Ok, so that happened. Perhaps I was a little too far into the #LetsGetCarriedAway hashtag that floats through the Toon Twiiter as a joke to identify a purposeful exaggeration. I really felt positive about the potential in today's match even without Jonas on the left, and even without Cheik Tiote. For me, the potential of coming out of the #StretchOfDoom with four points to show was well within the realm of possibility. It was not to be, however... clearly. In the yin and yang of football, there are those that would have said that we had a day like this coming, and perhaps we did. In the football cosmos a non-penalty is canceled out by a non-red card, right? My purpose in this reaction is not to complain about the officiating, however. Robert was exactly right in the post match thread when he said we had 85 minutes to set it right, and we just didn't. The points may not be the worst thing lost on the day, however.
During the match, Fabricio Coloccini was removed on 30 minutes for James Perch. While this move was doubtlessly due to the reported back issues that Captain Colo has been battling the last two weeks, it belies a complete and utter lack of depth in the CB position. I don't believe that if James Perch is your answer even in the short term at CB that you are in good shape with regard to your squad... but it gets better.
Steven Taylor came off the pitch late in the second half, and early reports are that he has an Achilles' problem, and Twitter has a range of diagnoses from ruptured on down... with prognoses from "out for six weeks" to "out for the season". As confirmed reports come out on this, they'll be posted. Needless to say, if we have lost Colo and Saylor for any appreciable amount of time, the wheels could come off of this season in a big hurry.
I'm not putting out any pictures or stats or anything in this reaction-- I'm just letting supporter in-the-heat-of-the-moment Jim out for just a second here.
I'm gutted. I don't feel that we played very well at all, and but for Tim Krul owning Daniel Sturridge on the day, this match could have been even more embarrassing than it ended up being. Although we did end up with three opportunities off of the woodwork, you'd be hard pressed to say that we really troubled the Chesea back line very much. Gabriel Obertan had a mostly anonymous and sometimes downright awful performance, Hatem Ben Arfa made very little mark on the match and Ryan Taylor went missing repeatedly on the Newcastle left. I think it has been well and truly revealed exactly how much Raylor depends on Coloccini and Jonas to replicate his early season form. More troubling for me is that as the match went on and we were afforded HUGE chunks of possession, we seemed lacking for ideas and just plain looked like we were running underwater. For my mental health, we'll just allow this to stand as my reaction:
SHOLA: "We just have to move on from this quickly. It's a bad day at the office and that's what we'll call it as"
It's better that way, Shola. There are very, very serious questions in this squad right now. We knew that... but didn't really want to look at it until we had to, and now we do. Ultimately, we've taken 1 point out of the #StretchOfDoom where we may have all assumed 0 before the dazzling run of form we had at the start of the season. Although we have now lost 2 of 3 matches, we still sit well at the top of the table, and we're still a load of points ahead of last years squad. On a macro level, this team is still far ahead of where last year's was. On a micro level, for me, this was a tremendously disappointing loss... not disappointing that we dropped the points, but disappointing in that we really seemed to get out-efforted. With this team and the challenges ahead of us if both Saylor and Colo are out for matches, this is something that just can not happen moving forward.
Come at me! Why am I wrong?