There is a common theme around new years. People always look for that new thing. Make their New Year’s resolutions, eat healthier, lose weight etc. etc. I’m sure even the team talk emphasized starting the new year off right. The truth it though, it’s just another day, and in NUFC world, that necessarily isn't a good thing.
New Year’s for most of us is a lot of fun. NYE I had a party at my house, cooked a Tomahawk steak, it was glorious. Stayed up late and watched the ball drop and the fireworks around my house. 6am PST lineup announcements came quick, so I got up and got ready for the 7am kickoff. After the 1st half I began to question if I really wanted to start off my new year with this garbage of a match, but in the loyal NUFC way, I of course kept watching. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m not gonna change. Let’s talk about this match.
The lineup once again was a bit odd, but that is due to the rotation needed for 4 matched in 12 days. Nonetheless, here it is:
Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Lejeune, Willems, Shelvey, Hayden, Almiron, Muto, Joelinton
I don’t think ANYONE saw Muto starting. It’s clear that Carroll can’t play multiple matches in shorter rest. I would of expected Gayle or even Atsu before I saw Muto, so this caught me off guard. If you remember Muto’s last start, it was a 5-0 loss to...... Leicester City and the start before that, was also against Leicester City in the League Cup. Place your bets on him starting next time we play them.
The match started in a 5-4-1 formation with a 3-4-3 formation while attacking. Muto was on the right, and Almiron on the left,
Leicester had an early corner and Dubravka made a tremendous save on Evans to keep Leicester from getting an early goal. After the save, Leicester continued to dominate.
Whenever Ayoze Perez got on the ball, he received some boo’s, and the first 25 minutes were a sample of good Dubravka save’s and the Foxes having 76% possession and having their way with NUFC.
Newcastle’s first chance came around 25 minutes in when Shelvey pinged one of his iconic long balls to Joelinton behind Leicester’s defense. Big Joe was forced wide and and his shot was blocked.
The issue with Joelinton in the lone striker spot is that he is completely irrelevant in match play. But, if NUFC can get the ball in space to the front three, Joelinton makes some really educated runs and has a potential to be dangerous. As the lone striker however, he needs to finish.
36th Minute: Goal, Leicester 1-0 (Perez). What an awful moment for Lejeune, who looks like he has started 4 matched in 12 days after 8 months of rest.... Oh wait.... he did do that. Lejeune passed it across his own box trying to get it to Schar, and Perez jumps forward, got to the ball, moved inside and scores a low shot around Dubravka.
39th Minute: Goal, Leicester 2-0 (Maddison). Lejeune again, continuing his dreadful day has his pass misplaced, and once again is stolen by Perez. Perez then gifts it to Maddison who crushes the ball from 20 yards out.
45th Minute Substitution: It only got worse. Willems went down with an injury and Yedlin for subbed on for him. Manquillo moved to Left-Wing Back and Yedlin to the right.
45th Minute +3 Substitution: Another injury just before HT. Manquillo picked up a knock and was subbed out, replaced by Emil Krafth.
HT 2-0 Leicester: Losing at the break by convincing fashion AND had to make two substitutions made the match more dismal than it needed to be. It was absolutely brutal for NUFC. They seemed more tired, unprepared, and completely a lesser level than their opponent.
46th Minute Substitution: Sean Longstaff appeared out from Halftime early warming up, then it seemed apparent that Shelvey was going to continue. Newcastle were forced to use all 3 subs before the 2nd half started.
50th Minute: Schar goes down with an injury. Looked like a pulled hamstring and NUFC are forced to go the rest of the match down 2-0 with 10 men.
From this point forward there was nothing really to breakdown. NUFC were outmanned, outmatched from the get-go, and when we went down to 10 men, it only got worse. Dubravka made sure this match wasnt 6-0 by the 70th minute.
NUFC moved to a 5-3-1 formation with Almiron as a Left-Wing-Back and then Muto to the right in the Midfield.
87th Minute: Goal 3-0 Leicester (Choudhury). A missle of a shot from Choudhury. Nothing Dubravka could of done to save it.
FT: 3-0 Leicester.
Not only have NUFC lost 3 straight, but they have a massive injury list and the Premier League is not a forgiving league. Bruce has tried multiple formations, multiple different wrinkles in tactics and the one thing that is consistent is that NUFC aren't executing. There is only three possible reasons for that.
- The coaching staff is at fault for not preparing the squad enough in these formations but still deploy’s it in a match.
- The players aren't good enough.
Stats and Things:
- Newcastle sit in 13th place on the table with 25 points. They are now only 5 points from a relegation place and have the 3rd worst Goal Difference in the League.
- Newcastle lost back to back home matches for the first time since December 2018
- Newcastle lost the xG matchup as well. NUFC had .78 xG and Leicester had 1.99.
- Joelinton led Newcastle in xG with .64. Jonjo led the team in xA with .73.
- PPDA (Passes allowed per defensive action in the opposition half) is another advanced stat is covered. For PPDA it is a bit of a non-factor for Newcastle because how much we bunker, a lot. But Newcastle gave up an TERRIBLY ASTOUNDING 36.86 PPDA against Leicester. For context, they gave up 14 against Everton. Higher numbers are not a good thing in this stat.
- Sunderland are still in League One
- Whoscred ranked each individual performance, and there was only one Toon player to get a 7 rating or higher: Martin Dubravka (7.15).
- Even though we are currently in 13th place. fivethirtyeight predicts Newcastle will finish the season in 15th place on 41 points. Below us is Watford, Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Norwich.
Steve Bruce said:
”I’ve been involved in the game for 40 years but I’ve not seen anything like that. We lost four players in 20 minutes and gifted them two goals.
”You get injuries by forcing players to play tired. That’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. I was concerned before the match, I made that clear.
”You don’t want it to happen that way. It could have been five we lost because (DeAndre) Yedlin broke his hand (within a minute of arriving on the field), he manfully played on.
”In all the years I’ve been involved I don’t think I’ve been involved in a crazy 15 minutes like that.
”I said it a month ago that to ask players to play four games in 10 days is ludicrous. Today is the consequence....Saturday will be our fifth game in something like fifteen days.
”In the first half, I thought we gave the ball away too cheaply - that’s what I was agitated for - and we’ve given the ball away in an awful position, which has cost us.
”We’ve lost four players with muscle injuries. We won’t know how bad those injuries are until they get scanned. It’s been a bad week.”