Newcastle United didn’t lose the match, but last night was another deflating one for the club.
We had several big chances, took a lead and looked worthy of the three points. However, costly injuries and a poor defensive structure following the decision to bring Matt Ritchie on led to the Wolves equaliser. Both sides had a chance to win it when the scores were level. A great block from a Wolves defender denied Joelinton, before a fantastic Martin Dubravka save kept Fabio Silva out.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with my marks out of 10:
Dubravka – 6 – It was a mixed evening for the returning goalkeeper. There were some nice contributions from crosses into the box, but he could have done better to keep Ruben Neves out as he got a hand to it. A superb late save meant that we got a point and for that reason I’ll give him a higher mark.
Krafth – 5 – I have a little more sympathy with Krafth than other supporters. He isn’t great, but he gives his all when he’s on the pitch. The system does leave him open, which restricts the blame he should receive. He did okay before being taken off.
Lascelles – 7 – It was one of his better displays of late. His goal should be seen as a bonus, but Wolves were restricted to few big chances. There was little he could do for the equaliser.
Clark – 6 – His reading of the game is always impressive, as he seems to be in the right place to recover the ball. A few key contributions helped the team in defence and his pass accuracy of 88% shows his reliability in possession.
Lewis – 5 – The left back made some impressive forays forward and his movement down the flank was impressive. However, he put in a few poor crosses from good positions, is still nervy at the back and can be isolated as a weakness. As an example, h couldn’t stop the Neto cross that led to Neves’ equaliser. There is a player in there, but we may need to protect him during the relegation battle.
Willock – 7 – He is looking like a great fit for the new system and he delivered a good performance against Wolves. Willock was full of energy, making two key passes and two tackles. That said, he should have scored in the first half and he will be disappointed that he didn’t.
Hayden – 5 – An early yellow card did blunt him out of possession and this clearly impacted the way he operated. He was used in a more advanced role, but it didn’t suit him. Later in the match, he was moved into defence and was on egg shells at Traore ran at him. His versatility has been damaging to him in recent weeks.
Shelvey – 6 – There are some issues with Shelvey, as his mobility restricts him. They moved him into a deeper role and this did protect him on the pitch. His passing range does help us to create chances and he made three key passes during the game. Late in the second half, he made an excellent tackle to halt a promising Wolves counter attack. It was a decent display.
Almiron – 5 – There was plenty of energy in his first half display and he had a great chance to open the scoring. He will be disappointed that he didn’t find the back of the net. If his injury is serious, it will be a huge blow to our chances of survival. Our pressing wasn’t as effective in the second half.
Joelinton – 7 – He will never win over the fan base and some will be criticising him this evening. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but he carried a threat and looked more willing to get into goal-scoring positions. In attack, he had three shots on target and would have scored the winner if not for an incredible piece of defending. Meanwhile, he worked hard and made four tackles. No Newcastle player made more.
Saint-Maximin – 7.5* – The Frenchman may have delivered his best display of the season, but it was cut short due to injury. In his time on the pitch, he made four key passes, completed four dribbles and caused a lot of problems for Wolves. If he had stayed on the pitch, we would have carried a much bigger threat.
Fraser – 6 – The next few weeks will be important for Fraser, as he will need to step up and provide the creativity. In the second half, he got the assist for our goal and made three key passes.
Murphy – 6 – Some may fault him for the equaliser, as he should have been providing support at the back post, but he may not have had his new role communicated to him. He came close to creating a winner and his willingness to take risks means that he could have a part to play in our survival bid – especially if ASM and Almiron are set for a spell on the sidelines.
Ritchie – 5 – It was strange to see him brought on, with there immediately being confusion as to where he should be playing. He didn’t have a great impact on the pitch, losing the ball cheaply and lacking quality.