Well, who would've thought we would've gotten here.. As just almost 3 weeks ago, almost every toon fan around thought that we would definitely not win the title now. Some (including myself) even said they wouldn't be surprised if we slipped into the playoffs. In fact, if you said we would stay win the league as the final whistle blew in East-Anglia. You'd be laughed at. But, in typical Newcastle United fashion, the toon won the title in the most difficult way possible, taking it to the last minute, of the last day to be confirmed champions, but how did it all go on the big day?
When the game started and throughout the opening minutes. It really didn't look like it was going to go well. With Barnsley's sole tactic of just booting the ball onto the wings and running into the box once again working constantly as It did against Preston. (Both of those times, we ended up trouncing the teams) But it really showed that the Tykes have only scored 32 away goals this season as they managed to make a total hash of any half chance they got throughout the first 20 minutes. And it turned out that they would pay for those mistakes. On the 23rd minute, Christian Atsu (who is my man of the match, was hard working especially in the first half) made a beautiful "chop"-pass to Deandre Yedlin, who soon delivered a low-cross in the box to Ayoze Perez. Who beautifully chopped the ball into the bottom left corner in a way that almost mirrored his goal against West Brom the season before last. 1-0.
And chances came quickly afterwards, with Christian Atsu being denied from a long range effort after he brilliantly turned on his man, we also tried the "low cross" techniques a few more times throughout the match. Almost all ended up going past everyone, but the closest came in the first half, when Yedlin's pass into the box ended up reaching Massaido Haidara, who skied it over the bar. Mitrovic had a similar chance crossed in by Atsu, in which he would've scored, but Saidy Janko got a hard foot to it, sending it out for a corner while also clearing it off the line. The first half ended with Newcastle 1-0 up, seemingly. Anything could happen in the match.
The first 10 minutes of the first half was dominated by Newcastle, with solid chances coming from Perez and Gouffran. However, it seemed that when Newcastle attacked, they also forgot to defend as Barnsley players were constantly getting dangerously near the Newcastle goal, getting a solid cross in at one point which was cleared away by Haidara, and almost beating the majority of the magpies' defense but a solid tackle by Chancel Mbemba (who has been brilliant in the games he's played) put a stop to that.
Newcastle received a free kick just before the 60th minute mark, Shelvey crosses it in befrore Jack Colback plays Perez through on goal on an angle, he has a good shot that was parried by Adam Davies... Straight into the path of Chancel Mbemba, who slammed the ball into the net. Scoring his first goal on Tyneside and finally placing relief on all Newcastle supporters; pretty much confirming the win.
Newcastle weren't finished though, as Shelvey hit the top corner of the net, unfortunately the whistle had already gone for an Ayoze Perez foul. Mitrovic also had a great header from a Jonjo Shelvey corner denied by keeper Adam Davies, stretching out and using his fingertips to tip it over the bar. Two minutes later, Jonjo Shelvey went on a great run, eventually shooting from just outside the box. The ball subsequently hit the post and went out for a goal kick. It could've been 4-0 at that point.
We were also lucky at some points, as on the 84th minute, Marley Watkins had a fantastic opportunity in the box to head it in for 2-1, what resulted was a semi-nod on-ish header in which Rob Elliot saved with his leg. The rebound was brilliantly blocked by Deandre Yedlin and went out for a corner. 3 Minutes later, Elliot made another save with his legs, which parried directly forward to a completely unmarked Callum Evans, who danced around next to the ball as it rolled straight past him, even though he was right next to the ball and the goal was at point blank range. Hilarious for Newcastle fans, Embarrassing for Barnsley fans and the man-in-question.
Newcastle finally got the goal to finish everything off though, on the 89th minute, Aleksander Mitrovic headed the ball onto a recently subbed-on Dwight Gayle, coming back from injury for the 3rd time this year, he slotted the ball into the bottom left corner making it 3-0 toon. Now all we needed was something magical to happen in Birmingham. And something magical happened indeed.
On the last minute of the game, (Aston Villa V Brighton) young star Jack Grealish curled the ball into the bottom left corner, it should've been an easy save for Brighton's David Stockdale. But he let the ball go straight through his legs before bursting into tears on the floor, and the fact that he commented on Newcastle during an interview by saying "look who's bottling it now" made it all the more funny for most viewers.
When news of the goal was heard on Tyneside, the upper stands went absolutely crazy, jumping on top of each other, screaming and cheering. These celebrations quickly spread all over St James', you would've thought we had just won the title, oh wait, we did. And I must admit, it is THE loudest I have heard the crowd cheer this season, the roar and sound was cracking in my ears, much more than it did in the 4-3 win over Norwich back in September. Incredible.
When the full time whistle blew, the players awaited the full time whistle in Birmingham, the crowd waited anxiously (still making noise) too. Before it was definitely confirmed. The whistle blew and everyone went mad, the crowd, the players, the staff, even the announcer sounded buzzing after declaring us champions. And for the first time in a long time, Newcastle fans were singing Queen's "We are the champions" as we awaited the trophy being lifted. A beautiful moment when it finally was.
This season has been filled with serious ups and downs. Good, bad and ugly. But it was so satisfying for the team to put in a performance like this and to be champions. Congratulations everyone involved with the club, and I hope we can kick start the next PREMIER LEAGUE season with joy and happiness. Can't wait for the summer and I can't wait for next season. FT Newcastle 3-0 Barnsley