Get your daily update and weekly newsletter by signing up today!


Newcastle 0 Watford 2 – Match ratings of all NUFC players and comments

4 years ago

Newcastle 0 Watford 2  – Saturday 26 January 3pm

We asked Ben Cooper to give us his match ratings after Saturday afternoon’s match.

Newcastle losing 2-0 with a feeble display.

The club making it 13 years in a row where they haven’t reached the FA Cup fifth round.

Freddie Woodman – 5:

The young keeper made a decent save a few minutes in and that seemed to boost his confidence. He made a couple of clean catches as the game went on, which he had struggled with in the games against Blackburn.

He wasn’t in the game much until conceding a soft goal on the hour, I have only seen it once but I had the feeling that Dubravka would have saved it.

He watched on for the rest of the game as Watford were happy to sit the 1-0 win out until a late tap-in.

From what other people have said and his international performances, it looks like he has potential. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that myself but from what I have seen, a season in the Championship with another 50 games under his belt as he bulks up looks like it will do him the world of good.

NUFC have a bit of recent history of letting good young keepers go, so the club should manage Woodman with care if they don’t want to make the same mistake with him.

Manquillo – 6:

He’s improving! I know that he couldn’t have got much worse but he looks like a player who likes the 3-5-2/5-4-1 formation.

He’s not much of a defender and pretty average in attack so having the extra cover looks like it means that his engine is the main focus and that suits him because he can run all day at a steady pace.

He didn’t do a lot wrong today, even managing a Schar-esque run forward in the second half which was our best chance of a goal. Certainly it was one of his better black and white performances.

Clark – 6:

One of three centre halves who were solid in the first half and didn’t have a lot to do for most of the game.

He got caught out with a long ball in the second half which Fernandez covered but apart from that, I can’t remember him being involved much.

Watford didn’t put us under a lot of pressure but that wasn’t his fault.

Fernandez – 6:

Went off after 80 minutes, don’t know why. Maybe he was being saved for manning the barricade against Manchester City on Tuesday.

He had another steady game. He’s better than Clark but in the same way, he does his job quietly and effectively.

Schar – 5:

Came on for Fernandez after 80 minutes and I think he played in midfield as went to four at the back.

He had no effect on the game, he didn’t score after any 50-yard runs.

Why he was playing in midfield when we needed a goal I don’t know, especially when we still had Kenedy at left back. I would have thought Kenedy would have been better further up the pitch than Schar. Then again, maybe not.

Lascelles – 4:

Solid first half in the middle of the three centre halves, second half didn’t track his runner for the first and killer goal.

Last season Lascelles would have stopped that run and shot, this season he is way off the pace either physically or in his head, or both.

Rafa has got his work cut out managing the skipper for the rest of the season. This performance was fairly typical of how Lascelles has played this season and it is a far cry from his best.

‘You’ll never play for England playing like that son.’

Ritchie – 7 (If anybody deserved one…):

Energetic and whole-hearted performance from the Hampshire Jock. I often get frustrated by his wasteful crossing and dead-balls but he does get some right and I suppose if he got them all right he’d be playing for someone better, Watford perhaps. This formation doesn’t suit him, he’s no wing-back defensively, most of our opponent’s target getting in behind him and regularly do it. That doesn’t stop him trying though and his willingness to go forward is something some of our other players would do well to copy. He was hooked after 72 minutes again I would hope to save him for the Man City game rather than any tactical reason because he was our best player against Watford. He shouldn’t play at left back against City though, they’ll murder him. If anyone deserved a ‘7’ today it was him.

‘Matt Ritchie cherishing this weekend’s Mag of the Match award.’

Atsu – 4:

Came on for Ritchie. Did very little and made no impact in the game whatsoever. That was very disappointing because he has played better over the last couple of months and we needed him to step up and play today. He didn’t.

Kenedy – 3:

Played on the left of the three central midfielders until moving to left back for the last ten minutes.

I say “played”, it’s a loose description of the word. He went through the motions for an hour, got kicked after about 65 minutes but didn’t get taken off and sulked for the rest of the game.

Whatever is wrong with the fella, Rafa needs to sort it out straight away because we need him to play well for the rest of the season. I would say play well or not play at all but we don’t really have anyone else.

He was undoubtedly our worst player today in a ratio of quality to impact. He is one of our best players but has played like one of our worst all season, today was a fine example. I’m not going to pan him as much as some other commenters because he obviously has something going on underneath his hair transplant that needs to be resolved quickly if he is going to play any part in an NUFC renaissance.

Hayden – 4:

I have been encouraged by his performances over the last few weeks but not today. He didn’t look up for it, was caught out of position too many times and had no positive impact on the game.

He looked like a player who isn’t good enough to play against a team who are in the top half of the league and looked like a player who wants to be away from Tyneside. He should get his wish this week.

Longstaff – 6:

Another encouraging performance from the youngster who ran all day, showed complete commitment and some maturity. He wasn’t great, he has played better over the last few weeks but he was our best player in the centre of the pitch and for that he deserves enormous credit and a place in the starting line-up unless he looks like he is getting burnt-out or losing confidence. Like some other people, he reminds me of a young Michael Carrick and Carrick too was inconsistent at that age. Longstaff looks like he should be given the time and support to try and emulate him.

‘I’m the new Michael Carrick me.’

Murphy – 4:

Subbed after 72 minutes. I thought he was playing in the number 10 Perez role but too often he drifted right.

His best work was done out there so I can see why he does it, but I thought he was supposed to be playing more centrally.

He has no anticipation in the centre, Joselu won two or three headers in this match and Murphy didn’t once try and run past Joselu expecting a flick-on. I can understand that, I mean who would expect Joselu to win the headers, but that’s what Murphy should have done and what a good player would do.

As an attacker you are always ready to gamble. Murphy looks to have no future at NUFC if the rumours of a loan deal to WBA are true. Why would we loan out an attacking player when we need them for the rest of the season if he was any good?

Part of me thinks that he deserves more of a run in the team to see if there is a player in there. Part of me thinks that he has never shown anything to make me believe that there is. He didn’t yesterday.

Perez – 6:

Came on for Murphy after 72 minutes and immediately looked bright and attack minded. That is probably what we want from him, that he has to play as a first choice number 10 week in week out makes me think that he is worse than he is.

Undoubtedly he had an impact today and though he missed two chances late on, neither of them were sitters and I don’t think anyone else would have made the runs or find the space that he did.

It is probably good that he had a rest today, he will need his legs on Tuesday. That’s going to be a 15-mile shift for him!

Joselu – 2:

Ffs, honestly, all I can say is: insert your own rant here.

Rafa Benitez:

The side he picked today wasn’t anywhere near good enough to win a tie against a competitive and solid but hardly world-beating opponent. I understand why, though I don’t like it.

The substitutions he made looked to be more protective for Man City than reactive to winning this game, only Perez really improved the team. Again, I understand why though I don’t like it.

There were no real changes in style or any attacking intent displayed at any point in this game and it all just trundled to a depressing conclusion. I understand why, but I don’t like it.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Watford 2

Goals: Gray 61, Success 90

Possession was Watford 53% Newcastle 47%

Total shots were  Watford 7 Newcastle 5

Shots on target were Watford 3 Newcastle 1

Corners were  Watford 2 Newcastle 5

Referee: David Coote

Newcastle United:

Woodman, Manquillo, Fernandez (Schar 81), Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie (Atsu 73), Hayden, Longstaff, Kenedy, Murphy (Perez 72), Joselu

Unused Subs:

Dubravka,Yedlin, Lejeune, Rondon

Crowd: 34,604 (Watford 1,350)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the FA Cup exit go HERE)

(Rafa Benitez spoke after the game, unhappy and demoralised – Read HERE)

(Opinion – Kenedy should never be allowed to play for Newcastle again after that – Read HERE)

(Javi Gracia comments on win after changing entire team – Read HERE)


If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]

Have your say

© 2022 The Mag. All Rights Reserved. Design & Build by Mediaworks