Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle: Toon cheated by VAR as two costly errors end unbeaten run

Our unbeaten run is over, but it took two shocking decisions from VAR and a goal from a man who should’ve been sent off to seal the win for Chelsea.

Kai Havertz got away with a blatant first half elbow on Dan Burn – a challenge that left the big man’s temple in a state – and we were then denied a stone wall penalty in the second 45, as Trevoh Chalobah had a chunk of Jacob Murphy’s shirt.

A bitter pill to swallow, as our run should’ve extended to 10 games without defeat, but it was another day where you feel proud to be a Newcastle United fan – even if Havertz’s 89th minute winner was incredibly tough to take.

We pressed superbly, created more chances than the European Champions, were competitive all over the pitch and could’ve easily come away with a win – never mind a draw – had officials done their jobs.

Eddie Howe moved to a back five for this one and made FOUR changes, seeing Jamaal Lascelles, Javier Manquillo, Sean Longstaff and Miguel Almiron replace Jonjo Shelvey, Emil Krafth, Joe Willock and Ryan Fraser.

Allan Saint-Maximin was back on the bench after overcoming illness, but there was no Joelinton (groin), Jonjo Shelvey or Joe Willock in the squad.

STARTING 11: Dubravka – Schar, Lascelles, Burn – Manquillo, Guimaraes, S Longstaff, Targett – Almiron, Wood, Murphy.

SUBS: Darlow, Dummett, Saint-Maximin, Ritchie, Krafth, Fraser, Gillespie, Gayle, De Bolle.

Chelsea started with a real purpose about their play. They were pressing with real intensity, moving the ball quickly and had their first chance from an early corner which Ruidiger fortunately miscued.

The switch from three to just two in midfield saw the hosts outnumber us in the middle of the park, with Sean Longstaff struggling to keep pace with the likes of Kante or Mount.

Today was a big chance for Almiron and his first start in 2022 under Howe, however his lack of composure in the final third was also noticeable in the early stages, with this standing out even more given how good Ryan Fraser has been recently.

However, we remained competitive and were pressing well from the front, showing the sort of effort and commitment to make up for our lack of quality in possession as Wood, Longstaff and Guimaraes also saw simple passes go astray.

The high press was causing Chelsea problems and they were struggling to play out. Shortly after Murphy saw an audacious attempt fly high and wide, Guimaraes stepped in as the Blues looked to go short and won a free kick. Targett’s delivery was a dangerous one and Schar’s cut-back from the far post almost found Lascelles, only for Mendy to intervene.

Despite just 27% of the ball over the opening half an hour, it was nice to see us set up as more of a 3-4-3, with wing-backs level with our midfield and actively involved in the press – not a flat back five who wanted to camp in front of Dubravka’s goal like we saw under Steve Bruce.

On the 35 minute mark, Manquillo did well to force a corner. Chelsea cleared but it soon came out to Targett, who took a sublime touch and whipped in an even better ball that big Dan Burn very nearly glanced in!

VAR then had a decision to make five minutes later when Kai Havertz planted an elbow on Dan Burn. He may have been looking at the ball, but he knew what he was doing. It was reckless at best and should’ve resulted in a red card for the German; who got an earful from the giant Geordie soon after!

You know it’s a high elbow when it smashes a 6ft 7′ bloke right in the temple. Poor from VAR and a potentially costly decision given we were causing their 11 men problems, never mind 10!

More decent work from Manquillo won us a free kick down the right in first-half injury time. Targett’s delivery was on the money once again, Rudiger cleared and Almiron smashed a superb volley back at goal. His powerful effort was parried clear by Mendy and Schar smashed the rebound over the bar.

Half-time, Chelsea 0-0 Newcastle and an enjoyable 45 minutes of football. We had less of the ball, but we matched them and more all over the park, defended with minimal fuss, pressed brilliantly and forced Mendy into a few saves while Dubravka remained a spectator.

We started the second half on the front foot and, after almost forcing a corner, Bruno saw an effort just go wide of Mendy’s far post.

Murphy was booked for a daft pull back a few minutes later but the resulting Chelsea free kick came to nothing as Mount’s ball went straight out for a goal kick to give Dubravka a rare touch of the ball!

Another huge moment was then missed by VAR moments later. Ignoring Havert’z elbow on Burn was bad enough in the first half, but they then decided that it was fine for Chalobah to have a chunk of Murphy’s shirt before the Chelsea defender nipped in to force a corner.

It was a stone wall penalty and clear for all to see….just not VAR.

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Moving on, it looked like Werner was about to win Chelsea a penalty of their own as he went clear through on goal only to be taken down by Dubravka. However, the offside flag saved us and it remained 0-0.

Tuchel made two changes, bringing on Lukaku and Kovavic for Werner and Mount, with Howe soon making a switch of his own as Almiron made way for Allan Saint-Maximin!

Chelsea had 71% of the ball, so they were continuing to dominate in that respect, but Dubravka still hadn’t made a single save and we’d had more touches in the opposition box than the hosts.

The biggest chance of the game then arrived and guess who it fell for? That man Havertz.

His movement left Lascelles for dead and he looked set to score, only for his header to go straight at Dubravka; who’d finally made his first save of the match after 76 minutes.

A let off for NUFC, who responded well as Longstaff had a well hit strike fly just over after Saint-Maximin cut inside and set up the midfielder to let rip.

Bruno Guimaraes then went into the book for a cynical trip on Kovacic, who burst past Longstaff with ease before our £35m Brazilian took one for the team.

Another high ball was flung into the box and once again it was met brilliantly by a man in black and white, with Schar and Burn reading the play superbly and Lascelles also playing his part on his return to the side.

The moment we all feared then arrived with two minutes to play. Jorginho dinked a ball in behind Dan Burn and Kai Havertz fired past Dubravka. 1-0 Chelsea and a goal from a player who shouldn’t have even been on the pitch.

We huffed and puffed in what remained but it wasn’t to be. A superb effort and a display that was deserving of at least a draw, only for VAR to let us down not once but TWICE.

Our unbeaten run has come to an end, but it says a lot when it’s taken a horror show from the referee and a goal from someone who should’ve been off to beat us.

Next up, a trip to Everton – who lost AGAIN today – next Thursday night.

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!

74 thoughts on “Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle: Toon cheated by VAR as two costly errors end unbeaten run

  1. Still fuming at the corruption and bias today. I’d have taken a draw, even after the debacle of VAR blindness, but to lose was a real kick in the nuts. We played really well. Hassled and stifled Chelsea all over the pitch. Burn was immense yet again. Just sickening to lose to officials corruption yet again. How many times this season now. 😡😡😡🤬🤬🤬

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  2. If you think the elbow was ‘reckless’ then in the laws of the game that is by definition a caution. Red card would be excessive force or endangering the player.
    When you see the booking for Murphy for the hand on the shoulder to not give the foul the other way is ridiculous so should be a pen

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  3. I don’t think it was enough to be a red. I don’t think there was any malice in the challenge – but it did do damage. I think a freekick & yellow was about right.
    It was the players reaction that annoyed me on that one. Havertz knew he caught him – he could have went and apologised. I think the fact he didn’t is what annoyed Burn most.

    But the penalty decision – what a joke!!!. If that’s not a foul I don’t know what is!!. He was practically undressing Murphy & made no contact with the ball at any time.

    For VAR to not even suggest he has another look is ridiculous.

    Have to say I thought their goal was superb to be fair. Worldy pass over the top & such quick feet to finish it.

    But the lads were brilliant again today & deserved something from the game.

    I can accept losing to such a good goal – but not when refs & VAR are failing us AGAIN!!.

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  4. I am going to have a look at The Guardian fans’ comments on the Blue Bindippers to try to cheer myself up 🙂

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  5. The Guardian took the NUFC/Chelsea “Below the Line” comments section down after a few hundred were made. I am guessing there were just too many political comments being made that they had to moderate.

    Football365 called it the “Game of Shame”. We better get used to this because we are going to see at least a month of Chelsea takeover talk and Govt and PL oversight. This will expand to a discussion of a retrospective owners and directors test, and we will be public enemy number one in this respect. I have a suspicion they will try to cancel our takeover, but logistically that would be difficult as the Fat Man has ridden off into the distance with his bags of money. It is the Govt though and they can do what they fcn well please.

    It will be so hypocritical with the Chinese, Thais and Hedge Funds all deep in the PL, but that wont stop them. The journo drumbeat is getting louder towards us and they ignore everything else.

    The one thing that may stop them is the UK arms-sales to Saudi where there are none to Russia. It would not surprise me to see Labour leading the way trying to ban our owners. The Queen held a banquet for the Saudis very recently. I wonder how they will explain that?

    This is going to happen though, the calls to have our takeover reversed or to freeze spending in some way.

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  6. I know I am banging on about Everton, but they are our next opponent. I watched a little bit of Toffee TV and they did player ratings. Their defense were:

    Pickford 5
    Coleman 2
    Kenney 4 (sent off)
    Holgate 3
    Godfrey 2

    This is their weakness but Super-Frank says he is sticking to his guns and they will play their way out of trouble. He might want to make a phone call to Big Fat Sam.

    They really are in trouble, and our game is pivotal. After that, this is how April looks:

    West Ham Away
    Man U Home
    Liverpool Away
    Palace Home

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  7. I just watched the full Everton/Wolves game. It was even for the 1st 30 mins and then Wolves took over. Everton huffed and puffed but created next to nothing. Their midfield looked to pass back to Pickford 1st, it was like watching a Bruce coached team. Andy Gordon was OK but he is not the star they make him out to be. Richarlison swung his foot at a few balls but he is not a clinical finisher, it is all instinct. I dont know what has happened to Deli Alli.

    On this evidence we should be able to take the game to them. They need Calvert-Lewin to regain some form but I dont think he is fit. He was “ill” for this game.

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  8. KIMTOON:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-71LCqlF0c

    Kim – he’s the voice of every Geordie there really isn’t he?! – Big Al hits the nail on the head.

    The problem is this ‘clear & obvious’ rule for intervention from VAR.
    The decision should ALWAYS be with the referee. I accept that he may have missed it coz his view was blocked by other players – it’s then HE should be asking for Video ASSISTANT Referee – the clue is in the title!! – to repeat the play on the monitor so he can make his call unobstructed. He may still decide it’s not a penalty (though I don’t know how with that one), but at least HES the one making that decision – then the credit or criticism falls with just 1 person.

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  9. All the talk is of VAR and understandably so.

    But I think the fact that overshadows the teams performance is a little unfair, and I’m conscious I haven’t mentioned it yet.

    I initially thought Howe had intentionally changed to 3 CBs to be more defensive against Chelsea’s attacking line. But Howe said after the game that he lost Shelvey & Willock last night and had to make the changes short notice.

    If that’s the case – firstly I hope Shelvey & Willock aren’t out too long.
    But secondly, if the team have had to adapt to a change of set up with such short notice – that makes yesterday’s performance even more impressive.

    Burn & Targett were outstanding. I thought Miggy played well too considering how long it’s been since he last started – and I think Murphy did pretty well again to be fair.

    We still lack a really clinical goal threat, and without ASM and Wilson in the team, I think that will remain the case until the summer.

    But the work rate and effort from the players under Howe is different class & a joy to watch.

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  10. Also watching the incidents on MOTD last night it’s clear that we would have been very lucky to get a red card, but also the it was a clear cut penalty.

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  11. Back to the Refs. I have been banging on for ages that there are 7 Refs who are 50+ in the PL and that they are not allowed to Ref a Euro game because the retirement age is 45. They are old and slow and cannot keep up with play. You add in the incompetence of many others plus the muddy VAR rules and you have a recipe for disaster. It seems universally accepted that the penalty WAS a penalty and the Ref’s line of sight was blocked by 4, FOUR, players. How can that not be reviewed!

    Then there is the assault on BDB. I have seen it said that it is marginal that it is a red because even some pundits do not see it as a red. Well, some pundits are stupid then, but we knew that already. They are also biased, and we knew that already.

    There is an even bigger question of whether there is a Ref bias towards the “big 6”. I dont think there is any doubt apart from the odd time like Diaz’s head nearly being taken off yesterday.

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  12. I’m not convinced it was a red as BDB’s elbow was pretty damn close to to the chelsea players face. He got caught it happens, He didn’t look, he didn’t swing the elbow, he caught him. as both players jumped with their arms up in normal position. It was clearly a yellow.

    The refs are biased, They often turn red cards into yellow early in the game, especially if it’s a home player at fault, and it’s clear that refs have their favourites.

    The stats might be skewed because weaker teams often commit more fouls simply to try and stay in the game.

    For me the idea that VAR thought he had gone down too easily is irrelevant. The ref gave a corner when the defender had not touched the ball. Clearly giving us the benefit of the doubt because he didn’t see a penalty but wasn’t convinced it was a dive. VAR should have shown him the pictures, a facility massively underused.

    Like you Eric I’m unimpressed with the management of games in the EPL.

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  13. Oh, by the way, Lampard is lapsing into Steve Bruce speak. He blames everybody but himself. Form, fixtures, players, previous managers. He even dissects the game into little portions where Everton played well and forgets about the 75 minutes that they were crap. The way Bruce does.

    Turning into Steve Bruce is not a good look Super-Frank!

    We need to beat the Blue Bindippers on Thursday. That will send me into the International Break happy. I watched another video from 2 toffees fans. It was 15 minutes of vitriol towards the players. They didnt blame Super-Frank. But one of them, a 50 year old man, was in tears at the end. His mate had to put his arm around him to console him.

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  14. I think the elbow from Havertz desrved a red card and I am with Kim in thinking that had it been Shelvey there would have been no hesitation in showing a red card. It’s the top six bias. Hacket thought it deserved a red but Gallagher didn’t because Havertz fist wasn’t closed. Dermot it was the elbow he used. What he did with his fist was completely irelevant. As for no malice was shown, so what? There must be loads of red cards desevedly given where there is no malice just a lack of skill or timing. As for Burn also putting his arms up. Yes he did. Did he catch Havertz. No he didn’t and neither should Havertz have caught Burn. But he did and it was no glancing blow hence the huge lump on Burn’s forehead. Three inches to the right could have taken Burn’s eye out. In my book a foul is a foul is a foul no matter how you dress it up. It may be unfortunate it may be unintended but you cannot excuse it.

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  15. I totally agree it was a foul. It was foul clearly deserving of a yellow. I simply question whether it was deserving of a red. To me it looked like two men jumping and competing for a ball and one got caught by an elbow. Could easily have been the other way round, The severity of the wound is almost irrelevant as we have seen players carried off the field after a collision with only a yellow given. If we do assume that the ref thought it was a red, did he not give it because it was a home player and early in the match, or becasue it was a Chelsea player and there is enough going on at Chelsea at the moment.

    For me this is a distraction the real issue is not the red card buy the unawarded penalty

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  16. There was an even more obvious red card yesterday that wasnt given. The Brighton keeper’s assault on Liverpool’s Diaz. But 2 wrongs dont make a right! Havertz’s was a red and Sanchez’s was about the easiest red to give in the history of reds. Even easier than De Jong’s in the World Cup Final that Manchester United’s Howard Webb didnt give.

    There is a reason English Refs are not chosen for European games and it is not just age and fitness (Mike Dean now has rolls of fat to match Jon Moss). They are mostly incompetent.

    Keith Hackett, former chief of the Ref’s union thinks there are only 2 competent Refs in the PL out of 25.

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  17. PremAndUp:
    I totally agree it was a foul. It was foul clearly deserving of a yellow. I simply question whether it was deserving of a red. To me it looked like two men jumping and competing for a ball and one got caught by an elbow. Could easily have been the other way round, The severity of the wound is almost irrelevant as we have seen players carried off the field after a collision with only a yellow given. If we do assume that the ref thought it was a red, did he not give it because it was a home player and early in the match, or becasue it was a Chelsea player and there is enough going on at Chelsea at the moment.

    For me this is a distraction the real issue is not the red card buy the unawarded penalty

    Agree completely mate.

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  18. We also see Dermot Gallagher on SSN discussing these issues – where’s Mike Riley????.

    Managers have to do pre & post match interviews – and post is quite literally minutes after the game.

    Mike Riley should front it out on a Monday morning. To discuss the ones they got right as much as wrong. I bet the standard would improve if he – or one of them had to answer for it.

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  19. Queen’s Council at Newcastle Crown Court: Mr. Defendant, you elbowed your wife in the face with such force that you broke her jaw.

    Defendant: but M’Lud, and Premandup and Micah Richards, I had an open hand and not a clenched fist so it wasnt my fault. Ask Dermott Gallagher, he knows it is not a malicious offence unless there is a clenched fist!

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  20. There are times when you do talk blxs eric. Last time I looked it was a contact sport. If there is an unintentional injury , btw, not a broken jaw.

    Have you ever seen a player carried off on a stretcher, and no red card issued for the offence.

    I agree that it was never going to begiven, my question is was it deserved.

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  21. Eric+Sykes:
    Queen’s Council at Newcastle Crown Court: Mr. Defendant, you elbowed your wife in the face with such force that you broke her jaw.

    Defendant: but M’Lud, and Premandup and Micah Richards, I had an open hand and not a clenched fist so it wasnt my fault. Ask Dermott Gallagher, he knows it is not a malicious offence unless there is a clenched fist!

    Eric – that’s different level 😂. A collision between 2 players jumping for a header on a football pitch versus domestic violence 🤔.

    Stick me on your list as well, coz I thought the ref got that one right too.

    Oh .. and if it were Burn on Havertz or Wood on Rudiger, I’m pretty certain you’d think a red would be harsh too.

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  22. I disagree that the elbow was unintentional. I am looking at this one incident and believe it was a red card. There have been many times when Shearer and Andy Carroll have committed similar offences and I would have said that they were not red cards because they are NUFC players 🙂

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  23. Eric+Sykes:
    I disagree that the elbow was unintentional. I am looking at this one incident and believe it was a red card. There have been many times when Shearer and Andy Carroll have committed similar offences and I would have said that they were not red cards because they are NUFC players 🙂

    Eric – I think that’s the thing with that decision. It’s a matter of opinion whether the lad intended to injure Burn with that challenge.

    Was it reckless or serious foul play?.

    I know I’m not changing your mind & it’s not my desire to – you are entitled to your opinion.

    But the reason why I think it was only a yellow is because the lad wasn’t looking at Burn, nor did he thrust his elbow into Burns face.
    He jumped leading with his arm – as must players do. His elbow caught Burn but an inch or 2 the other way & that cut doesn’t happen. It still would have been a foul because of the way he’s gone into the challenge. But he’s not looked at Burn & timed it so he gets him, nor does he swing his arm at him.

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  24. Watching MNF and obviously they are on about Chelsea’s situation.

    Within the conversation they have also mentioned our ownership. I’ve said before that I’m not 100% comfortable with it. But they were on about – was it ok that Howe was asked about Saudi human rights, and they said it was ok.

    I couldn’t disagree more!!. He’s there for footballing reasons, simple as that. If they want to challenge Mandy, her fella or the Reuben brothers then no issues with that. But I don’t think it’s fair to put it on Howe.

    Interestingly, when they had the chance to ask Frank Lampard about their ownership, they asked him about Abramovich instead.

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  25. Looks like the victim of the assault, Dan Burn, agrees with me. But, I do agree in this case, it was close enough to be a matter of opinion. I was more flabbergasted at what Gallagher said about Refs training and that it couldnt be a red if a player had an open hand as he hit another with his elbow. I brought up domestic violence because that would be a ludicrous defense if it was brought up in court.

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  26. Sharpy: I mentioned earlier we would inevitably be brought into the Abramovich discussion. It has already started as you say. There was that Daily Mail guy and I am sure Miguel Delany will pile in. Barney Ronay at the Guardian has equated the 2 as well. I didnt read the article, just the headline.

    The calls for the Saudis to sell us will only grow as the Chelsea sale creeps closer. They would probably find a buyer as well with our current situation and a price set of over 2 Billion for Chelsea. We look like a bargain now.

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  27. This may be controversial but I’m sick of the politics in football now.

    It used to be a source of entertainment. Something you could either go and watch, or stick the TV on and escape for 90 mins.

    It’s like watching bloody question time before the match now!!.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not minimising what is happening in Ukraine – it’s truly awful.

    But sometimes after a day at work & watching the news & mobile phone apps pinging left right and centre – sometimes it would be nice just to watch some football.

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  28. The debate was human rights and Suadi’s executing people. So the citizen of any country with a death penalty is barred. That’s the US then.
    The citizen of any country illegally occupying another. That’s China and Tibet, Israel and Palestine, Russia and the Ukraine
    Involved in Illegal wars. That’s the UK and the US in Iraq. Oh then there’s the Yemen etc.
    I won’t mention the sex trade.
    Using the logic being presented I think all 20 clubs need to be sold, Furthermore I don’t think there would be a citizen from any country that would be eligible to buy them.

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  29. As Premandup said, all 20 clubs probably have political or ethical issues as to why their current owners are not “fit and proper”. Will the premiership try to change the rules though and go back and revisit ownership credentials? I think they have to get 14 teams to approve the changes. Would NUFC approve them. City, Leicester, Everton, to name a few.

    It is very tricky because any Govt intervention/interference and you get into the inevitable questions about arms sales to Saudi and the banquet the queen threw for MBS.

    I will not get deep into the politics but it is interesting that a Saudi Co has bid for Chelsea. That really has thrown a fox in the PL rules henhouse. They have to deal with the current rules as well as thinking about changing “fit and proper” to look back at previous takeovers. There is no man I would trust more than Richard Masters to do that 🙂

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  30. Palace drew against City. Maybe we should not give up as easily as some have so far on the City and Liverpool games? Or Spurs and Arsenal for that matter, who even die hard NUFC fans seem to have written off.

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  31. I would argue that this season, given the games at West Ham and Chelsea we can compete with anybody. Don’t necessarily expect to win, but that’s a different question.
    Next season, I would be expecting to be as good as anybody except Liverpool and City, and quite capable of earning a place in Europe, somewhere between third, if Chelsea decline and seventh if we perform poorly

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  32. PremAndUp:
    I would argue that this season, given the games at West Ham and Chelsea we can compete with anybody. Don’t necessarily expect to win, but that’s a different question.
    Next season, I would be expecting to be as good as anybody except Liverpool and City, and quite capable of earning a place in Europe, somewhere between third, if Chelsea decline and seventh if we perform poorly

    Agreed.

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  33. I know it is a matter of opinion but let me quote from NUFC.com who are probably the most respected NUFC website. They even got the .com bit before the official website could get it. They say:

    “An 89th minute heartbreaker… but goalscorer Kai Havertz shouldnt have been on the pitch after clearly elbowing Dan Burn”.

    So, they agree with me.

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  34. Eric+Sykes:
    I know it is a matter of opinion but let me quote from NUFC.com who are probably the most respected NUFC website. They even got the .com bit before the official website could get it. They say:

    “An 89th minute heartbreaker… but goalscorer Kai Havertz shouldnt have been on the pitch after clearly elbowing Dan Burn”.

    So, they agree with me.

    So did Neil Warnock on Talksport mate, and he’s a crazy old fcuker – what’s ya point 😂😂

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  35. Connor Gallagher was excellent again last night. I suspect either Chelsea have plans for him, or Palace will have a permanent deal sewn up … but if there is the slightest of chances we could get him, we should go all out!!.

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  36. PremAndUp:
    The debate was human rights and Suadi’s executing people. So the citizen of any country with a death penalty is barred. That’s the US then.
    The citizen of any country illegally occupying another. That’s China and Tibet, Israel and Palestine, Russia and the Ukraine
    Involved in Illegal wars. That’s the UK and the US in Iraq. Oh then there’s the Yemen etc.
    I won’t mention the sex trade.
    Using the logic being presented I think all 20 clubs need to be sold, Furthermore I don’t think there would be a citizen from any country that would be eligible to buy them.

    Exactly mate, this was the point I was making about Oliver Holts article the other day when he was having a pop about the Saudis bombing the Yemen.
    He compared it to Russia invading Ukraine but they are very different situations albeit both result in horrific situations for the poor civilians on the ground.
    The rebels attacking the democratically elected government of Yemen are Russia /Iran backed and the Yemen government ASKED Saudi to help them. They are not there uninvited, unlike Russia in Ukraine.

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  37. So, Merson thinks Everton will go down. That’s them safe then! I watched the full game against Wolves and I think the result tainted the Everton fans’ view of the game. They werent that bad and Wolves didnt create too many chances. Wolves played in pretty patterns but didnt create that much. Some might say they didnt need to get out of 2nd gear but that is not always the case, that could have been all Wolves had. The Everton defense is shocking though, so we stand a good chance of getting a win.

    I agree Everton have the worst fixtures but I think it might click for them in a couple of games if Super-Frank can just instill a bit of confidence.

    I just look at their sqaud and it is better than the other relegation candidates despite some bad buys. I am going to reserve judgement until after our game. Just because Watford had a good result and Leeds a last minute winner does not change the picture much. Burnley are the wild card.

    I still think it looks like Norwich, Watford and Burnley to go down. I am falling into the trap that the pundits have and am in denial at the moment that Everton will be relegated.

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  38. My guess is that it will be a T-Rex party on Thursday. I doubt the stewards will let the guy dressed up as one in, but I bet a bunch more inflatable dinosaurs have been bought. I looked on Amazon and they were only about $15. I ended up buying a 10 inch plastic T-Rex and will take it to the pub with me if I go. Or next year, if they stay up.

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  39. Have Man U sent the sponsorship money they received from Saudi Telecom back yet. Just saying, since GNev thinks he is the Sky political correspondent now! He is right that we will come under scrutiny, but as others have said, why should we be the only ones? Take the Russian, Chinese, Thai and Middle East money out of the PL and you are left with American Hedge Funds who will rape any club they buy as soon as the share price is high enough.

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  40. Chelsea are an absolute disgrace!!!.

    Requested to play their FA Cup tie with Boro behind closed doors – because they won’t profit off it!!.

    The Boro fans are having a great cup run & their fans are loving it – but why would Chelsea care or consider anyone other than themselves.

    We better not become one of these clubs like – I can’t stand how entitled Chelsea, City, Man Utd & Liverpool are.

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  41. The press and the BBC are digging up all of this dirt now on Abramovich. Stuff like he made his billions on the fixed auction of an oil company – wont go into detail, but this was already well known. Why weren’t these questions asked for the last 19 years? They even kicked him out of the UK but nothing was done about his assets until Ukraine.

    I really dont want to get into a political discussion, this is more about media negligence.

    The next thing they do is try to conflate Russia and the Saudis. They think this is doing football a service but what it is doing is confusing the issue. Masters cannot walk and chew gum at the same time so dont ask him to get involved in geo-politics.

    I am glad Eddie deflected their questions but you can bet they will keep on coming. Just say the same at every presser Eddie – “I am a football Manager not a Politician”. The journos are not political journalists either so the should STFU about it.

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  42. The gate receipts for cup games are shared equally with 45% going to each club.
    Chelsea will not be allowed to get their share so I hope it will go towards aid for the Ukrainian refugees.

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  43. Can we assume everyone who was “ill” for the Chelsea game will be fit for Thursday and that St Max can start? If so, the only real question is fitting 4 in-form midfielders into 3 spots. I reckon Big Joe might miss out because he has a niggling injury and the others were “illnesses”. We then have 2 weeks off so the team will probably be:

    Dubs

    Manq BDB Schar Targett

    Shelvey Willock Bruno

    Fraser Wood St Max

    Everton are not as bad as they have looked, but they are very fragile. If we score 1st I cannot see them coming back. I think that Spurs defeat dented their confidence and it carried through a bit to Wolves when they just about gave up after the goal.

    Bring the blow-up TRex’s Lads and Lasses!

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  44. The cabbage beat Fulham meaning he will be unbearable for a week or so.

    Also, UK Sports Minister has come out in defense of Saudi Arabia, talking about close ties and job creation. I hope that means the Govt will not interfere and try to have our takeover voided or whatever they could do. They did note that there was not an O&D test when Abramovich bought Chelsea.

    I am hoping that getting Roman and Usmanov out of football will be the end of it. Most of the real money in the PL is foreign so they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they ban it.

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  45. So Howe reckons Willock may be ok but has only trained 1 day after illness.
    Shelvey hasn’t trained and will take a late fitness test.
    Joelinton he’s said is touch and go

    If that’s the case, I’d say go with the same 11 against Chelsea – put Willock on the bench & rest the other 2.

    We have a break next week & points wise we are fine. The team played well against Chelsea & that 11 could beat Everton imo – so don’t take any needless risk.

    We have some tough fixtures after the break & need our best players fit & ready.

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  46. He said nothing about ASM so I assume our front three are ASM Wood and Fraser

    I think we have trained as 4-3-3 so should revert back to that dropping Lascelles and if Willock is on the bench then keep Miggy. He played against Chelsea.

    That would then be Bruno, Langstaff and Miggy. Lots of energy for the press

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  47. PremAndUp:
    He said nothing about ASM so I assume our front three are ASM Wood and Fraser

    I think we have trained as 4-3-3 so should revert back to that dropping Lascelles and if Willock is on the bench then keep Miggy. He played against Chelsea.

    That would then be Bruno, Langstaff and Miggy. Lots of energy for the press

    Prem – I wouldn’t be against that either to be fair mate. For all we played well against Chelsea, we weren’t much of an offensive threat – Miggy would offer more you’d expect.

    Alternatively leave Murphy on too & play him where you’d play Miggy – I think he could do the same job, but would offer a might more physically.

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  48. Was disappointed with ASM after he came on v Chelsea, he needs to track back a bit better if picked today.

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  49. I think we put our strongest team out against Everton and that means including Joelinton and ASM. Big Joe has 17 days to recover if he has a “setback”. Wr also play Willock. He only got sick on Saturday night so has only missed 1 or maybe 2 days training so that should not be an issue. Back to 4-3-3.

    Some might even say this is our strongest team even of Shelvey was fit:

    Dubs

    Manq Burn Schar Targett

    Bruno Willock Joelinton

    Fraser Wood ASM

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  50. I listened to an Everton prematch fancast and they said the Trex Mackem has been maybe their best player this year apart from the blip against Spurs and his nerves against us. They are very depressed in general and see this as a must win. Most were saying they needed 4 points from us and Wolves to stay up.

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  51. KIMTOON:
    Was disappointed with ASM after he came on v Chelsea, he needs to track back a bit better if picked today.

    Kim – I don’t think he’s fully fit. I think he was sent on purely to try and get us a goal.

    Need to be careful with our semi fit players – especially the midfield 3 and ASM – they’ve been a key factor to our change in form.

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  52. Eric+Sykes:
    I listened to an Everton prematch fancast and they said the Trex Mackem has been maybe their best player this year apart from the blip against Spurs and his nerves against us. They are very depressed in general and see this as a must win. Most were saying they needed 4 points from us and Wolves to stay up.

    Eric – it is a must win for them mate. They are level in points with Watford now and have an awful run in. It’s a club in serious trouble & even if they stay up they could start next season with a points deduction – and will struggle to get players in with financial sanctions likely too.

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  53. I had never really given a second thought to Everton in the past. But recently, reading pre-match thoughts from their fans on places like The Mag, they have been so dismissive of NUFC and over-confident about their own team. There has been a certain arrogance that I hadnt really seen (or noticed) before. It could be the inferiority complex of being Scouse Mackems.

    Anyway, for their arrogance and total d!ckheadedness towards us, I now want them relegated and a win tomorrow for us would be a good start.

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  54. Living close to Liverpool I have found that generally the blue half are decent enough people, and most of my scouse friends are bluenoses. I think I only have one red friend and he left city years ago. Generally they are difficult to say the least.

    On the other hand my son who went to LIPA sixth form college there has completely the opposite opinion

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  55. Sharpy, I don’t see a points deduction for them mate a transfer embargo yes but no points deduction.

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  56. Being bought up a Wimbledon fan I can put many arguments to hate Liverpool. We were banned from Europe the only time we qualified because of Liverpool. We lost our stadium because of the Taylor report requiring them to be all seater. Not Liverpool’s fault, but that took a long time to unpick. We lost our sponsor Carlsberg to them which given the loss of stadium led to the MK Dons fiasco. To be fair there was a move, blocked by UEFA to become the Dublin Dons, but that’s another story. So no, if there is one club I don’t like, it is Liverpool.

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  57. KIMTOON:
    Sharpy, I don’t see a points deduction for them mate a transfer embargo yes but no points deduction.

    Kim – if they find they have breached, the 2 could go hand in hand and as things stand, they are on course to – hence why Rafa had nowt to spend. The signs they made in Jan have put them further in the brown stuff but they are desperate.

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  58. So F1 have said they WILL still race in Saudi & Bojo is negotiating for their oil … but Eddie Howe is the one getting hit with the human rights questions

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  59. I also see that Greg Norman is pressing ahead with his Saudi backed golf super league with the first event at St Alban – no questions about human rights to them either though 🤔

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  60. Prem: the Pub I go to to watch the Match is owned by an ex-Pat Everton fan. He is a great lad. I have just noticed some very nasty comments about us in pre-match stuff on The Mag recently. It is probably an internet thing. As I said, I had nothing against them before.

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