Last night, Newcastle beat Burnley 3-1 at St James’ Park thanks to a monster performance from Allan Saint-Maximin and a Callum Wilson brace. The game wasn’t exactly prime viewing, but it’s rare to see United win a game that comfortably – so I couldn’t give a damn how entertaining it was for the neutral.
I’ll get into the proper player ratings in a minute, but Allan Saint-Maximin was unplayable last night. So much so that the only defence Burnley had for him was to get the Rooney dropper to kick shit out of him. In fact, Phil Bardsley and co kicked his ankles so much that he re-aggravated the ankle injury suffered against Brighton a fortnite ago and had to be withdrawn after 70 minutes or so.
The first half of the game, we were utterly dominant. Saint-Maximin’s goal was pure filth and, to be honest, I was a little worried that we only scored once – because there’s no way Burnley would be that bad again in the second half.
As expected, Burnley came out fighting in the second half and managed to pull back on to level terms with a wicked volley from Ashley Westwood – fair play son, cracking finish. HOWEVER, in a shock to the nation, that equaliser seemed to spark Newcastle back into life. ASM, now over on the right hand side wherein he only had Charlie Taylor and a slightly too lazy Dwight McNeil to contend with, started to wreak havoc again.
Four minutes after their goal, Maxi beat his man down the right and played a delicious cross into the path of Callum Wilson in the area. CW13 made no mistake in tucking it home from a few yards out – how great is it to have a striker who has the predatory instincts to be in the right place at the right time? God, I love it.
10 minutes or so later, substitute Ryan Fraser was alert in the area to nick the ball from Nick Pope after an incredibly heavy touch. Fraser couldn’t quite guide it goalbound but Pope did take him out to give us a clear penalty and cement a shitty day for England goalkeepers, following a horrendous error by Jordan Pickford earlier in the day. Wilson stepped up and had the panache about him to try a Panenka effort – which of course found the back of the net. That’s four in four for the big man.
From there on it was plain sailing. United were full value for the win and Sean Dyche was furious with the referees at the final whistle… It seems he thought there was a foul in the build up to the first goal but, when he watches it back, he’ll see that his players just need to be a bit tougher. Simple as that. Highlights of the game are linked below for you to peruse.
Newcastle Player Ratings
Karl Darlow – 7.5
Didn’t really have an awful lot to do but dealt pretty well with the things he did have to do. Still think he needs to command his box better and be stronger from crosses and set-pieces. While he usually gets the job done, it’s not always confidence-inducing…
Emil Krafth – 8
Started the game at right back but ended up moving to centre-back to fill in for the injured (again) Fabian Schär. Don’t think he really put much of a foot wrong and his ability to switch position really helped us out.
Fabian Schär – 6
Got injured in the first half and didn’t really make much of an impact on the game beyond that. His shoulder injuries will be the death of me.
Federico Fernandez – 8
Did well as ever. No real concerns, won plenty of aerial duels and never really looked in any danger. Led the team in blocks and clearances, as he normally does.
Jamal Lewis – 7
Every time I watch this kid play I realise just how much of a diamond he COULD be, but he still has a lot to learn. Is a bit rash in challenges and has a tendency to get caught out of position, but the raw talent is there. Just needs to harness it.
Jeff Hendrick – 6
Lost the ball the join most times of anyone wearing black and white despite having fewer touches of the ball than almost anyone. Not his best game, but he did help out a bit defensively with a couple of clearances and interceptions. Average.
Isaac Hayden – 8
Hayden is very rarely a 10, but very rarely lower than a 7 either. He’s always just bloody solid. Made some good blocks, was his usual disruptive force in the middle and covered nicely for Jonjo Shelvey when he went wondering.
Jonjo Shelvey – 8
Captain for the evening, didn’t do too badly to be fair. Played a few very nice balls and didn’t make any major errors. Only Ashley Westwood and Charlie Taylor made more passes than he did. He also did decent tracking back too, making more clearances than any non-defender on the field as well as chipping in with a couple of tackles and an interception. Well played Jonjo.
Allan Saint-Maximin – 10
Unplayable. Kid has ice in his veins. Was kicked to shreds by the opposition but didn’t let that stop him from scoring a beautiful goal and setting up another one, as well as being a general nuisance the whole time he was on the pitch. Not many better when he’s in that mood.
Joelinton – 8.5
He lost the ball a fair few times, but don’t let that distract you from the fact he was everywhere. He drifted out left, out right, dropped back into the midfield and was a huge presence all game long. He seems to have found confidence now, and in this supporting role alongside Wilson, he’s found a place where he can excel. Another great game from J9.
Callum Wilson – 10
He played a massive part in the first goal, using his strength to play the ball into ASM to go and score. Then he found space in the box to score the second and stepped up to take a very cool penalty for the third. Love to see a striker with instincts to get in the right place at the right time and put the ball in the net. We’ve been missing that for so long! Great performance again from the big man.
Ryan Fraser – 8
Came on and made an immediate impact, winning the penalty that sealed the three points. Also nearly scored an audacious chip from 30 yards out. His running in behind was immense – more of that please.
Javi Manquillo – 7
Did well when he came on. Just went straight to right back and did a decent job. Played a part in the second goal so, yeah. Solid performance.
Sean Longstaff – N/A
Wasn’t on the pitch long enough to get a rating but nearly scored straight after coming on. I like him a lot in the advanced midfield role.
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