A much improved second half display and well deserved goal for Miguel Almiron, but yet another defeat for Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United without a win in elven games now.
Here’s some comments on each player’s performance along with marks out of 10:
Darlow – 6 – He’s been sensational this season but it may just be time for Dubravka to take back his number one shirt. He impressed me with his authority in the six-yard box and his punching was superb, but I feel as if he should have saved Harrison’s volley.
Hayden – 6 – Spent the majority of tonight’s game spent in the alien position of right-back. He provided some of the discipline that Murphy failed to, but he failed to pick up his man Jack Harrison at the back post for the away side’s second.
Lascelles (c) – 6 – The captain’s main impact on the game came at the offensive end. Was a menace in their box and had three headers that he almost converted, but his perfectly-timed tackle that set up our goal made amends for those previous errors. Sloppy on the ball at times, but steadier than he was over last weekend!
Schar – 7.5 – A game of two halves for Schär tonight. His attacking presence in the second-half helped in our quest to find an equaliser and his game was defined by its aggression and ferocity. He has to play like he did tonight consistently if he wants to earn a new deal.
Lewis – 4 – The left-back looks like a shell of the player that burst onto the scene for Norwich last term. His game completely lacks confidence and his passes only ever go backwards or sideways, with him also weighing in with a few clumsy tackles and too many poor crosses from decent positions. He clearly has potential, but his game is devoid of any of the confidence that made him look so good last year.
Murphy – 5 – Jacob Murphy is not a defender, and should not be used as one. He was directly targeted by Leeds United tonight and it was his mistake that eventually led to the first goal for the away side. When he was moved higher up the pitch, his energetic presence was there for all to see. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done.
Hendrick – 6.5 – This might well be an unpopular opinion, but I thought Hendrick was actually very solid tonight. He rarely gave the ball away and he showcased his discipline by filling in for Fabian Schär whenever the defender went on a marauding run. He played a very important role in our much improved second-half performance.
Shelvey – 6 – His performance tonight could easily be used to explain his entire career. Despite spending almost 65 minutes walking around doing nothing, his two individual moments of quality almost salvaged us a point. His pass for Callum Wilson in the build up for Miguel Almiron’s goal was perfectly weighted, and he nearly set up Wilson for an equaliser with a mazy run inside the Leeds box. Corners were better and passing range improved as the game went on, but had he not stepped up on a few occasions in the second half, he would’ve got a 4 or 5!
Almiron – 8* – My Man of the Match tonight! He constantly pressed Leeds and then drove with the ball every time he got it. He also finished his goal well despite having a lot of time to think about what he had to. Energy, intensity, urgency and a goal that his display fully deserved.
Fraser – 7 – Looks more sharp every game and I was really impressed with him tonight. One aspect of his game that I was surprised by was his deliveries from set-pieces. He could have had three assists from headers that Jamaal Lascelles missed alone! More importantly, the more the plays, the better he will get.
Wilson – 6 – Our £20m man looks more and more frustrated every time he pulls on the shirt, and I don’t blame him for it. He’s one of the Premier League’s most lethal finishers and he spends the entirety of the game isolated; chasing shadows. Despite this, he still managed to register an all important assist for Miguel Almiron with a clever first-time pass.
Saint-Maximin – 8 – Replaced Murphy on the 64th minute and was immediately clear how much have we missed this man! Our late resurgence almost perfectly coincided with his introduction to the game. Created on big chance for Lewis, won fouls and went on several mazy runs to bamboozle Leeds. The fact that he had to be doubled-teamed by the visitors meant that gaps were appearing all over the pitch for our men to create chances. If he was playing from the start, I’m certain we would have got a result!
Gayle – N/A – Replaced Fraser on the 77th minute. Nothing of note aside from a free kick that sailed over.