I wasn’t expecting much given our wretched home form and Man Utd’s long awaited return to form, but it’s a real shame to see two errors cost us in an otherwise disciplined display.
Man Utd dominated possession (65%) and we only had 3 shots on target, but some poor handling from Martin Dubravka and Isaac Hayden being dispossessed in a bad area have cost us – despite us putting in a disciplined display defensively.
We were in the game for most of us and created some decent openings, but our lack of quality in the final third combined with our tendency to shoot ourselves in the foot is really letting us down at home – with tonight’s result being our EIGHTH defeat in 11 games at St James’ Park this season.
Dummett was solid and the pick of the defenders once again for me (although Lascelles was better than he has been in his defence), Atsu caused them all sorts of problem – despite showing real limitations with his final ball – but it was a frustrating night for Salomon Rondon, who suffered from a lack of service and the fact he was often left too isolated up top. Perez was absolutely anonymous, Hayden looked very limited, Diame was good off the ball but woeful on it. Shelvey came on and showed a bit of quality with a few cutting passes, but it’s clear we’re going to need more than just Rondon when it comes to people being able to make the most of them in the final third.
Defeat tonight and some bad results elsewhere now leave us just two points above the drop zone.
Here’s how the table now looks after today’s results:
Next up we have a home FA Cup tie with Championship side Blackburn – with Rafa likely to rotate given we’ll need our first-team ‘stars’ firing on all cylinders in the games against Chelsea, Cardiff, City and Spurs to come over the next month.
- Blackburn (H) – *FA Cup
- Chelsea (A)
- Cardiff (H)
- Man City (H)
- Tottenham (A)
We’re in desperate need of a January boost, with us crying out for a new number 10, more options in midfield and a winger with better final ball, but I have no faith in any investment. Unfortunately, the man who makes the decisions and has the ability to give Benitez that much needed boost has just come back from his holidays and couldn’t give a toss about us – as long as we stay up.
Newsflash Mike, we’re now two points above the drop zone..