More misery at Villa Park
Another horror show was witnessed last night as the Toon Army collapsed away to Aston Villa. The Mags are now winless in eight Premier League games, losing their last four in a row. No side is currently on a longer run without a victory in the competition, and, after that result, they drop down another place to 16th. A truly shambolic display from Newcastle gifted the home side their easiest win of the season so far. Let’s see if anyone came out with any real pride.
Darlow – 4 – made no attempt to keep out the first goal allowing Watkins the time and space to score a simple header. Did some what redeem himself in stoppage time, making a great save from Trezeguet to keep it at 2-0.
Lascelles – 2 – a torrid display from the captain who was sloppy, lethargic and wasteful. Gave the ball away far too many times when not under any real pressure and struggled to keep up with the pace of their attacking players.
Schar – 2 – a bad night for the CB. Poor attempt at a clearance to gift Watkins the first goal. Has really struggled in recent weeks ever since his MOTM display against Liverpool. Always performs better when playing in a 3 alongside Clark and Fernandez.
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Hayden – 5 – deployed as a makeshift CB in the absence of our 2 best defenders. Didn’t do an awful lot wrong, worked hard and looked like the only Newcastle player willing to close any of the opposition down. Put in a few key tackles.
Lewis – 1 – another night to forget for the young defender. Looked way out of his depth yet again and had a nightmare against Traore. Was lucky his error in gifting Douglas Luiz a near open goal didn’t make the scoreline any worse.
Manquillo – 3 – hasn’t featured since the Palace win, way back in November, so it was expected he might struggle. Put in a couple of decent crosses in the first half but not enough quality to cause the Villa defence any real problems. Got nowhere near Grealish. Subbed with 20 minutes to go.
Shelvey – 2 – another abject performance, not much better than his Arsenal display. No attempt to track Targett for the first goal. No urgency, no creativity and no desire. Made zero impact on the game and didn’t look like he wanted any part of the fight.
Hendrick – 1 – at times I didn’t even realise he was on the pitch. Every pass was either sideways or backwards. A consistently bad performer in a terrible midfield. Shocking.
Almiron – 4 – tried to get the team moving further up the pitch but lacks any composure and end product in the final third. I can’t fault his efforts, he usually covers more ground than any other player in Black & White.
Carroll – 4 – should have done better with his header on 29 minutes, but didn’t manage to hit the target after a decent Almiron cross. Didn’t get anything out of Mings or Konsa. No link up play with Wilson and lacked any real quality when it mattered. Hooked with 20 minutes to go.
Wilson – 4 – a difficult rating to give as, yet again, he was starved of any kind of service. Probably touched the ball less than any other player on the pitch but when he did, it wasn’t pretty. I can’t imagine how frustrated this guy is right now.
Fraser (71 for Manquillo) – 4 – did okay when he came on. Nice interplay with Almiron forced a smart block from Konsa on 72 minutes. Would have liked to have seen him on much earlier.
Saint-Maximin (71 for Carroll) – 5 – impressed in the very little time he had to show what he can do, and we had the best 10 minute spell (possession wise) of the match after his introduction. Everything just seems quicker when he’s on the pitch. He has been a HUGE miss. Has to start against Leeds.
Gayle (81 for Almiron) –N/A – wasn’t on long enough to impact the game.
And there we have it. Another pitiful display from a team that looks resigned to their fate.
As Jamie Carragher said in commentary, ‘this Newcastle side is sleepwalking into a relegation dogfight’, and I couldn’t have put it better myself. It’s time for a change, before it’s too late.
JAMES LYNCH – @JamesLynch88