This is getting tough.

Saturday was the most Newcastle United occasion you could imagine, absolutely fit for our 125th anniversary. Started like a house on fire with a really excellent goal. Two terrible mistakes (again) later and we’re “going down”. The crowd obviously turned. An excellent goal came next though and the hope was dangled in front of us again. Then, off the bench comes the substitute nobody wanted, Perez to win the game. Obviously, he scores the own goal that kills it for us. A furious St James crowd trudge home in the freezing cold again.

For fuck sake we just can’t get a break. It’s getting harder and harder to watch. It’s getting harder and harder to keep the frustration from boiling over but I must stress again, I don’t think the lads on the pitch could be working any harder. We’re being let down by mental mistakes that are happening all too often. This is what happens when we have to fight every minute of every game to get something.

This squad is so short of quality and is running itself ragged. The inevitable side effect of a threadbare overworked squad is the mistakes that keep costing us points. We miss our captain but we should not have thrown away so many leads/points in his absence. If just a couple of our players switch off or have an off day, we are conceding goals from errors. That’s not normal. That’s a sign of a team that is seriously struggling in this league. We need players.

Up next, we have the prospect of another side with a new manager to deal with. We know what to expect from Allardyce but so does Rafa. He is superior in so many ways. Rafa will have had a 3 game plan this week, not just one game. He will have a much changed line up sorted to deal with what Everton have to offer and we go again looking for points.

I’ve no doubt that Shelvey and Mitro will be part of the plans for this one, so soon after the last. Rafa is doing what he can to get something out of the squad he was given. You all know I don’t buy into the Mitro hype having witnessed all of his shortcomings and none of his mythical form that has earned him the baffling crowd favourite status. In any case, Rafa will get Mitro and the other fringe lads involved in December such is the packed fixture list.

Until January that’s all Rafa can do. He will keep trying to get something to work out of what we have and we have to stick with it. He’s tried 2 upfront, which has worked brilliantly for the first 15 minutes of loads of games but it has become obvious that leaving only two in midfield is a luxury we can’t afford.

He’s made some big decisions in the last few games. Firstly after giving Elliott the number one gig for as long as he gave it to Sels last season, Rafa has felt the need the need to change it. Darlow, I’d argue, is a slightly better keeper but we saw on Wednesday why Rafa was desperate to buy a proper Premier League keeper in the summer. It’s a weakness. We also have real weaknesses out wide. The full backs are all struggling and we can’t expect Ritchie/Murphy/Atsu to do it alone every game.

It’s nothing new but Ashley and his minions just don’t understand football. If a man like Rafa is telling you what you need to have a successful team, safely up the league, then you have to fucking listen to him. We are where we are because of the mess that is the ownership of this club. Actually, we are where we are because of Rafa. Without him we’d be the mackems right now. With him there’s always hope.

Everton are yet another side who come to SJP having underachieved so far this season. After Palace and Bournemouth, this is another team that looking at the league table you’d say we “should” be beating. That’s not how it works and even though their new manager is nowhere near as good as he thinks he is, they have dangerous players and yet again more PL quality than we have.

This is another difficult game and we will again have to work hard, battle and scrap for everything to take the points. It’ll be a freezing cold Wednesday night and I’m sorry to say it but the home crowd on such an occasion when things are going how they are won’t help. Rafa and the lads will have to work this one out for themselves and if they do they may get the crowd back on side.

With Allardyce, Everton will be aiming to do exactly what we have failed to do recently. Keep the game tight (we have done that in most games) then try and nick something (the bit we keep fucking off). On Sunday they did just that with one of the all time smash and grabs of a point in the Merseyside Derby with a ropey Rooney penalty. Let’s not let the fat prick do it to us.

Rafa’s Mags have had some stinking games where we’ve deserved nothing and some really unlucky one goal defeats where a point would have been fair. This league is ruthless to say the least but something’s got to give. We will get some points on the board again whether in this one or the next. I know I say it every week but let’s not make it more difficult for them.

SJP should be a fucking fortress on a cold winters night like this. Teams should not want to play here. This is what Rafa means when he asks for our support. It probably won’t happen though so I just hope that we get another good start, another goal for Gayle and the returning Lascelles and Dummett put a much needed clean sheet on the board for us. That’ll do.

Prediction  1-0 

Simon Campbell

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