Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 3 (AET) – Wednesday 23 August 7.45pm
Darlow 5 – Looked hesitant, and although he made a few saves, it wasn’t a confident display from a keeper fighting for his place. Slow off his line twice, the second time led to the second goal.
Sterry 3 – I feel harsh saying it but he was all over the place tonight. Caught out of position defensively, lacked confidence on the ball, and didn’t look comfortable at all out there.
Mbemba 4– Felt sorry for him tonight playing next to Hanley, who was abysmal. Although that doesn’t excuse his performance and the fact that Newcastle were constantly caught out over the top.
Hanley 2 – One of the worst defensive displays you’ll see from an NUFC player at SJP, and as many fans know, that is saying something given the likes of Marcelino, Boumsong and Bramble in recent times.
Gamez 4 – Doesn’t really look like he can run, or defend, or do much at all to be honest. Took a blatant dive to try and win a penalty in the second half which I always hate to see. Delivery into the box was consistently poor.
Barlaser 9 – Looked comfortable on the ball. Although he could be questioned with his positioning when not in position, he was constantly an outlet for the defence. Couldn’t speak any higher of his performance when in possession. Unfairly brought off after 70 minutes.
Diame 5 – Same old, same old. Didn’t do much. Didn’t look comfortable on the ball, lethargic. You don’t need me to go on, you know, the usual.
Saivet 5 – Given a chance tonight to show what he could do but didn’t look Championship standard, up against a sub-par Championship side.
Murphy 5 – Quiet! Didn’t get on the ball enough. A few chances went begging, with Murphy opting for the ‘close your eyes and blast it as hard as you can policy’ in front of goal. With Aarons outshining him on the other side, our new £12 million man may have dropped down to 4th in the winger pecking order for the time being.
Aarons 10 – To be honest, I’m a little tired of saying this, after another less competitive game against lower league opposition. He was the best player on the pitch by a million miles tonight. Strong, quick, tricky in tight situations. He set up the first goal, made a couple more chances and scored an absolute screamer. Must be given a chance in a big game that means something… starting Saturday.
Mitrovic 7 – Took his goal well but struggled to get into the game after the second minute. Not for the want of trying though. If he is going to play then we must play to his strengths. Not one high cross was put into the box in the first-half, I find that remarkable.
Lazaar 6 – Didn’t do anything.
Hayden 6 – Didn’t do anything.
Ritchie 6 – Didn’t do anything.
Joselu 5 – Don’t even think he touched the ball in the last 15 minutes.
One criticism I have of Benitez is his perpetual insistence on only playing one centre forward no matter what the circumstances are. I think it is being stubborn for the sake of it and I don’t like it.
I can’t get my head around throwing balls into the box in the last 15 minutes while the only guy who can head the ball in the net is sitting on the bench (or playing number 9 for the other team).
Even so, very disappointing to hear boos at the end of the game.
A terrible performance, but fans must remain positive only three games into the season. Perspective is very much needed. I suspect most of those boos came from the ‘day trippers’.
Hopefully, atmosphere-wise, normal service will be resumed on Saturday.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 3 (AET)
Newcastle: Mitrovic 3, Aarons 45+1
Forest: Cummings 29, 31 Walker 97
Possession was Forest 51% Newcastle 49%
Total shots were Forest 16 Newcastle 29
Shots on target were Forest 7 Newcastle 7
Corners were Forest 9 Newcastle 11
Darlow, Sterry (Lazaar 58), Mbemba, Hanley, Gamez, Aarons (Ritchie 77), Saivet, Barlaser (Hayden 70), Murphy, Diame, Mitrovic (Joselu 105)
Woodman, Lascelles, Manquillo
Crowd: 27,709 (approx 1,000 Forest)
Referee: Darren England
You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match go here)
(Read Rafa Benitez’ opinion on Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 3 here)
(Read what Mark Warburton had to say about the game here)
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