3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 1 Leicester 2
Sunday’s match ended Newcastle 1 Leicester 2.
Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.
Newcastle United holding out for 55 minutes before conceding two quality goals, then an Andy Carroll goal over a decade after his last one for NUFC giving the Magpies late hope.
This time it is Billy Miller:
The Top Fox’s Lack of Cunning
Leicester’s two best chances of the first half saw Vardy break beyond our backline and bear down on goal.
The first one was offside, so it didn’t matter that he bizarrely squared the ball to Tielemans who played a poor onward ball to allow the chance to go begging. The second run saw Vardy well offside.
After half-time, the same happened twice again, once he hit the side netting and, the second time, he crashed the ball against the crossbar.
On another day Vardy could have gobbled up a hat-trick. Let’s give the defence the credit and say it was their fantastic holding of the line and not Vardy’s mistimed runs, that meant he didn’t grab any goals today.
Possession over 30%
In fact, it was over 40%. Yep, we were at the heady heights of 43%.
That shouldn’t really be a positive for us, especially at home, but it really is.
It was our fifth highest possession of the season. The other four came against 19th place West Brom, 10-man 18th place Fulham, 16th place Burnley and, surprisingly, 17th place Brighton (I say surprisingly as they battered us 3-0).
Amazingly, this season, we haven’t had more possession than any of our Premier League opposition. That is quite something when you are 16 games into the season.
It is worrying that we have only had more than 43% possession against teams below us too. Why have I used this as a positive then?
Having seen us have 26% possession or less in the two games since Christmas, it was nice for the lads to have a bit more of the ball today. Unfortunately, until the latter periods of the game, we carried little threat.
And He Scores…
When the ball was sent into the box by Ritchie, I shook my head and pondered why Carroll wasn’t in the mix, as Leicester easily headed the ball clear. But wait!
There he is, on his favoured left foot, to rocket in his first Premier League goal in over 33 months.
His first for Newcastle in just over a decade. I would love Carroll to justify his contract and get four or fibe goals this season. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen, but he’s off the mark now at least.
I can’t imagine there were many fans that weren’t happy to see him score.
Maddison On The Mark Again
Third game in a row that he’s scored at St James Park. You’d think we would have learned. Apparently not.
When Vardy collected the ball and drove into the box, he had two defenders and Matty Longstaff all throwing themselves in the way of a squared ball to Barnes or a shot. Clark marked Barnes and Fernandez was trailing behind Vardy. Five players closing in on two Leicester forwards. Half the outfield team! But on the edge of the box Maddison was following Government Covid guidance to the extreme. With well over two metres between him and anyone he latched gratefully onto Vardy’s pull back. The strike was blasted home to give Leicester the lead.
When a player with that ability has had so much joy against you, you’d think that we’d do something about it. Maybe have one of the Longstaffs man mark him so that he never gets that space. As a minimum, the players themselves should have been more alert to the danger and, instead of flooding the box, one of them should have pulled off to the edge.
Sliding Down The Table
Crystal Palace’s win yesterday means that we’re now down to 15th. When we drew with Fulham, we only had an 8 point gap from the relegation zone. Amazingly, despite an extremely tricky three fixture run, we have maintained that gap (although Fulham having their last two games postponed, hasn’t done any harm).
It’s points that matter but having our league position diminish week by week can’t be great for the players mentally. The rest of January will be tough, and the Sheffield United game already looks like a six pointer with Arsenal, Leeds and Everton to follow.
Starting Line Up/Substitutions
Never change a winning team (or in our case a team that managed a draw when expecting a battering).
Why we changed anything (other than the enforced Sean Longstaff for the suspended Isaac Hayden), after one of the performances of the season, I don’t know.
We’ve got a week until our next game so there was no rationale in resting players unless forced. The only unenforced change I would have maybe considered would have been Almiron in for Yedlin (Murphy dropping to right wing back) or Joelinton.
Then, when it came to changing things up at 1-0 down, we brought on a winger/wing back/centre midfielder and a centre midfielder/defensive midfielder for a winger/attacking midfielder/centre midfielder/wing back and a striker/winger/attacking midfielder (boy it gets confusing working out players’ positions at Newcastle).
Anyway, the changes didn’t seem likely to inspire a comeback. Yedlin had an excellent display against Liverpool but was poor today and should have been the one hooked for Murphy. A striker for Joelinton was the only way to go if we were pushing for an equaliser. If Shelvey had to come on, then surely it should have been for Sean Longstaff who looked off the pace again. At 2-0 Bruce went for it and brought on a striker for Yedlin. That striker went on and scored (see positive number three) but it was too little too late by that point.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Leicester 2 – Sunday 3 January 2.15pm
Maddison 55, Tielemans 72
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Leicester 57% (60%) Newcastle 43% (40%)
Total shots were Leicester 9 (3) Newcastle 7 (3)
Shots on target Leicester 3 (0) Newcastle 2 (1)
Corners were Leicester 6 (3) Newcastle 3 (0)
Referee: Robert Jones
Darlow, Yedlin (Carroll 79), Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Matty Longstaff, Sean Longstaff, Ritchie, Almiron (Murphy 64), Joelinton (Shelvey 65), Wilson
Dubravka, Krafth, Gayle, Hendrick, Dummett, Manquillo
(Newcastle 1 Leicester 2 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(‘I’m finished with Steve Bruce – Absolutely furious’ – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Leicester 2 Match Report – ‘Not as bad as expected’ – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Leicester 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s defeat – Read HERE)
You can follow the author on Twitter @billymerlin
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