Last season it was injuries and lack of discipline that ravaged the Newcastle squad, and as well as suffering more injuries than any other side in the Premier League, we also lost players like Daryl Janmaat, Mike Williamson and Papiss Cisse, among others, because of their lack of control on the field.
Tim Krul saving from Theo Walcott
And now in the first four league games of this season we have had two players sent off in the first half against two strong sides – Swansea and Arsenal – and that basically wiped out any chance we had in those two games – which we lost 2-0 and 1-0 respectively.
Against Arsenal today it was another wild tackle by Aleksandar Mitrovic, and while it looked to be a poor decision by referee Andre Marriner, the slow motion videos do show that Aleksandar went in high with his boot just above the ankle.
If Newcastle do decide to appeal, we’re now sure it will be turned down.
So Aleksandar has picked up two yellow cards and one red card in his first four league games, and last week at Old Trafford was the only league game he went without getting a caution.
He already seems to a marked man with Premier League referees.
We also picked up six yellow cards today, so it seems the players need to get a grip because because we cannot keep throwing games away by going down to 10 men.
Yes, it helps Newcastle supporters that we can blame referee Andre Marriner, who did not have a particularly good game – but if our players don’t get a grip quickly – how many sending offs will we have this season?
2 points from the first four games is not great, but the two games we lost we had a man sent off, and apart from the game at Swansea, the team has looked good and the defense seems to be a vast improvement on last season.
It seems like the coaching of young Ian Cathro is already having an impact with the defense.
It will be important in the next few games to start picking up wins – and the only way we can do that is to have 11 men on the field.
Steve McClaren could take an honest look and see if our players are simply being too aggressive at times.
The truth is if we keep getting players sent off then we are being too aggressive.
It was another huge disappointment today, when we were reduced to 10 men after only 16 minutes, and now we have two weeks and two days before we play our next game at West Ham.