MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Swansea City, St James’ Park, 16/Apr/16, KO: 3pm. Premier League

by • April 15, 2016 • Match previewsComments (15)2223

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Massive game, this one.  If you’ve given up already, probably best to stop here.  Rafa Benitez hasn’t given up.  I haven’t given up.  Even if you think the players have, it’s no reason to stop fighting.  This game is the one.  A win will be needed to keep Benitez and rid ourselves of Ashley far more quickly.  Newcastle United in the Premier League is a far more saleable asset than the club who Ashley even more than they already do, in England’s second tier.  So even if we win this game and don’t stay up, let’s believe/pretend for one or two games more.  If you’re one of the people (and there’s more than a few of you) who go to the game and from minute one scream in anger at players misplacing passes, Mitrovic missing a chance or Perez losing possession – stay away from the game.  You’re divisive and help no one.  I’m not interested in telling fans how they should think or behave, but I’d rather fans stayed away if who’ve any other intention than getting behind the team with everything you’ve got, vocally.

Yes this set of first team players is as weak, gutless and soulless as any I’ve seen at St James’ – worse than the class of Rafa12008/9 which I didn’t think possible.  They don’t deserve support, but they still need it.  This game should be bigger than the derby.  It’s not but it should be.  If you know any whoppers who get all excited for one game a year and pay £200 a ticket for the privilege of watching two of the consistently worst top flight sides in Europe, ask them why they aren’t at this game. Tickets are available still.  This is the biggest game I can think of in years for the club.  It is simply a must win.  Forget about Sunderland, Norwich, Man City, Liverpool or anyone else – Swansea need to be beaten.  I don’t want a repeat of Fulham 09 -0 the home game which should have kept us up.  We went in on a decent enough run under Shearer (not great, but better) and I travelled up from Leeds up for it.  More up for it than the derby that took place a couple of months earlier.  A game to save our season, and a chance to keep things in our own hands.  We lost the game with an incredibly harsh red card being dished out and were probably the better team against Fulham’s best ever PL side. What disappointed me was SJP was quiet. Nervous and tentative.  Expecting the worst to happen.  The same can’t happen this weekend.  Everyone needs to create an atmosphere to intimidate the opposition.  You all know what I mean.  We see it a couple of times a season.  Why do Chelsea hate playing SJP?  It’s because we’re always up for it, on their backs, behind the players.  Wins can do that.  The easy thing to do this weekend will be to go, get angry and verbally abuse the players when they do something wrong (which they will).  Don’t be part of the problem.  Don’t prove Merson and all the other gob shites right, that the SJP crowd are part of the problem.

The atmosphere for this one should be better than any other. Make it happen.

There’s the small matter of another massive game happening at 12.45.  I hate that Norwich face Sunderland before us. I’m TFBadgesure Benitez will do his best to keep that result out of the players mind, it’s the crowd I’m more worries about. Let’s face it a Norwich win is a huge blow.  Not fatal, but bad enough.  We’d start the game 9 points off them with two games in hand.  The pressure will be ramped up.  A Sunderland win is mathematically the superior result, a draw is probably realistically good as it’s the result neither Sunderland or Norwich are after and keeps Sunderland in the shit.  I don’t really care who wins, as long as it isn’t Norwich.  However, it doesn’t matter.  Newcastle United need to win this game.  Win this and anything is possible against Man City on Tuesday.  So let’s just win it.  I don’t care how.  Bar Watford and Bournemouth at home, we haven’t really seen the real horror shows we’ve clocked up in practically every away game.  Yes other performances haven’t exactly been stellar, but the team has been transformed at home (if still deeply average).   Yes, these are the straws to which I am clutching.

Swansea are good.  Their new manager has lost 3 of 13.  Credit to Swansea for making a difficult choice and sacking club legend Garry Monk after 16 games, giving themselves time to botch his successor and still fix it.  With Monk’s Club Legend status, the majority of his tenure being overwhelmingly positive, his popularity still high amongst supporters and his media popularity, sacking him was a massive call. The right call.  Unfortunately the same decision fell to Charnley and despite McClaren performing worse with the side than Monk was, not having emotional ties to the club at all and most in the media supporting a change in manager and most supporters desperate to see the back of him.  It makes me feel sick that Benitez wasn’t given half the season to sort this mess out.  Interestingly Julio Arca on this week’s Football Matters was able to provide some Spanish lip reading services from the weekend and his message was of fury from our manager as he watched the first half unfold.  We’re still waiting for the reaction from the Bournemouth game, it may never come, but it might.

Benitez has been handed a rotten squad, and rotten luck by Charnley.  3 of the first 4 away from home.  The derby. He hasn’t been able to name a back 4 full of defenders once.  Team selections have been ambiguous. Who do you start and where? Rafa Benitez has forgotten more about football this morning than me or anyone reading this knows.  However I believe he has got his last few team selections slightly wrong.  There is no way Lascelles would have been worse at left back than Anita.  Sissoko is still our most creative player, whether you like it or not, and the last three games he’s played left back, right back, centre mid, left wing, right wing and for a short time at Norwich, behind the striker.  He needs played on the right of midfield, his best position, ahead of Daryl Janmaat – if the Dutchman is fit.  Yes he fell over, hurt himself and punched a wall.  He’s an idiot.  He’s also our best (only?) right back and needs to start if fit.  Him and Sissoko’s partnership is one of the only successful on pitch partnerships we have.  Yes it contributes very little but it’s better than the alternatives.  No more Sissoko left wing.  If Townsend can’t play left wing, drop him.  I like Townsend and hope he starts.  If he has to play Sissoko at right back, then play Obertan (not Perez or Winjaldum) on the left.  No more putting players in positions to shoe-horn them into the side.  Maybe Colo is out, maybe he isn’t.  A ‘calf strain’ picked up in training that was supposed to keep him out of one game.  That was two months ago.  Only Newcastle United.

Either way, we need our best players playing.  If Mbabu is fit and Colo injured, play Dummet at in the middle. He’s good there.  Don’t start Mitrovic.  He’s miles better coming from the bench.  He’s only scored one goal in the first half of a game this season.  He is a great sub.  Start Cisse and De Jong.  We can’t afford to play Mr invisible any more.  Winjladum has had his chance.  We have a poor record against Swansea.  They’re full of confidence.  Their last away game saw them two down and they battled back to win a point.  Most of all I just want to see a performance full of passion and pride.  Noise and encouragement in the stands.  Let’s get a win, and see what Man City are made of on Tuesday night.  It’s pointless worrying about other games, goal difference or how rubbish Watford are right now.

I think we’ll do. I believe in the manager and the crowd.  At 17.00 on Saturday I hope I can believe in the team.

Prediction: 3-1 United

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15 Responses to MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Swansea City, St James’ Park, 16/Apr/16, KO: 3pm. Premier League

  1. Peter Shearer says:

    So again it is “must win” and down to the crowd to save us! How many more times before we realise that in itself will not change anything? I totally disagree with the conclusion that Ashley is more likely to go if we stay up. Promoting Sports Direct in the Premiership and the TV money are his main motivations. I will not be there-so I cannot be blamed for upsetting the players! Again, I understand the call to arms, but feel the focus is short-term expediency, not long-term improvement. I do not even listen to those that blame the fans, and neither should anyone else.

    Will the crowd even sing support of Jonas, to let Ashley know what we think of the club’s actions? Or is that seen as disloyal too? Our club is rotten to the core and we seem incapable of focusing on the real problems. Maybe the players are actually doing our job for us. Perhaps they have decided that relegation is the way to get rid of Ashley. That would make them all heroes in my eyes! And explain their gutless performances.

    Finally (well for now!) what if Rafa has intended all along to leave at the end of the year? I like Rafa and hope not, but if he has then he would not be the guy we all currently think he is either. He would have used the Newcastle fans for his own purposes and given them false hope. I guess time will tell.

  2. mick says:

    Why is it all up to the crowd? We have ben behind the team this and last season? despite utter dross. The biggest cheer at ST James was the dragging off Sissoko who should be ashamed to pick up his mega wages. Im sorry BUT this team deserves nothing from hardworking fans. If Rafa cant motivate any of em then they should all be shipped out at end of season and thought of with utter contempt for not even trying

    • mikey says:

      They don’t deserve our support, but they need it to win the game. And it is us who needs them to win the game because most of them will be off in the summer whether we stay up or go down.

      The players are simply the temporary holders of the black and white shirt. We’ve got to back them to stay up. I hate most of them, but i need them to do a job for MY club. YOUR club,

      If we get relegated we are fucked. And, whatever small part we can pay in staying up, i know for a fact if the crowd turns on them, we’ll be beaten.

  3. Stephen says:

    Slightly going off track here but have you seen the picture that accompanies the match report on nufc.com of our under 18 7-1 defeat to Manchester Uniteds Under 18’s last week.
    Look at the athleticism of the young ‘red’ and then look at our representative at the forefront of the picture !!!

    • Boomtown says:

      sometimes links are useful… :0)

      • Stephen says:

        Computer illiterate mate, i can hardly use a keyboard.

        I must add, on reflection, highlighting the pic is very harsh on the kid in question but the pic highlights the gulf between the two Academy’s.

        I sincerely hope he goes on to be an absolute star for us.

  4. Ashy says:

    I agree with most of what you are saying, I am a mag of 40 odd years in the stands, I live abroad but get back for as many games as I can (five this season), in my personal opinion the derby atmosphere was without a doubt the poorest I have experienced, we were in the East Stand/Leazes corner, surrounded by loads of scots who were supporting/slagging the side to various degrees…..what has it got to do with them???. I had to push past one bloke who was asleep (drink) but it was poor, the worst derby atmosphere I have known.
    If that is the best we can muster for a derby then I don’t hold much hope for tomorrow being any better. When I pointed this is out to mates the response was overwhelmingly ‘youve only seen a handful of games, weve had to suffer this shite all season!’. And while I take their point I think the passion and venom has gone out of the crowd…heartbreaking.

    • mikey says:

      Its been getting worse for years.

      Its a huge mixture of deliberately attracting different types of fans. The proliferation of sports bars and club this and that where once there were normal reasonably priced seats is ridiculous. They’ve consistently broken up ends where people sing.

      Back of the leazes turned into a sports bar, Milburn ‘wing’ turned into some posh club seats, the Leazes upper corner turned into family end. Every time an ‘end’ gets going they wreck it and break it up. Imagine the Kop being treated like that? I know loads of lads (me inckuded) who because of that just don’t find it fun anymore. Always being told to sit down and shut up, eventually you just stop going.

      And that brings me onto the main point. The relationship between the club and the fans is at an all time low. Its broken and fractured. People have gone from angry to apathetic. There’s no direction in the club, even if e win, we’ve still got ashley.

      Loads of people from the old days are jacking it in, and they’re not being replaced like they used wtoo with young range loud supporters, because they can;afford it no more.

      Sad. Its like that right across football

    • mikey says:

      Its been getting worse for years.

      Its a huge mixture of deliberately attracting different types of fans. The proliferation of sports bars and club this and that where once there were normal reasonably priced seats is ridiculous. They’ve consistently broken up ends where people sing.

      Back of the leazes turned into a sports bar, Milburn ‘wing’ turned into some posh club seats, the Leazes upper corner turned into family end. Every time an ‘end’ gets going they wreck it and break it up. Imagine the Kop being treated like that? I know loads of lads (me inckuded) who because of that just don’t find it fun anymore. Always being told to sit down and shut up, eventually you just stop going.

      And that brings me onto the main point. The relationship between the club and the fans is at an all time low. Its broken and fractured. People have gone from angry to apathetic. There’s no direction in the club, even if e win, we’ve still got ashley.

      Loads of people from the old days are jacking it in, and they’re not being replaced like they used too with young range loud supporters, because they can;afford it no more.

      Sad. Its like that right across football

  5. Boomtown says:

    Passion has gone… venom remains in abundance!

  6. kenny says:

    Beat Swansea & anything can happen against man city, what planet are you on man? Yeh we might beat the swans but after that its 2 heavy beatings from citey & Klopp’s (improving every week reds). We are shit & doomed. My only hope is Norwich fuckin hammer the mackems.

  7. Tomb says:

    Our application will probably depend on the Norwich result. I think a win for Norwich will have us as good as down and the players will probably be as demoralized as ever, a draw or Sunderland win and hopefully the players will recognize that 3 points will put us right back in the mix. I’m not convinced that our crowd has had much of a negative effect on the team up to now as the majority of our points have come at home so the lazy line from pundits and ex failed managers that the atmosphere makes it hard for our players just doesnt wash.
    I agree that in a game of this importance we need to get behind the team but I would argue that in the longer term the fans attending every game regardless of Ashley treating us as mugs has actually helped prolong the problem and made life pretty easy or him. A lot of the more passionate fans have stayed away either as a point of principle or to show their lack of support for Ashleys regime. If more did so it would make a big statement. This farce has been going on for years in the name of loyalty.

  8. David says:

    I prefer a flan

  9. mikey says:

    Well said mate.

    The crowd must pay its part. Don’t throw the towel in, don’t throw abuse at players (not matter how much they deserve it). Benitez is right. That must wait until the end of the season.

    We’re not doing it for the players,we’re not doing it for Ashley, we need to do it for ourselves/ Because if we go down we may never come back in years and years. Got to go wild. Last chance saloon. Take the roof off.

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