Newcastle 0-4 Man City: VAR howler & horrific defending proves costly yet again

Man City weren’t at their brilliant best today, but they still came away with a convincing 4-0 win via a little help from VAR and some truly awful defending by NUFC.

We were denied one of the most blatant penalties you will see all season in the first half, with VAR ignoring Ederson’s blatant foul on Fraser, however we can’t expect anything other than a heavy defeat if we defend like that against the league leaders; even if it would’ve been nice to see referees do their job for once!

A calamitous piece of defending by Ciaran Clark gifted Dias and early goal, which was followed by a thunderbolt from Cancelo just before the half-hour mark.

We had the odd moment through Joelinton – who was our best player by a mile in a box-to-box midfield role – but City bagged two more after the break through Mahrez and Sterling.

The fans inside St James’ Park never stopped singing, however it was the nightmare before Christmas for Eddie Howe, with yet another heavy defeat featuring more horrific defending and a fifth yellow of the season for Isaac Hayden; meaning he’ll now miss next Monday’s clash with Man Utd.

Howe made FIVE changes from Thursday’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield, seeing Clark, Murphy, Willock, Almrion and Wilson replace Schar, Manquillo, Lewis, Shelvey and Saint-Maximin.

Worryingly, both Shelvey and Manquillo were missing from the entire squad, which meant Toon teenagers Elliot Anderson and Joe White were named on the bench.

STARTING 11: Dubravka – Murphy, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie – Hayden, Willock -Almiron, Joelinton, Fraser – Wilson.

SUBS: Darlow, Schar, Hendrick, Krafth, Anderson, Saint-Maximin, Gayle, S Longstaff, White.

It was never going to be easy, but there were huge pre-match concerns regarding our back four’s ability to cope with Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus, De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, with us forced to play two out-of-form centre-backs and two wingers at full-back in a four-man defence.

One thing we had to cut out, not just in this game but in general, was stupid errors. We’ve made so many mistakes that have led to goals this season, and we did exactly that barely five minutes into this one.

As Cancelo found space to hook a high ball back into the box, an amateurish lack of communication between Clark and Dubravka meant neither took charge of the situation and Dias headed home from just a couple of yards out.

1-0 City and a truly calamitous start, proving once again why Ciaran Clark should not be playing Premier League football anymore. Some will say Dubravka should’ve come out to claim it, but Clark HAS to deal with that when he doesn’t get the shout – not leave it for a tap-in!

It then got worse 27 minutes in, although this time via a piece of Brilliance from Cancelo. He was given too much space to get the shot away and should’ve been closed down quicker, but his 20-yard strike gave Dubravka no chance, flying into the top left corner to make it 2-0.

Then, just a few minutes later we were denied one of the most stone-wall penalties you’ll ever see, as Ederson clattered into Fraser just after Cancelo had taken the ball from his path. It was bad enough that Atkinson didn’t give it, but the fact the video assistant didn’t then get in his ear and demand a penalty be given is honestly beyond belief. Just like at Anfield a few days ago, we had been well and truly shafted by VAR here.

It’s quite incredible that VAR will disallow goals for a toenail making someone inches offside, yet can’t look back at incidents like this and give a penalty!

So, in we went 2-0 down at the break. We actually gave Man City a decent game in parts, should’ve had a penalty and could’ve scored from a Hayden header from five yards out, yet another stupid error at the back, a moment of brilliance and some embarrassing officiating proved costly. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it!?

It must be said that Joelinton was outstanding in that first half. He was almost playing on the left side of a midfield three and was like a battering ram, dominating that area of the field, driving us forward and proving a real handful for City midfielders who couldn’t cope with his physicality.

The second half kicked off and we’d made one change, with Allan Saint-Maximin replacing Joe Willock; meaning Joelinton would drop in alongside Isaac Hayden in the final 45.

52 minutes in and City very nearly made it three. Cancelo hung a ball up to the back post, Bernardo knocked it back across goal and Jesus looked all set to head home…only to be denied by a brilliant save by Dubravka.

Howe made a second change on the hour mark, bringing Sean Longstaff on for Isaac Hayden – who was walking a tightrope after a first half booking that’s left him suspended for our upcoming clash with Man Utd on the 27th.

A few minutes later, it was 3-0. Zinchenko picked out an unmarked Mahrez at the back post and the Algerian guided it into the bottom corner. The offside flag went up initially, but VAR replays showed Lascelles was keeping him onside and the goal was given.

Hendrick came on for his first appearance under Howe with 10 minutes remaining and our first shot on target followed soon after, when Wilson had a header well saved by Ederson after an inviting cross from Fraser.

Sterling then made it four with five minutes remaining, tapping in at the back post after Jesus skipped past Murphy with ease and put it on a plate for the England international.

Full time, Newcastle 0, Man City 4. The crowd never stopped signing, but an onlooking Amanda Staveley must realise what a huge month awaits for this football club.

Next up, a meeting with Man Utd at St James’ Park a week tomorrow…providing it’s allowed to go ahead!

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.

81 thoughts on “Newcastle 0-4 Man City: VAR howler & horrific defending proves costly yet again

  1. Well, since it is Xmas I will tell you all that I have been to Bethlehem. It is a long story so I will not tell it here, but I was shown around Israel by Armenian priests – my ex-wife is half Armenian and her father was educated at the Seminary in Jerusalem. Anyway, Bethlehem is a very weird place, stuck in the Muslim part of Israel. Actually, the whole of Israel is weird.

    I am not religious at all but probably have seen more than just about any devout Christians in America.


  2. Do we extend Dummett’s contract? I have gone back and forth on this one, but now he is getting back to fitness I say YES. He is our best defender by a mile and we have all of the money in the world so why not take the risk on him despite his injury record. His contract is up in the summer but he will not get major offers from elsewhere because of that injury record.

    We cant rely on him but when fit he would be in the team ahead of Clark, Lascelles and Ritchie and probably Manquillo. I think he is better than Schar as well because he doesnt make as many mistakes. If we go down, he will be the best defender in the Championship (when fit).


  3. I am sure that it will be quiet on here today so I will carry on alone. I have noticed many Americanisms creeping into the English language. More than ever before. For example “three strikes” which is a baseball term. Do any of you even watch baseball?

    Then there is using darn for damn, heck for hell. Somehow they have become akin to swear words over here when I dont consider them to be that at all. It has spread to Britain though, especially in politician speak.

    And… “it is coming outta left field”. It describes something that is unexpected and is another term originating in baseball. Do you know the origins? Supposedly, when the Chicago Cubs were set up in the late 19th Century they played on a field that had a loony bin behind the stands on the third base line (left field). The story goes (or is it an urban myth) that there would be screams from the nut house that disturbed the players – thus, it was from left field.


  4. In the past couple of weeks Warren Barton has done som interviews with NUFC podcasts. I have to begin by saying I love Warren Barton. He has been a pundit in the US for a couple of channels and I have watched him many times for over 5 years. He is always straightforward, entertaining and forthright. What I really, really like about him as well is that he loves the Toon. The club, the players, the area.

    So, to get to my point. In these podcasts – 2 of them – he was talking about other pundits views on NUFC and the area. Particularly Gabby Agbonlahor. He was very open about his views about him and said plainly that he is a bit thick. Perfect Warren Barton, staright to the point.


  5. I know we all think our defense is crap but the reality is that we will have 3 of our 4 first choice defenders against Man U. That would be Manquillo, Schar and Lascelles. The only gap is left back and we may have Dummett back soon and Howe said Lewis will be back early in the new year. We still lack quality though, but can we get a win against Man U to kick-start our survival hopes? The bookies say no, but stranger things have happened. They will have been off for 16 days and I watched their game against Norwich and they were absolutely terrible.

    I still think Fernandez and Ronaldo are stepping on each others’ toes. Martial has lost interest and Rashford is out of form. Who knows with Lingard, his contract decision seems to change from week to week. I think Cavani wants out as well and even at his age he is still brilliant so the less we see of him the better.

    The Everton game is then still in question. Even if we play it they will have a depleted team, but I think I would prefer it to be postponed so we can prepare for Saints. Both of these games are winnable though and we really need to win 1 if we are to stay up.

    The bad news is that we have shipped 11 goals in 3 games and none of those teams needed to play particularly well to beat us. As usual with this NUFC against the “traditional” top 6 I am expecting a loss against Man U but hoping for a miracle.


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