As Rafa Benitez took his Newcastle side down to Wolverhampton yesterday, to play Paul Lambert’s Wanderers, there was seemingly a sense amongst the Newcastle fan base that nothing less than a win would do.
In the run up to kick off, this sense was even stronger, after wins for Brighton and Huddersfield.
However, as the game started, it looked very unlikely that United would get anything, performing the way that they were.
They seemed slow to react and lacking in composure when in possession. However, after Aleksandar Mitrovic had been involved in a host of contentious moments, one of which could have seen him win a penalty, and another that could have seen him sent off, it was the Serbian who opened the scoring.
Despite this, it was soon half time, and Mitrovic was taken off in order to ensure that we would still have eleven men on the pitch come the end of the game. Christian Atsu came on, in a move which saw Yoan Gouffran move forward to lead the line.
In the second half, following this change, Newcastle seemed to play better, while still defending a lot, there seemed to be far more structure to the teams performance.
Wolves offered very little, hitting the target only once from what I can remember, with a very tame effort from Helder Costa, who failed to live up to his pre-match billing as the divisions best player.
Costa was dealt with brilliantly by Paul Dummett and if, as most of the experts seem to think, Costa is a £25 million player, then Dummett must have increased his market value by a significant amount yesterday.
As for our team ratings, they are as follows:
Karl Darlow: 6
DeAndre Yedlin: 7
Jamaal Lascelles: 8 (MOTM)
Ciaran Clark: 8
Paul Dummett: 8
Matt Ritchie: 6
Jack Colback: 6
Jonjo Shelvey: 6
Yoan Gouffran: 7
Mo Diame: 6
Aleksandar Mitrovic: 7
Christian Atsu: 7
Daryl Murphy: 6
Ayoze Perez: – *
*was not on long enough to receive a mark