NUFC Monthly Review 2017/18: September

With the transfer window firmly closed, football got underway in earnest with players settled at their new or current clubs; knowing where they’ll be playing their football until January. The first international break of the season with teams resuming their world cup qualification campaigns and the Champions League group stages started up again. PSG may not yet know the repercussions of their summer spending in relation to financial fair play but on the pitch, they have been in scorching form.

11 Football Developments: September
  1. 200px-Paris_Saint-Germain_F.C.PSG started their Champions League campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Celtic at Celtic Park in their first group game before humbling Bayern Munich 3-0 I Paris resulting in the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti. Celtic responded by defeating RSC Anderlecht 3-0 in Belgium.

2. That opening round of fixtures also saw Barcelona defeat Juventus 3-0 in a repeat of last seasons semi-final read more

Match Thoughts: Newcastle United 1-0 Crystal Palace

Even before kick-off for the ninth round of Premier League fixtures, the league had its second managerial casualty of the season. Leicester City parted company with Craig Shakespeare after only 6 months in charge following their 1-1 draw with West Brom. Quite naturally, they won their next game; 2-1 at Swansea City. There were also shocks as Brighton won their first away game in the Premier League defeating West Ham 3-0 prompting speculation over the future of manager Slaven Bilic while Huddersfield Town defeated Manchester United 2-1. Chelsea narrowly avoided another scare coming back to defeat Watford 4-2 at Stamford Bridge. Super Sunday threw up the anticipated classics of Everton vs Arsenal; the away side winning 5-2 at Goodison Park and Tottenham Hotspur defeating Liverpool 4-1 at Wembley.

England Headcoach Gareth Southgate in attendance sat alongside Managing Director Lee Charnley and in close company of Sting and Jimmy Nail, a poor quality game fitting for Southgate's presence [Image from NUFC.com]
England Head coach Gareth Southgate in attendance sat alongside Managing Director Lee Charnley and in close company of Sting and Jimmy Nail, a poor quality game fitting for Southgate’s presence [Image from NUFC.com]

Unfortunately, as a Newcastle United fan, I find myself discussing one of the low scoring games and arguably the one of least quality as it took 73 minutes for either side to register a shot on target. It was perhaps fitting then that England head coach Gareth Southgate was in attendance and no sighting of Amanda Staveley after the businesswoman entered a period of ‘due diligence’ in the days leading up to the game. read more

F1 2017 Mexican Grand Prix Preview : Can Hamilton do it?

I have missed a couple of Grand Prix since commenting on F1 so I would like to start this post with a brief overview of what I missed in the Far East Double bill before delving into the second part of the America’s double bill; starting with Malaysia:

2800px-flag_of_malaysia read more

Match Thoughts: Southampton 2-2 Newcastle United

Premier League match-week 8 started with the much-anticipated clash at Anfield between Liverpool and Manchester United. Both teams had scored in each of their previous league games this season so naturally, it ended in a goalless draw. Elsewhere, the Premier League saw 28 goals scored in the other nine games as Manchester City thumped Stoke City 7-2, Tottenham Hotspur got their first league victory at Wembley thanks to Christian Erikson, Watford surprisingly beat Arsenal and Crystal Palace’s wait for a league goal ended as they surprised Antonio Conte’s Chelsea at Selhurst Park; coming out 2-1 winners.

Newcastle United lineup to face Southampton at St Mary's
Newcastle United lineup to face Southampton at St Mary’s

Newcastle United travelled to St Mary’s to play Southampton in the late Sunday kick-off (the third time in as many league games). Rafa Benitez made two changes to his starting 11 from that which drew 1-1 at home to Liverpool. Isaac Hayden replaced Mikel Merino who was on the bench having played for the Spanish U21 side in midweek and had signed for the club permanently. Florian Lejeune started alongside Jamaal Lascelles while Ciaran Clark was on the bench having featured for the Republic of Ireland during the International break. It was the Frenchman’s first start since the opening day of the season. read more

Match Thoughts: Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool

As September turned to October, the Premier League had its last round of fixtures before the second international break of the season; determining which nations will head straight to Russia next summer or will see their fate decided in the dreaded play-offs. Burnley have now scored more points away from home than they did last season following their 1-0 win at Goodison Park against Everton, Kevin De Bruyne scored a big goal as Manchester City defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Crystal palace still have zero goals and points following their 4-0 defeat at Manchester United and Harry Kane ended the month with 13 goals in all competitions for club and country after scoring a brace as Tottenham Hotspur won 4-0 at Huddersfield Town.

Newcastle United line up vs Liverpool
Newcastle United line up vs Liverpool

In the final game of the weekend, Newcastle United hosted Liverpool at St James Park in the Sunday 4.30pm kick-off. Rafa Benitez was facing Liverpool for the fifth time since he left Anfield in 2009 and made two changes to the starting line up that lost at Brighton. Chancel Mbemba was not in the squad and Isaac Hayden was placed on the substitutes bench. Two former Liverpool players came into the starting 11 with Javier Manquillo starting at left-back and Jonjo Shelvey partnered Mikel Merino in central midfield. read more

Match Thoughts: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Newcastle United

We saw another entertaining weekend of Premier League football the other week with 29 goals over 10 games. Tottenham Hotspur just got over the line against West Ham; winning 3-2; Manchester United edged past Southampton thanks to Romelu Lukaku;s 6th goal in as many games; Manchester City ran bottom of the table Crystal Palace ragged and Chelsea demolished Stoke City 4-0 and Liverpool just got past Leicester City at the King Power Stadium as Simon Mingolet denied Jamie Vardy from the penalty spot.

Newcastle United lineup vs Brighton
Newcastle United lineup vs Brighton

The only Sunday game in the Premier League saw Newcastle United travel to the AMEX Stadium to face Chris Hughton’s Brighton& Hove Albion. Having made the 345-mile journey to the South Coast, Rafa Benitez named an unchanged lineup from that which beat Stoke in the previous game. That meant Joselu retained his place up front having missed a hatful of opportunities against his former club while Mikel Merino stayed in central midfield alongside Isaac Hayden with Jonjo Shelvy on the bench. Aleksandar Mitrovic served the last of his three-game suspension. read more