3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 2 West Brom 1
Saturday’s match ended Newcastle 2 West Brom 1.
Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.
Two good goals winning it for a Newcastle United side that did very little else in this poor match.
This time it is Billy Miller:
Start As You Mean To Go On
Had fans been allowed into the stadium there might have been a few finishing their pre-match pints when the first goal went in.
Hopefully most had turned their TVs on in time to catch the opener. A mistake by one of West Brom’s most experienced (certainly most decorated) players, as Ivanovic made a hash of controlling/clearing a punt up the pitch.
Wilson controlling and nudging the ball to Joelinton who played a perfect ball to the underutilised (and underappreciated?) Miguel Almiron who curled it into the bottom corner. There was the momentary dread as the words ‘VAR are checking this for handball’ were uttered. But this was quickly dismissed, and we could enjoy our lead.
Not only was the goal the dream start to this game, the win was the dream start to a run of three fixtures against promoted clubs. These are the games that will shape our season and decide whether we will finish comfortably mid-table or get dragged into a relegation battle. Leeds away will be a completely different prospect.
How Hendrick had ever been favoured over the Paraguayan, only Brucie can tell us. It’s a bit like Greenpeace picking Katie Hopkins over Greta Thunberg to front a climate change advertising campaign. He’s completely unsuitable for the job and Almiron showed precisely why he should always be playing there.
A well taken goal, a brilliant touch and burst of pace to set himself up for a less clinical effort, nice link up play all over the pitch, doubling up on Phillips to help Krafth, some important clearances. He wasn’t phenomenal but he always offers so much industry in so many different areas of the pitch. As the rest of the team tired, he was still zipping about and trying to make things happen.
Watching him flying after long balls, his head bobbing back and forth like that of an eccentric turtle, is a welcome sight compared to the aimless drudgery of Hendrick’s performances in the wide position. Let’s hope the evidence of today will convince Steve that only wingers should play on the wing.
All Hail Gayle
I’m going to do something rare and give Steve Bruce some credit.
At 1-1 he wasn’t happy sitting on a point. He brought Gayle on for Lewis, meaning Ritchie went to left back to instantly give us a more offensive outlook. With ten minutes to go he introduced Murphy for Krafth to further increase our attacking intent.
And it was the two substitutes that combined to give us the winning goal. Gayle had already had a good header cleared off the line. Moments after Murphy had come on, he whipped a sumptuous ball into the box which Gayle guided in off the crossbar with a thumping header. Great to see him coming on to haunt the team he scored so many for on loan. It will be interesting to see if he gets a chance to start alongside Wilson over the frantic festive period.
Could/Should Have Handed Out A Battering
Even before the game, this looked like one that we should have been targeting for a comprehensive victory. They had just been smashed 5-1 at home by a team we’d beaten 2-0 away (albeit ours was a smash and grab and WBA had a man sent off in their game).
We were facing the league’s leakiest defence. A team with one of their best players suspended, sat in the relegation zone with only a solitary win to their name.
The quickest Premier League goal for over a year put us in a position to humble them and the first half saw us looking extremely comfortable. We didn’t press a lacklustre and nervous looking West Brom and second half everything changed.
I’m sure I’m not the only person that was pleasantly surprised to see us nab the three points. It shouldn’t have been so edgy, although I appreciate there were other factors. The main one being…
Count The Cases
No information has been released on precisely which players have been impacted by this coronavirus breakout. However, it’s fairly easy to draw your own conclusions when looking at the players missing.
Quite a few names that would have started or been on the bench were nowhere to be seen and hadn’t been on the injured list before the breakout. Good that the game could go ahead but the events of the last couple of weeks surely had an impact. You could tell which side had trained for the preceding fortnight and which side hadn’t.
From about the hour mark onwards the lethargy of many of our players was astonishing. Constantly players were losing possession and showing little desire to recover it. Passes were going astray and killing any momentum we may be building. Hopefully, a few more names will be available for the midweek clash at Elland Road.
Jamal Lewis is a young player and has a lot to learn but after the first twenty seconds (it was his hopeful punt that caused Ivanovic problems) he was poor today.
I lost count of the times he picked the ball up on the left and, despite having a few seconds to try and find a positive pass, turned and played it either all the way back to Darlow or to one of his centre backs. He then lashed out in a tussle with Furlong as inexperience got the better of him. I felt a yellow was fair, but I wouldn’t have been surprised had the flailing arm been more severely punished.
That battle would resume for the equaliser as the ball was centred from the left. Whilst Lewis stood waiting for the ball before dangling out an ineffective foot, his nemesis made up about twenty yards on him to power a volley into the bottom corner. He’s a young player and he will have better days. However, I wouldn’t object in the slightest to Willems coming back and providing some competition in that left-back role.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 West Brom 1 – Saturday 12 December 3pm
Almiron 1, Gayle 82
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was West Brom 54% (57%) Newcastle 46% (43%)
Total shots were West Brom 13 (9) Newcastle 12 (6)
Shots on target were West Brom 3 (1) Newcastle 7 (4)
Corners were West Brom 3 (2) Newcastle 4 (2)
Referee: Darren England
Darlow, Krafth (Murphy 80), Hayden, Clark, Lewis (Gayle 69), Shelvey, S Longstaff, Ritchie, Almiron (Yedlin 86), Joelinton, Wilson
Langley, M Longstaff, Carroll, Hendrick
(Slaven Bilic says he is hurting after Newcastle: ‘They put one cross in and they scored the winner’ – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 2 West Brom 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s victory – Read HERE)
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