As you might gather from the title, I’ve been asking myself that particular question ever since the final whistle blew on yesterday’s disappointing game at Burnley.

After all, we were up against a team that had lost three games on the trot, with Tottenham in particular sticking five goals past their defence.

And before anybody says “yeah, but they played Totts and Man City in two of those games”, so what? Totts were easy meat at St James’ Park and we drew with City!

Clearly, our inability to get anything at Turf Moor looks like it had more to do with the players we were missing than anything Burnley could do. Allan St-Maximin and Almiron in particular were a big miss. We lost the pace they provide on the counter-attack and crucially also lost the width they give us in support of the big man in the middle.

Their replacements were Joelinton on the left, well, he was supposed to be playing on the left apparently but kept drifting inside, and Atsu. Haven’t a clue where Atsu was playing. Any ideas anybody? Anywhere he fancied, by the looks of it!

The other big miss was Shelvey, who’s been playing well lately. He was replaced by Sean Longstaff who looked rusty and wasn’t the effective force in midfield that we know he can be.

At the back, Rafa’s well drilled defensive organisation continued to be effective irrespective of the personnel deployed there and they were only beaten once, Burnley scoring from a corner after 58 minutes, with Dubravka crowded out and unable to punch the cross clear.

The result of all of this was we didn’t even find a way to have one shot on target during the entire 90 minutes. And to be fair, Burnley looked the better team on the day.

Two points of controversy. Steve Bruce was saying that the corner they scored from shouldn’t have been a corner, because Fernandez was fouled just before the ball went out of play. No he wasn’t. Don’t just take my word for it. Sir Alan Shearer didn’t think it was a foul either. Telly evidence was clear on that point.

The other one was when Andy Carroll jumped for a header and appeared to catch one of their players with his arm on the way down. Folks, these things happen all the time in football. Arms always go out when a player is jumping – it’s natural. The TV pundits were trying to say it should have been a red card. Rubbish. It’s a man’s game. They’ll have us playing with beach balls and wearing sandshoes next if they get their way!

All in all this game was one to quickly forget.

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below.

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