On Boxing Day, Newcastle suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to Sheffield Wednesday. The match was frustrating from start to end for players and fans alike. This match marked the first of the five matches where Jonjo Shelvey will be suspended.
The absence of Shelvey was clear to see for all with Newcastle’s midfield looking lacklustre at best. It’s evident that Jack Colback is not the man to replace Jonjo Shelvey, 90 minutes of backwards passing from him was not a pleasant sight. Our defence also looked poor all-around. Karl Darlow saved the team for the majority of the match but was beaten around the 55th minute. The English keeper made some world class saves and stopped Newcastle from conceding 2 or 3. Dwight Gayle could have opened the scoring in the 12th minute but his shot was saved. Serbian striker Mitrovic could have drawn the match level towards the end but Westwood stopped his header on the line.
I hope this match makes Rafa play Mitrovic and Gayle together in a 4-4-2 formation, rather than a 4-4-1-1 with Diame playing as an attacking midfielder. Everytime Gayle tried to take on a defender he was just pulled down. I think we should have Mitrovic playing deeper to use his strength against defenders and then have Gayle playing further forward to finish off those chances.
In my opinion, Newcastle were a victim of poor refereeing after being robbed of a potential penalty after Gayle was brought down in the box in the first half. Wednesday committed 23 fouls and Fernando Forestieri could have been sent off for his many fouls.
This poor performance and Brighton’s 3-0 win over QPR drops Newcastle down to second place, two points behind Brighton. Newcastle face Nottingham Forest at home tomorrow and the match will be broadcast on Sky Sports. Henri Lansbury, who has become infamous on Tyneside, will miss this match due to injury. This is a stroke of good fortune for him as you don’t want 50k+ fans screaming abuse at you.
Feature Image credit: Martin Le Roy