Manchester United don’t like it.

Newcastle United are apparently ‘upset’.

Well, I think we all know the real truth of this.

It’s not because of any tactic that Manchester United find Newcastle United annoying, it’s because NUFC is now a threat.

I’m not saying Eddie Howe’s players will win at Wembley BUT they will be competitive, Newcastle are not easy right now… and Manchester United don’t like it.

Oh they absolutely LOVED Newcastle United when we used to show up beaten. Then, after hammering the NUFC, they would patronize the well-beaten opponents, how well we had done despite losing by many.

The last time Manchester United beat Newcastle United was on September 11, 2021.

Man Utd cheerleader Steve Bruce said before the game that the team he rooted for was some sort of brilliant superhuman side (Man U ultimately finished sixth on 58 points, Man City’s 35 points on top and just nine points per ahead of Mags rescued from Eddie Howe) and laid out his tactics accordingly, setting up his usual negative tactics and allowing Manchester United to defeat Newcastle 4–1.

Under Eddie Howe, Manchester United have not been able to beat Newcastle United, at least not yet.

On 27th December 2021 Newcastle United were by far the better team, ASM scoring in the 7th minute and Manchester United second, only poor individual defending (Lascelles I think) allowing Cavani to get a lucky equalizer in the 71st minute.

On October 16, 2022, Newcastle United went to Old Trafford and played very well, the two teams only having two shots on goal each and four corners each, a goalless draw the least Eddie Howe deserved. The referee and VAR, for a change at Old Trafford…refusing to give the most blatant of penalties to an away team when Varane took Wilson out in the penalty area, the most obvious penalty ever.

Towards the end of that game, it got to a point where Eddie Howe decided to settle for a… point and close shop and professionally run the game. Manchester United didn’t like that.

Before Wembley, Erik ten Hag very cynically decided to go down a certain path, trying to generate an anti-Newcastle United narrative and, unsurprisingly, licking Man U’s subservient media.

Erik ten Hag on Friday:

“Newcastle United are an annoying team to play against.

“So we have to find a way to win.

“They try to annoy you.

“We have to make sure we play our game…

“(Erik ten Hag makes these comments to try to convey an agenda that Newcastle United is supposedly a time-wasting team) For example, the refs want to play effective time.

“They (Newcastle United) have the lowest (ball on the field) in the league and they are quite successful with that.

“So it’s up to us to get speed in the game, but we’re also up to the officiating.”

Of course, BBC Sport was happy to back Erik ten Hag and posted these: Premier League 2022-2023 ball-in-play percentages:

Manchester City 61.6%

Liverpool 58.7%

Leicester City 58.6%

Tottenham Hotspur 58.4%

West Ham United 57.6%

Manchester United 57.3%

Brighton and Hove Albion 56.3%

Wolverhampton Wanderers 56.0%

Crystal Palace 55.9%

Bournemouth 55.5%

Southampton 55.5%

Nottingham Forest 55.4%

Arsenal 55.3%

Chelsea 55.2%

Fulham 55.2%

Everton 55.0%

Aston Villa 54.7%

Brentford 53.3%

Newcastle United 52.3%

Leeds United 51.8%

Even this table sums up how insincere Manchester United and Erik ten Hag are, yet the media refuses to criticize them. Newcastle United is not the lowest And Manchester United is nowhere near the highest.

The gap (5.0%) between NUFC and MUFC is almost the same as the gap (4.3%) between MCFC and MUFC. Why didn’t the media ask Erik ten Hag why the total balls in play is so low compared to Man City? In fact, they are shorter than relegation fighters Leicester and West Ham, among others.

Well, that doesn’t really suit the narrative, does it?

Manchester United the good guys, Newcastle United (and whoever…) the spoilers.

However, I think the reality is very different anyway if you scratch below the surface. Sadly, journalists are so lazy these days this just rarely happens, if ever.

The Manchester United boss wants to show Newcastle United endlessly wasting time on Eddie Howe.

The truth is that I can only think of the end of that game at Old Trafford, the same at Anfield, as well as the second half at Arsenal where it was like that. Eddie Howe picked up two well-deserved draws at big six clubs and stole another at Liverpool.

Could there be a very positive reason why Newcastle United are at the lower end of these ball-in-play statistics?

If we’re being honest, most possession/ball in play these days largely consists of the ball being played endlessly through the defence, from one side of the pitch to the other, with occasional touches in the middle of the field. fields that are generally just more negative play that just sees the ball once again going backwards or sideways.

Newcastle United do this now that we have a manager who is willing to use ball-playing defenders like Botman and Schar, unlike the previous one who liked defenders just to push the pitch forward and play as little football as possible.

Without possession though, Eddie Howe has Newcastle United in an overwhelming percentage of games, also playing very differently to Bruceyball.

Rather than allow the opposition to endlessly play the ball in safe areas, Howe has his team continuously put under very high pressure, which repeatedly means that very quickly opposition defenders or goalkeepers end up having to dribble the long ball. ..often offside, either directly, or when it ends up getting to a player from one side or the other and then out, as they compete for the ball, or a free kick is taken.

So instead of maybe 30-60 seconds of easy, safe possession (ball in play!) at the back, it’s 10-15 seconds very often, before the ball is forced out and then there’s a stoppage (ball in play!). offside!) for a free kick or throw-in, etc.

I don’t have the statistics BUT I don’t need them, my own eyes tell me that this is the case.

I don’t see Newcastle United wasting time week after week, actually quite the opposite! When it comes to wasting time, NUFC has definitely been the target of more sin than the sinners themselves.

Eddie Howe has Newcastle playing good football when he’s in possession and when he’s not (possession) he’s got this gritty energy up top of the field press, to try and ensure NUFC get him back (possession) as soon as possible.

The truth is out there, if you look for it…


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