Jamaal Lascelles was once again Newcastle's hero on Saturday when they were victorious over a very strong Stoke City side. The win means that it's the first time since the 2000-01 season that Newcastle have won 3 out of their first 5 premiership games and the first time that they've won 3 in a row since late 2014. However, the toon could've actually lost this game, but they also could've won by a lot more..
DeAndre Yedlin made his first start of the season after coming back from an injury that has kept him out of the first team since pre-season and Jacob Murphy was dropped for Christian Atsu, which was a good decision as he scored the opining goal of the game. Chancel Mbemba also had another go at playing in left-back.
Match (First Half)
For the first 15 minutes Stoke were relatively in control, apart from in the first few seconds when Matt Ritchie had a shot from outside the box that was destined for the bottom left corner if not for Ayoze Perez who blocked his teammate's shot, bringing frustration to the home crowd. However, that minor incident would all be forgotten soon when on the 19h minute, Matt Ritchie got yet another assist for the season as he curled a ball in to Christian Atsu at the far post who tapped it in for his first goal of the campaign.
From this point onward in the first half it was all Newcastle. Our reign (of misses) started 3 minutes after we got our first goal when Jamaal Lascelles missed a close range header from a corner, which doesn't seem bad at all when it's compared to the other chances we missed. One of which being 5 minutes later when Chancel Mbemba put Xherdan Shaqiri on the floor with a brilliant touch, before he made an even better long ball to Joselu to make him 1 on 1 by a mile with only the keeper to beat in the box. Instead of taking a touch and smashing it past the keeper, he poked it wide with his left foot. Very disappointing from the ex-Stoke City striker.
Later still, DeAndre Yedlin's long range shot was deflected and bounced to Joselu, once again a few yards from goal, he disappointed once more by lightly tapping it straight at Jack Butland who parried it out before Bruno Martins Indi cleared it away.
Match (Second half)
Joselu had a fairly miserable first half but it didn't change in the second half when just a few seconds into the half, Atsu passed to the Spaniard who had time to dribble into the box and stroke it in. Instead, he took a poor touch before blasting it over the bar yards from goal, completing his hat-trick of misses.
The signs that we could be punished for our mistakes were clear when Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma took a 35-yard shot that was so close to smashing into the top left corner. Stoke had some other chances but we didn't learn our lesson, as 9 minutes after the Zouma incident we conceded. A Xherdan Shaqiri curler that nestled into the bottom left corner, and honestly, it was exactly what we deserved. Luckily, this wasn't like last year and we actually looked like we wanted to get back in the game, but not before Rob Elliot would have to pull off a spiderman save when Mame Diouf had a free header in the box from a corner that would've gone into the top left of the net if not for Elliot's super save.
Almost immediately after this Ayoze Perez seemed to have restored our lead but the linesman put his flag up for offside. Soon after, Atsu appeared to be tripped up in the box just before he was about to shoot. However, unlike the Merino dive last week, this one actually did look like a penalty after viewing the replay.
While the penalty incident was still a hot topic in SJP, Jamaal Lascelles came to the rescue from a Matt Ritchie corner as he ran through the defense and scored a goal crossbar and in restoring faith in the crowd.
In the last 20 minutes or so Joselu and Perez came on for Gayle and Diame, Stoke also brought on Peter Crouch for Joe Allen to try and get some extra firepower in the last few minutes.
The last 10 minutes were a very worrying and nerve-wracking time for Newcastle supporters, Choupo-Moting had a great opportunity in the box to blast a half volley on the 84th minute, but his shot was high and wide, poor from a striker who scored 2 against Manchester United the week before.
And finally after a poor move from Newcastle got intercepted in the 92nd minute, Martins Indi crossed the ball into Mame Diouf who had a good header attempt at goal which luckily for us went just wide of the right post keeping the score at 2-1 until the end.
Round-up/ Next match
This match has helped make the vibe at Newcastle positive again with our new winning streak and table position. (4th) Funny to think that just weeks ago many people were saying we were going straight back down! Hopefully we will keep that streak going next Sunday (24th September) when we come up against Brighton, who we got the double over last year in the championship. We should be looking to win against Brighton with their poor premiership record and our difference in table position. Especially with the next 2 fixtures after that being quite difficult (Liverpool, Southampton)