Was this game an instant classic? You can say yes. Was it a great performance by Newcastle? Far from it.
The Magpies returned home after dealing easily with Aston Villa (3-1 on the road) last Tuesday to host newly-promoted Luton and all they could do was draw Saturday’s game 4-4 to earn a measly point that did nothing for Newcastle, leaving them sitting in ninth place and potentially falling to the 10th spot if Chelsea beat Wolves on Sunday.
So dried of power is Newcastle’s frontline that Sean Longstaff (again) was the man opening the score for the home side less than 10 minutes into the affair. That was great, considering someone is at least reasonably capable of keep the team afloat when it comes to scoring goals with no natural striker available for Eddie Howe’s selection these days.
Too bad for Newcastle, it took Luton’s Gabriel Osho less than 15 minutes to bring the score to a draw, bagging one for his side making things 1-1... before Longstaff (because who else, right?) put Newcastle ahead once again in the 23rd minute of play.
Then, a true classic popped up as Ross Barkley (yes, that Ross Barkley) tied the game for Luton right before the halftime break. Luton, if you remember, already beat NUFC in the reverse match both sides played earlier this season, and they surely were locked into making it a season-series sweep on Saturday at St James’ Park after winning their home game before Christmas Day.
The second half saw Luton (of course) seize control, scoring twice in three minutes—first from the penalty spot via Carlton Morris and then again by Elijah Adebayo in the 62nd minute, making it 2-4 Luton. Uh, oh, these lowly Magpies...
Anyway, and also of course, Kieran Trippier scored the third goal for Newcastle five minutes after that, and nearly five minutes later it’d be Harvey Barnes making it 4-4 on the scoreboard in his first appearance (coming off the bench, no less) since he was injured in August and after missing weeks on end.
Newcastle scored four goals without a pure striker. Great. Newcastle’s defensive vulnerabilities were exposed badly. Not so great.
At the end of the day, nothing seems to have changed that much, and it’s worth remembering that Luton Town is a club that was playing Championship-level football less than 12 months ago. Let that marinate for a second if you want, but allowing this team four goals is much worse than scoring four on them is good to any extent.
Alexander Isak was out due to fitness issues. Callum Wilson started on the bench after missing a bunch of games. Longstaff (Sean Freaking Longstaff) was the two-goal-scorer of NUFC on the day. Sheesh...
As the season progresses and Newcastle keeps navigating games seemingly just to live another day, things are starting to get more than worrying and Eddie Howe might do well in making complete 180-degree changes... or just start packing his bags.
Newcastle are still in a position to make a late-season run toward clinching European football next season. Sadly, they are also (nearly) as close to getting relegated. Yeah, you read that right, relegated.
Had you forgotten that familiar feeling already?