Christian Atsu's first-ever Premier League goal was a close range volleyed
at the Leazes End, after Isaac Hayden teed up Matt Ritchie to put over a perfect cross
from the right flank. 1-0
Magpies 1 Potters 0
Chief threat for City - when he stayed on his feet - was Xherdan Shaqiri
and he was
allowed space to run along the edge of the box, pick his spot and fire a low
Jamaal Lascelles latched
on to Matt Ritchie's corner and powered a header in off the bar
that bounced down over the line and up into the back of the net.
Fan footage taken from the South West Corner subsequently appeared online,
showing that Ritchie's follow through from the corner ended with a little
jump and header - as if willing Lascelles on to do his bit. It worked. 2-1
Full time: Magpies 2 Potters 1
"I cannot shout too much at the moment, so I was passing my
messages on to Paco. There were times when I wanted to shout, but I
"It is just a bit of pain now, every day I am taking less tablets. I am
"What is important for us was to start winning and now it is to keep
the momentum. We have to keep working hard and we
know what we have in the team and the squad. Maybe we can lose games, but we have to
believe we can win.
"At the end, we were suffering a
little bit because we didn't take the chances we had. We had enough chances to
manage the game better.
"Normally I am a little bit more
agitated, but today I have to be careful, it will take some time to heal, but
at least winning is always easier.
"This group of players works very
hard. Sometimes we have some problems, but with the chances we can create we
know they can give us the points.
"The fans, when you win so many games
in a row, they are excited and thinking about Europe - for me it is one game
at a time. It is a very competitive league and
we are learning from that.
"It's really important that players want to stay, want to fight, want to
defend their black and white shirt - they're doing that.
"The main thing for me is to see the team working as hard as they were
working. There were a lot of positives. The team is believing in themselves,
but there are still a lot of things to improve.
"If we play against a top side and make
the kind of mistakes we did here, we will pay for that. You have to believe that
you can win against certain teams.
"The players are trying to understand
the way we have to play our game. We have to play with our own style of play. We
are not a team that have a lot of possession, so we have to play to our
strengths and we are doing that now.
"They are showing the fans that they care. When I pick players, I need to
be sure I am choosing players who really want it and are not always making
excuses when they make mistakes.
"I want players who will make sure they react in the right way."
"There's a real passion about the lads,
there's a great intensity.
"The atmosphere in the ground was electric. The goal was similar to last
week - they were ball watching. I don't think I've scored two so early on, but
Matt Ritchie's delivery is just so good.
"In the Premier League, it's a little bit different because in the
Championships it's more of a wrestling match in the box.
"We've got such a young team, I think it gives us a big advantage in terms
of our energy, which really counts when we play against teams a little bit
older. Our average age is only about 25.
Quizzed about Joselu thanking him for scoring after the striker missed three
"That's what team-mates do. If it was down the other end and I'd let a goal
in and he went down the other end and scored, I'd have gone up to him and said
the same. He knows himself he should have scored a couple of goals today, but
good team-mates get each other out of the shit.
"He's done a great job for us today. He held the ball up well, he kept
finding himself in dangerous areas and he's been a real threat for defences in
other games as well, so it's certainly not one of them when I'm going to have a
go at him.
"It's not like it was (when Newcastle were relegated in 2016). We're
completely different players with a different mentality and we keep fighting
until the whistle goes."
Jill Lascelles (Jamaal's mam) via twitter:
"(It's) Costing me a fortune , from his academy days at Forest, it's
always been a fiver a goal."
That's why they got him to negotiate
Horrible Mark Hughes
(who sadly was never quite riled enough today to repeat
his coat-throwing antics of a few years ago) said:
"We didn't play particularly well today. I didn't think we were poor, just
not as good as in recent weeks. That's the disappointment. I think we were a little loose in our general play.
"We had more possession and they looked to counter-attack and it was a different
test, one we had to cope with better.
"We will find teams like Newcastle who will show respect and sit back and invite
us on and so we've got to be more accurate in our work and our passing. We maybe needed a different mindset of what's required.
"I thought we were better second half and once we were on level terms we had a
real opportunity to take the game away from them.
"But we made a mistake on the corner to allow them to get back into the lead,
but even so we had two or three opportunities that on another day we would take.
"I don't think there was too much between both teams."
The Magpies ended a five game winless sequence at home and away
against the Potters, since beating them 5-1 at Gallowgate on Boxing Day
DeAndre Yedlin became the 220th player to appear for us in the
Premier League, while Christian Atsu is the 128th Magpie to
net for us in the competition.
Jamaal Lascelles netted his seventh
goal for Newcastle - and fourth in the Premier League:
2015/16 Watford (a) lost 1-2
header from corner
2015/16 Swansea (h) won 3-0 header from corner
2016/17 Brighton (h) won 2-0 header from free kick
2016/17 Norwich (a) drew 2-2 shot from cross
2016/17 Leeds (h) drew 1-1 header from cross
2017/18 Swansea (a) won 1-0 header from corner
2017/18 Stoke (h) won 2-1 header from corner
Christian Atsu made it six goals in our colours, including five on
loan last season:
2016/17 Rotherham (a) won 1-0
2016/17 Cardiff (h) won 2-1
2016/17 Wigan (a) won 2-0
2016/17 Preston (h) won 4-1
2016/17 Cardiff (a) won 2-0
2017/18 Stoke (h) won 2-1
first Premier League goal for United was also a maiden top flight strike*,
having failed to get off the mark for Everton in five appearances (he
never played in the PL for Chelsea or Bournemouth).
* we mean Premier League: he did net in the domestic top division in
Portugal, Holland and Spain.
Newcastle have now scored six goals in the Premier League this season
- and four of them came via assists from Matt Ritchie
(including the last three).
You have to go back to November 2014 to find the last time that United
won three successive top flight games - Leicester City (h) 1-0, Spurs (a)
2-1 and Liverpool (h) 1-0.
That run continued with a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion and a 1-0 home
victory over QPR before it was sixth time unlucky with a 0-1 loss at West
United's current lofty position of fourth is the highest they've been
in the Premier League since a season opening 2-1 home win over Spurs in August
Since then, their highest position has been fifth - in both November 2013
and November 2014.
from five games
represents Newcastle's best start to a top flight season since 2011/12
- when they emulated that points tally.
It took Steve McClaren's side an agonising 12 games to reach that
total in the 2015/16 season.
Potters on Tyne - last ten:
2017/18 won 2-1 Atsu, Lascelles
2015/16 drew 0-0
2014/15 drew 1-1 Colback
2013/14 won 5-1 Remy 2, Gouffran, Cabaye, Cisse
2012/13 won 2-1 Cabaye, Cisse
2011/12 won 3-0 Cabaye 2, Cisse
2010/11 lost 1-2 Nolan
2008/09 drew 2-2 Owen 2
2007/08 won 4-1 Owen, Cacapa, Milner, Duff (FAC)
1989/90 won 3-0 Kristensen 2, Quinn
Total record against Stoke:
Benitez may a restrained touchline observer today, but his team did the talking
on the field for their recuperating manager, soaring to fourth in the table after their third successive victory.
the second successive weekend, Captain Jamaal Lascelles headed home a corner
to earn another three points - the manner of the goal as pleasing as the
outcome, for a side who until recently had gone through full seasons without
scoring from flag kicks.
A squally Saturday at
St. James' Park saw United go ahead through Christian Atsu from their first
real chance of the game,
only to then miss a series of chances to extend that lead - most notably
through former Potters forward Joselu, who contrived to squander a hat-trick of
Volleying wide when unmarked and
then prodded a shot at Jack Butland when it looked harder to miss, the most
inviting opportunity of them all came 15 seconds into the second half. City were
caught cold by Atsu's pass, but Joselu lifted his shot over the
crossbar with the goal gaping.
The old adage about trying too hard against his old club was aired by some, but
the fact that he was alert and committed enough to get into those positions to
miss brought some comfort - in addition to the fact he didn't try to decapitate
any opponent who strayed into his path....
City were reeling against
the ropes at 1-0, but did enough in the closing stages of the first
half to suggest that the game wasn't quite over.
Newcastle were pegged back just before the hour mark when Xherdan Shaqiri was
allowed space to pick his spot and fire home. Parity lasted for just over ten minutes though, before Lascelles latched
on to Ritchie's corner and powered a header in off the underside of the
Gallowgate End crossbar.
Just seconds earlier, he'd been arguing with referee Stuart Atwell
over his refusal to award a penalty - and that anger energised Lascelles to
make sure he was first to
the ball from the resumption.
The relief was palpable after it had threatened to be "one of those days", Atwell seemingly intent on giving
the visitors every chance to steal a
point or even three, despite many of their side looking rather less than
bothered about the outcome.
Fielding DeAndre Yedlin and Chancel Mbemba at right and left back
respectively, Jesus Gamez dropped out of the squad entirely while Javier Manquillo was
Jacob Murphy was also rotated out of the starting lineup in favour of Atsu -
and he soon repaid that decision by putting the black and whites ahead with
his first-ever Premier League goal.
While Lascelles will again hog the headlines for his heading prowess as United
won three top-flight matches in a row for the first time since 2014, he'll
doubtless acknowledge Rob Elliot's contribution.
The goalkeeper was powerless to prevent the irritating Shaqiri from levelling,
but pulled off a superb one-handed stop from a Mame Diouf
header soon after.
responded almost immediately at the other end, Perez finding the net but clearly offside.
Then came the Atsu incident, when he looked to have been tripped as he charged through on goal. Atwell
waved away penalty appeals, although Atsu should have shot before
the challenge came in.
Jonjo Shelvey was stripped and waiting to come on when Lascelles made it 2-1
and the midfielder still appeared in place of Isaac Hayden - who had again been
hampered by an early booking and required some treatment on the field after
taking a whack.
Shelvey and Mikel Merino attempted to retain the ball
in midfield, while Dwight Gayle replaced Joselu to give United an out
ball as Stoke resorted to the expected aerial bombardment, veteran nuisance
Peter Crouch appearing from the bench.
Inevitably there were scares in the closing stages, particularly when
DeAndre Yedlin needlessly lost possession (and was bollocked by Lascelles
for doing so). And when Diouf met a left wing cross
to head a whisker wide in added time, St James' breathed a collective sigh
The mood is good, fans rightly responding to a Newcastle side who currently
embody the cliche of playing for the shirt. But when hard times do inevitably
follow, hopefully people will recall that before they boo at half time if we're
not winning or flounce out if they go two down.
In terms of recruitment, we're making the best of what we've got but if the
manager felt his side were short-handed on August 31st then who are we to argue?
Mbemba at full back is one of the more unlikely placements of recent seasons and
aside from Freddie Woodman, there's nothing in reserve. On that basis, it's a
good job we'll be naming a full-strength side for the FA Cup.....
The presence of previous transfer target Saido Berahino on the City bench
meanwhile is a timely reminder that a price tag doesn't guarantee a dividend.
Our lot may not be world beaters but at least they can manage to keep fit.
Attitude is as important as aptitude - Ayoze Perez contributing more and perhaps
benefiting more than anyone from the French enclave turning Spanish.
Exactly how far organisation, collective spirit and Mike's "treat 'em mean,
keep 'em keen" outlook will take us is anyone's guess, but we at least finished the weekend in the top four,
a side unproven in the top flight outwitting a more established one. That's