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Opinion

Watford 1 Newcastle 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players

3 weeks ago
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We asked Ben Cooper to give us his match ratings and player comments after Watford 1 Newcastle 1.

A game that featured 35 shots in total and for once, Newcastle having more and better chances than the opposition.

Leading for most of the match, United couldn’t add to Sean Longstaff’s long range 23rd minute effort, paying the price when Sarr allowed a free header only six yards out.

Match ratings:

Karl Darlow: 6

He didn’t do much wrong. Made a double save in the first minute and another good stop after midway through the first half from Sarr. He couldn’t do anything about the goal and his save from Sissoko for King’s offside goal was also vital. The team just look more comfortable with him in goal rather than Woodman, though whether that is solely down to the goalkeeper is another question.

Gets an extra mark for popping Tom Cleverley in the mouth while clearing, something we would all love to do. Loses one for constant timewasting which led to a late booking but could have come any time after Longstaff’s goal. Timewasting is the sign of a team that lacks imagination and ambition and should be punished more than it is.

Manquillo: 7

Typically busy and energetic performance. Got booked after 18 minutes which put him under pressure.

For the second week running the full backs had to see off the opposition’s main threat and did well, laying the foundation for a result. He could have been sent off for kicking the ball away in the second half but at least four of Watford’s players should have gone by then so Watford can’t have too many complaints.

Great defending to block a King run midway through the second half, was the highlight of his day.

Ritchie: 7

Like Manquillo, he had his second tough match on the trot and stuck to it.

He gets forward well obviously because he is an attacking player but is defending better than I expected in a back four. He marked Watford’s best player for the full game and got over an early booking without any worries. A wholly committed player who never shirks the challenge. My man of the match. Just.

Clark: 6

Defended well enough given the lacklustre opposition and this was another performance which backs up those who say he is one of United’s best eleven.

He rarely makes a mistake but should have scored in each half, definitely a late header at the back post which would have won the points. Defensively sound.

Fernandez: 6

Did what he had to do without any fuss.

A fairly quiet afternoon for him but gets an extra nod for his leadership. When Watford started to dish it out, Fernandez was the first one to start giving it back.

Hayden: 5

It was great to see him back in midfield but at best he had a quiet game, sometimes even poor.

He made a great defensive tackle in the second half which prevented a possible goal but he was off the pace for too much of the game to be effective. He will have other days though, he is our best player in the position he played today and gives it everything.

Longstaff: 7

Gave the ball away poorly a couple of times including for Watford’s best chance in the first minute and Matt Ritchie’s booking. Apart from that he was comfortable on the ball, creative and got forward enough to have scored a hat-trick.

I have some sympathy for the sitter he missed near half time, we have all done it, the ball was played just behind him when he wasn’t expecting it. Then again, no sympathy for his awful tache.

He played well against Watford, close to being our best player. Again. If they don’t give him a new contract soon, we could be watching him play for England next year wondering why he was given away for nowt.

Willock: 6

Further forward, took him a while to get into it but he started running them ragged towards the end of the first half, getting mangled just outside the area and shooting into the side netting. Had another great chance when put through on goal in the second half but Foster saved well.

Shocking defending for Watford’s goal but you could see by his reaction that he knew what he had done and I hope he learns that lesson quickly. Off after 82 minutes and an improved performance in a position more suited to him.

Almiron: 6

Took a deliberate elbow on the chin after a few minutes but it didn’t take the wind out of his sails.

A typically lung-busting but often tunnel-vision showing from him. I enjoy watching him play though, he is a real threat and Foster saved well from him in the second half. Gave away a pointless corner for their goal which knocks him down a mark.

Subbed after 77 minutes when we needed a goal. Which is both appalling because he is one of most attacking players, but understandable given that he never scores. That’s Almiron all over. I’m sure the manager knows how to resolve that. The one who bought him, not the one he plays for now.

JL: 5

Good general play and did well defensively, making one exceptional defensive tackle as Watford went through close to goal.

Attacking wise he was a complete waste of space.

He lacks confidence obviously given his lack of output but he also lacks composure and intent. He put one under Willock’s feet in the first half when a simple five yard ball was on for a shot on the edge of the box. In a best eleven, we have at least two players who would play in the team ahead of him in every position he plays.

ASM: 6

He was quiet today but always a threat.

You can see the opposition are petrified of him but it didn’t really happen for him today. He still played his part though and put a couple of people through to score and they didn’t.

Murphy: 0

On after 77 minutes, missed and did nothing until missing an absolute sitter in the last few seconds.

He didn’t even miss it, he just tried some half-attemoted chip that completely failed. If he was five years old he’d be on the naughty step for a month.

Gayle: Not applicable for a number of reasons, not just his short game time.

Came on after 82 minutes.

Can’t play in that system according to Steve Bruce so I don’t know why he brought him on.

The pile of chances United missed, backs up those who believe that this is a team playing without strikers, so how are they going to score goals? It is difficult to argue against that, despite Gayle’s lack of mobility and aggression he can score goals if given chances.

He didn’t have any today in the ten minutes he was on and he didn’t get involved. Which isn’t really his fault, by his manager’s admission he can’t really get involved.

The Stevolution:

Went to a back four and set the team up to play in it’s most effective formation.

While he can’t be blamed for the chances missed, he can be blamed for who missed them. No club can survive a season in the PL with only one striker and to echo what others have said on this site, today’s complaint is why, if Gayle can’t play in this system, was he given a new contract and not peddled and replaced by a player, even a young loan player, who can play in this system.

It would be nice if someone asked Bruce that.

Watford:

Watford Wrestling Entertainment.

If NUFC can’t finish above them this season, they deserve everything they get.

The Ref:

Just an aside for the Australian referee who was in his Premier League debut.

I thought he did well, it was a wrestling match at times and he kept his head and didn’t send anyone off for anything trivial when he could have done.

Games like that are hard to referee even for an experienced referee. He might well turn out to be hopeless but he wasn’t today.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Watford 1 Newcastle 1 – Saturday 25 September 3pm

Goals:

Watford

Sarr 72

Newcastle:

Sean Longstaff 23

(In brackets the first half stats)

Possession was Watford 52% (50%) Newcastle 48% (50%)

Total shots were Watford 15 (6)  Newcastle 20 (11)

Shots on target were Watford 4 (2) Newcastle 6 (2)

Corners were Watford 5 (2) Newcastle 6 (5)

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie, Sean Longstaff, Hayden, Almiron (Murphy 79), Willock (Gayle 83), Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Schar, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Fraser, Anderson

Crowd:

20,650 (2,200 Newcastle)

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Watford 1 Newcastle 1 at Vicarage Road – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce bewildering decision – Leaves Newcastle United fans wondering…Read HERE)

(Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer discuss Newcastle making history under Steve Bruce – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce declares ‘We created enough chances to win three games’ (One would be nice…) – Read HERE)

(Match Report – Watford 1 Newcastle 1 – 35 shots, end to end game and an Aussie rules referee – Read HERE)

(Watford 1 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s end to end draw – Read HERE)

(Xisco Munoz left ‘disappointed’ after failing to beat Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United – Read HERE)

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