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

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Howay The Lads!!

Di Matteo Praises Villa – Has Good Words For Newcastle Too

5:26 pm, Monday, September 26th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 29 Comments

We’ve always thought Roberto Di Matteo was a very good manager from the time he was the young 39 year-old manager of West Brom, when we were both pushing for promotion in the 2009-2010 and both achieved the two automatic promotion spots with Newcastle finally coming out on top with 102 points.

It seems as if it will not that easy this time around, but that first half performance – even the first 70 minutes – saw Newcastle play some good stuff but we missed far too many of our chances.

The game should have been won at half time – but it wasn’t.


The two top managers on the sidelines on Saturday
Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez

In his summary of the game on the Aston Villa web-site Roberto rightly praised Villa for their comeback over the final 20 minutes of the game – and he also praised Newcastle who he believes are very good.

This is some of what Roberto had to say after the game:

“I think certainly the second half was very good. We really put them under pressure, especially the last half an hour.”

“We created a lot of good opportunities and got ourselves into very good positions but just missed that man at the end of a cross or pass or pull-back. We controlled the second half much, much better. “

“We were more positive with the ball. We showed that we can turn a game around, even though we didn`t win it. We had plenty of chances to win it.”

‘Our challenge is to turn the draws into wins. We have drawn games and that`s what the table reflects. This is our challenge. We have got close a few times.”

“It was great to see the spirit from the team today – coming back from one-down to earn a draw against a very good Newcastle team that is defensively very solid.”

“We managed to create some good chances, equalized and tried to go on and win the game as well.’

There is a growing rivalry between Aston Villa and Newcastle United as we both find ourselves in the Championship – where neither club should be.

Our decline has been similar – we have had poor owners and the clubs have been ineptly and incompetently managed over the last several years – and both finally paid for that and took the drop last season.

How do Sunderland keep surviving?

Both clubs have hired top class managers, so we’ll just have to see how we fare from now on,  but with just 16 points form our first 9 games we had hoped to have more points on the board by now – but yes – the season has only just begun in the big scheme of things.

We still have 37 games to play – just less than a full Premier League season.

Next up are Norwich at home on Wednesday and they’ve won five league games in a row – so they are due a defeat.


Howay the Lads!!

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Tags: Championship · Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Poll

29 responses so far ↓

  • 1 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:36 PM

    Please Lord are people really going to clap on the 28th minute for Sels? Jesus wept

  • 2 Belfast // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:41 PM

    I don’t think he’s a very good manager 🙂

    I think it’s a toss up between him and Nigel Pearson another overrated manager for the first sacking.

  • 3 lesh // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:43 PM


    Just poster on the previous thread and missed this his ala Essex and Bobby.

    Ed, can we have a blog timetable please? 😉

  • 4 lesh // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:45 PM

    * posted and missed this bus ala Essex and Bobbybee

  • 5 lesh // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:45 PM


    What’s this about clapping on 28 mins?

  • 6 sing in the corner // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:48 PM

    agreed there.
    It’s the elephant in the room…
    Surely this minutes applause carry on is getting out of hand now. I respect all the people, families etc and they should be remembered / honoured appropriately. Is ongoing clapping for a minute each forever the way to do it?

  • 7 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:48 PM

    Minutes applause to ‘support Sels’ because he had some mean tweets

  • 8 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:50 PM

    Aye where’s it stop? Ffs man he just deleted his Twitter man haha

  • 9 Belfast // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:51 PM

    Lmao! Let me guess some hormonal teenage mutant on Twitter thought it would be a great idea ??

  • 10 lesh // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:51 PM

    I’ll go along with singling Sels out for a special appreciation, but why 28 mins? That’s crazy. All that’s needed is to call his name when he comes out of the tunnel.

  • 11 sing in the corner // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:51 PM

    How about we all turn up to the next game with gonads hanging outa our pants to suggest he grows a pair

  • 12 lesh // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:53 PM

    Belfast. The source of your apparent amusement’s being investigated. Now, with a view to eliminating you from those enquiries……

  • 13 Belfast // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    Howay lesh I’m to classy for Twitter!

  • 14 GeordieTwo // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:58 PM

    I think we can keep up with Norwich but the keeper issue has to be settled promptly. I would give Darlow the start against Norwich. Play Clark and Lascelles with Yedlin and Lazaar at the back. A midfield of Hayden, Diame and Gouffy. The number 10 goes to Shelvey. Murphy and Gayle to start up front. 4-3-1-2. Easily becomes 4-3-3 at home. Push them hard from the start but don’t fall into a defensive shell in the second half. Anybody who shirks gets replaced straight away.

  • 15 GeordieTwo // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    Also anybody who was abusing Sels on Twitter should be fonged immediately!

  • 16 cyprus // Sep 26, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    Didn’t this guy win the CL? Not bad.

    He was a tidy player too (great goal once) and seems a nice person.

    But, that was a lucky result for them. Talking about a win is a bit over the top.

  • 17 Munster Mag // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:02 PM

    Jail, not for the first time u have picked me up completely incorrectly. First of all, I saw the game, as it was on Sky. I said loss, because it felt that way, not because of Hail Ashley or whomever – I wasn’t on the blog so I wasn’t aware of his comments- I was watching the match! Re Pearson, I only wanted him assuming Rafa wasn’t going to stay with us. The job he did at Leicester was a good one and he will get Derby moving given time. As for Rafa, in my opinion he needs to release the attacking talents of this team more – because is we go 2 up, no team will touch us. But we sat back against Villa and deserved to be punished for a negative containing approach. Put it this way, if we were 2-1 down , we could have scored a goal in 5 mins. We have the best team and squad in this division by a mile, but Rafa needs to make more of it. if most fans had been asked pre season re losing to Hudderfield Wolves Fulham in such an early part of the season, the would deffo not have envisaged it. I also don’t agree with rotation for the sake of it . Rotation is for tiredness and consistency of selection will help the team gel more. Finally I think he has got it wrong re Sels. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Rafa , but he aint immune to criticism.

  • 18 GeordieTwo // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:02 PM

    RDM has to say something positive about his club. They’ll be luck to finish above 15th. As for us, we’ve got to get going now!

  • 19 WWSBRD // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:03 PM

    His number or something?

    Why single him out? Cos he’s been crap? Nar I will cheer him when he catches a ball as I would with any keeper

  • 20 GeordieTwo // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:05 PM

    We can’t go into the match saying how good Norwich is. We’ve got enough in the locker to beat them if everyone plays full out. Come on Rafa don’t get caught up in stubbornly starting players who haven’t played well so far. Leave them on the bench for a couple of matches at least.

  • 21 Jail for Ashley // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:10 PM

    Yes BandB, who’d have thought that relegation and a UEFAelite manager who seems to care about the fans and city just as much as KK would make me fall back in love with my club again. No matter what is happening right now people are still coming on to complain about something, if we’d only dropped two points they’d be moaning about something. I identified with he likes of JMiley as Ashley dragged the club through the mud and I have done more han my fair share of complaining about that. Now I’m starting to wonder if the likes of Jmiley, posada just e whinging for the sake of it.

  • 22 GeordieTwo // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:13 PM

    Adam Armstrong! Adam Armstrong!
    He looks good to me!
    Bring him back and play him in place of Perez. That should wake Perez up!

  • 23 Jail for Ashley // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:13 PM

    There seems to be some confusion about the Rafa bingo posts, I’ve asked people to wait until Ed posts the thread with the his team selection on it, I’m not sure where the two hour thing is coming from except the line ups can’t be posted after two hours before kick off.

  • 24 Jail for Ashley // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:14 PM

    They can be posted on any thread after Ed has posted his, it doesn’t have to be on that one.

  • 25 Lindisfarne // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:16 PM

    Can we leave the “flap coming” until after the watershed?!

  • 26 GeordieTwo // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:20 PM

    Conga line forms here!
    We want Adam Armstrong! Boom!
    We want Adam Armstrong!
    Boom boom, boom boom, boom, boom!

  • 27 Belfast // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:21 PM


    Good customer service would see me top with 10 points and a Costa coffee voucher for my bad Rafa bingo experience.

  • 28 Lindisfarne // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:24 PM

    I am going to cheat in the Long Comment Stakes, this is by John Ashdown @ The Guardian

    When Newcastle United previously visited Villa Park, on the penultimate day of last season, they drew 0-0 against the already relegated Aston Villa, slipping closer to the drop themselves as a result. Of the 11 United players who started that day, only two began here – Paul Dummett and Jamaal Lascelles – which says something about the level of turnover at the club over the summer.

    Rafael Benítez may have come away with another point on Saturday – and, once more, a sense of frustration after his side missed a plethora of chances to add to Tommy Elphick’s first-half own goal only to see Villa’s Aaron Tshibola nod in an 89th-minute equaliser – but now there is a sense of a club beginning to return to the front foot after four years of back-pedalling.

    No expense has been spared in the post-relegation rebuilding process. Matt Ritchie (£12m), Dwight Gayle (£10m), Grant Hanley (£5.5m), Ciaran Clark (£5.1m), Matz Sels (£5m), Mohamed Diamé (£4.5m) and Daryl Murphy (a reported £4m) have all arrived for fees that would make most other Championship sides wince, though the spree was in large part funded by around £70m of departures.

    For those signings it was a mixed afternoon, just as it was for Newcastle as a whole. Diamé, a peripheral figure throughout, and Gayle both missed simple chances that would have taken the game beyond Villa, while Sels was a shaky presence in goal and arguably at fault for the home side’s late leveller (the usual calm and considered social media response to which appeared to persuade Sels to delete his Twitter account on Saturday evening). Hanley did not make it off the bench.

    Ritchie, though, was a tigerish presence on the right of midfield, while Clark, facing his former club, dealt well with Jonathan Kodjia, Villa’s new £15m striker.

    “We have players with experience of the Championship, they know what it means to be in the Championship,” said Benítez, whose side sit in fifth with nine matches played. “The key for me is to be sure that we are consistent. We have to keep calm and work hard. Today we could see a great team in the first half, a great team creating a lot chances, that is what you are looking for. The final score means that we didn’t take our chances.”

    This fixture was something of a rare bird. For Villa (founded 1874) and Newcastle (founded 1892) this was only the fifth meeting outside the top flight, and their first since 1937-38. And it was the first ever meeting of two Champions League-winning managers in English football outside of the Premier League, Benítez having steered Liverpool to the trophy in 2005, Roberto Di Matteo doing so with Chelsea in 2012.

    This was a far cry from those career high points, though there were times in the second half when the 32,062 inside Villa Park cranked up the volume to a level usually reserved for more glamorous occasions. Newcastle’s cowed reaction to the increasing intensity irked Benítez as much as Villa’s response pleased Di Matteo, though with six draws in their past seven games, not to mention Jack Grealish’s extra-curricular issues, the Italian’s team do not yet share the same sense of renewal.

    As the Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden pointed out, there is no time to dwell on disappointment. While plenty of his players have Championship experience, Benítez does not and he will be learning fast that fixtures arrive in a rush. Norwich City, the league leaders, visit St James’ Park on Wednesday.

    Newcastle’s last two seasons in the second tier – 1992-93 and 2009-10 – both ended with the title. The expectation is that they will make it three in a row. The evidence of Villa Park, though, showed they are capable but that it will be no procession.

  • 29 welshgeordie9 // Sep 26, 2016 at 6:35 PM

    I think we will be lucky to get a draw on Wednesday, Norwich are not a bad side, much better than villa.

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