After yesterday’s 2-1 defeat away to Manchester City, we’ve looked at some of the positives and negatives to take from a Newcastle perspective.
Starting with the plus points, here’s a few observations:
- Rondon showed why Rafa signed him – He was so isolated at times, but his ability to hold off his man, bring others into play and single handedly cause problems for the City defence was impressive. His perfectly weighted cross was key for Yedlin’s goal too. That’s now a goal and an assist in his last two games.
- Dubravka superb – one of the signings of the summer? – This bloke just gets better and better. He’s quick off his line, decisive and strong from crosses, his shot stopping and handling is impressive and reliable and he’s pretty confident with the ball at his feet (almost too much so at times!). Dealt with everything expertly.
- Organised and disciplined after being anything but in midweek – There were some worrying signs in midweek (and in our last away game at Cardiff), with us looking a little all over the shop and lacking discipline and spirit. There was no lack of that yesterday, playing down talk that there’s issues behind the scenes in the dressing room.
- Fernandez continues to impress – He slotted in superbly on his debut against Chelsea, was the only defender who did well at Forest and he looked a class act at City too. Read the play well, looked comfortable on the ball and strong positionally. I expect to see him starting alongside Lascelles when we revert back to a back four.
- Good to have the skipper back – He had a shaky start, with a sloppy pass leading to Sterling’s opener, however he recovered well and put in a solid display from that point onwards.
- Should we have gone for it a little more at the end? – Don’t get me wrong, I think a pragmatic and slightly cautious approach is necessary if a team like ours wants to get a result at City, but I felt we didn’t throw enough bodies forward late on. When it’s only 2-1 with 10 minutes to go, I’d like to have seen a late push to try and nick a point. We put in a big effort and they are experts at keeping the ball, but the game faded out a little too easily for me.
- Atsu looked very poor..again – He was awful off the bench on the opening day against Spurs, did very little in the midweek against Forest and, dare I say, he looked uninterested when he came on at City. He was sloppy on the ball, slow off it and looked half asleep.