Another frustrating watch for Newcastle fans, with us showing glimpses of improvement but ultimately failing to break down an ordinary Burnley side at St James’ Park.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with our marks out of 10:
Dubravka – 6 – Gave us all a scare in the first few minutes when he went down injured but recovered. Made one decent save in the first half and was solid when balls were flung into the box, but it was his quietest game of the season.
Manquillo – 7 – Defensively our best right back in a back four. Solid and it’s good to have him back. Produced a couple of good deliveries and was competitive at both ends – even if he did waste a couple of opportunities when in good positions. Kept Burnley talent Dwight McNeil quiet.
Lascelles – 6 – Safe, sound and sensible. Been poor in the last 3 games after he was outstanding against Chelsea on his return. Looks even more fearsome with tissue paper in his nostrils.
Fernandez – 6 – Did what was asked of him and dealt with Wood pretty well when he came on. Being in a back four suits him more I think. We saw less of his marauding runs up the right but sound defensively.
Rose – 5 – Better than his last couple of games, but still pretty unconvincing. Has definitely lost the ability, pace and fitness to get forward as effectively but still doesn’t look anywhere near a player that kept Salah quiet in last year’s Champions League final. We miss Willems.
Hayden – 4 – Awful in the first half. Slowed play down when he actually had it, so often went backwards and regularly lost possession. Better in the second half, with his physicality and aerial presence playing a part, but he’s so limited and negative on the ball. With us wanting the win, Bruce had to take him off sooner for either Bentaleb or Longstaff.
Shelvey – 7 – Looked excellent in the first half. Always wanted the ball, always looked forward. One through ball to Gayle in the first half was utter filth, with this being one of a few clever instinctive passes into the striker (whose movement he thrives off).. Faded in the second half but will get fitter after a long spell out. Will be valuable in the run in.
Ritchie – 6 – Reckless start to the game. Looked so eager to impress that he lacked any composure but got better. Hit an absolute rocket of a long range effort that looked in until the last minute but wasted a great chance in injury time. Was typically competitive and did well to get back and keep McNeil out of the game, but struggled to get much going in the attacking third.
Almiron – 6 – Ran his socks off. His pace and some impressive bursts got him in great positions but he chose the wrong option on too many occasions. It’s worth pointing out that today was the first time he’s ever played in his natural position in a Newcastle shir – in a number 10 ahead of a midfield 4. Needs a run of games in this position.
Joelinton – 6 – Started really brightly and looked confident on the ball early on, doing things much quicker and with more conviction. Worked so hard as usual, never shuffling his defensive responsibilities but confidence is shot going the other way and he faded in the second half, looking tired late on. Worth sticking with him a wider more withdrawn role.
Gayle – 7 – He made the runs of a goalscorer and gave the team a whole new dimension, giving Shelvey someone to find and a live wire in the box. Put himself about and gave as good as he got against two big centre halves, but needs a run of games to improve his sharpness in front of goal. Snatched at a couple of half chances that a fit Gayle would have probably taken and spurned a good chance from a brilliant Shelvey through ball in the first half, with his heavy touch allowing Pope to gather.
Saint-Maximin – 6 – Came on for the final 20 minutes when we needed a lift, but, aside from the big roar that went around SJP when he entered the pitch, he didn’t really have the desired effect. A few twists and turns and one decent shot that went straight at Pope, but didn’t look quite right and looked to be limping at one stage – which is a concern when Bruce has since admitted his hamstring was playing up in midweek.