After three straight wins, Newcastle came up just short on the south-coast today, falling to a 1-0 defeat to Chris Hughton’s Brighton after a second half goal from Tomer Hemed.
Here are our thoughts and marks out of 10 for the starting 11 and substitutes from today’s game:
Elliot – 7 – Made a few good saves, one being a superb recovery save to deny March on the line and keep the score at 1-0. Distribution was mixed.
Yedlin – 6 – Looks a little off the pace as he continues his comeback from a spell out. Got stuck in and showed his athleticism well at times, but failed to offer as much as he can going forward.
Lascelles – 6 – Gave away a fairly needless foul that led to the goal and his distribution wasn’t great. Won headers and made a few good clearances, but won’t have done a great deal to impress Steve Holland who was on the south-coast to scout him for a potential England call up.
Clark – 6 – Didn’t have a great deal to do, but wasn’t quite as calm and collected as we’ve seen him in the past despite staying relatively solid. Lost out on a few aerial battles at set pieces.
Mbemba – 6 – Didn’t always look comfortable against Knockaert but did a decent job in the end. Tried to make things happen down the left with Atsu and made a few good clearances.
Hayden – 5 – Never really imposed himself on the game and a few loose touches. Not one of his better performances after developing a decent partnership with Merino in the last three.
Merino – 8 – Easily our best player today. Could count on a few fingers how many times he lost the ball. Helped move us forward with the ball and oozed class. Very impressive once again.
Ritchie – 7 – Energetic and industrious as always. Tried to make things happen and covered so much ground at both ends, often taking up good defensive positions to protect Yedlin. A few tame shots from distance/ free kicks the only negative.
Perez – 5 – Showed the odd nice touch but flattered to deceive and was a frustrating in possession at times. Final ball/shot lacking after creating a few decent openings for himself.
Atsu – 6 – Drifted out of the game after making some dangerous breaks forward int the first half. Brighton right-back Bruno kept him pretty quiet as the space closed up second half.
Joselu – 5 – Dragged a golden first half chance wide which could and should have changed the game. Put himself about but struggled against the towering Dunk and Duffy, failing to impose himself on the game as much as he has recently.
(N/A = weren’t on long enough to be given a rating).
Jonjo Shelvey – 7 (On for Hayden)– Tried to make things happen and combined well with Merino. Gave us something different to Hayden who struggled to impose himself on the game.
Gayle – 6 (On for Joselu) – Buzzed about but didn’t get a great deal of openings. Had once chance late on, but failed to get a proper connection behind his shot after a smart turn.
Gamez – N/A (On for Mbemba) – Had the odd nice interchanges down the left. Looks tidy on the ball and comfortable going forward.