Newcastle earned a draw that felt like so much more as they battled Liverpool to a 2-2 stalemate on Saturday. The Magpies controlled large portions of this match (namely, the first 40 minutes), and if not for a red card, may have run out with all three points. As it is, Newcastle will gladly take the point.
As for the community, you gave the players high marks all around, with some exceptions. Like last time, we'll do this by group. I'll put up a graph for each individual player and then give some analysis on the ratings and the game.
Goal keeper and back line
Where to begin with this group? I felt that, as a whole, the back line proved to be solid. We gave Alan Pardew a bit of grief for saying Newcastle could get by without Fabricio Colocinni, but really, for the most part, Newcastle did. The back four were great at closing down on Liverpool and not giving them a lot to shoot at. Eventually, playing with ten men caught up with Newcastle. For about a ten minute stretch, when Liverpool got their second goal, they were able to find space in the box and maybe should have scored more, but it wasn't to be.
Individually, let's start with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. I felt he was having a fairly solid game until his red card. His penalty was unfortunate. Liverpool's technically being offsides makes it a hard card to judge. On the one hand, it was a deserved card for denying a clear goal scoring chance. On the other, any goal should not have counted. No matter, it's the call and we have to live with the results. Yanga-Mbiwa needs to be in a better position, and obviously not make a bad decision worse by getting sent off.
Tim Krul was stellar in the game, and I'm not surprised to see him get a handful of 10's. He made some big saves and he even guessed right on Gerrard's penalty, but the shot had to much pace on it. He made a great save on Liverpool's free kick right at full time to preserve the win.
And then there's the man of the match Paul Dummett. He came on as a sub, played a solid game on defense, and made a great run on a free kick to score a goal. Two people rated him a six, and I'm not quite sure what they saw. Well deserved Man of the Match honors for Dummett.
Similar to the back line, high marks have to be given out to Newcastle's midfield. They clogged up passing lanes, and didn't let Liverpool find much offensive rhythm in the first half. I thought they worked together nicely, and were able to find good connections with the forwards on counters.
Cheick Tiote had himself a very nice game wearing the captain's armband. He was physical, but he was smart. In a game that featured five yellow cards, Tiote didn't pick one up. I could do without his long range shooting though, and it's getting to the point where it's predictable that he'll have a go from 30 yards.
It's hard to rate Moussa Sissoko, as he only played for 40 minutes before being subbed off, but he looked comfortable in his role. He was creative, he kept plays alive, and hopefully this game gives him a boost of confidence going forward. This was the Sissoko that we saw when he first arrived at Newcastle, not the one that got a little frustrating to watch at the end of last year.
Yohan Cabaye's goal was an absolute screamer, and it was nice to see one of the shots from distance go in. I don't mind Cabaye taking them, as he can score. Tiote....not so much. Cabaye also did well in linking with the forwards. His ability to score from anywhere or find a pass makes him dangerous.
Sorry, Vurnon Anita, I didn't notice a lot from you, which is probably good since you were subbed on late. You have one big fan though, as someone gave him a 9.
I don't reckon Newcastle will have many more games where they score multiple times, but the forwards aren't getting goals. In a game where Newcastle came in with a defense first mentality, and doubled down on it when going down to ten men, the forwards did what they needed to do. They could keep possession and they had few bad giveaways. It was a decent outing from them. There was a time in the first half that someone (I can't remember now) sent in a beautiful cross that was begging to be taken, but there were no black and white shirts around to do it. Some chances were left, but given that Newcastle weren't looking to be the Entertainers on Saturday, it's somewhat understandable.
Yoan Gouffran was probably the star of the group, as he looked very comfortable playing up front. He showed some creativity, and if he continues to do so, the goals will come. Loic Remy was solid, but there was an opportunity for him early in the second half where he could have forced Liverpool into a possible penalty, but didn't. It was similar to the play that saw Yanga-Mbiwa get sent off, so it's possible that Remy could have forced 10 v 10. Outside of that though, he had a decent outing. Hatem Ben Arfa was also good, finding outlets and keeping possession, though I felt he disappeared a bit in the second half.
I asked the community to rate the formations, tactics, and subs used in this match, and it seemed that people were for the most part pleased. Just shy of half rated it as an 8. Defensive minded football might not be the most entertaining, but given how high scoring Liverpool can be, getting people behind the ball was imperative. For all of Newcastle's scoring capability, they haven't shown this year that they can put it all together for a three or four goal performance. After the red card, Newcastle regrouped well and was able to handle Liverpool well. Late in the match, the Reds got their chances, but they were facing a tired Newcastle defense at that point.
As for subs, well, anytime a sub comes on and scores a goal, I think your subs worked out well. Anita and Sammy Ameobi brought in fresh legs and some good possession instincts to help close out the match.
It was never going to be easy against Liverpool, and the mountain got much steeper after the red card. Newcastle had to play smart, dedicated football to get a result. They did, and that's reflected in these player rankings. I think it could be described as a workman's like performance for Newcastle. They now have points in each of their last two games as they head on down the road to face Sunderland this weekend.