It goes without saying that Karl Darlow was our man of the match in yesterday’s 1-1 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
He made ELEVEN saves and was the only real reason we were still in the game in the 95th minute and able to earn a freak draw in the dying embers as a result.
Darlow gets the man of the match – no questions – but there was another clear winner if we were picking our best outfield player from an otherwise awful performance against Spurs on Sunday.
For me, it was quite clearly Joelinton.
A few too many Newcastle fans wouldn’t like to admit it or even give him an ounce of praise based on some of the constant abuse I see him receive on social media (even when he scored twice in midweek!), however I thought he looked more confident, more capable on the ball and easily our biggest attacking threat.
He looked the one NUFC attacker who was trying to make things happen, whether it to burst past his man or try something different to ignite a team that generally looked so lost and lethargic.
The big Brazilian did things that bit quicker, drew fouls (he won the free kick that led to our penalty late on), drove forwards with the ball and even left a couple of Spurs players for dead with an impressive drop of the shoulder and burst of pace in the second half.
He also set up our only half chance of the game for Jeff Hendrick, won his fair share in the air and worked hard at the other end to help Ritchie deal with Lucas and Doherty.
Did he look like a £40m player? No, not really, but it’s time we forgot the price tag and started focusing on ways we can get the best out of a player who is clearly talented when confident and played in the right position.
Maybe this isn’t an unpopular opinion if more than most agree with me on this one, however I still saw plenty on social media refusing to give him credit for what was a much improved performance.
After months of abuse, it’s time we gave him a pat on the back after two goals last week and a stand-out display against Spurs – especially when some were suggesting he’d “found his level” against a League Two side just a few days ago!
Hopefully this promising performance can be the new normal and he can build on this.