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MATCH PREVIEW: Chelsea v Newcastle United, Stamford Bridge,13/Feb/16, KO: 5:30pm, Premier League.

by • February 11, 2016 • Match previewsComments (6)2678

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Most of the time football is rubbish.  Proper awful.  Particularly as a Newcastle United fan.  Who is really happy these days?  Arsenal fans are in a state of constant crisis with the identity and direction of their club.  Manchester United fans have dropped off the radar and boo their side constantly.  Spurs are flying, but unease remains between many fans and their chairman.  Man City fans just want everyone to like them as their state funded PR project roles on but needs to change managers, again.  Most people who follow football, have something to moan about.  Therefore this week’s incredible news that Liverpool owners FSG, performed a total U-turn on raising ticket prices from next season is a genuine feel good story for all football fans.

Even if you can comfortably afford tickets at St James’ – how long will it last?  There seems to be plenty willing to argue JohnTerrythat you have to pay for quality, and that teams like Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea etc pay for what they get – quality.  ‘It’s not cheap you know assembling the world’s best sporting product’.  That’s why the news was so good this week. Black flags on Liverpool’s cop sent the right  message.  15k walking out sent the right message.  Fan power does work.  Only a third of Liverpool fans at Anfield made a stand, yet their actions have saved all match going Liverpool fans money in the long run.  I’ve heard people state this week they wouldn’t walk out at SJP if the rumoured country wide walk out occurred, in protest.  I would.  Even though I think my NUFC season ticket is reasonably priced at £30 a game,  it may not always be that way.  What would I do if Ashley sold up, the club became successful, but the club raised prices to £77 a game –  or higher? When will it become too much for you, if clubs think you’re replaceable?

Football clubs expect us to turn up if we’re good, bad or indifferent.  That’s how it works.  NUFC have been largely pathetic this season (AGAIN) and as of today, St James’ Park has been 94% full on average this season.  That’s better than any other club in the league competing well below where they should be in the league.  Sunderland and Vile are operating in the low 80% range of ground capacity this season. This should make NUFC an attractive proposition to any prospective buyer looking to make a few quid out of the Premier League’s never ending cash flow.  In reality, a properly run NUFC could raise ticket prices massively, and people would come, such is the desire to watch the team from people in the region. Only Ashley’s gross incompetence to date is keeping that 94% figure from 100%.   One day it could be you or me paying over a grand for a season ticket.  Ignore as well the mirage that is cheap child season tickets.  It’s great kids can get in for less – a fantastic idea.  But think long term.  That 15 year old getting into SJP for comparative buttons better have a good job by the time he’s 21.  Pay or you’re out.  The emotional attachment the club has sold you, made available for you at a cheap price, is essentially a binding contract to get more money out of you eventually.  And if you can’t pay, we’ll find someone else who will.  Unless fans fight it.

My tenuous link to the first two paragraphs, is that United fans this weekend will be paying £55 for this weekend’s fixture.  An obscene amount, particularly as it’s televised.  Once upon a time, football fans didn’t hate televised fixtures.  Games being moved for TV made them more accessible to thousands of fans.  The extra money the club made from televised fixtures would in theory be able to keep tickets prices low.  It hasn’t happened.  Now TV income is set to be worth more than double the income of gate receipts to many clubs, ticket prices should be decreasing. Not ‘being frozen’ as Arsenal and Manchester United proudly boasted this week. Well in, lads.  The fight is only just beginning.  Those 15k Liverpool fans had the Prime Minister

Moving onto the Newcastle United match preview.  Last Saturday was good.  West Brom weren’t.  It’s hard to determine how much of an impact the win will have on Saturday considering the last time McClaren ‘assembled’ a side away from home it was the car crash at Goodison.  I like the fact that negative, dire sides have been put to the sword at home where traditionally we’ve struggled.  It bodes well for when Sam Allardyce’s side rock up to SJP next month, probably without one of their key players.  The problem is that as United are so poor – most sides have come and had a go this season at home. Arsenal, Watford, Leicester and Everton all came and attacked and won.  So did Norwich but my point stands.  Attack NUFC and you will prosper. It makes West Brom’s tactics even more bizarre on Saturday gone, but that’s Pulis for you.

I get the feeling that the chronic lack of confidence in the side away from home isn’t going to fixed by beating an awful
West Brom at home.  Here’s some good news though.  Only Everton have conceded more home goals than Chelsea’s twenty.  That’s mental.  Literally mental.  Even NUFC have conceded less.  EVEN VILE.  So we need to go there and have a go.  Play a high line, like we did against West Brom.  Costa has no pace.  Willian aside, no one has any pace in this Chelsea side, and if he’s up against Aarons at left back, I’ll back the young man in black and white.  Left Back is a worry as Willian is very good and Aarons is very unproven playing in the back four.

I hope we do what we’re good at.  Let’s play football in their half.  We were so deep against Everton. Inviting pressure.  Let’s have a go at them. Southampton, Everton and Liverpool have both scored three against Chelsea at the bridge this season.  Play Mitrovic, get the ball in the box and make their attacking players defend.  Chelsea are 13th.  There’s nothing to fear.  Hiddink is unbeaten as Chelsea boss but they’re drawing too many games under him.  Chelsea are only missing Kurt Zouma after his horror injury last week, so they’re at full strength pretty much.  The same can’t be said for our lot, though most key positions have players in them you’d be expect to pushing the first team.  Earlier this season a certain Jon Jo Shelvey put in a man of the match performance at Stamford Bridge as Swansea were robbed of three points in a 2 2 draw. More of the same would be nice.  It would also be good to see the often excellent at home, Moussa Sisskoko, turn up to an away game.

It’s another big weekend for the club.  With no game for 18 days – we could find ourselves adrift in the  bottom three come the Stoke game.  Unlikely but not impossible.  If Norwich can’t pick up points this weekend against West Ham at home, the future really does look grim for them.  Sunderland face a beatable Man Utd side at home and Bournemouth face a Stoke side in free fall.  All at home, all should pick up points. Then while the team are in Spain, these clubs have another chance to pick up points before we play again.  We need to be looking to get something from the game.  However the fact still remains. We can’t score away from home, and we can’t defend.

Prediction:  Chelsea 2 United 0

ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892 

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6 Responses to MATCH PREVIEW: Chelsea v Newcastle United, Stamford Bridge,13/Feb/16, KO: 5:30pm, Premier League.

  1. Tom Bates says:

    I couldnt help but feel a bit frustrated at hearing the news about Liverpool. How many times have there been posts on here scoffing about protests at our club as the fans have no power as all the income for clubs is from TV? The Liverpool protests have led to negative media exposure which embarrased the club hierarchy, damamging their ‘ brand’ and forcing them into a u-turn.
    We havent managed to muster up the same pride in our importance as fans as Liverpools and just sit back and let the club owners do as they like. Admittedly our ticket prices arent too bad in comparison to other clubs but Ashleys disastorous running of the club has led to near enough full houses rather than protests.

    • Alex says:

      Tom I disagree entirely. 30k people boycotted the Spurs game. By by maths that’s the single biggest boycott in Premier League history

    • Wallace says:

      Tom, why do you think Ashley agreed to speak to camera before the West Ham game? No owner wants to be portrayed as the bad guy, not even him. The publicity hurts S**** D***** as much as FSG. The boycott of Spurs got a lot of publicity but the issue was more local, about the way our cub was being run. The Liverpool protest had more national traction because of the FSF and others raining the issue of pricing. Liverpool also have a higher national profile and an exodus from the Kop carried a great deal of symbolism, linked with Hillsborough etc. They are all battles in the same war

  2. Si says:

    A performance from Sissoko would be nice but one from Gini would be even nicer. Can’t think of him doing anything remotely useful away from home.
    If Siem is fit, id be far happier to see him behind a striker.

  3. Tom Bates says:

    I cant confirm the figure but people I knew at the game said it was nowhere near 30 000 light in the ground, I wasnt there though so I cant say. Fair play to those who did it though but there were a lot of people at the time saying it was pointless and they would never boycott. We were well within our rights to boycott the rest of the season the way it was going which people were pushing for but never happened. The trouble is we have to make a lot more effort to get the same (positive) media coverage as Liverpool / Liverpool fans and therefore to have the same impact. Notice how Liverpool fans were portrayed as the wronged party here where our fans would probably be portrayed as niave and deluded but thats another issue. Anyway looking forward to the game on Saturday, not expecting anything so will watch it fairly stress free with probably more of an eye on the Norwich score.

  4. Andy bee says:

    If Siem is fit I’d like to see him play ……cmon si you must be fk’n joking??? Totally agree with Gini away comments above, the bloke has done jack shit all season away from SJP coupled with moussa hiding we arenormally two light from kick off not even a good manager could sort that eh schtevie?
    Alex is right Tom ,we looked 30k light to me as well at Spurs and my beer in the labour club tasted rancid.
    Let’s ditch the self pity over Liverpool getting more coverage etc. I couldn’t give a shit about them or any other club we are newcastle and have our own unique identity and pride, if the media continue to belittle us and portray our fans and club badly ……fuck them!