Newcastle United ended their Monday night hoodoo by beating Burnley 1-2 at a chilly Turf Moor.
The kick off was delayed due to a medical emergency in the tunnel, which was not connected to either side. The delay seemed to throw Burnley off their game, that as well as Rafa Benitez’s surprise formation. The former Liverpool manager decided to go for a 3-5-2 formation with Matt Ritchie and DeAndre Yedlin as wing backs. Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez and captain for the night, Ciaran Clark made up that back three.
Newcastle took the lead inside the first five minutes when Fernandez’s shot deflected in off Ben Mee. Joe Hart had no chance of saving it. Newcastle looked cool and calm on the ball, controlling the midfield very well. Ki and Diame have become a formidable partnership in the middle of the park in recent games, both were terrific again at Turf Moor.
Newcastle were good value for their lead and they didn’t have to wait too long to double it. DeAndre Yedlin played a short corner to Matt Ritchie who whipped in a brilliant cross, finding the head of Ciaran Clark, who guided it past Hart, the former Manchester City ‘keeper had no chance once again.
Burnley pulled a goal back five minutes before half time, Sam Vokes with a powerful header from just inside the box. Martin Dubravka will be unhappy at conceding that goal when he looks back at it. The Newcastle goalkeeper’s positioning was off, he was always struggling to get a hand to it.
Newcastle began the second half well, controlling the tempo early on. Yedlin flew down the the right to square to Ritchie, the former Bournemouth man somehow missed an open goal from inches out. It was probably harder to miss than score. It was relatively similar to Raheem Sterling’s miss on the same ground last season for Manchester City. Chris Wood had an opportunity to level it up for Burnley, a combination of Dubravka and Yedlin keeping Newcastle ahead.
Newcastle had another chance to increase their lead when Ayoze Perez threaded through a ball to Joselu, who only had Hart to beat, his shot thundered back off the post. Another golden chance wasted by the visitors. Sam Vokes had the last chance of the game, heading over the Newcastle goal in the final seconds of the game.
The Ki Ingredient
Ki Sung Yueng produced another excellent display, he was my man of the match by a long way. The former Swansea man rarely misplaced a pass and kept things ticking over nicely for his side. With Jonjo Shelvey nearing full fitness, Rafa Benitez will have a selection headache, with Ki’s form recently, it would be extremely harsh to drop him to the bench.
Ki was the calmest player on the pitch, picking his passes with ease and helping Newcastle stay on the front foot. Over the last few games Ki has shone for the Magpies, he is starting to show why Benitez wanted to sign him.
A fantastic result lifts Newcastle up to 13th in the table and four points above the relegation zone. It is quite a turnaround from a side that were rock bottom just a few weeks ago. With West Ham at home next up, it’s a great chance to make it four wins on the bounce.