August is done, so why not have a look back at the month as we enter a new one? This will be the first post in a series called “The Holy Crap moment of the Month.” We will recap the moments that made us gasp during the first month of the season and try (hopefully successfully) to select which moment was the greatest. All moments will directly involve Newcastle United, though they are not limited to just the good moments, but also the bad and sometimes the downright ugly. August was not a good month for Newcastle United by any stretch of the imagination, so the moments were scarce, but here are 4 moments that stood out.
Goal Line Technology
Now that Goal Line Technology is part of the game, it has been for the most part welcomed. The process is quick and usually clarifies moments that were close but certainly goals. The first time it would make a difference in a goal that was so close it could not be called by the naked eye would of course involve our beloved Newcastle United and not in their favor. In the early moments of the opening match of the season against Spurs, Spurs threatened Newcastle’s goal and Jan Vertonghen managed to get a shot that deflected off the post into Dubravka’s hands. Then it happened. The referee signaled that the ball had crossed the line and that it was indeed a goal and we were all scratching our heads. As it happened, the ball did not appear to have passed the line, and on the replay, it still was not clear. The goal line graphic showed just how close it was and despite the system being full proof, not many people were sure how to take that one. The opening goal of the season against Newcastle was strange but had a bit of foreshadowing in it. Many of the goals that Newcastle would give up in the opening month would be far from normal goals.
Normally a moment referred to as the pass would have to refer to something done by Jonjo Shelvey, but he is not star of this moment. In the opening match against Spurs, Newcastle managed to stay competitive for the entire match but unfortunately walked away with a loss. The match was exciting and 3 goals were scored in the encounter. The moment that got everyone standing however, was a pass from Joselu that should have resulted in a tying goal for Newcastle United. Joselu, has been much maligned by fans for Newcastle for most of his time on Tyneside, but if anyone had a solid opening month of the season it was him. In this moment Joselu on the right, turned infield only to find himself surrounded by 5 Spurs players. Without hesitation, after a quick dribble he sent a pass that left everyone that saw it shocked. He passed with the outside of his foot and the ball curled between 2 Spurs players, and past Matt Richie who was just ahead but marked, before finding a completely unmarked Kenedy surging into the box from the left wing. This was the beautiful game! Joselu knew what he wanted to do and did it without hesitation. Kenedy was so unmarked that it was shocking when his first touch let him down, squandering a perfect chance creation.
96th Minute Penalty Save
Newcastle United versus Cardiff City was one of those matches that were shockingly void of moments. Many would describe it was boring and neither team threatened more than a couple times throughout the almost 100 minutes of play. So, it was surprising that the very last moment of that match was as dramatic as it was. In injury time, Newcastle’s new arrival, Muto, tried to cross into the box from the left side but his ball was blocked by the hand of Sean Morrison of Cardiff City who had slid in to save the day. The penalty call was immediate, and fans of the Toon Army could celebrate as this in all likelihood meant a win and 3 points, assuming that the penalty was converted. With Matt Richie subbed off earlier, the selection of penalty taker would be an interesting one. It was the 96th minute and Kenedy stepped up. After the poor match he had to that point, the moment provided an opportunity for redemption. Kenedy barely seemed to be behind the ball and once the whistle went, took a very short run up and struck the ball with his favored left foot down the middle. It was a poorly taken penalty and easily saved by Neil Etheridge, the Cardiff keeper. Seconds later the final whistle was blown and Newcastle United had dropped 2 very important points. It culminated a very poor match from Kenedy and Newcastle United.
The Own Goal
Deandre Yedlin is very important to Newcastle United, and that is clearer now than ever before. He was injured at the end of the Spurs match and in his absence, Newcastle struggled to fill his position. Thankfully he was able to return for the Chelsea match, and had possibly the biggest impact on the match. After giving up a questionable penalty to Chelsea, Newcastle replied almost immediately. Yedlin brought a ball down on the right side of the box (though he escaped with an elbow in the process) and crossed it into the box for Joselu to head it for the tying goal. That made it all the more disappointing when Yedlin gave up an own goal a few minutes later, in the 87th minute to be exact. The goal would go on to be the winning goal for Chelsea and Newcastle’s feeling of unluckiness would hopefully leave with August. A Chelsea free kick floated into the box and headed backwards before the ensuing shot came. Yedlin got a foot to the shot but appeared to pull back at the last moment, resulting in a weird deflection that trickled into the Newcastle United goal. It was unfortunate but led to Chelsea’s first win at Newcastle in 7 years.
Moment of the Month
August provided a lot of dejection and 3 of these moments highlight that. For the moment of the month I will select Joselu’s pass for a few reasons. Of the 4 moments it is the 1 that highlights a positive about Newcastle United (despite the end result). It showed that Newcastle United are capable of good football. It also encapsulated what the beautiful game is all about. If Kenedy buries the chance, it is a clear nominee for goal of the year. It is also the moment that honestly may have gotten the biggest response out of fans in a positive way (Kenedy’s miss would be the biggest response in a negative light). So there it is, Newcastle’s moment of the month for August 2018. Hopefully next month there are nothing but positive options for September’s moment of the month.