Newcastle United lost their opening league game and their first match back in the premiership on Sunday in disappointing fashion. Losing 2-0 after having 10 men for the majority of the second half. Jonjo Shelvey was the man who was sent off after a completely childish stamp on midfielder Dele Alli. Ruining the day for toon fans everywhere, for what would've been an enjoyable first day back. But how did the rest of the lads get on?
£12.5 million signing Jacob Murphy had to watch from the bench along with new signing Mikel Merino (for most of the game). Karl Darlow was on the bench since experienced goalkeeper Rob Elliot took the No.1 shirt from Tim Krul. The new boys who would start the game were Manquillo and Florian Lejeune, both impressing in Pre-season. DeAndre Yedlin was still unavailable due to an injury picked up before the Hellas Verona game.
Newcastle started the game well, with an early Ayoze Perez attack and few chances including a half volley from Dwight Gayle which just went over the bar. However our early flow was halted with the injury of Paul Dummett. Meaning Jamaal Lascelles had to be brought on, 24 minutes later, Harry Kane put in a two-footed tackle from behind on Lejeune, which should of been an obvious sending off, but Kane was booked instead, the tackle badly injured Lejeune and he had to be substituted off for Chancel Mbemba; disrupting the team even more and using up our second last available change.
However despite these troubles we managed to hold our own in the first half, with winger Christian Atsu impressing fans by constantly flaunting his skills with mini-solo runs that would include nutmegs on Tottenham defenders. But what I noticed from our few attacks in that half is that absolutely nobody would get in the box when we went down the wing. We could've got one or two goals going in if they did, even though we spent the majority of the half soaking up pressure. Whenever there's an attack it's only the one player with the ball who goes up with no support; I'm hoping that this will change come next Sunday and we have a proper tactic sorted out, but I'm sure we will.
Tottenham had a few chances as well, including a Christian Eriksen shot in the box that sailed just past the post while going through Lascelles' legs, and in the last minute of the half, Eriksen took a long range effort that Elliot easily caught. So it was 0-0 at half time, and it looked like we could get something out of this game. But no.
About two minutes into the second half Dele Alli had just been fouled and he was sitting on the ground with the ball in his hands. Jonjo Shelvey tried to grab the ball off of his hands, and when he couldn't do that, he walked onto his leg, 6 yards away from the referee who was watching the entire thing, and gave him a straight red card. Oh, and did I mention that Jonjo is our captain? And he's done this kind of thing throughout his career, at Liverpool, at Swansea and now here. He's self-centered and acts like a spoiled kid. So we had to endure almost the entire second half with 10 men for our first game back in the prem.
our tactics completely changed to a 'all hands on deck' defensive one. Where all we would do is smash the ball up to the half way line if we successfully got the ball. Obviously this wouldn't keep Spurs out for long, as on the 60th minute, the ball was crossed into an unmarked Dele Alli who easily tapped the ball in to make it 1-0. And just 10 minutes later it was 2-0. As a fantastic piece of play which included Alli, Kane, Eriksen and Ben Davies made the ball go into the bottom right corner and put Ciaran Clark on the floor. At this point it was obvious that we were defeated and we just kept playing the same until we finally made a substitution to make up for the red card, bringing on Mikel Merino for Dwight Gayle for our final substitution.
We hadn't given up completely though, as in the last 10 minutes we got a series of big chances including one where Christian Atsu took a long shot that was caught by Hugo Lloris before he hit the side netting in a chance 3 minutes later. Ciaran Clark also had his chance at goal with a volley that went straight to Lloris on the 87th minute.
Spurs could've had a cruel third on the 91st minute when Harry Kane hit the post in the box.
It goes without saying that most toon fans are more upset with the manner of defeat rather than the fact that we were defeated. And Jonjo Shelvey has just made the next 3 games more difficult, especially our next fixture against Huddersfield on Sunday. This is because we haven't been able to play a full premiership game the way we want to because of the sending off, Huddersfield have, and they have confidence too giving that they won 3-0; and once again, we don't have that. This means that the Huddersfield game does not seem as winnable as it did prior to this game. But i'm expecting to get something at least. To not lose at least.