An improve performance after Wednesday’s hammering in Portugal – including an impressive home debut from Ki Sung-Yeung – but our lack of quality in the final third was clear for all to see once again as we slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Augsburg at St James’ Park.
After watching the full 90 from the East Stand, here’s some thoughts on each player’s performance and the marks out of 10 for each.
NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1)– Darlow – Yedlin, Lascelles Clark, Dummett – Hayden, Diame – Ritchie, Perez, Atsu – Joselu.
SUBS: Elliot, Sterry, Manquillo, Schar, Murphy, Shelvey, Longstaff, Ki, Roberts, Kenedy.
Darlow – 7 – Could do nothing about the goal but made a great stop late on to keep it at 0-1. Came out well with a decisive punch and a decent bit of sweeper-keeper play after a few dangerous balls in behind.
Lascelles – 6 – Strong in the air and typically no nonsense. Wasn’t tested that much.
Clark– 6 – Pretty steady. Doesn’t offer the same quality Lejeune does on the ball but seems to have a good understanding with Lascelles.
Dummett – 4 – Was caught out quite a lot with balls in behind. Unusually poor positionally and a few too many hopeful punts forward on the ball. Had a brilliant season last year but has looked off the pace over pre season.
Hayden – 5 – Got stuck in and did his best to try and carry the ball forward. Got himself into some decent attacking positions – although he did look like a defensive midfielder who wasn’t used to having the ball in these areas more often than not!
Diame – 6 – Started the game strongly before getting what looks like a hip injury. Doesn’t look serious but it’s a bit of a concern with the season 7 days away.
Ritchie – 7 – Very busy. Most inventive player in the final third – threading through Murphy and Atsu on two separate occasions – but didn’t have much to work with. Had a brilliant curled effort well saved in the first half.
Pérez – 6 – Linked the play nicely with some neat 1-2’s in the first half. Picked up some nice positions and had a few decent efforts on goal – although should have scored in the second half. A bright performance, but he really does need more to work with up top.
Atsu – 6 – Looked quite lively. Had a goal bound shot well saved by their goalkeeper in the first half and put in a great cross in the second half which we should’ve made more of.
Joselu – 3 – Really sTruggled to get involved or offer any real attacking threat considering we had most of the play in the first half. Tended to slow down attacks. He’s a good lad and puts in a shift but he should not be leading the line for Newcastle United – although he almost certainly will be vs Spurs next Saturday.
Ki-Sung-Yeung – 8 – (for Diame on 29 min) – Really showed his class. Swept several perfectly weighted passes out to Yedlin soon after coming on and put a lovely pass in behind for Joselu in second half (which he should’ve done better with). Looks a very tidy player who’s always looking to move the ball forward quickly.
Murphy (atsu 57th) –
Shelvey – 7 – (for Hayden on 57th min) – Looked sharp. Pinged a number of Shelvey-esque passes out into wide areas and looked to be on a decent wavelength with Ki – which was good to see after their time together at Swansea. He and Ki look like they’ll give us some much needed forward-thinking creativity from midfield. They just need someone to work with up top!
Schar – 5 – (for Clark on 57th min) – You can see he’s comfortable on the ball and a decent passer, but he was a little too aggressive at times in his defending. Didn’t look the quickest but was strong
Kenedy – 7 – (for Ritchie on 67th min) – Classy player. Wanted to get on the ball and make things happen as soon as he came on. Really glad we’ve got him back for at least another season given the real lack of quality elsewhere in our side.
Manquillo – 5 – (for Dummett on 67th min) – Didn’t do much wrong but doesn’t look suited to playing at left-back at all when he’s trying to go forward with the ball, having to constantly cut in onto his right foot.
Roberts – N/A – (on for Perez 83rd min) Plenty energy but barely got a touch.