Another frustrating day at St James’ Park in the league, as Newcastle slipped up against Swansea, managing just a 1-1 draw with the bottom of the table strugglers.
Here’s our thoughts on each player’s performance and marks out of 10 for each.
NUFC XI – (4-4-1-1): Darlow – Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Atsu –Perez – Gayle.
Darlow – 6 – Did well to stop Ayew’s initial header but it came straight back out, allowing him to tap in. Mixed success when coming out to claim crosses. Played out from the back more in the first half which was good to see, but long kicks really are poor.
Yedlin – 6 – A few unconvincing moments but some vital pieces of defending to preserve our point in the closing stages.. He seems to get drawn infield, with diagonal balls often being put in behind him with ease. Wasn’t really at it at either end today, but did clear off the line crucially in the last few moments to deny Bony.
Lascelles – 6.5 – Took the odd risk on the ball in the second half and struggled to cope with the giant Bartley from set pieces, but was generally pretty steady and alert at the back.
Clark – 6 – Dealt with McBurnie with relative ease, but struggled with the power of Bony when he came on in the second half. He will be frustrated to have left Ayew free for their goal. Needs to show a bit more composure on the ball – a few wasteful pieces of play that we rarely saw from him in the Championship.
Dummett – 7* – Very solid positionally and typically no nonsense in his defensive work. Played some great balls down the line or in behind for Atsu in the first half & saw a decent snap shot fly just over early on. Put in a great cross for Gayle in the first half which the NUFC striker should’ve scored from.
Ritchie – 4 – Really poor, unfortunately. Never got going down the right and seems as though he and Yedlin’s relationship is starting to break down. Didn’t cause Olsson nearly enough problems and his delivery was very poor more often than not. Jacob Murphy will be scratching his head as to how he didn’t get brought on.
Shelvey – 5 – Looked up for it initially but faded badly the second half. Looked leggy and a little too lackadaisical and appeared to snub Rafa’s handshake when he was hauled off. Had a great opportunity to score from a free kick but blazed over. He’s a frustrating player and showed it again today. His positive pass forward did start the attack for our goal, however.
Diame – 7 – A few too many clumsy fouls, but he didn’t half put himself about today. Careless at times, but much more like it. Got into them from the off & must have made more tackles than any player on the pitch. Good to see him make use of his size and strength and put in another combative performance in the middle. Shame Shelvey didn’t
Atsu – 5.5 – Swansea were playing a centre-back at right-back (Van der Hoorn) and it looked as though Atsu would have the beating of him all day long early on. He had some joy against him in the opening exchanges, but faded massively in the second half and didn’t even look to have it in him to close down at one stage. Needed more from him in the circumstances.
Perez – 7 – Looked more confident and caused them problems. Ran at them in the first half and saw a great run and cross set up Gayle (whose header was tame). A quieter second half, but had a hand in the goal and made a nuisance of himself up front. Needs to be much stronger sometimes, mind.
Gayle – 4 – He looks so low on confidence. Had 3 or 4 very decent openings but never made the most of them and rarely looked likely. Huffed and puffed and was keen to close down early on, but barely got a kick second half.
Joselu – 7 – Grabbed the all important equaliser in the second and made a difference when he came on. Clever finish from a tight angle for the goal.
Merino – N/A – Wasn’t really on long enough to earn a rating. Did pull off an incredible piece of skill at one point which left a few supporters stunned.