A game of chances…we didn’t take them
Another league game does by, and another winless result. Pre game we said we’d settle for a draw, given the fact we’re awful, but after watching that today? I’m pissed off with a draw! We should’ve been 3-0 up by half time. Watford were awful! We were slightly better, and we’ve played better than we did first half today, in previous fixtures and got way less.
There’s good, bad, and shite to take from today’s game. The good, Sean Longstaff had one of his better games today, alongside Willock they added a much needed energy to a usually lethargic Newcastle centre midfield duo, so that was good to see. Sean took his goal very well, and was on the ball a hell of a lot more than he has been previously. It’s games like this that makes me think he could take Shelvey’s spot once and for all. Willock, despite being in a protective boot earlier this week,was brilliant, getting around the pitch, always offering an outlet, and was unlucky not to score.
The bad? ASM had one of those games where he just tried to do too much. Tried to beat that man one too many times, didn’t release it quick enough, and was very frustrating all afternoon. The shite? The fact we couldn’t take so many chances that we created. ASM & Longstaff missed the biggest guilt edge one of the first half, a goal that would’ve put us 2-0 up going into half time, I couldn’t have seen Watford coming back from that. We didn’t, and they did.
With the game level after we left Sarr in acres of space to head home the leveller, we pushed for the winner. Substitute Jacob Murphy had the best chance to win it for us, breaking through and latching on to ASM’s through ball, it seemed to be destined for the back of the net, but to everyone’s amazement, including Ben Foster, he completely fluffed it! Even president of the Murphy fan club Daniel Wales would’ve found that hard to forgive.
So another game without 3 points, in a “Must win” game. Any team that doesn’t take the level of chances afforded to them in games like this deserves to go down, and that’s what will happen if we don’t replace this manager. The fans were once again vocal at Vicarage Road today “We want Brucie out” and that’s the only thing that gets us winning games again.
Chris Currie – @wig82
— True Faith: Newcastle United Fanzine and Podcast (@tfNUFC) September 26, 2021
Another week ,another failed opportunity. Newcastle will never get a better chance to get the first win than this. Rubbish opposition. Tick. Take the lead. Tick. Have enough clear chances to win two matches. Tick.
This was United at its most frustrating. Arguably the best performance of the season is encouraging, this is something to build on, but frailties at both ends of the pitch see us come away with a point, which does nothing for our position or the general malaise around the football club, or indeed the disconnect between fans who were magnificent and the manager and owner.
Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before. Total domination after taking the lead ,wasting chance after chance then a glaring error at the back enabling Saar to ghost in and get Watford something.
The irony of the fact that he’s the only player in the Watford team worth marking wasn’t lost on me. We thought we had lost it as King and the whole of Hertfordshire celebrated but VAR saved us.
After Darlow saved us early on, we took a grip of the game, were impressive and really deserved the lead whipped in by Longstaff after a few early sighters but him and St Maximin want docking wages for the total balls up right on half time which would have killed the game. They were not coming back from that. Unacceptable wastefulness.
Honourable mentions of chance wasting for Clark, Joelinton and deep into injury time for Murphy, who channelled his inner Geoff Thomas by making a right arse of a chip when he was clear through on goal.
That sums up the season so far for us. Parts of it good but the finished article pitifully bad. As much as I hate Bruce the collective of players now need to do better and cut out inexplicable errors because until they stop , we wont win many games and the players are often cleared of any blame because of the ignoramus musings of the manager. Never mind! out the bottom three!
Finally, some real actual genuine positives!
So now we can add Watford away this season to Everton away and Spurs at home last season. In each case, a struggling and stagnating United has been invigorated by a change of formation and surprisingly obliging opponents. Yesterday, the 5-3-2 on which our entire pre-season preparation and recruitment strategy was predicated was officially consigned to the dustbin, replaced by a back four, some proper midfielders, and plenty of opportunities for attacking players to link up with ASM up top.
It was a welcome reminder amidst the unremitting gloom surrounding the club that we do have a squad of able footballers – well, apart from their finishing. Willock and Saint Maximin were excellent, the latter providing three outstanding chances, one each to Willock, Longstaff, and Murphy. Hayden and Longstaff also put in energetic shifts. Not only did we manage 20 goal attempts, but there were some excellent opportunities amongst them. In fact, I can’t remember a match where we enjoyed such dominance in terms of chances created.
It’s easy to be critical of those who missed chances. Clark and Joelinton were also culpable. But the reality is that days like these just happen sometimes. While at Leicester last season every chance was converted, yesterday the opposite was the case. Finally, there genuinely were positives to take from the performance, and we should hold onto those, especially with Wilson to return (presumably).
What comes next? I’ve honestly no idea. Those other changes in formation paid initial dividends, only to soon suffer from diminishing returns. It feels like a cycle we’re locked into. Rightly many will point to how poor Watford were and that soon the fixtures will become tougher. If only we could have faith that there was a coherent plan to build on what we saw yesterday.
Matthew Philpotts @mjp19731