PLAYER RATINGS – Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa: One 8, a few 7’s, several 6’s & three 5’s

A poor game and flat display from Newcastle in this one, with Dwight Gayle’s second half strike being cancelled out by a late Aston Villa equaliser.

Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with our marks out of 10:

STARTING 11

Dubravka – 5 – Made a few solid claims from high balls into the box, but made a costly error late on to give Aston Villa a point, diving over an Elmohamady header he would’ve expected to save. A rare mistake from our player of the season.

Manquillo – 6 – Switched off at the back post for Trezeguet’s big early chance, but made up for that in the second half with a few key headed clearances. Whipped in one good ball that just evaded Joelinton in the second half, however he looked a little bit leggy in this one and didn’t get forward quite so well as a result.

Lascelles – 7 – Typically dominant in the air, with him making several strong defensive headers. Samatta got in between him and Fernandez early on and thankfully headed wide, but the skipper appeared to do just enough to put him off at the last second. Also looked to step out of the back with the ball when he saw the opportunity. We didn’t look great defensively at times, but it was a pretty strong display from the skipper.

Fernandez – 6 – A few shaky moments early on and conceded a few avoidable corners, but did put his body on the line and made a brilliant block to stop a powerfully struck McGinn shot on the edge of the box. Booked late on for a silly lunging challenge on David in a dangerous area. Not his best night, but he’s allowed one night off after so many rock solid displays!

Rose – 7.5 – Did a very solid job at left-back. Was sloppy on the ball early on, but soon sorted that out, was rarely beaten and used his experience to win a few free kick when we were on the back foot. Could’ve also bagged himself an assist if Almiron had sorted his feet out quicker. The Spurs loanee’s best performance yet in a black and white shirt?

Hayden – 7 – Not quite as dominant as he was on Sunday, with him having his hands full with Jack Grealish, but he stuck to hist task and never gave the Villa skipper a moments peace. Lost his man for the equaliser, but it was clear he was struggling to move with a muscle injury at that point. Let’s hope his knock isn’t too bad!

Shelvey – 5.5 – He looked controlled and measured in everything he did on Sunday, but there were a few too many ‘hit and hopes’ and careless passes here in the opening stages of the game. He sorted that out as time went on and began to find his range, but didn’t get around the pitch as well today and looked like he was running through treacle late on. Also should’ve done much better at the front post for Elmohamady’s late equaliser.

Ritchie – 6 – Tried to pick up the tempo when he got the ball, but didn’t have much to work with in what was a flat first half from our perspective. Enjoyed the odd nice bit of link up play after switching to the left-hand side, however he wasn’t nearly as influential tonight as he was on Sunday. Was replaced 67 minutes in with a muscle injury Bruce will be hoping isn’t too serious.

Almiron – 5 – Appeared to play in a free role today as he drifted all over the shop, but he struggled to make an impact and didn’t get on the ball enough. He tracked back and tried his best, yet failed to make any real impact in attacking areas and was anonymous at times. Had our biggest chance of the second half after a smart cut back from Rose, but wanted too much time, choosing to take a touch when he had to hit it first time. Plenty effort, but poor final ball. Not his day today.

Saint-Maximin – 8* – The star of the show once again. Won a few free kicks early on and was the only real outlet that caused Villa a threat in the first half. Some of his decision making could’ve been better, but he was the one bright spark in an otherwise flat NUFC side and the one man trying to make things happen with his trickery and pace. Looked tired in the final quarter of the game, but produced some sublime skill and driving runs at the Villa defence prior to that in the second half. After doing most of our running in attack and playing 170 of our last 180 minutes of football over the last 4 days, we’ll have to hope he’s re-energised on Sunday – as we won’t get the better of Man City without his brilliance!

Joelinton – 6 – Was feeding off scraps for most of the first half, although gave us one of our best moments of the first half with a quick step over and burst of pace to get past Mings – only for the Villa centre-back to recover brilliantly and block his goal-bound shot. Started the second half confidently with one impressive driving run down the left and put himself about, but was struggling to get into good attacking areas as he did on Sunday. Did OK when he got on the ball, he just didn’t get enough of it.

SUBS

Carroll 7.5 – Replaced Joelinton with 25 minutes remaining and made an immediate impact, with his brilliant pass from out wide putting Gayle in behind to score. Held the ball up well, gave us an out ball to hit and bagged his FIFTH assist of the season. You can see why he’s been given a one-year deal when he can come off the bencn and do that.

Gayle7 – Finished calmly to give us a 1-0 lead at the Gallowgate End, latching onto a clever Carroll pass and slotting past into the bottom corner past Nyland. Didn’t have many touches aside from that, but his smart finish has earned us a point here.

Bentaleb – N/A – Came on for Hayden with 10 minutes to play. Got stuck in and put himself about, but wasn’t really able to get on the ball, with us camped in our own half in the latter stages.

Lazaro – N/A – Replaced Almiron on the 86th minute. Like Bentaleb he had very few opportunities to get on the ball and show what he can do, with it being all Villa late on. He’ll be hoping for more minutes over the coming month if he’s to win a permanent deal at St James’ Park!

(Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

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.

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