Newcastle’s Achilles Heel Now Becoming A Real Concern


After the rather significant trials and tribulations of the last three or four years and especially the last couple of seasons, most Newcastle fans were hoping this season would be a fairly calm one when we would win a lot of games and we would get that automatic promotion back to the Premier League and as soon as possible.

Everything looked like it was going quite well a week ago after we had beaten Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium having also beaten Brighton 2-1 in the previous game at the Amex Stadium.

However, two games later and we only got a draw at Reading – probably the easiest of the three successive away games against top five opposition – and then we played maybe our worst game at St. James’ Park all season yesterday and were well beaten by Fulham 3-1.

A frustrated Rafa Benitez on the touchline yesterday

Newcastle seem to be able to beat teams who we are not expected to beat – but not win against teams we are expected to beat – that’s frustrating to say the least.

We have 9 games to play and five of those games are at home and those are the ones that will worry Newcastle fans, simply because our home form this season is turning out to be our Achilles heel.

That’s almost the polar opposite of last season when it was our away form that was very poor – when we won only two games away form home.

Next up at Newcastle at home are Wigan on April Fools Day – and how many Newcastle fans feel comfortable we can win that game – after losing to Wolves and Blackburn at home already this season?

It should be a home banker – but our players seems to be getting a little nervous these days – at least at home – and that’s got to be very worrying at this late stage of the season.

This season we have played 18 games at home and lost five and drawn two – so we have dropped 19 points in those 18 home games.

It’s a different story away from home and in 19 away games we have lost three  and drawn three – so we have dropped 15 points in 19 away games.

We are a better team away from home than at home and lately in our last five home games – all in front of crowds of over 50,000 – we have won just two and drawn two.

So that’s only 8 points from five home games and that’s 7 points dropped in the last five home games and 4 of those points were dropped against QPR and Bristol City – two sides in the lower half of the table with Bristol currently 4th bottom.

It will not be good enough if we continue with this home form.

So our players need to start stepping up to the plate, because with Huddersfield seemingly in terrific form, an automatic promotion place is now in distinct jeopardy.

And knowing our luck these last few years, getting promotion via the playoffs has to be a long-shot at best – not to mention the further shattered and frayed nerves of Newcastle fans everywhere.

It’s not the time to panic, it’s time for our players to man up and deliver promotion for the club – that’s the very least our (very) long-suffering fans deserve.

Did we say supporting Newcastle United was always very difficult and they never do things the easy way?

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69 comments so far

  • ShirebrookToon

    Mar 12, 2017 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #1

    Repost**

    Charlie

    I also thought we looked tired yesterday. Half a yard off the pace and very one dimensional. Hoof ball to Gayle who’s about 3? 6? don’t work. If Yedlin had been fit the young lad on the left wouldn’t of had half as much joy on the left. Hayden is a big miss too!

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  • RUNAWAY777

    Mar 12, 2017 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #3

    Time to go back to basics passing and movement off the ball looking for that killer pass which is missing now need to address this before its to late and two or three player need dropping might just waking them up.

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  • GenralHez

    Mar 12, 2017 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #4

    UTTER DISGRACE.

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  • banjax

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #5

    The same players at Brighton and Huddersfield played very well and got points in the bag. So yesterday’s Fulham match was pretty much a blip and sign that they feel pressure when they play at home. We all just have to try harder on match day to try and make the lads more at ease by giving as much support as we can. But please stop all this doom and gloom just because we lost a game because that reaction is counterproductive.

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  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #6

    Shire brook runway
    Lets get the birmingham game out the way hopefully a win and with the International break recharge the batteries and maybe
    just maybe try a couple of games behind doors with two up front i.e. Gayle, Murphy or Mitro, Gayle, even Gayle Goufran and bring Mbembe back in the frame if not away.

    Got to try something different at home.

    Away fine but or home form is going to cost us – so far 19 pts and still five left at home

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  • Clematis

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #7

    I think we need to put into perspective that we are still top of the league. And effectively 7 points clear of 3rd.

    I was at the game. Yes, we were pure crap. But Fulham were excellent.

    However, I cannot condone ‘fans’ leaving on 60 minutes – that sh!t should be saved for the cnuts down the road.

    Murph needs to lead the line on Saturday. This would be my team with Ritchie at #10 and Gayle coming in from the left, which he’s played many times:

    Darlow

    Mbemba – Lascelles – Clark (or Hanley) – Dummett

    Shelvey – Diame

    Atsu – Ritchie – Gayle

    Murphy

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  • RUNAWAY777

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:19 PM

    Comment #8

    Charlie in the Gallowgate your spot on a win at Birmingham and a good rwo weeks training bro

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  • JamesToon

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #9

    Fulham were so much more fluid and better with the ball it was unbelievable, we’ve shown we can be like that in the first half of the season we just need to do it more at home, the pragmatism can come away from home

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  • JamesToon

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #10

    Fulham have 2 playmakers in their team, Cairney and McDonald, both dictate the tempo and that’s why we need someone else other than shelvey

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  • ShirebrookToon

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #11

    Charlie

    Couldn’t agree more. Something needs to change st home

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  • Nufc-83

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #12

    The problem is we don’t have this no10 type player who can take the ball under pressure and play linking passes before looking for the killer pass. We have been one dimensional for months. Richie would be the best bet in that position but it then leaves us short of quality on the wing however gouf and atsu can do a job in this league.

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  • hibbit

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #13

    Charlie
    100% with you on the change of tactics at home i was shocked just how bad we were we looked like a bunch of no hopers not table toppers no focus no energy no effort no determination no guts no pride but most of all no plan
    i can honestly say i never heard one person call for Rafa’s head
    i was even more shocked when i read through some of the quite hysterical comments on here that appeared during the game

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  • yorkymag

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:56 PM

    Comment #14

    When is Hayden back

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  • hibbit

    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #15

    end of the month its hoped !!!

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  • yorkymag

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:01 PM

    Comment #16

    He is massive to us
    He gives more balance in central midfield and has an engine the size of a bus
    He is still raw but has been a major Miss particularly at home

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  • sing in the corner

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #17

    Sickener of a game yesterday. I’m only just back on the blog for the first time since midday Saturday, and I can’t believe how little credit Fulham have been given for their approach, tactics and execution of game plan.
    They retained and passed the ball very well until the score was 3 nil then thankfully took their foot off. We couldn’t get near them in the first 40 minutes. This wasn’t helped by Diame being at least 10 yards off the pace at any given time. He is so inconsistent, and not at the races yesterday.
    The other thing was Colback sitting off their midfield, 15-20 yards too deep most of the time. Don’t think this was what Jack was told to do, but think Shelvey looked disinterested and did zero pressing or tracking back, so Colback dropped off to occupy the spaces Jonjo was leaving.
    Very disjointed and slow team, in fairness Fulham just took full advantage.

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  • toontaff2

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:43 PM

    Comment #18

    Clematis, spot on.
    Why do people bother turning up, at all, if they leave so early? The same ones left after 60 mins against Norwich!

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  • sing in the corner

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:44 PM

    Comment #19

    Heading away after the game, had radio Newcastle on and heard their post match interview with Rafa..
    I’ve never heard him sound as gutted. But amongst other things he highlighted us making mistakes leading to the first two goals, described the players as knowing what they had to do ‘…but they didn’t do it..’
    Can be interpreted in several ways of course but my guess is he was referring to the Shelvey and Colback problem in midfield…and Shelvey’s repeated (failed) attempts to play straight balls over the top that Gayle had little chance to catch up on, with their keeper sweeping up 5 yards outside his box, constantly turning possession over to Fulham.
    And he probably hoped Diame would get involved in the game instead of drifting round 30 seconds behind the ball most of he time.

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  • toontaff2

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:45 PM

    Comment #20

    Well done Fulham
    They outplayed us, deserved to win.
    We actually had more shots on target and more shots overall, though, even with 38%possession! Stats, eh!

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  • Clematis

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #21

    Toontaff2 🙂

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  • sing in the corner

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #22

    Fulham pinged the ball round, had us spinning with quick, one touch passing. We had to work so hard without the ball, chasing shadows mostly.
    Last few games Jonjo hasn’t been up to the high standard we have needed from him just to get us on the front foot in games.

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  • RUNAWAY777

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #23

    I’ve said that Shelvey has not been at his game lately when he loses it and get himself sent off that will be the end of our promotion push as we seen over xmas as no proven midfielder to replace him.

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  • sing in the corner

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:55 PM

    Comment #24

    …and when he isn’t landing those killer passes, you start to notice that the rest of the team is having to carry him round. It’s all or nothing with him, love his beautiful passing range etc but he needs to make more all round contribution in my opinion.

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  • yorkymag

    Mar 12, 2017 at 4:58 PM

    Comment #25

    Sing
    I think you are spot on but wonder how much he is missing Hayden
    I think it’s a hell of a lot

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  • RUNAWAY777

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #26

    Fulham just took us apart from start to finnish they deserve all the credit going, me personally say well done yous deserve a play off spot after that performance good luck.

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  • sing in the corner

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:05 PM

    Comment #27

    Maybe yorky. But not sure there is much to choose between Hayden and Colback pound for pound. Maybe Hayden has time on his side.
    One things for sure, when Jonjo has an off game, both look very ordinary. Such is our reliance on him to create and drive us forward.

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  • hibbit

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:06 PM

    Comment #28

    the main thing i picked up on with fulham was they always had a spare man always one of there players free and looking for the ball they alway looked up for the job with a bit of fight in them and they definitely were not overcome with the occasion
    were as we looked like a rabbit in the head lights

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  • sing in the corner

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:06 PM

    Comment #29

    runaway
    Pleased you are apparently laying off the copperburg this afternoon..

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  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:07 PM

    Comment #30

    Singing in the corner

    This is what I posted last night when got in plus I had a right go at our set-up tactics.

    FULHAM – Absolute JOY to watch totally outplayed the one trick ponies
    FULHAM – not one of the TOON players would of got in that FULHAM team that turned up today.

    From the goalkeeper out showed us how to play football – keeper at every opportunity pass to fullbacks who came short and wide built from the back made it look simple pass and FU**IN move not like our static prima donnas.

    All look comfortable on the ball not like us.

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  • toontaff2

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:11 PM

    Comment #31

    I think those of us left feared Jonjo might see red! Fortunately, none of those smelly/dirty Wolves players to abuse!! He was certainly close to the edge when he got booked -looked an angry man!
    Think many were hoping Ginger Pirlo would get booked!
    Ritchie has done well to avoid his 10th yellow, but is far better on the right.

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  • RUNAWAY777

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:12 PM

    Comment #32

    Barton still playing well could still have done a job for us he would have rattled a for players love him or hate hate him he gave us a 100% in games

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  • toontaff2

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:13 PM

    Comment #33

    Their keeper looked dodgy in the first half when we actually pressed and nearly carried the ball into his own net, once.

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  • hibbit

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:14 PM

    Comment #34

    trouble is charlie a few on here lumped your comments in with the lunatics who were posting on here during the game
    i read through them this morning and it’s total madness some of the things that folk say
    runaway you don’t come out of this smelling of roses !!!!

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  • ShirebrookToon

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:20 PM

    Comment #35

    Definitely miss Hayden. He’s the only player that can actually carry the ball from midfield. He also creates more space for Shelvey to get into the ball and dictate play. Colback just runs round fouling people and is not forward thinking

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  • sing in the corner

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:23 PM

    Comment #36

    Charlie
    Yes I saw your post too. But for me Fulham’s good play influenced that result far more than Newcastle being awful. They were too good in possession. When we weren’t able to get the ball and wouldn’t come out of our shape to change that, Rafa did probably wait too long to alter our set up.
    I can’t disagree that we do need to offer something different in home games. For me Diame can’t play off the striker when he’s in lazy mode, as he was yesterday.
    And those calling for him to go in midfield with Shelvey…as with everyone else who partners him, he will find himself having to cover large areas and graft his nuts off for 90 mins cks Jonjo won’t cover the ground..

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  • sing in the corner

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #37

    *cos Jonjo won’t cover the ground

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  • RUNAWAY777

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #38

    I dont want to come out of this smelling of roses I say what I think I would not think of putting anybody down with there opinions well all bar jail can be doing with shit i seen that rafa messed up yesterday and no substitute till to late I don’t ask you or anybody to stick up forme i say what I want it’s called freedom of speech.

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  • hibbit

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:26 PM

    Comment #39

    don’t think it mattered who shelvey had playing next to him yesterday
    he just didn’t look interested just couldn’t be arsed like he more important things to do

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  • RUNAWAY777

    Mar 12, 2017 at 5:31 PM

    Comment #40

    sing in the corner deffo mate work to tonight down the toon till 1am then a few before bed have a good night

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