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Newcastle United
January 21, 2012
Posted by Marc Duffy on 01/21/2012

One change for Fulham at the half. Ruiz, who looked like a fish out of water in the centre of midfield, is replaced by Baird who will also be playing out of position but is much more defensively minded.

I fully expect Fulham to show a lot more in the second half.

51 - Goal Fulham. 1 - 1. Yet again a Premier League referee and his assistant display total ineptitude. A foul on petulant Damien outside of the box is given as a penalty and Murphy scores it. Bloody terrible and these things happen EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Sian Massey made the call, but I'd better not say too much about her abilities or I may be deemed a sexist......

Why do they pay referee's? What a waste of money. You could pick any one of this 20,000 crowd out and they couldn't make decisions that were worse than that one. Fulham now on the front foot.

56 - their first corner of the match, Krul saves well from Zamora and a second shot goes wide for a corner off Colo. From the second corner Zamora takes a ridiculous dive in the area. He might as well with these people in charge.

58 - Goal Fulham. 2 - 1. Dempsey scores - Johnson slips in Zamora, Zamora takes the defence out, Dempsey bundles it in.

You couldn't get a better example of how an incorrect referee decision can completely turn the tide of a football game. Not good enough. As you can probably tell, I am seething.

Poor decisions aside, this also highlights the need to convert you're chances whilst you are hot. 60% possession is all well and good, but if you only score one then you are always in danger,

64 - Goal Fulham. 3 v 1 Dempsey again. Good goal. We have collapsed like a house of cards. Very, very worrying and pretty pathetic.

66 - Penalty Fulham. Williamson tried his best to wipe Johnson out, Krul succeeded in doing so. Clear penalty. Krul booked. Zamora scores it and it is 4 v 1. I thought this Newcastle side was a team built on heart and spirit? This is an embarrassment. Four goals in 16 minutes.

Fulham in the first 45 were one of the poorest sides I have seen in years. In this half our players have let the first penalty decision get to them so much that we are now making them look like Real Madrid. This is not good enough.

72 - Ameobi goal quite rightly ruled out for off-side.

We are also making Andy Johnson look like Diego freakin Maradona. ANDY JOHNSON.

75 - Guthrie off Perch on. The comeback is imminent. Strange sub that - Perch is an out-and-out defensive minded player so unless there is another change to follow soon, looks like we are going to play to keep it at 1 v 4?


We have been a revelation this season and we have definitely over achieved, but there are some supporters out there who are absolutely convinced that we will finish above Arsenal and Liverpool whilst challenging Chelsea for a top 4 slot. The fact that we have shipped 8 goals away to Fulham and Norwich should put a swift end to that chat. 7th will be an achievement.

It has proven to be very difficult for me to write this without multiple swear words.

83 - Cabaye off, Gosling on.

At least the lads can save themselves for their nice break to the Canary Islands.

84 - GOAL, Ben Arfa, excellent consolation goal. 4 v 2.

84 - Best off, Ryan Taylor on. Didn't see a great deal from Leon today.

Dempsey hat-trick, 5 v 2. WOEFUL defending. No point in finger pointing, but we definitely need someone to come in and challenge Williamson at CB. When the going has gotten tough today, far too many players have gone missing.

FULL TIME: 5 v 2

Krul 5 A little harsh as he had little help, but his penalty concession was rash
Simpson 5 Standard Simmo
Santon 4 Excellent up until the point that he hauled Johnson back at the end of the first half
Colo 4 All over in the second half. Missed a great chance in the first half too
Williamson 4 Very poor
Guthrie 6 Great goal, went missing when it mattered
Cabaye 5 Less influential than normal
Jonas 5 Excellent in the forst half, especially through th middle. Also disappeared
Ben Arfa 6 Great goal and dangerous at times.
Best 4 If he is not scoring from close range, he doesn't offer anything.
Ameobi 5 Won a few flick ons.

In summary:
Very, very weird. We were outstanding in the first half - one of the best away 45's that I've seen from us, however as I noted in the 1st half summary, 60% possession is all well and good, but if you only score the one, you are never safe. If we had taken a two goal lead in to the break a poor Fulham team would never have recovered.

Anyone who knows football knows that one incident can change the entire pattern and momentum of a match. Sadly that was the case today with Sian Massey awarding a penalty for a foul that was outside of the area. After that our collapse was absolutely pathetic. Yes, the decision instigated it, but a team with true ability and heart (and a Tiote) would not have succumbed so easily to such a poor side.

Disappointing.

And just when I thought I couldn't dislike Duff anymore than I already did.

The true test of character will come next time out.......


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Posted by Marc Duffy on 01/21/2012

A difficult game today - we have a very poor recent record down at the Cottage.

A definite boost to our chances with Cabaye being declared fit shortly before kick off. Fulham have won three of their last four at home too, so I would be happy to take a point.

Teams:

FFC: Stockdale, Riise, Hangeland, Senderos, Kelly, Dempsey, Sidwell, Murphy, Petulant Damien, Zamora, Ruiz

NUFC: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Colo (C), Santon, Ben Arfa, Jonas, Cabaye, Guthrie, Shola Ameobi, Best

1 - Cabaye shoots from 25 yards, easily gathered by Stockdale, but a positive opening.

2 - Stockdale hoofed the ball down field and the wind carried it so far that it pretty much looked like a long range shot! Krul then kicks into the wind and it holds up, so we need to keep the ball on the floor today.

8 - Very quiet, not a great atmosphere and not a lot happening on the field of play!

Apparently Capello is in the ground today to watch Stockdale and Zamora. And people think England stand a fighting chance in the Euro's?!

11 - A long ball forward glanced on by Shola. For a moment Senderos seemed uncertain which penalty area he was in and knocked it wide for a corner. The corner ends up with a shot from Shola again straight at Stockdale.

16 - This is a dog of a game so far. Not much to report. You would have expected Fulham to have more pressure than they have in front of their own fans early on, but we are containing them well.

17 - Jonas with a good break forward, beats two, lays off to Hatem who skins Senderos and shoots - Stockdale saves well. Good football.

Senderos is terrible. He is pretty much a spare man because of our shape but on the odd ocassion that he brings the ball out, he seems to look to pass to row 2 of the stands.

20 - Jonas whips in a good cross, Shola heads over. Decent chance. We look the more likely at the moment.

Zamora can only get better! So far if he hasn't been off-side he has displayed a touch Titus Bramble would be proud of.

I haven't seen much of Fulham this season - do they always play this massive hoof to Zamora and hope for the best, or are they just trying to use the wind to their advantage?

24 - Fulham shoot, easily saved by Krul. Met by ironic cheers from the home fans!

26 - Demonstrating his absolutely basic natural ability, Sidwell flies in on Santon on the touchline. The ref has a word but no card is shown.

27 - Senderos again. Comedy. Is he going to head it? No? Yes - he does totally confusing his own keeper. Corner. Ends with a mis-struck shot from Ben Arfa.

29 - Another Cabaye shot. We are totally dominating now in terms or possession - it would be nice to capitalise on this.

34 - More pressure piling on and the best chance of the game falls to Colo who headers straight at Stockdale. That should have been the lead. We MUST make the most of this because there is no way Fulham at home will be this bad for 90 minutes.

37 - FULHAM SUB: Sidwell injured earlier by bumping into Shola the Beast. Andy Johnson comes on - he has done pretty well v us in the past.

We are totally dominating through the midfield, and that area has been weakened for Fulham with them having to drop Ruiz back in there. I do worry about our lack of forward quality though.

41 - Good strike from Shola and another decent save by Stockdale. Ben Arfa to take the corner which I can only hope is better than his regular efforts. It isn't.

GGGGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! 42 - Ruiz tries to run the ball out of midfield, he is robbed and Guthrie absolutely lashes one home. Guthrie likes a shot but thats his first league goal in ten months. Great strike.

45 - Johnson breaks, Santon fouls him on the half way line stopping him from breaking clear. Could have been a red, but the fact he still had 50 yards to travel obviously plays a part as Santon only sees yellow!

HALF TIME and BBBOOOOOOs ring out at the cottage.

1 v 0 to NUFC!


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January 16, 2012
Posted by Marc Duffy on 01/16/2012

I hate the January transfer window. Ridiculous rumours, mental transfers, Redknapp describing other teams players as 'triffic, massively inflated fees and clubs like QPR madly scrambling for any over-rated player who might fancy a move down to London for a final healthy pay day. Not to mention the fact that new arrivals can disrupt - not because of personality but just because their new team mates have gone a whole pre-season and 22 games or so without having played alongside them!

The January transfer window in its present format was first introduced in January 2003 - we have been involved in some pretty amazing transfer dealings since then, not least last year when Andy Carroll left us to become the most expensive British footballer in history.....

We have endured a few up's and a lot of downs over the past nine January windows with surprisingly few players coming in and out - I expect this year to be much the same despite the ludicrous number of players we have been linked with. I would be happy of we brought one or two in. I would be even happier if we let no one go.

Let's take a look back at the January's in question (excluding players on loan who made their deals permanent, in or out):

January 4, 2012
Posted by Marc Duffy on 01/04/2012

2011 was a decent year for Newcastle United, especially when you consider the ups and downs of the previous few years.

Below I take a look back at the results and some of the off-field happenings from the whole year. I would love it if you added your favourite moments and any memorable incidents that I have missed in the comments box!

January

As far as league results went, January was not a bad month at all. Unfortunately we suffered one of our all time poorest performances causing us to exit the FA Cup at the very first hurdle. There was more off field turmoil too as, despite several assurances from the manager and board, Andy Carroll was flogged!

2nd: Wigan (A) 1 - 0 W (Shola) A comfortable victory with a nice goal from Shola claiming the points.

5th: West Ham (H) 5 - 0 W (Best 3, Nolan, Lovenkrands) I remember walking up to the ground for this one and hearing that Best and Lovenkrands would be leading the line with Carroll ruled out injured. Despite West Ham playing poorly in the league I just couldn't see how we would score. I was very, very wrong - Best was phenomenal, especially in his positioning and he netted a treble. Shane Ferguson also made a memorable appearance regularly skinning Tal Ben Haim much to the delight of the Gallowgate. Haim tried bully-boy tactics to stop it - and failed!

8th: Stevenage (A) (FACR3) 1 - 3 L (Barton) One of the worst performances and results in the history of the football club. To make matters worse, Pardew bizarrely introduced Tiote when we were chasing the game. Mr T had his mad up and got himself sent off meaning that he would miss the following game - the derby on Wearside.

16th: sunderland (A) 1 - 1 (Nolan) We were excellent in this one and but for a late, late Gyan equaliser we would have claimed a derby double. Special Agent Bruce made big noises before the game about how he could not wait to win to play a song over the tannoy that he had chosen especially for the occasion - he never got to play his song, but he did celebrate their equaliser like he had won an all-you-can-eat meal at KFC.

22nd: Tottenham (H) 1 - 1 (Colo) Sadly the late goal conceded six days earlier did not teach us a lesson. We played very well and should have claimed a win but for another late equaliser.

31st: Andy Carroll sold to Liverpool (£35,000,000) There was outrage on Tyneside as Carroll was sold so late into the transfer window that we were unable to bring in a replacement. Despite all of the promises to the contrary, our talisman was sold. Most of us were outraged and a lot of supporters were very, very upset. 12 months later I look back on this as the most mental transfer fee in the history of football. Pardew swore blind that we would see every penny of the fee. I am still waiting.....

We also agreed a deal to bring in Ireland on loan from Villa - what an absolute waste of space he was. Though some of Newcastle's bar owners wouldn't agree.

Hatem Ben Arfa was signed permanently despite still being a long way from full fitness. A huge risk, but hopefully a risk that will pay off in the long run.

P5 W2 D2 L1 F9 A5

About
Marc Duffy Marc Duffy is a National Account Manager in the alcoholic drinks industry - a career in alcohol was obviously the natural step after following Newcastle United for all of his 32 years. Marc blames his father for his obsession with Newcastle United - since attending his first game at the age of 4 Marc has endured many ups and downs, and despite the lack of silverware remains positive that a trophy will be won at some point in his lifetime! (Wait, does the Intertoto cup not count?) Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

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