Top of the league, in the quarter finals of the cup, Rafa Benitez as Newcastle United manager, Mitro and Perez scoring 3 between them…  the alarm Phoenixlogoclock must be about to go off, surely? What has happened to my club?! 
What a cracking night this was as Rafa’s side absolutely stuffed a pointless Preston without breaking a sweat. It could and really should have been 12-0 or more. 25 shots to their 1 (and excellent save from Sels might I add) from which six goals is actually a pretty poor return, such was the dominance of Newcastle in front of an impressive 49,000 at St James’.
There was of course a fair few ‘rotations’ in the starting line up, but with the exception of Sels and Hanley, it was not a line up you would be shocked to see most weeks in the league; such is the depth of our first team. Paul Dummett donned the captains armband and Mitrovic was finally given a chance to prove his worth this season. We’ll come on to him later…
The game started at a much slower pace than in recent weeks but there was still a familiar feeling of dominance as we controlled possession and diame1looked for an opening. The first real breakthrough came after about 15 minutes when Isaac Hayden found himself inside the box from the right hand side and bent one round the keeper onto the inside of the post yet somehow it bounced out across the face of the goal. The first goal came moments later and was a sign of things to come. Shelvey floated a pinpoint free-kick into the box and an unmarked Mitrovic nodded it home. Yes it was as easy as it sounds!
It was over after 25 minutes when a bloke called Alan Browne for Preston wiped Jack Colback out with what looked a horrible elbow. A red card for him and Colback was off down the tunnel, presumably for some stitches. Further proof of Rafa’s intentions regarding the league cup came next as Jonjo Shelvey came on with the game already pretty much won. The match then just became a training exercise for us. Mo Diamé quickly made it 2-0 when the ball dropped for him 25 yards out and he smashed it low into the corner. He should have made it 3-0 soon after as Mitrovic provided an unselfish lay off for an open goal. Diamé missed, somehow.
The chances kept coming however and in the second half we ran riot. In no particular order, Anita and Atsu each smashed the bar when they should have scored. Mitrovic missed a hat full of chances before Matt Ritchie won us a penalty at 2-0. Thus ensued the only disappointing part of the night. 
Mitrovic went absolutely mental, begging Matt Ritchie (scored 3 pens out of 3 this season) to let him take it, to the point of being physically gallowgate-corner-adrestrained by his teammates before running over to the dugout to kick off, whilst the crowd chanted ‘MITRO’. The guy has no self control and no brain in his head. Tonight he did a lot of the things brilliantly that we didn’t see enough of last season. He was winning headers, linking up play and scoring fucking goals. Yet all anybody will remember, again, is his mental behavior… which the crowd seem to actively encourage! We all love to see a bit of passion but the guy goes beyond this every time, determined to be the center of attention, and for this reason continues to be a liability. If he doesn’t learn to use his head, he has no future under Rafa Benitez, which would be a waste of an obvious talent. As fans, we can help by not encouraging the bloke to sprint 40 yards to close the keeper down for no reason – this only serves to make the guy knackered and miss the next 5 minutes of the game! 
Mitro played well tonight, but for me he has so much more to do to show that he is not the let down he proved to be last season. Alas, this incident was surpassed by the magnificence of the result and was immaterial in the end. Mitro got his chance minutes later anyway as he brought the ball down in the box and took it round defenders and keeper alike to smash home for 4-0. Fair enough Mitro. Fair enough.
Mo Diamé had an excellent game aside from his earlier miss and made up for it near the death when he picked up the ball in his own half, ran 30 yard unopposed and pinged it into the far corner for his second. 5-0. That’s the player we need to see more of! He had just about guaranteed his spot at number 10 on Saturday when Ayoze Perez, on as a sub, popped up to score an equally tidy finish in the same corner to really give Rafa a headache for the weekend. This rounded off an all round fantastic night of football, a fine reward for the crowd that turned out.
A quick word on Preston. Nine changes to their line-up tonight, what’s that about? There was essentially no point in them getting to this round of the cup with the performance they put in. Truly woeful and fully deserved getting their arsed handed to them. I just don’t get that approach. How do they go into the game on Saturday off the back of that? We’re going to murder them again.

Rafa Benitez is Rafa Benitez because he see’s the value of keeping up a winning run. The league cup is a vehicle to push on, not a chance to disrupt your team’s form by making 9 changes and hoping for the best. I fancy us against anyone left in the draw at home after this because we can smash anybody’s reserves. Bring on Arsenal or City. (Leeds at home will do fine)
No player rating required tonight, everyone was excellent. 
Both sets of fans were noisy and it was just a brilliant night to be at St James’ Park. A shame for anybody who missed it in favour of a quiet night in with the cats.
We’re actually going to win the Football League and the Cup. Thanks to Rafa.

What can you say about that?  I don’t think I’ve felt as happy with NUFC for many a year and the good times continued to mitro3roll with a thumping 6-0 victory that fired us into the last eight of the League Cup in front of a jubilant and frankly staggeringly full SJP on a memorable night.  Rafa made six changes from Saturday but such is the strength of the squad that we are pretty much replacing like for like these days bar a couple of exceptions.

The match started brightly and we almost took the lead early on when the very impressive Hayden cut inside on the edge of the box but crashed his effort off the post, with the ball flashing agonisingly along the goal-line to safety.  We were ahead inside twenty minutes through a simple yet well executed goal though when Ritchie floated over a perfect free kick onto Mitrovic’s head from six yards out and he made no mistake.  If Preston were struggling after going a goal behind, they were on their knees just minutes later when they found themselves down to ten men.  Colback and Browne went up for a 50/50 ball on the half way line but the Preston man not only led with his elbow but actively flung it in Colback’s direction – a disgraceful challenge that rightly led to a straight red and ended our man’s involvement in the game with Shelvey coming on in his place.  Hark at us man – Champions League winner in the dugout and Jonjo Shelvey coming off the bench.  Crackers.

If we weren’t in total control beforehand, we certainly were now and we doubled our lead with a fine strike from Diame vamosrafa-adinto the bottom corner after a lightning quick break.  He had by far his best game for us tonight and should have registered his second goal just moments later when again we broke to expose the holes in their defence and Mitrovic unselfishly squared it for what looked like a tap in but ended up being screwed terribly wide by the Senegalese but when the half time whistle went, we were already contemplating our opponents in the quarters.

There were only eight minutes gone in the second half when we stretched our lead further after Ritchie was clearly upended in the box by Wright.  After what could have been an embarrassing battle of wits with Mitrovic over who was taking the penalty with the ball ending up stuffed up Ritchie’s shirt and the Serb stomping off in a huff, Ritchie thankfully slammed a convincing spot kick high into the roof of the net to put us three up.

Mitrovic’s frustration didn’t last long though as he scored arguably the goal of the night, keeping his composure to round the keeper and shimmy past what felt like about five defenders before slotting the ball home in front of an ecstatic Gallowgate.  I’ll openly admit to being highly dubious about the big man’s ‘qualities’ but he was fantastic tonight and managed to channel his eagerness in the right manner and the goal was one of real class.   Atsu almost made it five shortly after when his cross/shot was tipped onto the bar by Lindegaard in the Preston net and with half an hour still to go, you felt like we could go on to really run riot if we put our foot down.

Hayden nodded home from point blank range when it looked easier to score and Anita and Perez were brought into the fray with Preston looking like a sorry outfit, praying for the final whistle.  Diame hit the post again and every time we came forward we looked like we could score and score again he did with another fine effort from the edge of the box with three minutes to go – from the sublime to the ridiculous with him tonight but a great performance overall.  Folk were giddy with it all now and substitute Perez put the icing on the cake when he stroked home a ball that fell to him inside the box with another classy finish to make it six.

The night ended with Mitrovic dancing on the pitch in front of the Gallowgate and I’m still absolutely buzzing writing this back in the house getting tucked into a bottle of red past midnight.  We are a decent draw in the next round (with at the very least Leeds and Hull still left in the hat with us) from heading into really exciting territory and like thousands of others, I can’t wait for Deepdale on Saturday.  There’s  roughly 95 games this season but I’m finding that I can’t wait for the next game at the minute – the weekend seems like miles off but as sad as it sounds, I’ve probably spent at least the last three years at SJP prior to Rafa coming in looking at the digital clock in the corner thinking ‘Fucking hell, this is taking ages, can we not just get down to the Forth for a pint’.  Now, I’m enjoying every minute of it and it’s just absofuckinglutely great.  To state the obvious, it’s not always like this so let’s just make the most of it because life doesn’t get much better than this at the minute.

Get.  The.  Fuck.  In.

Keep the Faith


Newcastle United  – Sels 7, Yedlin 8, Mbemba 7, Hanley 7, Dummett 8 (Anita 7), Colback 6 (Shelvey 9), Hayden 8, Atsu 7, Ritchie 8 (Perez 7), Diame 9, MITROVIC 9

Ref – Madley – 8 – Got the red spot on and he was on top of everything that was being dished out

Our Fans – 8 – Love in, nigh on 50k, fantastic

Their Fans – 6 – More for the ones that stopped to the end.




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