It was looking grim when West Brom made it two, but a battling last half an hour saw Newcastle salvage a much needed point against the Baggies last night.
Here’s our thoughts and marks out of 10 following last night’s 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns.
Darlow – 5 – A few decent takes from crosses, but a few questionable pieces of distribution. Unspectacular, but he did just about enough to be given another shot at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Yedlin – 4 – Was caught ball watching for their first goal, allowing Gibbs to get in behind and put in the cross for the goal. He won the free-kick that led to our equaliser and was an attacking out ball in the second half, but must improve his defensive work considerably. Has been culpable for far too many goals lately.
Lejeune – 6 – Wasn’t to blame for either of the two goals and did ok, but hasn’t filled me with confidence in recent weeks despite looking calm and collected in his first few games. He has an air of Coloccini (when he first arrived on Tyneside) in him, sometimes trying to be a little too clever when attempting to knick the ball of his opponent.
Clark – 6.5 – Covered well for Mbemba on occasion and his goal was massive to start our eventual comeback. Switched off massively to leave Robson-Kanu free for their opening goal however. A mixed performance, but a big goal to get us back into the game.
Mbemba – 6 – Generally did very well against Phillips in one on one situation, but did allow him to get a cross in a little to easily for their second. Needs to stay switched on, but, for me, he’s a better fit at left-back than Manquillo while Dummett’s out.
Hayden – 5.5 – Got stuck in and offered a bit more presence and energy to the midfield, but didn’t get on the ball a great deal.
Merino – 6 – Didn’t look sharp, which is to be expected after a month out of action. A few rusty touches saw him loose it in dangerous a areas a few times, but he definitely brings an added air of class to our midfield – even on an off day. Saw a well struck shot well saved by Foster and tried to push us forward when he got on the ball. He always looks forward, which I love.
Ritchie – 7* – He’s been well below his best in recent weeks, but was instrumental in most things we did well going forward, playing a major part in both goals. His corner put it on a plate for Ciaran Clark and his dangerous low-free kick forced an own-goal for our equaliser.
Murphy – 6.5 – Gave the ball away a little too cheaply and sometimes needs to work on his decision making, but had some really promising moments. Wriggled his way out of some difficult situations and showed his ability to take a man on. Promising.
Perez – 5.5 – Pressed well from the front, but failed to get the ball under control on a few too many occasions. Some nice flicks here and there, but we need to see much more substance to his play if he’s to nail down a place in Rafa’s team.
Joselu – 5 – He won the odd header, but really struggled to impose himself on the game once again. Just doesn’t offer us nearly enough up top at the moment and is carrying so little threat.
Mitrovic – 7 – Came on for Joselu for the last 20 minutes and gave us a real presence up top. He lead the line, held up the ball, brought others into play and put himself about. Has to start on Saturday.
Aarons – 6.5 – Caused them real problems down the left and put in a wicked cross which very nearly lead to a goal. Looked very lively and direct. Sometimes needs to know when to release the ball, but he’s given Rafa something to think about for Chelsea away at the weekend.
Shelvey – N/A – Hard to give a rating after he played just 10 minutes, but his quality was there for all to see despite his short cameo. Threaded an inch perfect pass through to Yedlin, which would’ve lead to a goal if it wasn’t for the linesman’s flag.