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News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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This Aspect Of Newcastle’s Game Improving All The Time

8:51 am, Sunday, September 11th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 14 Comments

Yesterday’s 2-0 win at Derby County was our fourth shutout in a row and we have only conceded 4 goals in the six league games this season so far – and that’s the lowest in the Championship along with the leaders Huddersfield Town and Brentford.

And for a side who conceded a massive 190 goals in the last three seasons in the Premier League that’s  a refreshing and massive improvement, to say the least.


Rafa Benitez greets captain Jamaal Lascelles after the game

We remember when Rafa first joined Newcastle on March 13th and he said that improving the defense was easy, but that creating and scoring chances was much more difficult.

Improving the defense maybe easy because it’ s about organization to a large extent and defending against set plays.

And in his 10 games in charge last season Rafa did improve the defense and in fact finished with a goal difference in those 10 games of +4 and conceded 12 goals.

Premier LeaguePlayedWonDrawnLostGFGAGDPoints

At the moment our goal difference is +6 after 6 league games and it’s the best in the Championship.

In our seven games in all competitions this season we have had four clean sheet and that augers well for the future.

In particular, the back four and goalkeeper Sels looked comfortable yesterday and as we had hoped we are now seeing Matz settle in at Newcastle.

The Belgian had another good game yesterday and made two huge saves for us when it really mattered.

If Matz keeps improving then Rob Elliot is going to find it difficult to replace him once Rob is fit and he will need to be at his very best.

But that’s why Rafa has forced such an improvement at Newcastle this season, because of the intense competition for places.

We could even have fielded a completely different starting 11 yesterday and maybe we would have done just as well – such is the competition for places in the squad.

Here’s an alternative starting team for yesterday.

Gamez Hanley Clark Lazaar/Haidara
Hayden Tiote
Yedlin Perez Atsu

That’s got to be good for the team and maybe as the season progresses we will see better performances.

It’s interesting to note that Newcastle have played only one of the teams in the current bottom 11 of the league – and that was Derby County yesterday, who were higher up the table before the game.

Before yesterday we had not played any of the clubs in the bottom half of the table.

So we hope we can keep getting the wins and keep climbing the table – although we are now in second place and 4 points behind Huddersfield.

It’s starting to look promising, but we will keep our feet firmly on the ground, after all that’s happened over the last terrible three seasons.

Once bitten twice shy.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Other News

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 expatmag // Sep 11, 2016 at 8:56 AM


    Read your excellent report from a couple of threads back and couldnt agree more with you regarding Colback.

    People need to understand his role in the team. Time and time again he pressured the Derby player and forced him back. He won tackles and when he got the ball, he kept it simple by playing the easy pass and retaining possession.

    A bit like those who castigate Dummett for his attacking deficiencies should remember that he is a full back who rarely keys us down defensively and is exceptionally effective in covering others.

  • 2 lesh // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:03 AM


    So who was the first US player to score in the Prem?

  • 3 expatmag // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    If Mike Ashley had any sense, he would offer Rafa and his staff 5 year contract extensions now with the aim of achieving xhampions league status in 5 years

  • 4 expatmag // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:07 AM


    Amazi g if true but I would have thought Claudio Reyna may have scored in the PL before that for Man City or Sunderland

  • 5 Novocastrian66 // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    Dummet constantly concedes possession by lumping the ball anywhere He seriously needs to work on his passing ability which should come automatically to any player at this level and above. He has to improve this area of his game as it is letting him down badly.

  • 6 SA Toon // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:14 AM

    I’ve just watched the Sky Sport footage posted by Rod Knee and it shows wave after wave of Derby attack with very little from NUFC other than the two goals. It makes it look like we were lucky to win. From the stats though, I see that we had more shots at goal, more shots on target and more corners than they did. Is the footage misleading as to the way the game went?

  • 7 Novocastrian66 // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    The first US national to score in the Premier League was Roy Wegerle. I think.

  • 8 Jib // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:19 AM


    You have Mr Tuff syndrome

    The question was :-

    I wonder if Yedlin is 1st US citizen to score for the Toon

  • 9 Jail for Ashley // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    You only get eight year deals if you agree to finish no higher than tenth and throw cups and play mind numbing football, Rafa will have to make do with three years at a time

  • 10 Blofal // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:25 AM

    SA Toon

    We were not lucky to win at all. We gave them possession and they had a few shots at times but we looked very comfortable in defence.

    It’s exactly the kind of game we would have lost 3-1 last season.

  • 11 Harley // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:26 AM


    I watched the whole match and it was a pretty even game but we looked like we had that extra bit of quality. We never looked in danger of conceding. The only scary moment was when colback bumped the player and he went down in the box. Would’ve been harsh but we’ve seen them given.

    Typical performance from a team which will most likely win the league. Didn’t play great, scored 2 goals and never looked like conceding.

  • 12 ballerfan2 // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    I totally agree about Colback and Dummett, 2 players who are fully deserving of their place and had excellent games yesterday – or do some people still consider their judgement more valid than that of Rafa?

  • 13 SA Toon // Sep 11, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    Blofal / Harley Thanks. I’ll try and pick up the full game later in the week. It’s great to be able to genuinely look forward to matches again, just massively frustrating not getting decent live footage. When we’re in the EPL probably 50% of our games are broadcast live, now we’ll be lucky to get more than two or three games. Guess I’ll have to start saving my pennies to make the journey to SJP!

  • 14 stephen1971 // Sep 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    another 3 points in the bag, back to back away wins so no complaints here, the team will only get better over the season but they are starting to gel nicely now, the rotation will keep the players fresh too while other teams tire when we,re deep into the season, mon the toon

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