There were celebrations aplenty prior to kick off to mark the club’s 125th birthday, and although Joselu gave us the lead after just 4 minutes, it ended in tears as Leicester inflicted our third straight home defeat to deepen our relegation fears.
Here’s our thoughts and marks out of 10 following today’s 3-2 defeat to Leicester City.
NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1) – Darlow – Yedlin, Lejeune, Clark, Manquillo – Ritchie, Merino, Hayden, Atsu – Gayle, Joselu.
Darlow – 3 – Unconvincing. Looked like he could’ve done better with Mahrez’s equaliser (weak hand?) and did not command his box with enough conviction from corners.
Yedlin – 4 – Sloppy. Long ball over his head caught him out once AGAIN in the build up for their second. Same old mistakes costing us down his side. All too easy.
Lejeune – 4 – Hasn’t looked nearly as convincing since Lascelles has got injured. No communication and a lack of presence. He wasn’t strong enough on a few occasions and will be wishing he did more to stop Vardy crossing for their late winner.
Clark – 3 – Looks shot for confidence on the ball. Starting to look like the edgy defender we saw during Villa’s relegation season, not the composed campaigner we saw last season.
Manquillo– 4 – Doesn’t look comfortable at left-back, whether it be defending or attacking. Mahrez was outstanding today, but he really isn’t a left back. Dummett’s return will be a welcome boost to give us some balance.
Ritchie – 4 – Was tearing around in the first half an hour but he really faded out the game and looked uncharacteristically sloppy. Looks out of sorts – we need the real Matt Ritchie back, and quick!
Merino – 5.5 – Lost the ball very cheaply in midfield which led to their equaliser seconds later. He competed and put in a shift, but ultimately his error cost us dearly after such a positive start.
Hayden – 3 – Very poor. Struggling to think what he offered us today. Looked off the pace and even struggled to compete with physicality of Ndidi and Iborra in the middle.
Murphy – 5 – Gayle will get credit for the cut back and Joselu for the finish, but that first goal doesn’t happen without Murphy’s superb outside of the foot pass to put us in behind. He wasn’t quite ‘at it’ overall today, but there was the odd promising sign.
Gayle– 7* – Got his third goal in his last four games and looked sharp. Fired a few shots narrowly wide and cut the back ball perfectly for Joselu’s opener. Worked his socks off too.
Joselu – 6 – Grabbed an early goal and linked up well with Gayle early on. Did ok in the air against the towering Maguire and Morgan but faded out the game as we tired.
Perez unlucky for the own goal. Tried to run at them when he was brought for Murphy down the left but had little joy. Won the odd free kick.
Atsu’s pace made us look a little more lively down the right, but things rarely came to much. Needs minutes to regain sharpness.
Mitrovic came on for Joselu but only got a few minutes. Needs more time on the pitch if he’s going to make any proper impact.
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About Olly Hawkins
Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.