Newcastle opened their Premier League campaign yesterday with a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham at St. James’ Park, with injuries, idiocracy being the order of the day, despite a committed and compact performance from us for the most part.
Here are our thoughts and marks out of 10 for the starting 11 and substitutes from today’s game:
Elliot – 6 – His distribution was mixed, but he made a big one-on-one save to deny Kane at 0-0.
Manquillo –7 – Looks a better player than I expected him to be. Carries the ball well, seems pretty switched on, comfortable with the ball at his feet and a willing runner. Fell asleep for one of the Spurs goals mind.
Lejeune – 6 – Showed some nice moments in a game that was a clear step up in pace and intensity for the big Frenchman. Big shame to see him go off to what could be a nasty injury.
Clark – 6 – Had to slot in at Left-back following Dummett’s withdrawal. Defended well but couldn’t offer anything going forward which limited our width and attacking options down the left.
Dummett – N/A – Pulled up with an injury and was forced off after just seven minutes.
Hayden – 7 – Competed very well in the midfield battle against the imposing pair of Dembele and Dier. Got in their faces well and often recycled possession with some timely interceptions.
Shelvey – 3 – Saw very little of the ball and when he did his final ball was often rushed and misplaced. He did not enjoy the sort of influence on the game he enjoyed over pre-season and his moment of stupidity cost us dearly.
Ritchie – 6 – A typically busy performance defensively, but given we spent large parts camped in our own half, the winger struggled to make an impact on the game offensively.
Perez – 6 – Made some promising runs with the ball and worked very hard but his final ball was a little frustrating and sloppy.
Atsu – 8*– Our most threatening player. Had a real go at Spurs and looked to make things happen with a few shots on goal and crosses into the box after beating his man. Another promising display from the Ghanaian.
Gayle – 6 – Ran after lost causes for most of the game and had little support up top as he was forced to feed off fairly hopeful long punts to set him in behind.
Lascelles – 6 – Some solid pieces of no nonsense defending from the captain, who was brought on earlier than expected following the injury to Paul Dummett.
Mbemba – 7 – Made some important interceptions and dealt with the Spurs attack pretty well in the circumstances.
Merino – 7 – Showed his class. Got on the ball more in his 15 minutes on the field than I remember Shelvey doing for 60 minutes. Looks to have great balance and technique.
(*MAN OF THE MATCH – Christian Atsu*)