If there was one thing more surprising than the Newcastle players’ subdued approach to Sunday’s derby, it was the amazing choice of man of the match.
Sky Sports were covering the game and this was their choice and seemingly the ‘facts’ that they based it on:
Man of the match :
47 passes, 91% accuracy
Everybody I spoke to during and after the match, were astounded that Gini Wijnaldum had stayed on the pitch for 90 minutes, never mind winning man of the match.
Yes he put in a good cross for the equaliser, which was met by an even better header from Mitrovic that made the cross look better class than it really was, but Wijnaldum was shocking today, no matter what stats Sky Sports might put out.
Chancel Mbemba and Andros Townsend were the only two to show any kind of form of the outfield players in black and white, until the introduction of Siem de Jong for Jack Colback with half an hour to go.
Whilst not the quickest, the former PSV Captain showed composure with his ball retention and passing that was way above anything we’d seen in the first hour of struggle.
Yes Gini Wijnaldum’s goals have been imvaluable this season but his overall form/play has often been really poor, especially away from home.
Today was just more of the same and I hate to say it but I can’t think of a single mackem player who wasn’t better than the one-time PSV star.
Wijnaldum is one of those who has to stand up and be counted in the remaining eight games, or else disaster will be guaranteed.
Here are the stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Sunderland 1
Newcastle: Mitrovic 83
Sunderland: Defoe 44
Possession was Newcastle 60% Sunderland 40%
Total shots were Newcastle 17 and Sunderland 14
Shots on target were Newcastle 8 and Sunderland 4
Corners were Newcastle 2 and Sunderland 5
Team: Elliot, Janmaat (Anita 71), Lascelles, Mbemba, Colback (de Jong 62), Townsend (Cisse 76), Shelvey, Sissoko,Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic
Unused Subs: Darlow, Saivet, Taylor, Riviere
Ref: Martin Atkinson
(Give us your Newcastle v Sunderland player ratings here)
(Read instant Newcastle fan/writer reaction here)