Glad I went to Newcastle on what’s apparently going to be the warmest day for at least a week. Temperatures peaking at a balmy 4 degrees was enough to make some of our squad almost break into a sweat…
To be fair, we should have buried Blackburn in the first half. Were it not for Friedel, I think we would have. Saves from Jenas, Shearer and Chopra on his first full Premiership start. Indeed, Chops managed to net the ball but was ruled offside – apparently a correct decision but I’ve not watched the replays yet.
Barry Ferguson was sadly stretchered off fairly early in the half, too. A 50/50 challenge with Gary Speed saw both players writhing and holding legs, but Ferguson stayed down. Apparently he’s out for the season with a broken and dislocated kneecap. Ouch.
Blackburn came more alive in the second half and were worth their goal, even if it was punched into the net by Gallagher. Andy O’Brien made a magnificent clearance off the line to deny Blackburn a second as the ball looped over Given. How on earth that didn’t go in, I’ll never know.
In all, a pretty depressing result. The one thing that shone out, though, was the performance by Chopra. I have two questions – why was he subbed (and for Lua Lua who just doesn’t seem to cut the mustard) and why haven’t we been playing him all season instead of Ameobi? Assuming today’s performance was usual fare for him and not just an attempt to make a really good impression on his first appearance, the kid has talent. And balls. Certainly one to watch for the future.
Oh, and for the record – the referee had a pretty good game. Aside from missing the two handball incidents. Almost without fail he let play continue after every foul to see if advantage could be given. As a result, the game flowed better than it would under many other whistle-happy muppets.
Current MP3 playing: Frankie by Sister Sledge