“I for one do not want to see them on “holiday mode” as they still have something to play for such as finishing above a former champion for the first time since 2013!”.
That’s a line from my preview, and clearly, Newcastle United did what I (and many Magpies fans) dreaded, as they slumped to a home defeat against a relegation-threatened West Brom side who needed a win to keep alive their slim hopes of staying in the top flight.
As for West Brom, a solitary goal from Matt Phillips, coupled with Swansea losing at home to Chelsea mean the Baggies live to fight another week.
I’ll take you through what happened…
Within the opening 30 minutes, the visitors took the lead through Matt Phillips. A long assist from Jake Livermore found Phillips who was never going to miss from close range to gift his side a vital goal!
Not long after, an effort from a rather laid-back Kenedy somehow failed to find the net. The ball was on a platter for him by Ayoze Perez who played a neat one-two with the Brazilian. Why was he so laid back there? To rub salt in wounds, he was on-side as well!
With half-time looming, the home side had an effort at goal through Mohamed Diame. A fine overhead assist from Florian Lejeune found Diame whose effort skimmed over the bar.
Again, Rafa Benitez’ side could’ve drawn level at the break, following a corner from Jonjo Shelvey, which found Lejeune, who headed at goal, only for his effort to be brilliantly saved by Ben Foster. What an important save to make with his side staring down the barrel of relegation! Following that, West Brom hit the counter, with Jay Rodriguez getting the final touch at goal before the danger was cleared by Newcastle favourite Jamaal Lascelles (Martin Dubravka did well to save). That was a rather interesting conclusion to that half!
Darren Moore’s side began with the same intent as an effort from Rodriguez failed to hit the target. A great cross from James McClean found a waiting Phillips who gifted an opportunity for Rodriguez to score, only for the latter to mis-hit his effort. Must do better there!
Well into the last 10, another equaliser for Benitez’ side went begging when a headed effort from Lejeune glided wide of the target following an assist from DeAndre Yedlin.
West Brom stood their ground to live to fight another game as Swansea losing to Chelsea means they still have a (slim) chance of survival.
Thoughts on the game
With Newcastle United having little at stake, maybe they could be forgiven for going off the boil with their Premier League status already sewn up. But at times, I felt they were trying to do things for a YouTube video, rather than focusing on the game in hand.
West Bromwich Albion on the other hand, they needed to win in order to survive, and that’s what they got. They live to fight another round!
Back to Newcastle United, Islam Slimani will no doubt be looking at a three-match retrospective ban for a kick on Craig Dawson. There was no need for him to do that whatsoever!
There was a moment in the first half where a foul by Kieran Gibbs on Matt Ritchie on the penalty area went unnoticed by the referee. Had that been seen, that would’ve certainly been given! Gibbs should count himself lucky there!
A top 10 finish isn’t guaranteed for Newcastle United, and they will be raring for a finish in the top half, when they visit Vicarage Road on Saturday (3pm).
As for West Brom, they have the opportunity to string together back-to-back wins for the first time since August if they are to keep alive their ever faltering hopes of staying in the top division when they face Tottenham Hotspur at home (3pm). Fans would have to keep a close eye on fixtures around them though, as their destiny is out of their own hands. The “we must win, and hope other fixtures favour us” game begins here…
Featured Image credit: JOE89316