A hugely worrying result and performance from Newcastle in this one, with us well beaten by a newly promoted Norwich side.
We have several useful players, but it seems glaringly clear that this system is not suiting the vast majority of them.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with my marks out of 10:
NUFC XI: (3-5-2): Dubravka (6) – Schar (4), Lascelles (4), Dummett (4) – Krafth (5), Hayden (6), Shelvey (5), Ki (3), Ritchie (4) – Almiron (4), Joelinton (3) – SUBS: Muto (4), Longstaff (N/A).
Dubravka – 6 – Made a good stop early on with his feet to deny Cantwell. Got a hand to Pukki’s opening strike but couldn’t stop it from going in – although he may have been left slightly unsighted by Krafth for the striker’s first two goals. He was one of the better players from a very bad bunch today.
Schar – 4 – A little bit rash at times, taking risks both in the challenge and on the ball. Didn’t get close to Pukki all day and struggled to pick up Cantwell too – who ghosted in from the left well on more than one occasion.
Lascelles – 4 – Not our worst defender today, but part of a hugely exposed back line that totally lacked organisation. Could’ve cleared more convincingly in the build up to Pukki’s opener, with his header falling to the striker.
Dummett – 4 – Slow to react and sluggish by his usually solid standards. Got stuck in with a few strong challenges, but got more wrong than he got right today. Ritchie left him a little exposed at times, but he didn’t cover himself in glory.
Krafth – 5 – A very tough debut, with him being part of a totally disjointed side and exposed back line. He defended quite well at times in one-on-one scenarios when Lewis ran at him, but he could’ve done more to stop Pukki’s second. Blazed over with one of our best chances of the first half, but nothing to be overly critical of after being thrown into the deep end today.
Hayden – 6 – He and Dubravka are the only two who can come away from this with a small bit of deserved credit for me. He doesn’t look comfortable in this new role, with him wasted down the right-hand side of midfield, but he tried to make things happen on the ball and covered a lot of ground.
Shelvey – 5 – He showed glimpses of quality on the ball and used it better than most (which isn’t saying much), but he didn’t track runners well enough off the ball. Unless he’s got real energy around him (which he didn’t with Ki playing alongside him today), he can look a luxury player in a struggling side who have a limited amount of possession. Took his goal well, but needs to do much more without the ball.
Ki – 3 – A few tidy passes but it was all far too slow and laboured from him today – and his work off the ball was practically non existent at times as Norwich waltzed through our midfield. Contributed so little, lacked intensity and did absolutely nothing to justify a start ahead of Sean Longstaff in the future based on this display.
Ritchie – 4 – Another very frustrating display. His set pieces and crosses from open play either hit the first man or were overhit and his positioning often left him in no mans land – with him out of possession from a defensive perspective but not advanced enough to let him link up with Almiron or Joelinton in attack.
Almiron – 4 – Huffed and puffed and did plenty running, but struggled to get anything going with Joelinton once again, barely got a sight of goal and scuffed a shot wide the one time he found a bit of space in a good area. Another player who looked lost in this 3-5-2 system. Bruce needs to find a system that uses him much better, but his final ball and composure must improve.
Joelinton – 3 – Really struggled today, but the system he was played in didn’t help him at all once again. His touch and hold up play needed to be much better, although he was so isolated, constantly being surrounded by yellow shirts whenever he got the ball. That said, he headed a great chance wide from a good Hayden cross, his general play needed to be better, he got booked for a late challenge on Aarons and was forced off with an injury midway through the second half.
Muto – 4 – Pretty anonymous. Struggled to get into the game and had few touches – although Bruce should know by now that he’s not suited to that lone striker role.
S. Longstaff – N/A – Hard to give a rating, but bagged an assist late on with a clever pass into Shelvey and got stuck in more in 15 minutes than Ki did for 75.