Match Thoughts Double header: Newcastle United 2-3 Leicester City & Newcastle United 0-1 Everton

Another week of two games in December means another double bill dose of Match Thoughts from The Mind of Rowan.

The weekend 9th-10th December daw controversy. The title race is probably over after Manchester Cty’s 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Merseyside derby ended 1-1 while David Moyes’s West Ham side surprisingly defeated Chelsea 1-0. That was the shock of the weekend while Christian Benteke’s penalty arguably cost Crystal Palace a much-needed victory.

Newcastle United team facing Leicester City at St James’ Park 9/12/17

Another side in need of a much-needed win was Newcastle United who hosted Leicester City at St James’ Park in the Saturday evening kick-off to mark their clubs 125th birthday. Rafa Benitez made three changes to his Newcastle starting line up with DeAndre Yedlin returning to the back four at right-back while Javier Manquillo reverted to left-back with Chancel Mbemba dropping out. Mohamed Diame was not retained as in came Isaac Hayden while Joselu came in for Ayoze Perez just behind Dwight Gayle as Benitez opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation. read more

Match Thoughts: Newcastle United 0-3 Watford

The final weekend of football in November saw more intriguing action and not just my awful Movember attempt. A new start for West Brom without Tony Pulis saw them draw 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Manchester United edged past Brighton while Manchester City survived a scare from Huddersfield. Mohamed Salah scored against his former club Chelsea, Crystal palace hit Everton for four while Crystal Palace won at home. As a Newcastle fan, I was in attendance at St James’ Park where another team had a convincing win as Rafa Benitez’s side hosted Watford at St. James’ Park.

Rafa Benitez has enforced one decision to make with his starting eleven with Isaac Hayden serving a one-game suspension after he picked up his 5th yellow card of the season at Old Trafford. Mikel Merino was back to match fitness following his back injury but it was Mohamed Diame who got the start in central midfield alongside Jonjo Shelvey with Merino being judged fir enough for the bench. Benitez retained the 4-4-2 formation with an otherwise unchanged side from the one that was defeated 4-1 by Manchester United. read more

Match Thoughts: Newcastle United 0-1 AFC Bournemouth

The last set of league games before the November International break is always a sombre occasion in British football as fans and players across the country mark Remembrance Sunday. A minutes silence was held at all games across the country. In a thrilling weekend of football on the pitch, there was the first round proper of the FA Cup. In the Premier League, Burnley continued surprising teams away from home; this time Southampton tasted defeat. Jose Mourinho’s poor record away against the Premier League top 6 continued as Alvaro Morata secured a 1-0 win for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Similarly, Arsene Wenger lost to Manchester City again and criticised poor refereeing as part of Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat. Everton showed great resilience to come from two goals down to win a league game, defeating Watford 3-2 and Mohamed Salah inspired Liverpool to a 4-1 win at West Ham in a game which saw the end of Slaven Bilic’s spell in charge.

Newcastle United line-up to face AFC Bournemouth 4/11/2017

At St James’ Park, Newcastle United hosted AFC Bournemouth in a Saturday 3 o’clock kick off. Rafa Benitez brought the changes as altered his sides starting formation for the first time this season. It was 4-4-2 for the home side as Dwight Gayle started alongside Joselu up front as Ayoze Perez dropped to the bench. The change also saw Aleksandar Mitrovic elevated to the substitutes bench. Mohamed Diame did not retain his starting spot as Isaac Hayden returned alongside Jonjo Shelvey in central midfield. Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu remained on the wings while the back four was unchanged (DeAndre Yedlin, Jamaal Lascelles, Florian Lejeune and Javier Manquillo) and Rob Elliott remained in goal. read more

Match Thoughts: Burnley 1-0 Newcastle United

Halloween weekend saw few nightmare performances in truth in the Premier League with the exception of Everton. Having sacked Ronald Koeman with only two wins this season, they lost 2-0 at the King Power Stadium to Leicester City who had just appointed Claude Puel as manager on a three-year deal. The nightmare continued in the Championship for Sunderland though who lost 2-1 at home to Bristol City before a 3-3 draw with bottom side Bolton Wanderers saw the end of Simon Grayson.

Back to the Premier League though. Manchester United edged out Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 thanks to, Arsenal survived a scare to beat Swansea City 2-1 at the Emirates in Arsene Wenger’s 800th league game in charge of the Gunners. Liverpool exercised their Wembley demons by defeating Huddersfield Town 3-0 at Anfield despite Mohamed Salah missing a penalty while Manchester City similarly avoided a scare as they beat West Brom 3-2 at the Hawthorns. read more

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: 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: Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke City

We saw another entertaining weekend of Premier League football after a week of odd decisions. Crystal Palace became the first Premier League club to dispose of their manager this season, giving Frank De Boer his P45 after only four league games which yielded zero goals, zero points and four defeats. His replacement, former England manager Roy Hodgson (Good luck Palace) did not fare much better as his side lost 1-0 to Southampton. Manchester United hit another four, this time past Everton on Wayne Rooney’s first return to Old Trafford. Burnley surprised on the road again, this time at Anfield, Sergio Aguero stole the show as Manchester City hit Watford for 6 while Arsene Wenger still can’t win at Stamford Bridge and Tottenham still can’t get a league win at Wembley.

At St James’ Park meanwhile, Rafa Benitez was back in the dugout following his hernia operation as Mark Hughes brought his Stoke City side to Tyneside. read more

Match Thoughts: Swansea City 0-1 Newcastle United

After a tediously long International break, the Premier League returned to our screens this weekend. There were plenty of talking points as Harry Kane got off the mark in front of goal with it no longer being August, Manchester City demolished Liverpool 5-0 (with help of a sending off for Saido Mane). Manchester United lost their 100% record at Stoke while one of the super Sunday games resulted in the leagues first managerial casualty of the season in Frank De Boer. The second of those Super Sunday games saw Newcastle United travel to the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea City with both teams coming into it on the back of their first wins of the season.

Swansea City lineup vs Newcastle United

Swansea City came into the game buoyed by the deadline day arrival of Portuguese international midfielder Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich and the return of Wilfreid Bony from Manchester City. Manager Paul Clement named the midfielder in the starting line up on the right-hand side of a midfield triangle alongside Sam Clucas and Tom Carroll while Leroy Fer was playing just behind the two strikers. Tammy Abraham started alongside Jordan Ayew meaning Bony would start his second stint at Swansea on the bench. In goal was Lukasz Fabianski and the back four consisted of Kyle Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Alfie Mawson and Martin Olsson. read more

NUFC 2017/18 Monthly Review: August

The football season is back! The transfer window has now firmly closed after a crazy two months which saw the world record transfer fee more than smashed by PSG who paid Barcelona £198 million for Neymar which eventually set off a crazy chain reaction which went all the way to deadline day. Meanwhile, no one has been able to win Jeff Stelling’s £1 million.

Here is a selection of what happened in August… read more