Another weekend in the books. Newcastle came close to stopping Liverpool, but the lads could do nothing at all to prevent City from running them out of Manchester on Sunday. Brutal, hard-to-stomach defeat with the only positive that everybody was pretty much expecting the predicted outcome to approach the final 5-0 shown in the scoreboard by the final whistle.
Here are your Top-3 players of Match Day 36, along with some quotes from the very own protagonists of the weekend.
This might be seen as a homer pick, but it is what it is. Bruno didn’t show any flashes at all because the game just never allowed him to do so, but he still completed 30 of his 33 attempted passes (91%) while launching two (on three attempts) successful long balls ahead. Bruno held his position in the midfield, helped back with an interception and the most tackles (5) from a Magpie yesterday, and never got dribbled past in his 90 full minutes of play. The attacking moves left a bit to desire as he couldn’t complete any of the four dribbles he attempted and only logged one shot (off), but better days will come.
Joelinton + Almirón
Good by default. None of the two were magnificent, but that’s what you have to do when you face a team like Manchester City from a clear position of disadvantage. Joelinton only missed one of his 26 passes (a tough cross from the left) while Miggy went 11-of-15 on that front on just 26 touches of the ball. Both midfielders were good to stay active on defense and didn’t really cause any trouble back putting the team at risk of surrendering goals to the opposition. It’s a waste of their talents because both have massive offensive prowess, but at least they were good on their own half while making the most of the few chances they got on the counter.
Back on the starting XI after Fabian Schar suffered an injury last weekend that might keep him from coming back at all this month. Lascelles, just in case, is Newcastle’s captain so he got the armband the minute he stepped onto the pitch at the Etihad. He was good next to Burn, who could have gotten the bronze award here without much trouble either. Nothing incredibly remarkable, but a good outing with six clearances, a couple of shots blocked, and one successful tackle on the day. Lascelles was determined in possession of the ball, completing 27-of-31 passes and creating four long-ball chances of the seven he went for.
In Their Own Words
Pulling some quotes dropped after the game at the Etihad Stadium.
NUFC manager Eddie Howe, speaking about the second half trouncing by City:
“The second and third goals, the two set-plays were disappointing from our perspective. Two corners, we’re kicking ourselves.”
On the easy-to-spot improvement of the team once Wood left the pitch in exchange for Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier also made his comeback:
“You could see as soon as the [returning subs] came on the impact they made. They’re important players for us.”
“We had a good spell after the two subs. We had good chances to score.”
“I’m disappointed with the last few minutes, it puts a different view on the game.”
On the positives that this game (and the one against Liverpool) brought with them:
“There’s no better learning curve than playing Liverpool and Manchester City. They’ve taught us a lot about potential areas we need to improve.”
From the Sky Blue side of things, Pep Guardiola said something that should illuminate the club and Eddie Howe going forward, mostly regarding how to shape the team and who to build around with the arrival of a new starting striker this summer:
“Of course, [Newcastle played] difficult long balls with both Joelinton and the pace they have, especially Saint-Maximin.”
Definitely not a plan working in favor of Wood, who Guardiola surely must have been relieved of finding on the Magpies' starting XI yesterday because of the absolute incompatibility of the kiwi with Howe’s system.
Also, Trippier dropped some words reflecting on the game that was and the next steps for the team to take:
“We need to look back, to criticise ourselves but we look back to January and the steps we’ve taken since then, the results that we’ve had, we’re building.”
“We’ve played back to back two of the best teams in the world so we’ve got to be proud of our performances before the last two results.”
“We need to forget about this, two big games coming up, two different teams fighting for different reasons so we need to match that.”
On to host Arsenal next Monday night.
Howay the Lads!