REPORT & PODCAST – Newcastle United 0 Man City 1, St James’ Park, 27/Dec/17, KO: 7:45pm. Att: 52,311

by • December 28, 2017 • Match reportsComments (9)924





52,000 of us filed into SJP on another dark and cold evening with the festive excesses impacting our optimism. All of us knew we were in for a long night but after a few too many pale ales in the Forth on Pink Lane (another tremendous pub for those that haven’t been) I convinced myself we were going to pull off an upset.

10 seconds into the game it became clear that was not going to happen.

The first 45 minutes of that game is by far the most negative performance I’ve seen from a Newcastle side hone or away. Our furthest forward man, Joselu, didn’t really get beyond 10 yards inside our own half. Defence camped on the 18 yard line or deeper. We made no attempt whatsoever to pass the ball or play any real football and resorted to the old “lump it forward and run after it” to provide some short relief to the relentless City pressure.

It seemed clear that Rafa had a plan – get to half time level and push on from there. People might not agree with that and there will be some out there shouting about how McLaren/Pardew would have been slated for that performance. That may be right but under them it wouldn’t have been on purpose, it wouldn’t have been part of a wider strategy or team ethos. Rafa has tried to implement a specific style of play all season and the plan last night was just an extreme version of that plan adapted as we welcomed one of the most potent attacking sides in PL history.

If we’re all honest with ourselves we were lucky to get in at half time only 1-0 down. City had chance after chance and a couple of very good Rob Elliott saves kept us in the game (at least on paper).

The second half was slightly better and the introduction of Gayle offered us a slightly different and more effective outlet. We grew into the game a bit and had a couple of half chances – Gayle’s dive was really frustrating as he had the chance to get the shot away but if he’d won the pen we would be singing his name. Gayle probably should have done better with a header in a well worked move down our left but for us to have snatched a point from that game would have been totally unjust.

I didn’t enjoy last night – I don’t like how the style of play was basically an acknowledgement of the gulf in class between us and City’s dirty money funded billionaires. I did not like watching our team unwillingness to try to pass the ball. I didn’t like City’s sold out away allocation full of lifelong fans who went to their first game less than 10 years ago. However I won’t criticise Rafa or the players for that performance. The lads gave their best and all looked exhausted at the final whistle. Rafa’s plan to bridge the divide between the teams didn’t work last night but on another night it would have. I’m secretly almost a little bit pleased we didn’t win so I didn’t have to keep drinking.

Roll on Saturday and three points against Brighton. Happy chrafamas and all the best for the new year.


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9 Responses to REPORT & PODCAST – Newcastle United 0 Man City 1, St James’ Park, 27/Dec/17, KO: 7:45pm. Att: 52,311

  1. John H says:

    Since the alternative was to try to give them a game and lose 5-0, I think last night was a sensible, if extreme, tactic. And we might have nicked an unlikely point at the end. As for them hitting the woodwork a couple of times and being unfortunate not to lead by more….we hit the woodwork twice at West Ham but nobody said we were unlucky not to have won by more!

  2. Dave says:

    Maybe it would have been unjust but so what? We haven’t had much justice recently against them. Yes, they had more shots at goal but still only scored one so that’s their problem, not ours. Not many expected a low scoring game but as long as it stayed to one we had a chance to get something and with a bit of luck might have done. When we did get the ball in the first half we didn’t have the quality or time to take advantage of it. For some reason Elliott kept punting the ball towards Joselu who won a few headers but to no one in particular. There was loads of space on the other flank to punt a ball there for Aaron’s or Murphy to run into and at least get some possession.

    • BigColl says:

      you’re not wrong there…. De Jong’s tackle on ben Arfa.. not even a foul! Assault on Shola in the same game – no pen. Tiote’s screamer against them disalowed because their keeper is unsighted by someone twenty yards in the opposite direction. their goal in the last game, 1-1, that was like, four yards off. Yeah some justice

  3. I understand why and we have to remember that Rafa has no choice but to do it thanks to a certain Mr Ashley, but even so that was painful to watch and a long way from Keegan’s entertainers! A good game to have missed and one for the boycotters!! But if this remains the future under Mr Ashley, thanks but no thanks!

  4. Rob Douglas says:

    I felt that it was a justified tactic, to an extent. I’d have liked us to have had a go 5-10 minutes earlier than we did because we did create a couple of chances then. There’s have been no point attacking and being 5 down by half time. However, it was rubbish to watch and can only be justified very occasionally. It didn’t really do much to keep out the cold. There was a lot of effort and I also think Joselu did really well. He won a lot of headers and flick ons but, sadly, no one ran onto them. I thought he did as well as he could have done. Hopefully, he’ll do the same against Brighton, Stoke and Swansea and someone will get on the end of the flicks and score! The next 4 games could really set up the season in a positive manner!

  5. Axwell Park Mags says:

    An alternative match report…
    United lined up unchanged from Saturdays great win. Obviously buoyed by that result, they forced Citeh back from the off. Four minutes in though the inevitable error happened with a slack Toon pass was punished with a lightening break. De Bruyne netting – cant believe no-one saw that coming. Six minutes later and more of the same. A third was added before h-t as Citeh continued to be given freedom of the park. Whoever boos the side off at h-t when paying best side in league needs to give their head a shake. Second half kicked off and it appears half the crowd prefer another pint to watching this. Citeh add another two, completely knacking our goal difference and the game ends with barely 10k in the Stadium.
    For the record, I thought the first half set-up was first-class, limiting their clear-cut chances and us being totally focussed and disciplined. No silly/cheap free kicks conceded and effective closing down . We did have moments with corners and Aarons chance. This allowed us to be still in the game at 80 mins when we opened up a little – much like Liverpool home – causing them a couple of moments and seeing them see out time by wasting it. Funny how an 18 game winning run plays on you….
    Topped off by Guardiola & pundits moaning about our tactics – really, what did you boys expect? Our manager is way too clever for that, and you.

  6. David Saunders says:

    Totally agree with Axwell above. If we’d push high up the park Citeh would have just hit us on the break and we would have lost by 5 or 6. As for Guardiola moaning about us sitting deep, well it’s up to his team to break us down. He was only pissed off cos they weren’t 5-0 up with 10 mins to play so he could relax in his dugout instead of remonstrating on the touchline worried we might equalize. Rafa got his tactics spot on and I for one quite enjoyed the game even though we lost.

  7. So Mr Ashley now seems to have got many of our fans to just accept things as they are. If you were really satisfied with that display, then Ashley can rest happy. Rafa is excused -Ashley is not! If that is the limit of Newcastle United’s ambition then you have given up.

  8. Stephen says:

    No he has not got us to ”accept things as they are”. We accepted a situation for one game Peter.

    You don’t go no more ?
    Save yourself the bitterness then and don’t watch it on Sky either, you sound like Gary ‘bitter Red’ Neville.

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