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Number 1 Comments
Newcastle's historically shit record at Southampton meant a point is something I would've taken before kick-off, but I didn't bank on leading twice, or Fraser Forster having an utterly dreadful game, or the Saints attack being pretty lethargic throughout. Still, its not a loss.

The penalty was a weird one - Lejeune did make contact with Long, so that alone isn't contentious, but there's a subtle kicking the ball out of play from Long before the contact that indicates more intent to get that as an advantage from a not-irredeemable situation. But then the referee made more erratic decisions, so... meh.
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My pessimistic nature meant I was sure Palace's first goal and/or points might come at St. James' next week... in hindsight goals today was probably more likely given how football usually works.
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Blimey that Joselu goal was ludicrously fortunate.
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Mightily underwhelming display, that. We weren't terrible defensively, and I did initially think Mbemba was fouled during the build-up to their goal, but we were poor offensively. Far too many shots on target that shouldn't have been.

Nevermind. We'll see if Liverpool's dodgy defence that'll have just come back from Moscow provides more returns.
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Missed the game but saw we picked up 3 wins in a row... again, maybe my pessimism was premature. I like this feeling.
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Considering Benitez's absence and more defensive injuries, I had low expectations but it was a good performance overall that probably deserved it. Swansea may not have looked great, but we did still do enough to pick the points up. Very nice to see both an early away win and a good back-to-back double.

Certainly, I can get used to seeing my pessimism disproved.
So Ritchie didn't get sent off why?

Guessing the fact he didn't make contact with Mawson helped. Tbf I did see some Newcastle fans on Twitter yesterday drawing a pairing between that an incident involving Huddersfield's Elias Kachunga and Mbemba a few weeks back. May help to get some consistent ideas out of the officials.

EDIT: Didn't realise Ritchie made slight contact with Mawson's arm... hmmmm. Again, consistency from the officials may well need to be made.

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noir et blanc armée

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Initially I thought it was a borderline yellow/red call, but a red is pretty justifiable.

Meanwhile, can De Boer really help it if his players are prepared to play wildly awful backpasses?
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Bet Barkley leaves on a free next summer anyway.
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Its Ashley-era Newcastle. I can't even pretend to be surprised anymore.
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Well... clearly the West Ham fans I read suggesting their team would provide an easy obstacle to overcome for teams in need of wins and goals turned to be correct.

Very satisfying to get off the mark after the misery this week has mainly been made up of.
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The rule needs changing as much as anything. I accept celebrations can be overdone to the point of aggravating opposition in certain contexts, particularly in derbies, but in this one, it feels wrong. Same with the shirts off rule.
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Chill your beans and enjoy the Premier League. 36 games to go.

Roll on the international break.
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Christ alive as if this season's start wasn't shit enough...

Incidentally why is the draw for the next round being done from Beijing at 4:30am UK time tomorrow morning?
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Don't think Merino-Hayden has even been the worst CM pairing Newcastle have put in the PL, let alone worst ever, although in truth it didn't play very well either (Merino wasn't awful, but still gets some marks taken off for letting Mooy get away before the winner). Diame coming on and passing straight to the ref was a definite downgrade further, mind.

It was a bit of a shit game all round, decided by the only real moment of quality and some inattentive marking. I think our bigger problem was going forward - just so lethargic for a counter-based strategy, when compared with the more streetwise and pacy feel to the tactics used when we won at Huddersfield in March.

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Hmmmm... like last week, did alright without threatening in the first half and fell to shit straight after half-time and didn't look like recovering. Which was understandable in the context of Shelvey's idiocy last week, but less so in this one.

Gonna be a bit of a chore of a season I fear.
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Our forward play has been really lethargic throughout.
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Because they've sold Lukaku and should still get reasonably big money for Barkley? - In fact if they get £35 for Barkley they will have a zero spend.

Although I've just seen Everton have signed Jose Baxter - that is surprising

Also that, but I think their owners are wealthy enough to afford this without such sales. Although I've heard Barkley's move might be on ice for the moment as he's injured his hamstring.

Baxter rejoining is weird, mind. They hopeful of a late resurgence where he massively belatedly matches his FM09 potential?
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The Premier League has been getting out of control since about 2014, but this year has taken the cake. Sigurdsson probably is worth that figure to Swansea because they wouldn't have stayed up without his goals and assists last season, but it is still outrageously over the top for Everton to fork that out. Feels weird to say Everton are overspending from wealthy owners, mind - got a bit used to Bill Kenwright saying they were skint or almost always having Barclays knocking at the door for repayments.

As for the Mags have signing Joselu, its a curious one that a not insubstantial quantity of Stoke fans seem to think he's their best striker given he's barely played for them and spent last year out on loan. But it still feels like we're continuing the weird cavalcade of "eh, might come good" signings that have already turned up this year, though least he seems to have joined for less than half the £12million figure banded around last week.
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There were a few positive signs, and I do wonder if Kane got away with one for the foul on Lejeune, but Shelvey has ultimately decided the game by behaving like an enormous bellend.
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I'd say Ruud Gullit with Rob Lee is the closer parallel than Souness-Bellamy. That was more a case of two abrasive personalities rubbing each other the wrong way over claims Bellamy refused to play out wide. Somewhat ironic given that's where Bellamy played a lot for Man City, Liverpool and Cardiff several years after departing St. James'.

Its an ugly business but it happens. More of a surprise of no Krul buyer, mind, although I'm guessing the injury problems and poor form since the mid point of 2013-14 don't help. I was assuming Saivet might creep in if Colback is sold, although it is likely someone else would just turn up if that happened. I thought Hanley had already left, which shows how little attention I was paying, Lazaar was a bit of a pointless signing, albeit kinda ok given it was from the "speculate to accumulate" school. The sell to buy ethos was the sympathy for Ashley, even if slightly eroded by then knowing he can be in a position to write huge cash for a property deal then saying "I'm not that wealthy" due to share dealings - values make it worth noting to take the words sceptically. Its a bit of a 1% problem to have.

Still, whatever. An extra striker given Gayle's dodgy hamstring, Mitrovic's lack of scoring and Murphy now playing for Nottingham Forest is the main thing. Don't think that's too much to ask for...
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If Conte wanted something to back up his calls for more investment, I think he has it. Fucking hell what a spectacularly shit start they're making.

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I think Benitez has really overplayed the challenge. - He's a miracle worker for scraping the Championship - Hughton who was forced to sell 10x what he signed - won after a 100 point season. The next year the club finished 12th with terrible managers Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew in charge - and a £23m 'profit' on transfers.

Like can you fucking imagine if Shelvey played out of his skin for 6 months was flogged for £50m and was then given Jonathon Douglas on a free?

tbf I suspect Ashley doesn't really care about transfer fees - I think he'll let the club spend what it can without him putting in further money. TV rights and player sales are generating ridiculous cash - transfer fees and wages are generating a tremendous cash drain. - It doesn't really affect him if a shite full back costs £2m or £20m really. - Maybe that Justin Barnes bloke is doing something behind the scenes to put the brakes on.

It might well be it was exaggerated, but the Championship this time felt tougher than it did in 2009-10. Either that or back then we had a more street-wise squad with some proper buggers like Nolan, Smith, Barton, Butt, etc. I'm not as bothered as I could be though - either way, we still got up and had the added bonus of winning the league. Wasn't perfect, and we definitely underestimated it far too often, but we did what set out to do.

I'm aware a snippet has just been released of an interview Sky did with Mike Ashley that is to be in full broadcast on Sunday after the Spurs game. Says he's not as wealthy as people think due to most of the wealth being in Sports Direct shares, and that he can't afford a £200m cheque for Rafa to do what may. A fair bit of the reaction from non-NUFC fans on Twitter seemed negative, curiously. Don't think it helps a report was out in another newspaper the other day saying he signed a cheque for £200m towards the redevelopment of some London properties. And even then, I was broadly sympathetic to the fact it was sell to buy but our sell list has few takers.

Krul is a bit of a surprise. Thought he might get a look in rather than no squad number and being told to go away.
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I'm getting bored of the bulk of NUFC seasons descending into a perceived farce on at least 5 different levels before its even started. Maybe one year it'll run smoothly enough.

I'm aware we're in a sell-to-buy scenario by virtue of being lumped with several unwanted players that takes us above 25 players, and its not hard to imagine Ashley's coldness towards an out of control transfer market, which is fair because the market is truly deranged, but the market is just one where £19million for Andre Gray, for instance, is the going rate. It all feels like another in a long list of Ashley gambles - hardly assuring given a lot of Ashley's gambles end up going badly

Not that I can say my expectations are that high anyway, given we're new boys with a weaker squad than 2010 and arguably weaker than the one we went down with, although this lot probably give more of a toss. Survival is good enough an ambition, and in all probability, it looks probably good enough for that. Maybe even something slightly better than 4th-from-bottom, if only because last season, 8th to 17th was split by six points, which is almost comically compressed. Not that I can agree with the post above, given the alternative for RB is back to the horseshit like McClaren or Carver. And that wasn't any fucking fun the first time around.

Anyway, I usually get this wrong, but...

1 - Man United - Lukaku and Matic are excellent buys, and they were very hard to beat last year. Can see them having what it takes
2 - Man City - Stronger than last year, but central defence remains far too reliant on injury-prone Kompany
3 - Chelsea - Morata is a decent replacement for Costa but feels like they're misfiring in comparison to last year
4 - Liverpool - May be a good tip for a cup but still lacking title challenge numbers. Although if Coutinho goes, might not be so rosy
5 - Arsenal - Not really convinced the soft-feeling factor to their defence has been resolved
6 - Spurs - Lack of depth and the Wembley factor are negative points. Did think they'd finish there last year though so could end up being wrong
----------------------
18 - Swansea - Sigurdsson looks like he's going, plus Llorente sounds like he'll be out for a while (or going Chelsea) and without a spree they look to have little alternative firepower
19 - Brighton - Would be impressive to see them stay up, but don't see much that the squad is likely to pull that off
20 - Huddersfield - In fairness, I didn't expect them to get promoted in the first place, so could easily see them defying such a doomy prediction and finishing the right side of the line

«This comment has been edited»
noir et blanc armée

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Tbf I don't really rate Joselu as a signing. Weirdly a fair few Stoke fans hate the idea of selling him, although I'm wondering if part of that is because they still haven't really replaced Arnautovic for goals, and their main alternatives for the attacking positions are the aging Diouf & Crouch, or Berahino, who has been shit since joining them. I liked keeping Atsu, but that's only because he did reasonably well last season.
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I'd have liked Haidara to do well after he recovered quickly from the McManaman assault in 2013. But clearly few saw Paul Dummett being a consistent first team starter coming. Shame but it happens. I was under the assumption Gamez was staying given his pre-season role, while I don't think Lazaar did anything. Surprised at Krul and Darlow being potentially on the "Go away" list, mind, even if the former wasn't exactly great in his last full year and a bit.

Tbh I don't recall major buzz about Riviere, but then he did arrive on the back of a half-decent campaign in Monaco (a phrase that's becoming more frequently in use this summer) so I guess the expectation was he might at least do something of use, rather than a few pre-season goals and one scuffed effort at QPR. Not that it matters now, mind.
They can because its clear the FFP transfer bans are absolutely useless, and clubs aren't scared of them. Had loads of bans recently and it barely makes a difference to teams.

As far as I remember, the only punishments UEFA ever really handed out were partial things like Champions League reduced squads and small fines, and even that's gone away of late.
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My expectations with Spurs is that the new stadium move and having to borrow Wembley means Spurs are probably not going to have as good a season as last year. But then I didn't think they'd advance on 3rd 16 months ago, so what do I know?
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I'm puzzled as to how PSG can afford this reported Neymar fee and contract.
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I like the navy/pink kit but the electric hoops is a bit more hit and miss for me.
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New light blue away strip for NUFC is smart, even if it has Puma's daft spotty sleeve stripe thing. Although I think it would've looked nicer with light blue shorts.
http://i2.chroniclelive.co.uk/incoming/article13343345.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/NUFC-away-kit.jpg

As for another newly promoted side clad in Puma gear, I can't tell if I like or hate the new Huddersfield away number...
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ur1fXHudsV8/WWt_suKDgcI/AAAAAAABQBw/nTJZKA0XTUEdtQZ30eukruBwtvETlRmsgCLcBGAs/s1600/insane-huddersfield-town-17-18-premier-league-away-kit%2B%25285%2529.jpg
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Not sure if Jacob Murphy is a £12million player, but the transfer market is increasingly nonsensical so figures Norwich would charge that and we'd pay it. Manquillo is a curious signing, although I guess we needed an extra full-back with Anita now a Leeds player and Gamez/Haidara/Lazaar being non-entities last season.
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