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MATCH REPORT – Newcastle 1-1 Norwich City: Clark sees red in opening stages as Magpies play out frustrating draw with fellow strugglers

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Credit: @NUFC instagram - SJP under the lights...

Newcastle are still searching for their first win after a defensive blunder on Tuesday night meant they drew 1-1 with relegation rivals Norwich City. 

It was a frustrating introduction to life at St James’ Park for Eddie Howe as Ciaran Clark saw red inside eight minutes after a piece of brainless defending. 

It was a strange affair under the lights as the Magpies once again lost ground in their battle for Premier League safety. 

After Clark’s dismissal, Fraser was sacrificed and replaced by Federico Fernandez.

Callum Wilson gave Newcastle an unexpected lead courtesy of a second half penalty, before Martin Dubravka failed to catch the ball from a cross and gifted the opposition an equaliser late in the game.

The ‘keeper then became a hero, making a vital stop in injury time to prevent the Canaries from taking all three points back to Norfolk. 

Howe was forced to make defensive changes as Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie served their one-match suspensions. This meant long-awaiting recalls to the starting eleven for Jamal Lewis and Javi Manquillo as the home side reverted to a back four. 

The new system was foolishly dismantled inside the first ten minutes of the game after Clark’s woeful clearance cannoned off Norwich striker Teemu Puki and prompted the Irish international to deliberately pull down his man who was through on goal. 

The home fans prayed for a VAR reprieve but it didn’t come.

Referee Andy Madley had no doubts and despite the ball coming off Pukki’s hand, the new ruling meant the decision wasn’t overturned. 

Newcastle’s 10-men dealt easily with a poor Canaries side who lacked any real attacking threat; Jamal Lewis blocked a shot from Striker Josh Sargent which proved to be the best chance of the half for the visitors.

Howe moved to a 4-3-2 set up and his side produced a couple of promising moments. Jonjo Shelvey fired over after loud shouts of “shoot” from the home fans. Joelinton followed suit moments later. 

Credit: @NUFC instagram – Joelinton put in a man of the match display on Tuesday evening

After an attacking run from Joe Willock on the left wing, the ball found its way to Callum Wilson inside the box who replicated his teammates and failed to hit the target. 

The second half began much like the first. 

But when man of the match Joelinton felt he was brought down in the opposition box, the fans turned on the referee. The 25-year old was incandescent and was right to be. 

Moments later his teammates were unified in their protests as Jonjo Shelvey’s corner found the head of Federico Fernandez. The ball fired towards goal before hitting the outstretched arm of Billy Gilmour.

After a long VAR review, Newcastle were given a lifeline. 

Callum Wilson converted from the spot to make it 1-0 to the home side. Tim Krul in the Norwich goal was visibly disappointed as he parried the spot kick onto the underside of the bar, before it hit the back of the net. 

Credit: @CallumWilson instagram – the striker was captain for the evening…

This gave St James’ Park a lift and seemingly with VAR, the more you complain the more likely you are to get a VAR call in your favour.

Unlike at Arsenal where a number of dubious incidents in the opposition box were ignored, the Newcastle players made a song and dance about the penalty claim – eventually getting the decision in their favour.

Now all that was left to do was keep the Canaries out for the remainder of the game and things were going well until the 79th minute.

Minutes before Newcastle made two defensive changes which saw Miguel Almiron and Isaac Hayden enter the fray in replace of a leggy Joe Willock and exhausted Saint-Maximin. However, this pragmatic move to a more structured line-up seemed to backfire instantly.

The ball was whipped in on the Norwich right towards the back post where Slovak goalkeeper Dubravka spilled the cross into the path of the onrushing full back who played a looped it back into the middle.

Time seemed to go in slow motion as the ball floated towards the penalty spot where it was met by Finish striker Teemu Pukki who placed an impressive volley into the top corner.

Now the question was if Newcastle could hold on…

The home side pushed for an unlikely winner as the majority of players looked dead on their feet, having gave it their all. However, the Magpies rarely threatened as the visiting Canaries bore down on the Leazers end goal.

Newcastle nearly served up another gift in stoppage time as Fabian Schar tried a ridiculous Cruyff style turn before being dispossessed by freshly substituted Pierre Lees-Melou who rushed towards the box.

His driven right-footed effort was saved dramatically by the outstretched leg of Dubravka who diverted the ball over the bar.

Some more mindless defending.

Despite a valiant effort from the ten-men in black and white, the result feels demoralising given the current predicament as Newcastle still search for their first win of the season.

Things were made worse by Leeds’ late winner from the spot in the other Premier League game on Tuesday evening, leaving Newcastle six points from safety and Watford have a game on hand in 17th position.

However, for fans to boo that performance given the context of the game is hard to understand – if you boo that you don’t know much about football…

Only Ciaran Clark has answers for his pathetic display of brainless defending, which from an international standard player is hard to believe. He was at fault for his clumsy tackle that gave Brighton their penalty a few weeks ago and wouldn’t be at any other forward-looking club but Newcastle have been a team lacking for too many years.

Yes, he’s a liability but he is not the only one.

Failure to keep clean sheets means the Magpies are heading in only one direction – towards the Championship. They have entered uncharted territory having failed to win on the fourteenth occasion this season, with no team ever reaching safety from that position.

All attention now turns to another must-win battle against fellow strugglers Burnley on Saturday afternoon at SJP. A challenging Christmas fixture list leaves Newcastle in a precarious position.

The Mags may already be too far adrift come January where Howe is expected to spend big in the transfer window.

Player Ratings

Dubravka (5), Lewis (6), Clark (0), Schar (6), Manquillo (6), Shelvey (7), Willock (5), Saint-Maximin (7), Fraser (n/a), Joelinton (9), Wilson (7)

Subs: Federico Fernandez (6), Miguel Almiron (6), Isaac Hayden (6)

Man of the match: Joelinton

Eddie Howe:

“I’m hugely disappointed we couldn’t get over the line and win the game, but I think we saw really positive signs in terms of defensive resilience and collective spirit. We’re going to need that for what lays ahead.

“In the cold light of day, Ciaran (Clark) probably would have made a different decision, but in that moment, probably an impulse has made him stop the striker and it probably is a red card.

“These things happen in the game, my immediate reaction wasn’t really to focus on that, it was to figure out very quickly what we had to do, try and find a solution to the problem.

“The last thing I wanted to do was take Ryan Fraser off the pitch, but I felt I needed to do that for the team. Fede (Fernandez) came in and I thought he was absolutely magnificent tonight.

“We were desperate for three points today. We’ve got the one, but I have to cling to what I’ve seen in terms of what the players have delivered, the spirit, giving more, maybe more than what they thought they were physically capable of. We’re going to need that in the battle that we have ahead.

“We know we need wins, draws aren’t going to be enough. But I think all you can do in every game is give your all and I think you saw a group of players who gave that tonight. I couldn’t ask any more of those players who committed to the task ahead so I have to be very proud and pleased with them tonight.”

Post-match thoughts? Are you happy with the performance? Who was your man of the match? Will Newcastle claim their first win on Saturday against Burnley?

Join in the conversation and have your say…

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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United

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North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..

 

“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”

 

Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.

 

What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

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Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?

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Newcastle

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

Let us know on our Facebook page!

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What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)

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deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.

 

Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.

 

With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?

 

Toon are charging for Europe

 

If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.

 

Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 

 

In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.

 

Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed

 

Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 

 

Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.

 

Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.

 

Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 

 

On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.

 

Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.

 

Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 

 

With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?

 

So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?

 

Join the conversation on our Facebook page …

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