does. I said he was a cheat, great footballer, but a cheat. He cried wolf too often with his signature move of push the ball past a player – run into them – fall over!

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  56. Please take Danny Higgenbotham back along with Arlo White. They are just boring shytemeisters who tell you all the stats from 1906 and how many shoe lace eyes in his boots Wayne Rooney had on his debut for Everton when he was 16.

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