Tue 12 Mar 2024, 10:53 · Ash Harrison

'A challenging week': Eddie Howe reflects on Newcastle's injuries and says goal scorer didn't train last week

'A challenging week': Eddie Howe reflects on Newcastle's injuries and says goal scorer didn't train last week
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Newcastle United were humbled by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last night and although the scoreline hints at a tight game the reality was much different.

Newcastle's defending has been abysmal this season and last night was the worst of the worst on display. We know we have quality defenders, we proved it last season going 10 games in a row without conceding and finishing the season level with Manchester City with the fewest goals conceded.

This season, injuries have massively disrupted the defence, with last season's brick wall having hardly all been on the pitch at the same time, but it really looks like every player can be likened to a structural Jenga piece and if you pull one out, the whole thing collapses. Both Dan Burn and Kieran Trippier have found it hard at times this season, but perhaps the biggest surprise is how poor Sven Botman has been since his return from injury.

Newcastle once again added to their casualty list last night

Now, Kieran Trippier is unavailable and Newcastle lost Dan Burn to injury last night, although Eddie Howe doesn't believe that his injury is too bad, but these are both more cases of what has been a horrendous season in terms of injuries.

Anthony gordon
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Anthony Gordon leaving the action 35 minutes into the encounter with Chelsea

The biggest blow came just after the half-hour mark last night when Anthony Gordon, arguably our best player this season, was forced to withdraw from the game with a knee injury which Howe admitted to NUFC TV, doesn't look good.

On top of that, Harvey Barnes, another long-term casualty who had just returned to action picked up a hamstring injury in the win against Wolves and Howe also shared that Jacob Murphy hadn't trained in the run up to last night's game.

"[On Harvey Barnes] It was a hamstring injury he picked up against Wolves when he came on so that was another big blow for us this week. We've had a challenging week, Jacob Murphy hasn't trained. So again, we've been sort of a little bit patched up."

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It would stand to reason that Murphy probably wasn't meant to play as much of the game as he did after not training, but he offered more in the first couple of minutes on the pitch than Gordon had all game before he came off, and that goal was a sight to behold.

So more injury woes for The Magpies in a season that has been more about injuries than actual football. I can't remember the last time I wanted a season to end as much as this one. Even the relegation seasons - at least then there was something to fight for, but unless we pull off a miracle on Saturday and beat Manchester City in the FA Cup, this campaign is essentially over. The gap to the European spots keeps widening and our performances don't exactly inspire hope that we'll close it up.

I've strived to be the positive, rational voice as much as I can when talking about this season but it is starting to take its toll now. Roll on May, and bring on the summer transfer window.

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