Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1 – Different game but same old problems
I thought that scraping another turgid 0-0 draw would have been quite a result out of tonight’s match against Villa.
Grealish or not, they remain an attacking threat while we’re anything but.
After seeing the starting eleven, I was certainly happy that Hendrick had been rightfully relegated to the bench after yet another anonymous performance against West Brom, then with Willock in a natural position some more energy was bound to be added to the midfield, right?
The match actually turned out a lot better than anticipated, with improved performances all round, even if a lack of cutting edge almost costing us, if not for a heroic injury time goal from our captain.
Here are a few points from a cagey match that I think we were actually unfortunate to only get a point from:
Shevley has been quite erratic in his performances lately but after this game he’ll be glad he’s high on Bruce’s favourites list.
A laundry list of sideways passes and several shocking attempts to play the ball out – especially in the first half- had the midfielder looking a long way off his best.
We’ve all seen him play some great passes and he’s had some great games, they just seem to be few and far between lately.
Hard work for no profit
While a lot of the players have been struggling with our recent poor form and have looked short of putting in a full shift- one player who cannot be accused of that is Joelinton.
While still short on goals and looking short of confidence in the box, deployed as a wide forward (which is where he played at Hoffenheim to great effect) he gave Mings a torrid time, outmuscling and outpacing him on several occasions.
If Villa didn’t have such a solid defence, he may have even got an assist.
It’s not much and certainly not what we paid £40 million for…but maybe it’s a start?
Lack of match awareness
This was a match where a change was needed to shake things up and I was screaming for Jacob Murphy to be brought on after half-time.
He’s no starter while our established front three are fit but he is a decent dribbler of the ball and can create a good chance.
Yet he was left sitting on the bench for far too long as we continued to plug away against a centre-back pairing that are just too good. He eventually was brought on and immediately brought a change in play with dynamic running and hit the bar within a few minutes. After getting the assist for Lascelles’ goal surely he must start against Brighton?
All in all, a much improved performance (not that it takes much), but some cutting edge needs to be added to our finishing before a trip down to Brighton, which really could change the direction of the season for both teams involved.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1 – Friday 12 March 8pm
Ciaran Clark (OG) 86
Possession was Villa 51% Newcastle 49%
Total shots were Villa 15 Newcastle 12
Shots on target were Villa 5 Newcastle 3
Corners were Villa 2 Newcastle 2
Referee: Paul Tierney
Dubravka, Krafth (Manquillo 83), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Willock, Hayden (Carroll 88), Shelvey, Gayle, Fraser (Murphy 79), Joelinton
Darlow, Ritchie, Lewis, Fernandez, Hendrick, S Longstaff
(Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Friday’s draw – Read HERE)
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]