It was 92nd minute of a quarter-final clash between Newcastle and Chelsea and the ball was in the air from a whipped cross. Kieran Trippier was in the middle, defending his team’s 1-0 lead and the worst possible thing happens.
The Newcastle defender fails miserably to control the ball and presents it on a platter for the opposition to score, making the game 1-1.
You would think the worst is over, but that was not the case for the defender. This mistake led to the game going to the penalties and the nightmare for the defender had another howler destined for him. Kieran Trippier stepped up to take the second penalty for his team and to the horror of the crowd, shoots it well wide of the goalpost.
The usually extremely reliable defender had a night to forget. But the fans and the netizens weren’t having any of it. They started counting on the messes Trippier has been making recently, especially in the month of December itself.
This wasn’t a one off incident according to them and they have been speculating if age is catching up to the 33 year old.
Looking back, it does seem that after the player abruptly left the English national team due to some personal reasons, the player hasn’t been up to the task recently.
In the clash against Everton this month on the 7th of December too, Trippier’s performance was abysmal. Two of his mistakes in quick succession were the reason for two out of the three goals that the Toffees managed to score.
The player himself had admitted to the howlers stating, “Listen, it’s one of those where you’ve made mistakes. Players make mistakes – I’ve made a couple today, I hold my hands up, I take responsibility and now it’s about getting on the bike again and getting ready for another big game.”
In that game, Trippier first lost his footing to gift the ball to Dwight McNeil which helped the opponent break the deadlock. As if that wasn’t enough, it was just seven minutes later that Trippier was in a déjà vu situation and this time it was the Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré scoring Everton’s second.
Not to pile on, but he was bamboozled again in the game thereafter versus his old club Tottenham Hotspur.
Former teammate Son Heung-min made a joke out of the right back as he dribbled past the defender with swift ease for the first goal and for the second one Trippier misjudged the header, passing the ball to Son’s feet. He did try to atone for his mistakes in the second half but alas it was too late.
Trippier has arguably been the player of the season for the Magpies, playing almost every game of the season with around 2000 minutes to his name already. He has provided 8 assists during the period and has managed to keep the same number of clean sheets to his name. He is one of the main reasons Newcastle are doing so well.
Newcastle coach Eddie Howe however, has always been behind the defender and have urged the fans to back the defender after he has done so much for them this season. Except for a heated exchange with a fan at the Bournemouth game last month, Toon fans have been very graceful about the player’s current form.
Christmas is around the corner and with a tight schedule up ahead maybe the right back needs some help from the supporting cast to recover a bit. Eddie Howe will need to deploy Tino Livramento to provide the Englishman the much needed rest.
Check out the reaction to Trippier’s December struggles below –