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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 2 Manchester City 2

3 days ago
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Saturday afternoon finished Newcastle 2 Manchester City 2.

The comeback kings!

Going behind in each half to the reigning back to back champions but quickly hitting back both times.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.

This time it is Dale Thompson:

POSITIVES

Martin Dubravka

A class act.

Definitely amongst the top half dozen goalkeepers in the Premier League and quite amazing that ambitious clubs haven’t made a move, yet.

We are now so used to the quality and assurance he brings and will start hs 65th Premier League game in a row at Sheffield United.

Made a handful of top notch saves and no way Newcastle would have got anything without him in nets.

No disrespect to Karl Darlow but if Dubravka had been injured this season, Newcastle would have less than 10 points so far, not 16.

Any three centre-backs

If only Newcastle had anything  like the quality and depth they have at centre-back in the rest of the squad.

Play any three from six and usually little noticeable difference.

This time it was Fernandez, Clark and Dummett, all excellent on the day.

Mike Ashley could open a training camp where other clubs send their central defenders to be trained up by Newcastle’s half dozen, Ashley could make a fortune.

Fortress St James Park

It might not be pretty or entertaining a lot of the time but somehow Newcastle have managed to stay unbeaten at home in the Premier League since losing to Arsenal on the opening weekend.

Despite playing  to thousands of empty seats the team have generally lifted themselves to make sure those that still turn up, don’t see their team beaten.

Would have been easy to cave in when going behind twice but from kick-off they came right back at Man City after conceding.

NEGATIVES

Atmosphere

It was the second biggest crowd of the season so far but the atmosphere was shocking.

The noise very good and very very good for the two equalisers but apart from that, played out in near silence. The Man City fans woeful as well.

I spent the first ten to fifteen minutes standing up because so many strangers didn’t know where they were sitting. A very high football tourist presence around us and clearly the club in overdrive once again putting out thousands of cut price tickets through the universities and other local organisations.

That doesn’t help the atmosphere either.

Central midfield

Maybe a bit of a controversial one but yet again I thought central midfield a weakness.

With the possible exception of the West Ham match, Newcastle have been second best in the middle of the pitch.

On Saturday, Hayden as usual just plays as an extra defender and offers nothing going up the pitch. As for Shelvey, I thought he was totally anonymous apart from a few second half passes and but for his goal would have been arguably our least effective player on the day.

Newcastle’s plus points this season have been the goalkeeper, Willems, whichever three centre-backs play and Saint-Maximin & Almiron. Steve Bruce has said his priority is a central midfielder in January and I can see why.

Joelinton

I don’t mean that Joelinton is a problem player, more a case of I don’t understand what the plan is, if it exists, of how to include him in the team play. Never mind a plan for how to get the ball to him to score goals.

Yet again left so isolated and this is the case whether we are playing Manchester City, Aston Villa or whoever.

Would love to be a fly on the wall when Steve Bruce is explaining his attacking plan pre-match and what is said to Joelinton and other players.

Apart from ‘fight off the three defenders when we bang the ball up to you’, I don’t have a clue as to what else must be said to the centre-forward.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Manchester City 2  – Saturday 30 November 12.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Willems 25, Shelvey 88

Man City:

Sterling 22, De Bruyne 82

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Man City 77% (78%), Newcastle 23% (22%)

Total shots were Man City 24 (9), Newcastle 6 (3)

Shots on target were Man City 9 (4), Newcastle 3 (2)

Corners were Man City 10 (4), Newcastle 1 (1)

Crowd: 49,937 (3,200 Man City)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle team v Man City:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Dummett, Clark, Willems, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Atsu 80), Almiron, Joelinton (Gayle 69)

Unused Subs

Darlow, Krafth, Matty Longstaff, Schar, Sean Longstaff

(Steve Bruce makes unnecessary Jonjo Shelvey comments after draw v Manchester City – Read HERE)

(John Stones says Manchester City still very much in title race despite Newcastle’s ‘Two sloppy goals’ – Read HERE)

(Pep Guardiola philosophical as Premier League title hopes end at St James Park – read HERE)

(Watch official match highlights and all four goals from Newcastle 2 Manchester City 2 – Watch HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Manchester City 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s draw – Read HERE)

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