Nick Pope -7 – For the most part, Pope was like Billy Casper in Kes. I actually expected him to be swinging off the crossbar at one point due to being completely untested.This meant he went on a weird 73 minute wander which had hearts in mouths. In reality, he was just keeping himself interested.

Dan Burn – 7 – Burn looked to be in trouble against Buendia early on, but on the occasions the Argentine did beat him initially, Burn was always straight back at him and almost certainly won the second challenge.

At 0-0 made a magnificent penalty stop block (could have been Longstaff both will get credit) from Ings. The game ends differently if that goes in. He won’t be beaten.

Kieran Trippier – 7 – Passing range off early on, but like Newcastle as a whole, he got better as the game went on and was at his nonchalant best in the second half.

Got an assist and also ran 80 yards to get Buendia up on his feet when he was down for what seemed like three hours in the first half. I think we all know which he enjoyed the most.

Fabian Schär – 8 – The best of the much heralded back four today. Schär looked magnificent today and a 40-yard pass in the first half had yours truly drooling in the strawberry corner. I don’t drool over any old thing, the WI- Fi is rubbish where I sit, so no higher praise.

Sven Botman – 8 – Made the sort of tackle within the first five minutes that made Vinny Jones on Steve McMahon in the 1988 cup final look passive. Incredible.

That set the tone for another defensive masterclass, and I was really tempted to give him ten for the tackle alone. Had an early rest which I hope was just that and not an injury.

Newcastle United’s January Window – A sketch for winter


Joelinton – 9 – This is how the game went. Tight first half, us not at our best and Villa tricky and infuriating.The pen came at a great time, but the real gamechanger was Joelinton dropping the shoulder on 50 minutes that took two out the game and set the precedent for the Brazilian to be simply unstoppable in the second period. I find the guy incredible to watch when he’s like that. He was everywhere and was the heartbeat of the team. Drops of the shoulders change games.

Bruno Guimarães – 7 – Probably going to get ripped for it, but I thought he wasn’t at his very best today, only hitting the heights of recent weeks when the game was a procession.

His high standards mean he was still good and I remember the zombie state I was in after the birth of my son, so going on that, he did ok. Maybe I’m being harsh.

Joe Willock – 7 – After being anonymous for the first half, he got the ball rolling with a brilliant win of the ball when he had no right to do so and let led to the penalty which was absolutely crucial.

Willock dragged us forward on a few occasions after that and again when we won 4-0 its sounds strange to be going back to a tackle, but his interception was vital.

Miguel Almirón – 8 – Quite simply a beautiful, beautiful goal. The simplicity, the magnificence, the way he opened himself up, the way you knew it was in the second he caressed the ball, all adds up to the sort of goal that comes from another planet. He had his moments today, but was quieter than in recent weeks. But when you score goals like that, nothing else matters.

Sean Longstaff – 7 – As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t sure if it was Longstaff or Burn who made a vital block at 0-0, so both will get credit. Longstaff slowed the pace down a little too much in the first half, but second half he got involved in everything good Newcastle did. Blazed over a chance but again did nowt wrong in my book.

Three Magpies into Three Lions?


Callum Wilson – 9 – Did you see Mings at the end? He was on his back. That’s what happens when you go toe to toe with Wilson right now.

On days like these Wilson gets you like that.

Two goals, a header off the bar and a goal ruled out. He had a field day once he escaped the first half shackles imposed on him by Mings. He obviously wants to go to Qatar but from a selfish point of view I want the most clinical striker the toon has had in years watching firmly from the sofa.



Jacob Murphy (for Willock 70) – 8 – An electric cameo from Murphy. Fine cross stood up for Wilson to head off the bar.  Great attacking intent and hit the Gallowgate post for the 3,567th time of his United career.

Matt Targett (for Botman 70) – 6 – Did nothing wrong but the game was firmly at the other end as he came on.

Jamaal Lascelles (for Schär 82) – 6 – looked massive

Jonjo Shelvey (for Guimarães 83) – 7 – Got straight on the ball and found Joelinton with a 40 yard crossfield pass. It was that sort of day.

Allan Saint-Maximin (for Almirón 85) – Just like Take That said, hopefully he’s back for good.

The Villa physio team – 9 – Did more running than Haile Gebrselassie in the first half. Earned their corn.

Scott Robson