This Man Looks A Completely Different Player This Year

After our third home win in a row yesterday Rafa was intervir=ewed by the BBC, and the manager stressed that it was the calmness demonstrated by the Newcastle players that got us the win.

We have a young side, and even after going ahead with 10 minutes to go we could have done a little better maybe at containing Huddersfield and slowing the game down.

But that’s being hyper-critical, and we have seen how many of our players have improved this year.

Mo Diame – in action for Newcastle

Mo Diame in central midfielder looks a master in that position, and he’s leading in our Man of the Match poll.

Mo has been outstanding for Newcastle since the start of the year.

His partnership with Jonjo Shelvey allows Shelvey to go forward more as Mo protects the back four and he splits up the opposition play all the time.

And Mo came off injured yesterday with a foot injury, but since he ran off, we assume it’s not too bad.

This is what Rafa said about the tremendous win to BBC Sports after the game:

“It was an important game and we needed to win. They are a good team, well organized.”

“We didn’t take our chances and in the second half there was a risk we could be caught, but we stayed calm.”

“Ayoze Perez was doing a good job. He needed to stay calm in that position, move around the position and take his chance.”

“It was a great atmosphere and the team and fans together are stronger.”

“40 points is the figure we are looking for and that’s it.”

Here’s where we are in the league at the moment.

11Crystal Palace38-1044
13West Ham38-2042

Who Was Newcastle's Man Of The Match Against Huddersfield?

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Things are looking up at Newcastle.

Comments welcome.

149 comments so far

  • giimps

    Apr 1, 2018 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #1

    Can’t see us needing 40 points, a few of the teams below us have to play each other and can’t both win

  • ArtyH

    Apr 1, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #2

    Unreservedly agree, and being one of Diame’s most harsh critic’s am please he has turned things around, very well done. Just wish Perez could do the same, he for me was poor again yesterday except for his involvement in the goal, which was very good. I think the criticism of Gayle is out of order, his efforts were very close and we should not forget he was a major factor in our promo last year, without him we may not have gained EPL status.
    Kenedy and Slimani were very good yesterday, great to see the big lad get on the pitch. Think we could even surprise a few and end up mid table, now that would be a bonus.

  • hibbit

    Apr 1, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #3


    4o points would be nice just to make a job of it !!!
    but as you say probably not necessary the the way things are going

  • AncientC

    Apr 1, 2018 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #4

    I remember Allardyce saying he could manage Real Madrid or Barcelona. Odd, Allardyce has for the first time been given a talented squad, and it’s business as usual for Allardyce. Avoiding relegation wouldn’t win you many plaudits at Real Madrid or Barcelona.

  • c-dog

    Apr 1, 2018 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #6

    Gayle and Perez were sloppy yesterday. Gayle should have scored and Perez got caught in possession a few times. But both gave Huddersfield the run around. Sometimes players have an off day but it’s important to keep working and be disciplined. And both did and were integral to us dominating the game.

    Big Mo was immense yet again.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Apr 1, 2018 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #7

    Will Ndidi be banned when we play Leicester? He is a key player for them and I think we can beat them if he doesn’t play.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Apr 1, 2018 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #8

    Games to play…teams near bottom
    Arsenal v Stoke City

    Arsenal v Southampton
    AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Huddersfield Town
    Chelsea v West Ham United
    Leicester City v Newcastle United
    Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur
    West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City

    Crystal Palace v Brighton & Hove Albion
    Huddersfield Town v Watford
    Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion
    Newcastle United v Arsenal
    Southampton v Chelsea
    Swansea City v Everton
    West Ham United v Stoke City

    Arsenal v West Ham United
    AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur
    Chelsea v Huddersfield Town
    Everton v Newcastle United
    Leicester City v Southampton
    Manchester City v Swansea City
    Stoke City v Burnley
    Watford v Crystal Palace
    West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool

    Burnley v Brighton & Hove Albion
    Crystal Palace v Leicester City
    Huddersfield Town v Everton
    Liverpool v Stoke City
    Newcastle United v West Bromwich Albion
    Southampton v AFC Bournemouth
    Swansea City v Chelsea
    West Ham United v Manchester City

    AFC Bournemouth v Swansea City
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United
    Everton v Southampton
    Leicester City v West Ham United
    Manchester City v Huddersfield Town
    Stoke City v Crystal Palace
    Watford v Newcastle United
    West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur

    Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion
    Huddersfield Town v Arsenal
    Liverpool v Brighton & Hove Albion
    Manchester United v Watford
    Newcastle United v Chelsea
    Southampton v Manchester City
    Swansea City v Stoke City
    West Ham United v Everton

    Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United
    Swansea City v Southampton
    West Ham United v Manchester United
    Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion

    An awful lot of teams in the bottom 9 from the TOON downwards have to play each other

  • posada

    Apr 1, 2018 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #10

    The bookies have us as 25 to 1 now for the drop.
    They have it all worked out.
    I hope they are right.

  • posada

    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #11

    Some folks in the crowd were getting frustrated.
    However, I can see what he is trying to do. He is trying to nick it past the defender. Get on the ball and create something. In the final third you have to try things to make a difference, otherwise you never create a chance. It will only come off once in 4 if you are lucky.
    My concern is that he trys this occasionally in areas where he should not. In deeper areas where the other team can break.
    Touch wood, but we seem better now at not over committing to attack and being done on the counter.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #12

    I read through the blog to catch up on the comments and as I do think to myself, mmmh interesting, I’ll comment on that. But when I actually get to that point I’ve forgotten what has been said.

    Word of advice to you youngsters of 70 years and younger, either don’t get old or write down what it was you wanted to say.

    Now what was that about notes again!!!

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #13

    Oh, yes Perez, I’ve always appreciated his work rate and mentioned this umpteen times, now if only he could up his dribbling skills he’d be in the truly world class levels. Been able to beat another player in a one on one situation is essential in the position he’s playing but sadly he so often falls short of this. Having said that he’s well worth his place in the team and I’ve always picked him in the Rafa bingo.

    As for Diame I believe I can claim to have been his biggest critic on this blog and I’m still not quite able to believe that he is the same person but his transformation from an ugly duckling to a Swan is amazing and I’d be looking to get him onto a new contract now if I was Rafa.

  • G

    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #14

    EGB, Perez’s off the ball contribution has been invaluable this season. When we have scored this season more often than not its been him pulling the defence out of shape. For some reason it just wasn’t happening for him yesterday. Thats maybe down to the way Huds were set up. He would still be one of the first names on the team sheet if I picked the team.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #15

    My prediction of 10th is looking good now but 52 points although still get gettable is unlikely.

    I saw it mentioned that Chelsea a going to table a 30m (my new Chinese made yellow key large lettered keyboard doesn’t have a pound symbol) in the Summer for our Captain, bastids will probably be allowed to have him by a certain money grabbing no names mentioned someone. 🙁

    And I’m now regretting not going for my original thoughts on POS, shudda picked Shelvey same as I did last season, although I suspect he could be pipped by any of Diame, Lascelles, Ritchie or the most deserving of all imo, Dummett.

  • Steve Le Sleeve

    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #16

    someone else commented, as Benitez has, that Perez does right kind of things but goes largely unnoticed.

    Didn’t Diame’s upturn in form come about after Lascelles lamped him in training? It also begs the question why Rafa insisted at playing him as a no.10 until turn of the year.

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #17

    Cracking result yesterday to follow up the 2 previous home wins. We are in good form,just at the right time. We are staying up for sure.
    MOTD highlights didn’t do full justice to our dominance but no worries.
    No fault attached to anyone calling for Perez to be subbed halfway through the second half. I reckon not many in the ground would have disagreed if he was hooked, but there you go he pops up with the telling finish, so fair dos to him and Rafa 🙂

    Side issue: have to laugh about Mark Hughes. He could well be responsible for two of the 3 teams to be relegated this season!

  • G

    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #18

    Sitc. I reckon they are both down like. Bottom 3 as stands will go I think.

  • Bambams

    Apr 1, 2018 at 1:10 PM

    Comment #19


    West Brom are gone and even with the top motivator in Pardew they won’t improve …..(haha)

    Southampton can’t buy a win

    Stoke need something today but I still can’t decide between them and Southampton

    Then Huddersfield appear to be all the pundits favourites for the drop.

    Leaving Crystal palace who again are not pulling up trees.

    As long as we are safe is all that matters.

    I am going for West Brom, Southampton and Huddersfield.

  • G

    Apr 1, 2018 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #20

    I would have said Soton were more likely to turn it round, then they appointed Hughes, who is so out of touch with modern football I’m amazed anybody would believe he is employable. Like you say tho, as long as it isn’t us, who cares.

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 1, 2018 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #21

    Austin coming back for Saints might give them a chance, if he stays fit for a change,but I doubt it.
    As has been alluded to before, they may be paying the price for continually cashing in on their better players..

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 1, 2018 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #22

    Aah, It does have the £ but no symbol denoting it. 🙂

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 1, 2018 at 1:52 PM

    Comment #23

    Fully agree with co commentator about this Arsenal game. They are barely going through the motions. Hope they play like this against us!
    The Emirates is a silent stadium set the best of times, but today it’s deathly.

  • jane

    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    Comment #24

    Huddersfield lost their first 5 games of 2018 scoring just 1 goal then they won the next 2. they seem to be able to win from time to time including two 4-1 wins, a 3-0 and beating Man Utd. i would be surprised if they don’t win 1 or 2 of their remaining matches to just manage to stay up.

  • jane

    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #25

    Arsenal’s match on Thursday against CSKA is much more important.

  • Jib

    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #26

    We have to hope the Mucovites
    knock Arsenal out .

    Then when we play them a fortnight
    today all their players will have their flipflops on.

    We are playing them 3 days after they have a trip
    to Russia anyway

  • yorkymag

    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #27

    I hope your wrong
    Any team that has a six pointer as important as yesterday and does not even try and play football deserves to be relegated
    They were terrible kicking ,cheating diving simply terrible

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #28

    Perez getting stick again . I’ve been saying for a few years that he closes down well and leads the defensive press Well, and cleverly with good angles. He could play for a decent Spanish team in a less physical league . If rafa rates him then either rafa is wrong or the guys who slag him off are wrong. That said, next year I did like to see him as an effective sub number 10 to help close out games and work defences as a sub with higher energy off the bench.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #29

    Having just watched the 1st half of the Arsenal game, with the tackles going in from both sides Arsenal could well have a few in the treatment room nicely in time for our game. There is a possibility for some red cards as well.

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #30

    Ideally I’d like to see saints and palace to be the other 2 to drop down. Hudders to stay up, they’re from up t’north after all.
    Then wolves and Boro up, suppose it looks like we will have to accept another Welsh team as Cardiff are going well. But you can’t have everything!

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:39 PM

    Comment #31

    G, Hughes is one of those tools who never praise the opposition or accept blame. ” Mark, you lost that game 4-0, where did you think you lost it” …Hughes wud reply….”We had a free kick in the first two mins near the box that wasn’t given….” I hate guys like that. In his favour he got stoke 9th 3 times in a row which takes ability.

  • jane

    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #32

    “We have to hope the Mucovites
    knock Arsenal out .”

    i think it is better if Arsenal knock Moscow out to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League so they will be both tired from their trip to Moscow and still focused on the Europa league.

  • tommotoon

    Apr 1, 2018 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #33

    I cannot understand for my life why Southampton appointed Mark Hughes as the manager to try and keep them up after he was sacked by Stoke because they were doing so badly they should at least have had someone lined up when they sacked whatsisname.
    Can’t see Hughes winning anything including this seasons FA cup can’t see how a miserable git like him can motivate players

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 1, 2018 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #34

    They have been on a downward spiral, making poor decisions since at least the time they sacked Puel. So thankful we have Rafa, and that he amazingly stayed with us down in the Champ, with Mike Ashley to put up with, when you look at the likes of Allardyce, Lambert, Moyes etc managing established PL clubs.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 1, 2018 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #35

    It’s like some sort of Footballing Freemasonary, must look if the have one leg on their tracksuit bottoms rolled up and if they give each other funny handshakes when they greet each other.

  • Thump

    Apr 1, 2018 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #36

    @tommotoon: As sing said, they’ve made terrible decision after terrible decision. The players just don’t look interested, and Hughes is certainly not the man to do that; he’s hardly an inspiring personality, let’s be honest.

    Now, onto yesterdays game:

    1.) Perez didn’t have a great game. He had some great runs, and passes in the first half for about 10 minutes, and then he dropped out of the game. One of the more worrying things was seeing him running into the same position as Gayle for a few chances. Mind, he does have a habit of being in the right place at the right time at least once per game, and it worked well for us. Despite my criticisms of him, he was bullied out of the game which definitely made him look worse than he actually was. Bringing on Atsu was a stroke of genius by Rafa, because his pace distracted the Huddersfield players, giving Perez more room to work in – hence the goal.

    2.) Gayle will be remembered for his missed chances, but he’s in the right areas, and seems to be playing with a bit more freedom. He was running their defence wild for a lot of the game making sure they couldn’t let their eyes off him. Wasn’t any great surprise when he got hooked.

    3.) Atsu actually ran. That was nice to see.

    4.) Diame. Enough said.

    5.) Slimani didn’t get much of a sniff (tired legs didn’t exactly help), but some of his runs were fantastic, and what a reception he received just warming up. Very interested to see more of him.

    6.) Huddersfield. What a disgrace they are. 11 men behind the ball at most times, even during goal kicks they had two outfield players behind the ball, and when they weren’t trying to stop a game of football breaking out, they were throwing themselves to the ground at every opportunity. Time wasting, trying to wind the lads up (which worked with Kenedy after 80 odd minutes of nibbling at him), and just poor sportsmanship in general. A good few teams seem to be using this tactic lately, and it’s bloody awful. I’d have been embarrassed to be one of the travelling support after seeing them ‘play’ like that. On the topic of Huddersfield…

    7.) Aaron Mooy. What a game that lad had. I counted 3 shots that he managed to throw himself in the way of, before I forgot to keep count. He was all over the park, and honestly should have been a MotM contender.

  • tommotoon

    Apr 1, 2018 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #37

    sing in the corner
    If only we can get new owners that can see the potential of the club and invest with Rafa at the helm we can only live in hope.

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 1, 2018 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #38

    To be honest I’m not feeling very optimistic about Mike Ashley selling the club. It seems he wants more than everyone thinks it’s worth and I suspect it’s not going to be any more straight forward if and when our PL future is assured. Will he just recalculate, and add another, say, 50 million or so onto the new value.. But is anyone going to pay ‘over the odds’?


    Apr 1, 2018 at 4:07 PM

    Comment #39

    jib and jane what we want for arsenal is a close game at home with moscow .i am just waiting on the match with leic is over to lump on against arsenal. today is the 6th anniverary of my biggest ever individual bet at 13/8 against lpool when enrique had to go in goal and we won 2-0

  • lochinvar

    Apr 1, 2018 at 4:08 PM

    Comment #40

    Stoke 0-1 down to a poor Arsenal and its taken a 75min penalty for the Gooners to score. Lets hope we can take them apart when they visit SJP.

    Increasingly looks like two midlands sides West Brom and Stoke are heading down to be replaced by at least one midlands side Wolves, maybe two if Villa make it via the play offs. Boring.
    That leaves one relegation space vacant and maybe we could do with one less London club be it Palace or West Ham. However Southampton and Huddersfield seem to be the most vulnerable at the moment.

    Once we’re mathematically safe do you think Ashley might visit the ground ? Preferably to hand the keys over to Amanda


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