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Shola Comments
They're terrified of winning.
Between more takeover talk, more evidence the strikers at the club aren't fit for purpose, and all the other crap, can't really see this season being anything other than just never ending tedium.


Tbf our tactics rely on us having Didier Drogba upfront. - They don't work unless we have Didier Drogba.

Just focus on finishing 18th. I think we can finish above Huddersfield and Cardiff. - Southampton may get caught in but they'll get a short term bounce for sacking Hughes and that'll get them up to the 32 points or so needed. - There's also the fun possibility of being relegated with the best goal difference ever.

I'm certain we're playing a strikerless formation anyway. - Joselu as a number 10 with Perez in CM and Shelvey & Diame as DM's
I would rather have Gayle - though he was actually excellent in 2018 - he'll never be prolific but his all round game was actually very good. - I do like Rondon but I tolerate non-scoring forwards a lot more than most. Dubrakva and Kennedy were very good last season.

tbf that's a them I'd rather have Merino/Colback than Ki, Mbemba rather than Schar or Fernandez, and Mitrovic and Gayle than Rondon and Muto.

But the team beat practically everyone from January onwards - and we've still got that team plus four more. - We've only sold players the manager expressly didn't want.

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Brighton are my tip to struggle - they may have made the classic second season sign better but more unsuitable players - see also Chris Hughton's Norwich - when they brought in Hooper, Fer, Van Wolfswinkel and Redmond and everyone said they 'won the transfer window'.

My God - remember when a £25m splurge which includes Gary Hooper was considered a coup?

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Burnley also they give away loads of shots - but barely concede - and they now have a goalie who can't dive to his left - as well as Europa games to contend with
Yeah Pards certainly turned round some awful ends to the season and we're normally fine by September.

I know I sound like a broken record - but I feel like Newcastle are just a PR machine for Benitez. He's the first manager ever to need 'talks' every season. He has a contract - he should honour it or offer his resignation. For example do you expect to hear Chris Hughton imply he will leave if conditions aren't met?

Succeed and it's all down to Benitez. Failure and it's Ashley.
I'll be slightly more generous and say 7/10 for the black & whites, because we don't really have the most amazing squad, and the spring run that booked survival has been fantastic, but the run of form between Halloween and Christmas was soul crushingly shit, and the fact beating Arsenal has been the cue to slack off is disappointing.


We're 90% likely to end a season on a five game losing run. - Big issue that it may carry into the new season. - And could easily finish 15th or so. For what it's worth we got 46 points the last time we came up under Hughton/Pardew. And got 41 points the Europa season. And 49 points the season Remy, Sissoko, Debuchy etc. clocked off after Christmas.

I think the squad is an excuse - the vast majority have played in the top flight reasonably successfully or are easily good enough to do so. Pretty much every member of the squad would get offers to stay in the PL.
6/10

Absolutely awful for the vast majority of the season. A good six weeks in spring though.
Can't believe Benitez' pre-match chat about how his squad are all shite and he's the greatest manager ever who deserves trophies.

Always thought Javi Gracia looked a good manager - but he took off his centre forward and replaced him with Adrian Mariappa - and then but no pressure on the ball - and allowed Newcastle all the time in the world to create attacks, - Really awful tactics.
Think we're playing very well. Feel like Newcastle are finally getting the Benitez we were advertised.

Still annoying the coverage. - On the radio on the game 5Live kept referring to everything negative as Newcastle and everything positive as Benitez. - Benitez was still manager when we went on a length losing streak. He deserves tremendous praise for the run of form after Christmas - but with that he's also accountable for poorer results.

England need to take Mo Diame to the World Cup!
Dubravka was class - Although suspect more lucky than good - but it doesn't matter.


But yeah positive performance today. First one since maybe Pardew. Just wish we could play more like that more often. Everyone was outstanding. Diame Ballon D'or 2018.
Guardiola has spent £698743653m on players and still only names 6 subs today, must also be a great confidence boost to a lot of the youth players there knowing that your boss would rather have less players in the matchday squad than put you one the bench.


I feel for the fans. After this and refusing to pay the money for Sanchez. - You've got to question the ambition. The board needs to go.
What a chore this season is turning out to be.

Irritatingly, there'd have been a bit more security had either the lead been preserved or Joselu could finish.


Kennedy looks really great. - We've finally replaced Sammy Ameobi

And tbf - well on top - take off your best player - and sit back against a team with little aside about them aside from pumping balls into the box.
Didn't know that. He'd have been good for you.

Think you'll be able to stay up if you don't sign anyone else? Could you see Rafa walking out?


I'd say we're in a perverse position right now - Giving Benitez any money increases the chances of relegation. He'll sign a shite GK and a shit centre-forward - that send us backwards. -Before scrapping it - and going back to Joselu and Elliott.

Should be able to survive - but we have a manager more interested in making excuses than managing a football team....

Rafa's clause apparently expires at the end of the season. So he can fuck off then and go to West Ham or Getafe or whoever the fuck will take him.

Yeah but that's the point. Benitez completely unnecessarily bought a GK - who was worse than what we've got. - And he seems determined to do it again.

Against Swansea - the 'megafans' were eager to point out that Benitez' team was a 'Championship' one - and their wrong conclusion was Benitez hasn't made any signings generally don't improve on what we had. Like if we sign Dubravka - that's £10m on Goalies - who are worse than two reasonable ones we've got - which could be spent elsewhere....Then again the glamour signings of Lejeune, Gayle, Ritchie and Murphy suggest it would have been wasted anyway.


Anyway if we do sign Jorgensen and Dubravka - that means we will have spent roughly £70m - with only unwanted players Hanley and De Jong sold - for about £65m net. - Benitez will still be viewed as above criticism and everyone will say he hasn't been backed.
Jorgensen and Dubravka both seem worse than what we've already got.

Dubravka has 9 caps for the Czech Republic. Everton legend Jan Mucha has been number 1. - Jorgensen seems like a much worse, less prolific Mitrovic.

I think Benitez might have actually lost it years ago....
According to Wikipedia her career makes no sense;

She buys a restaurant near Newmarker > Meets rich Arabs > Borrows money off them to open a Conference Centre > Sells 50% to EuroTelecom - who go bust claiming Conference Centre owes them money > Conference Centre goes bust > Moves to Dubai and opens a hedge fund. - At some point Liverpool seem unimpressed with her.

Looks to me she's started negotiations with Ashley - and then looked to people to essentially buy her the club. She's either got no money or doesn't want to spend it on Newcastle.

Martin Samuels, David Conn and Luke Edwards all have interesting articles - which all seem to some extent suggest the thing is a sham.

It seems sad that some people are still desperate for this - The Chronicle are still discussing how Newcastle are going to spend the £200m that Stavely is going to invest ffs.
It's for the best. - Stavely is a bullshit merchant. - Everything she's associated with fails. At least Mike Ashley is risking his own capital. - He's tied to us whether he likes it or not.


The Newcastle-Brighton game sounded horrific, according to the reporter who was there for 5 Live.

Utd 0-0 Southampton FT. Chelsea 2nd now.


Yeah - genuinely amazed Benitez got stick for midweek - for almost scraping a point against Man City - but never gets criticised for complete non-performances like today. I think Darlow, Dummett, Lascelles, Joselu and Hayden are the only ones who put in acceptable performances. Yedlin has also regressed to one of the worst full backs in the league.

Good to see Knockeart is still shit though.
I thought he'd already been put in the reserves before Benitez rocked up, then wanted to go back to France after the demotion as Thauvin and Cabella did, but only came back last summer because nobody wanted him. Its still a pleasing way to find the option is there. Whether or not he'll still be about when Hayden, Merino and Shelvey return... who knows.


Saivet was apparently sent straight to the reserves - as was Doumbia.

Ah Thauvin. - Benitez sold a guy who's probably worth £50m for less than he bought Matt Ritchie or Jacob Murphy.
Saivet was apparently banished to the reserves by Rafa for two years....

And yeah I'm a bit skeptical about the injuries - looked to me that Benitez is stunting to try and 'prove a point'
While not quite as comfortable as it could've been judging by the internet/Sky, a win for the first time in too fucking long is all good. Very nice as well to see Diame and Saivet do good things after all the half-arsed performances of the former and the latter's virtual anonymity.


It's a Christmas Miracle. No Shelvey and Hayden, and Newcastle look a team transformed. (Also more solid without Lejeune)

Rafa will be fuming thought - with Elliott saving a penalty. - and I wonder how injured Mitrovic, Lejeune, Merino and Hayden actually are?
It's a bit weird how Alan Pardew's biggest fault according to some Newcastle fans is now that he doesn't make enough excuses
Can someone please explain to why Newcastle being shite makes Benitez a world class manager again?
Would highly recommend Nathan for You - First few episodes are on Sky Demand bit at the moment if anyone has access to that

Genuinely hilarious.
He's literally passed the ball and landed on Bellerin. Does no one play football anymore and actually use context? - People's criteria for a red simply seems to be if it looks bad in slow-mo or a still photograph.


I'm not really paying attention at the moment - but has this not been overturned? - One of the all time worst sending offs.
It was never a red in a million years
Love Richarilson - A proper snide cunt. Truly shameless.


Anyway can't score, can't defend, and Mo Diame was our best outfield player
Good to see Benitez back to his best and firing up the PR machine - such organisation skills and efficiency when it comes to blaming someone else.


Isaac Hayden played all right - but he seems to offer no actual protection when Newcastle are under pressure. He seemed to disappear against Bournemouth and did so again. Lejeune still looks a donkey to me - numerous bits of questionable defending. Jacob Murphy is still a raffle winner. Shelvey actually ran a football game (for 30mins) at least - one of his few games where he doesn't flatter to deceive. Gayle looks sharp.

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What did Scotland do in a past life then?
I think Drogba would struggle to score 10+ goals in this side with our tactics.

fwiw Mitrovic got 9 last time......
Benitez is taking us down. (again!)

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