Jonathan Lee > A decent opening win of the season at a packed St James’s Park; after conceding two very avoidable goals our quality came through and the scoreline ultimately didn’t flatter us, will be interesting to see how we perform against a strong Leicester side next Monday evening.
Fabianski – 6 not called upon too often and no real chance of dealing with either home goal although might Areola have come out to punch the first and dived for the second? Also a little odd to see Ogbonna on a couple of occasions roll the ball to him to take the goal kick suggesting there may have been a problem with him kicking out a stationary ball?
Coufal – 6.5 surprisingly a little off the pace, a shaky first half in which he was partly culpable for conceding possession in the lead up to second goal but grew into the game second half including one important block
Dawson – 6 caught ball watching for the first goal and possibly distracted Fabianski for the second, but showed character to make some decent headed clearances later in the game
Ogbonna – 6.5 largely went about his business unruffled, not at fault for either goal and important game time to get back into his stride after a few weeks on the sidelines
Cresswell – 7.5 a nervy first ten minutes including the loss of possession in the build up to the first goal of the game, but thereafter a solid display including the leveller, also one important block from a left wing cross into the box when the game was still on a knife edge
Soucek – 8 carried on from last season with an all energy display, missed an early chance to head the equaliser but did well to follow up Antonio’s saved penalty to score our third
Rice – 8 an out of sorts first half in which he was turned inside out for the opening goal but dominated the early stages of the second half creating numerous counter attacks and winning a crucial challenge in the build up to our second leveller
Bowen – 8.5 all action performance carrying on from his pre-season form, one glorious dribble into the box deserved a finish but hit straight at the keeper, and important first time ball through to Benrahma in build up to our fourth, you can see why Liverpool have allegedly been looking at him
Benrahma – 9 threatened Newcastle throughout, took his headed goal ever so well and involved in the build-up for our opener and smart assist for the crucial fourth, let’s hope he can find the consistency to continue to deliver throughout the season
Fornals – 7.5 flitted in and out of the game rather but when involved looked good, provided the assist for our first leveller, won our (questionable) penalty on the follow up into the area after initially curling a lovely ball across to Coufal, culpable for our second conceded, likely to be a central figure to our season
Antonio – 9 early touches deserted him but thereafter played a blinder, holding the ball up well for our opener, delivering a sublime cross for Benrahma’s goal, and thundering in our fourth to bring him level on 47 Prem goals with PDC, also had time to see a penalty saved but even this ended up as an assist for Soucek, let’s keep fingers crossed he can avoid injury for at least a few games !
Fredericks (88 mins for Benrahma)
Yarmolenko (90 mins for Bowen)
Johnson (90+2 mins for Antonio)
No marks given as they were on late to see the game out and touched it about 3 times between them!