We may have lost be we did not disgrace ourselves here, as a first half strike from Raheem Sterling gave the league leaders a slender win over a stubborn Newcastle United.
Here’s our thoughts and marks out of 10 following last night’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.
NUFC XI – (5-4-1) – Elliot – Yedlin, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummet, Manquillo – Murphy, Diame, Shelvey, Aarons – Joselu.
Elliot – 7 – His save to deny Aguero’s point blank header was up there with one of the best saves I’ve seen at a game at St James’ Park. His kicking was a little suspect (it often is unfortunately), but aside from that he put in a very solid display.
Yedlin – 6.5 – Was caught out once again with a ball in behind for Sterling’s goal, however he generally did a very good job of containing the free-scoring City winger.
Mbemba – 6.5 – Like Yedlin, he was ball-watching for their goal, however he put in a steady performance on his return to the side apart from that. Read the game well and made a few timely interceptions.
Dummett – 7 – Aside from misjudging a ball over the top that allowed Aguero to hit the post, he barely put a foot wrong. He’s not a world beater as we know, but he’ll definitely improve us defensively and that showed last night.
Manquillo– 6 – Didn’t get much of a chance to bomb forward and sometimes struggled to pick up the magnificent movement from Man City attackers.
Murphy – 5.5 – Needed to show a little more composure on the ball when we had a rare moment of possession in the first half, however he got us moving forward in the second with a few nice bursts forward with the ball. Must improve all round game mind.
Diame – 7 – Much better once again from Mo. He’s a big lad and often gets criticised for not putting himself about and his cumbersome style, but he was neither last night. He got in their faces and made more tackles than any other NUFC player. Sloppy on the ball but he made up for that in effort and application.
Shelvey – 5.5 – Set piece delivery was poor more often than not and he didn’t get much chance to influence the game on a night we saw so little of the ball. Some decent attempts at some much needed forward through balls in the second half and a more disciplined display from a defensive perspective than we’re used to seeing from him.
Aarons – 5 – Aside from his brilliant chip that was well cleared off the line, he really struggled to get a hold of the ball and keep it in the first half. He’s shown in the past that he’s got something about him, but he looked a little rusty and off the pace (which is to be expected after very little first team football).
Joselu – 5 – He was feeding off scraps in fairness so it was always going to be hard for him. He was so often the only player in our attacking half, meaning any counter attack was always going to fizzle out due to his total lack of pace. He’s normally strong in the air but didn’t get much joy out of Otamendi and struggled to hold up the ball when it was played up to him in an attempt to relieve some pressure.
Atsu – 7 – Looked a real threat when he came on. Skipped past a few City defenders with ease late on and set up a big late chance for Gayle. Looks full of energy and could be the man we turn to to beat Brighton on Saturday on current form.
Gayle – 6 – Gave us a bit more energy up top and looked to get in behind. Unsettled City’s defence towards the end with some smart movement and relentless pressuring but rightfully picked up a yellow for his attempt to win a penalty.
Merino – N/A – Hard to give a rating after just over 10 minutes on the pitch, but he looked classy once again. Left a few for dead with some smart drops of the shoulder and swift forward passes. A clever and positive player who likes to get the ball down and get us playing.