Timely Reality Check for Leeds as Newcastle Cruise to Win   –   by Rob Atkinson


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Leeds United 0, Newcastle United 2

We saw this game coming from a long way off, thanks to the international break that followed the last-gasp win at Norwich. From that high point, it seemed reasonable to look forward to scaling even greater peaks. A win over the Geordies would have seen Leeds United at a dizzy fourth in the league, well into nosebleed territory. As it is, a defeat means we remain seventh; probably a realistic benchmark for this Leeds side’s place in the Championship scheme of things.

So, after a good run, we’ve had our reality check and been put in our place – yet Leeds were by no means disgraced and, for large parts of the game, they gave pretty nearly as good as they got. In the important areas of the pitch, though, Newcastle were superior – and they plainly knew it. The confidence with which they approached the game, the relative ease with which they kept Leeds at arm’s length – all of this told us that here was a side well aware they weren’t top without reason. For all that, it took a goalkeeping howler and one moment of top flight class to make the difference on the field show in the scoreline. Leeds had their moments at the other end, but there can be no doubt that Newcastle fully merited this victory. 

Leeds will take plenty from this moving forward. There were lessons for youngsters like Vieira and Phillips as well as some of the older heads in the team. The glaring truth of the matter is that Newcastle had a sub on the bench who, at £30m, cost several times the price of the entire Whites squad. As a work in progress, Leeds are several laps behind a Newcastle outfit that must still be hanging its head in shame to be in this league at all. Benitez arrived too late to save the club from its own mistakes last season, but arguably the wrong north-eastern club got relegated. Now, under proper management and a revamped squad, the Geordies are a Premier League force in all but name.

A week to regroup now, and Leeds must be ready for a trip to Rotherham, armed with a determination to embark on another run of success. They will be without the talismanic Pontus Jansson, whose intemperate outburst to the ref tipped him over the suspension threshold. That’s a pity, but nevertheless, United have to get their act together for a battle against the lowly Millers, who will be keen to rub salt in this week’s wounds.

It was a chastening experience today, but no real surprise. Newcastle are the real deal, and they showed it – not in any shimmering brilliance, apart from that one decisive moment, but in their confident approach and efficient game management. But Leeds did OK in defeat; they will play worse this season and win – indeed, they already have. There’s still a long way to go, and United can still look ahead confidently. After all, you don’t meet a team like Newcastle every week.

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21 responses to “Timely Reality Check for Leeds as Newcastle Cruise to Win   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Blue Monday

    Perfectly summed up. I’m disappointed but realistic. The foundations are there. Dare I say that El President is no longer calling the tune as far as team selection is concerned. There appears to be a game plan. But for the rub of the green today we could have got a lucky point. Looking good going forward but, we must win next week to show we have the bounce back ability.

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  2. Nice write up of the game. However, there is no 30 million player in the nufc squad our record signing is Owen at 17 mil. Leeds didn’t do much wrong today and I hope we can both get promoted at the end of the season.

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  3. Mike Durham

    It still took two Incompetents to beat us today Rob ; Rob Green – enough said and Graham Scott bottling the penalty decision just before half-time!! Colback should’ve been booked and then he’d have been sent off in the second half for that cynical handball.
    We didn’t play that well but Newcastle were very professional, wonderfully aided by Stevie Wonder!!! Small margins methinks….

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  4. Rob, you are a magnanimous loser. I’m not. With the rub of the green (rub Green and the Ref!) Leeds could have got something out of this game.

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  5. Just to say I totally disagree with Monks selection , Roofe is definitely not a winger snd is definitely not Championship class, Monk is trying to justify the clubs outlay in him but he just has not got it, if he had played Sacko from the start and partnered Antonsson with Wood leaving Doukara out I am positive we could have beat this vastly overrated Newcastle team, although not belittling Viera and Phillips their time will surely come, let us get Hernandez back alongside Bridcutt and O’Kane and we will surely be a team to beat. Match stats showed we definitely worth at least a point today and last but not least Geordie comments on the game were typical nonsense coming from big mouthed no nothing’s, your Titus owner will not spend any serious money to keep you in the Premiership so you are destined to drop straight back down again, have fun whilst it lasts, playing a multi million £ team in the Championship and you surely will be promoted but you will not beat us again with a full strength team.

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  6. Well, I guess you get what you are prepared to pay for – note to Cellino – but, as in the past, it seems that Leeds has to be twice as good as its opponents to make any progress in the Football League. Past prejudices remain – the media still casts Leeds as a pantomime villain and the old dogs in football’s governing bodies stick to their guns. As unlikely as it seems, Leeds is as the woman in the corporate world trying to get a seat on the board.

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  7. Note# You mention in your report Newcastle had a player on the bench who cost £30 million. Who is that then this mythical £30 million pound player ?????

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  8. Certainly a reality check,I think Wood and Green have been found out today. No sympathy for Green as its not the first time this season that he’s dropped howlers aswell as balls. Chris wood can not possibly justify his place in the squad let alone team anymore. Please fellow Leeds supporters don’t come back at me with the ” he’s our top scorer” bit as it doesn’t wash. Penalties,tap-ins and a couple of point blank range goals against inferior opposition. He has no mobility or positional sense and when he was needed today he was on his arse. He’s a passenger in that team and its time he got off at the next available stop. Terrible.

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  9. They looked to be in a different league to us in a curiously flat game. We were full of endeavour but deficient in collective ball control (passing). And does anyone share my doubts about Phillips and Roofe as players capable of taking us into a play off position ? They each seem to lack a trick or a particular skill. Silvestri of course must come in for Green – whose seniority can be the only reason he is picked ahead of him. With Hernandez back, Silvestri – and Sacko -starting, and Bridcutt soon replacing Philips, we have a side capable of reaching the play off positions. Good match analysis Mr Rob.

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  10. Well summed up Rob. You could see the class oozing from Newcastle. We are well above where anybody would have thought right now and we deserve to be. We are not polished, there are still rough edges and yes we do need a new keeper in my opinion, Green pushes no buttons with me. Rotherham is a must win and I look forward to the return of Bridcutt and Dallas to the squad. Hernandez was missed today also. I think the next lesson will be Liverpool. I just hope we put on a good display but it will surely be a good learning curve. Onwards and upwards guys.

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  11. Christopher Rutherford

    I think Leeds United will acheive great hights this season because the manager has settled the team given them them confidence they need and built up a squad that will leave teams wondering who this Leeds team is. So Leeds United will fight back and progress where they left off. Starting with Rotherham then Liverpool in the League Cup Semi Finals.

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  12. I hope Silvestri plays a blinder against Liverpool, If he made the mistake green made he would have been Crucified. How many more must green make befdore he is dropped. I said it before the season started Silvestri is a far better keeper. Consider what he had in front of him last year, compared to what green has had this year. Even in the cup games he hasn`t had the first choice defenders and still he has out performed Green.

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  13. As a newcastle fan think this is fair and balanced .. yesterday was a great occasion and the stadium felt like the good old days of 1980s ..great atmosphere .. I felt leeds had their moments , helped by newcastle tendency to sit on a lead, and given a header here or a ref decision (it did hit colbecks arm but in my opinion not a pen) they could have equalised ..but overall think newcastle had ability to lift their game when needed. .. not sure who our £30m sub was though ..?Shearer remains our record signing at £15 ..mitro cost £13m

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  14. David Dean

    I think you have been I little over generous Rob, I wasn’t impressed with yesterday’s performance. Newcastle were on top from the kickoff. The goal was coming, just a matter of time – the bloomer was unforgivable (3rd time he has dropped the ball like that to give a goal away). The bloomer made little difference because Newcastle would have scored anyway before half time – once they scored the job was done for the first half and they had to contain Leeds. They were very professional and like a premier league team compared to Leeds. Leeds had very little to offer, it was like a cat playing with a mouse. But having said that Leeds still managed some shots on target and though it would have been very harsh they could have had a penalty. We can see that Monk has made a huge improvement and should be able to maintain this position in the league. Hopefully they can still improve.

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