True Faith – Player Ratings

Everton 0 – 2 Newcastle United

Finally! After an eleven-game winless run, Newcastle United visited Everton low on confidence and under pressure to halt a slide towards the bottom three but turned in a brilliant performance to come away from Goodison Park with a 2-0 victory. The hero of the day was Callum Wilson, who scored both goals in an excellent all-round performance.

Have we already seen the influence of Graeme Jones in his new role as Assistant Head Coach? The team was sent out with a four-man defence, diamond midfield and a split front-two of Fraser and Wilson, the likes of which has not been seen all season. It paid off in some style, with a crucial win that gives us a little bit more breathing space from the relegation zone. More energy, more pressing, more desire to get forward and players fielded in their correct positions – all things the fanbase have been calling for. Let’s hope we can build on this now and solidify our status in the Premier League.

Here’s how the lads rated:

Ratings

Karl Darlow– 7

Solid display from the Englishman. Made important saves from Rodriguez and Richarlison in the first half and showed bravery to beat Calvert-Lewin to a long-ball before denying the striker with a second-half stop. Dealt well with the aerial challenge posed by the home side, including several decisive punches to repel dangerous crosses. After some recent mistakes and with Martin Dubravka pushing for a recall, has registered a couple of strong performance to reassert himself as No. 1 goalkeeper.

Javier Manquillo– 7

Good outing from Manquillo and showed why he should be our first choice right-back. Was given the thankless task of defending against two of Everton’s most dangerous players in Digne and Richarlison down the Everton left but dealt with the challenge, subduing their threat and coping well with the physicality of the game. Got forward to offer an attacking option down the right when he could. Needs a run in the side now in his favoured position on the right of a four-man defence.

Jamaal Lascelles–6

Slightly shaky display from our captain, albeit contributing to a clean sheet. Received a yellow card early on for a rash tackle on Richarlison and is still finding his way back to full fitness after an extended fight with coronavirus. Picked up an injury and was substituted before the hour mark. No doubting his importance to the side from a leadership standpoint, particularly with Matt Ritchie linked with a move away from the club but on current form, he would not be in a first-choice central defensive pairing if everyone was fit.

Fabian Schar– 7

Another good performance from the Swiss. Starting to dispel the doubters who said he couldn’t play in a two-man defensive pairing. Kept things simple defensively and looked assured on the ball as ever. Gives the side a strong platform from which to build attacks with his ability to pass through the lines and has cut out the silly errors which used to litter his game. Impressive.

Jamal Lewis–8

Much improved display from the youngster. Provided strong support to Fraser down the left flank, sending in a couple of dangerous crosses that weren’t capitalised on, showcasing his comfort going forward. Let Iwobi past far too easily on one occasion as a reminder that he still has plenty to learn, but this was much more like it from Lewis. Showed fantastic energy to burst forward in injury time, and a presence of mind to pick his head up and find Wilson for the crucial second goal. Encouraging.

Isaac Hayden– 8

Dominant performance from Hayden, who bossed the centre of the park with a tenacious display and was a nightmare for Everton’s creative players all afternoon – just ask James Rodriguez. Created a number of dangerous situations for Newcastle by winning possession high up the pitch in a much-improved pressing effort. No surprise he returned to his best when played in his correct position and is unquestionably our first-choice central midfielder on this form.

Jeff Hendrick – 6

Better from the Republic of Ireland international who continues to enjoy Steve Bruce’s confidence. Was neat and tidy in possession and put in a real shift in closing down Everton and restricting space for the likes of Richarlison and Rodriguez. A solid performance if not spectacular, and justified his selection today, but needs to continue to improve in order to merit selection.

Jonjo Shelvey– 7

More like it from the much-maligned midfielder. Seemed to benefit from having the security of Hayden at the base of the midfield diamond, allowing Shelvey to push forward and exert a greater influence on the game. Played more telling passes into the front men than he has done in recent weeks and came close to scoring with a deflected first half effort. Crucially found a great delivery for Wilson to open the scoring after his recent woes from corners. Let’s hope he can continue in this vein.

Miguel Almiron – 7

Relentless display from the Paraguayan dynamo. Played through the middle at the point of a diamond and relished the role, looking comfortable on the ball and was able to link up effectively with Wilson and Fraser. Pressed the ball brilliantly and did not give the Everton defence a moment’s rest. Little in way of shots on goal but performed his role in the team well, and another who benefitted from being played in his natural position.

Ryan Fraser– 6

Solid from the Scottish winger. Played to the left of the front two and did his job in harassing the Everton players in possession. Yet to show his full attacking repertoire in a Newcastle shirt but clearly not at his sharpest with plenty more to come from Fraser. His set piece delivery from corners is also a positive compared to the quality we have had of late, albeit Shelvey somewhat made up for that today.

Callum Wilson– 9 (Man of the Match)

Simply outstanding. Asked to play in a slightly different role to the right of a front two, Wilson bullied the Everton defence with his physicality and his constant running in behind caused headaches for Mina and Keane all match. Unlucky with a first half header from a corner which was saved by Little Arms and missed a gilt-edged chance early in the second half, but he wasn’t to be denied and scored with a towering effort into the far corner seventeen minutes from time. Doubled his tally with a fine finish to a flowing counter-attack in injury time, which was nothing less than he deserved. He is absolutely invaluable to this side – where would we be without him?

Subs:

Ciaran Clark(for Lascelles, 54’) –6

Provided an assured presence at the heart of the defence to secure a clean sheet.

Allan Saint-Maximin (for Fraser, 67’) – 6

Little time to showcase his talents, but a few bright touches and plenty more to come from the Frenchman.

CRAIG SHAW – @Shawzey15