✅ NEW 1–2 CRY
✅ EVE 0–2 NEW
✅ The impact Graeme Jones has made so far
✅ My thoughts on NUFC’s business this transfer window…
✅ NUFC v SOUTHAMPTON Match preview
Welcome to The Weekly NUFC Update. Today I’ll be talking about the 2–1 loss to Crystal Palace, my thoughts on the Everton win, how I think Newcastle did this transfer window and I’ll end with a match preview ahead of this weekend’s Southampton game. Do follow my page for regular Newcastle United content- let’s get into it!
NEW 1–2 CRY: The start of the game was just extraordinary- Jonjo Shelvey scored within 70seconds. It was a dream start but unfortanately didn’t continue as positively…
Negatives: Half an hour in, Newcastle’s missed opportunities were piling up and it wasn’t looking great despite leading. Newcastle players were failing to clear their lines and Crystal Palace looked comfortable in possession. As I anticipated (just twenty mins in) Palace equalised. A few minutes later they doubled their lead. I don’t feel Newcastle responded well to this- the side were a far cry from the solidity and resilience shown in the Everton clash. I feel this loss brought me back to reality- I was very encouraged by the display at Goodison park (I’ll talk about that in depth after this). For both goals, Karl Darlow was left exposed, Newcastle were wasteful with their chances; a clinical edge would have made all the difference. The new attacking approach was certainly clearer than recent weeks and if the players were able to convert chances they could well have found the back of the net at least three times. Instead, they threw the lead away and carelessly conceded two goals instead. The lack of disciplined defending over that five minute period in which the goals were conceded, took Newcastle back. It is a shame given the hosts had 61% possession overall and made 5 shots on target but ultimately they couldn’t effectively respond to Crystal Palace’s lead. They were unable to break Palace down and overall, it just didn’t look like building on that positive Everton display was going to happen.
Positives: Despite the above criticisms, I don’t think this Crystal Palace defeat was as woeful as NUFC’s performances over the course of the recent winless run. A couple of players who really put in a good shift were Isaac Hayden and Ryan Fraser for example. Again, Hayden was an anchor of the midfield. As for Ryan Fraser, he put in 20 crosses! However, the team evidently lacked quality in the final third to get back into the game. Once again, Callum Wilson deserves a mention- he assisted Shelvey and had his chances. Miguel Almiron’s energy, again, was just outstanding. He looked so focused and determined to not go down without a fight. Watching him play in his preferred role now is just fantastic. He looks comfortable and familiar. It is a shame it took us this long to place him there.
EVE 0–2 NEW First thoughts: Firstly, when the line up was announced my first reaction was frustration. I half expected the set up to be five at the back. When Newcastle switched to a 4 2 3 1 in the Leeds game, they were playing better football and I was hoping to build on that. Secondly, I wasn’t best pleased with Jonjo Shelvey starting again in the middle of the park. It just hasn’t been working in my opinion so I would’ve liked to see a change there. Especially as Hendrick doesn’t play well in 5 4 1. There’s Matty Longstaff, for example, who I think deserves gametime instead. Anyways, I soon realised that Isaac Hayden was playing in the middle which reassured me a little as the team later demonstrated how promising they look in a system where every player is playing in their correct position.
I noticed early on that Graeme Jones was looking involved and this was refreshing to see given the new attacking approach which I’d not seen for a long time. He looked hands on. 30mins in I was pleasantly surprised by the performance. Newcastle still needed to make their chances count but I was feeling encouraged by what I’d seen so far. Possession was pretty even and there was a clear fight and desire through the way our side were playing. At half time I was just wondering how much of a part Graeme Jones had to play in this improved performance- the squad were looking more organised, demonstrating the ability to press high, like I said, we actually had players playing in their correct positions and it showed (for example, Isaac Hayden in the middle). The magpies needed composure in the final 3rd but I wasn’t hiding behind the sofa like I have done in recent weeks. I was actually enjoying watching us play. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I felt that...
In the second half, Newcastle were still looking fairly comfortable in possession. The fluidity in play had vastly improved because of it. There were bodies in the black and white stripes in the box but a little more edge was needed. At the point I felt the game was screaming out for some much needed Allan Saint Maximin creativity. Ryan Fraser then came off and Allan Saint Maximin made his way on the pitch. Finally, in the 73rd minute, Callum Wilson found the back of the net and we took the lead (deservedly so). The precision and power on his header was superb. My nerves kicked in in the dying minutes of the game. We’ve seen late defensive collapses in the past and I held my breath. Callum Wilson looked like a man on a mission though and I was impressed by the support around him too. There was no complacency. Another goal was inevitable really, then in the 93rd minute Jamal Lewis set up Callum Wilson to bag his well earned brace. Wilson said in the post match interview that he was disappointed not to got a hattrick- I just love that kind of attitude! More than the unexpected three points, I was just delighted to see the Magpies play with desire and fight. Even if it had ended on a draw, I would’ve still been happy with the set up and the cohesion that I saw at Goodison Park. We’ve criticised the lack of this for so long, the pressure was on I had almost doubted our sides ability to play in this way. Without the right direction and organisation I didn’t see how we could promptly form such an effective set up. Yet we did and Graeme Jones must have had a valuable part to play in this fresh approach. Yes, Newcastle lost to Crystal Palace however, our side showed signs of this attacking approach and it’s a step in the right direction. The deep rooted issues with our brand of football and style of play aren’t resolved, however, I am grateful and appreciative of these small changes..
- One- being the desire and set up to attack
- Two- the fact our players are being played in their correct positions. Look at how Almiron played against Everton- he was just brilliant. Play him in the right position and look how sharp he is? He linked up well with Wilson and the sheer speed on him is unmatched. Against Crystal palace, again, in his natural position we were getting the best out of him.
So, although I’m disappointed we couldn’t build on the momentum of the Everton display, I wouldn’t say I’m totally deflated and negative about the Crystal Palace result. Did the side lack creativity last night, yes, was there also a lack direction when three strikers were on the pitch? Yes, BUT I do think the side looked slightly better than previous displays (before the Everton win). For that reason I’d like to think we have something to work on. The players will be encouraged by how solid and effective they played against Everton. It would have boosted the morale and it came at a time when they needed it most. Weeks of tactical criticisms and a poor winless run. I just hope it’s inspired them to re-attempt it in forthcoming games because they proved they’re more than capable of scoring goals and winning games as a unit.
My thoughts on NUFC’s business this transfer window…
I wish I had more to say about NUFC’s transfer activity this window but the truth is it wasn’t very eventful. The club had a lot of deadwood to shift, the reinforcements were always going to be limited to loan deals and I thought the priority should be getting a creative, attacking midfielder. I’ve said in recent articles that the lack of service to Callum Wilson has been appalling and the Magpis need a bright, midfield spark to help with that. I’ve covered weekly videos duscussing NUFC’s transfer targets like, Fikayo Tomori, Deli Alli, Brandon Williams, Hamza Choudhury, and so on, however, the club ended up finalising on just one loan deal. That was for Arsenal’s Joe Willock.
Willock has struggled for gametime under Arteta. He’s scored just once in 40 top flight appearances for Arsenal but I understand he has bags of energy and potential with the desire to play first team football. So, he’s pretty much with us to get comfortable at Premier League level. Young blood is all well and good but is he a guaranteed upgrade to our side? We will have to see. After the names I’ve been discussing for the past few weeks this is an underwhelming outcome in my opinion, given the other targets the scouting team were enquiring for. I understand Newcastle were also interested in signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal as well, but West Brom beat us to it.
DeAndre Yedlin completed his permanent move to Galatasaray, which, if it were done sooner, could have freed up a place in the squad for incoming deals. It wasn’t finalised until around 6pm on deadline day which wasn’t ideal.
I feel it was a fairly quiet transfer window for most clubs due to finances, the current climate with the pandemic but I think Newcastle’s business this window was nowhere near enough. I’d like to think we have big plans for summer transfers!
NUFC v SOUTHAMPTON Match preview:
I’m going to finish on a quick word on our upcoming game this weekend against Southampton. As I’m sure you’re aware, they lost 9–0 to Man United last night. This is their second 9–0 defeat in two seasons. During the Man United game, The Saints had TWO players sent off! Jankewitz and Bednarek. So they’re both suspended for the Newcastle clash, not to mention their side are going through an injury crisis right now. In addition, they’ve lost their last four Premier League matches. The humiliation of such a heavy defeat doesn’t help. If Newcastle doesn’t use these issues to their advantage and come away with three points- I will be disappointed. If our side turn up with the desire to attack and dominate the game, if they show fight and organisation like the Everton game, I’ll enjoy watching. If the Magise could put up a display like that against a dynamic Everton side, we can do even better against a troubled Southampton side. Newcastle have to win this. They must use it as an opportunity to bump up their goal difference. Despite that 9–0 defeat, Southampton’s goal difference is still better than Newcastle’s! The Saints are currently on minus 7 and the Magies are on minus 14! Although I’m trying to be optimistic, I wouldn’t underestimate Southampton- a comeback performance could be on the cards. In terms of squad changes for Newcastle, if Allan Saint Maximin is fit enough I would love to see him start. He would, undoubtedly, help the team with pace, energy and much-needed creativity. I know he wasn’t necessarily on top form before he caught the virus but I feel right now he’s hungry to get involved in the action after being out for so many weeks. In addition, I would start Martin Dubravka. I think the time is right to reinstate his role in the team. He showed against Arsenal that he doesn’t need time to settle in, he’s ready to return to his prolific form inbetween the sticks. No disrespect to Karl Darlow- he certainly out performed in Dubravka’s absence, but he’s looked slightly shaky recently.
Okay, I’ll stop there. I hope you enjoyed this weekly Newcastle United update! Do comment below your thoughts- tell me what you think about the Crystal Palace defeat, the Everton win, NUFC’s transfer activity, what do you expect this weekend against Southampton? Comment it all below! Thank you for reading and follow my page for more football content.