Another frustrating afternoon to be a Newcastle United fan, with us performing well but failing to add the finishing touch – allowing Watford to come away with a draw after Sarr’s 72nd minute equaliser.
Here’s our marks out of 10 and comments on each player following today’s 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road:
Darlow – 7 – Made a smart double save early on to deny Dennis, was quick off his line and brave to beat Cleverley to a 50/50 ball that could’ve been a penalty had he got it wrong. Not much he could’ve done about the goal, but will be relieved VAR chalked off King’s goal after he parried Sissoko’s shot into the striker’s path.
Manquillo – 6.5 – Booked early on for a block on Rose but that didn’t stop him in what was a tenacious display from the Spaniard. After a strong first half, Watford got more joy down his side in the second 45 as he sometimes got a bit too tight. Made a few good overlapping runs, although some of his balls into the box were badly overhit.
Fernandez – 7 – Was rock solid on his return to the side. Won a few important headers when crosses came into the box and was a threat at the other end from set pieces, forcing Foster into a save early on.
Clark – 6 – Read the play well and worked well alongside Ritchie. A few nervy clearances late on and should’ve done better with a two headed chances that fell his way.
Ritchie – 7 – Dealt with Sarr much better than many expected, especially when he was booked with an hour still remaining. Got out of a few tight situations well and played a couple of tidy balls down the line to start counter attacks. Not a fan of him at left-back in a four-man defence, but he was solid.
Hayden – 6 – Dominated the middle of the park in the first half and did a solid job sat in front of our back four, however he lost some of that discipline in the second – getting caught out of position a few times as Watford found space behind our midfield. A few strong tackles, but was lucky to escape a yellow for one mistimed challenge on Sarr.
S Longstaff – 8* – Lost ball in bad area in the first 60 seconds, but quickly made up for that with an impressive all round display. After going close twice with two powerful efforts from range, his goal was well deserved. Pressed well, looked bright on the ball, got stuck in (made more tackles than any other NUFC player) and played a big part in our first half dominance. One criticism was his second half miss after ASM’s cut back, but good to see him looking more like the Longstaff the broke onto the scene a few years ago. My man of the match today.
Willock – 7 – Some brilliant driving runs and showed impressive pace to burst past the Watford defence in the first half. Almost won us a penalty, but switched off at the wrong time to allow Sarr to head home at the back post.
Almiron – 6.5 – A few quality touches in attack and much more lively now he’s been given the chance to play out wide and get forward. That said, he has to be marked down slightly for the silly flick that gave away the needless corner Watford equalised from.
Joelinton – 7 – Put in a real shift defensively to help Ritchie deal with Sarr. Held the ball up well, was involved in some nice link up play and won 11 aerial duels – the most on the pitch. Not enough of a goal threat, but gave us a presence in attack and never stopped battling at both ends.
ASM – 7.5 – Set up Longstaff’s goal and should’ve had a couple more assists, with him playing clever balls in behind to set Willock and Murphy in behind. Could’ve done better when latching onto Cathcart’s under hit back pass in the first half, but once again he was our brightest outlet and one man Watford struggled to handle.
Murphy – N/A – Hard to give him a mark out of 10 when he was only on the field from the 79th minute, however he spurned a huge chance to win it, scuffing his attempt to chip Ben Foster. Aside from that, he was very quiet and rarely got on the ball in the final 10 minutes.
Gayle – N/A – Tried to inject some energy up top on his first PL appearance of the season, but barely got a kick in the end.