With goals from Vurnon Anita and Sergio Aguero in the tie, just what can we learn about Newcastle from this game?
Fans can have hope again
After Rafa Benitez’s men were beaten comfortably by Southampton earlier in the month, there was serious and justified cause for concern amongst the fans. It appeared that Newcastle would be joining Aston Villa next season in the Championship.
However this is still a possibility, it is not as certain as it appeared following the 3-1 defeat to the Saints. Newcastle have now chalked up four points out of a possible six in their last two games, meaning that they sit in 19th, only two points away from Norwich City in 17th.
In fact, they should be in a better position.
Aguero’s goal was offside. That is clear and simple. The linesman always has a difficult job of things and if they had the benefit of video analysis the goal would not have stood.
Unfortunately this does not change the fact that Newcastle should not have conceded that goal and because of this the home side would have had a very good chance of coming away with the three points.
If that goal would have been disallowed and Newcastle went on to win this game, they would currently be level with Norwich City and depending on the amount of goals scored, they could have been above them.
Rafa is working his magic.
Before Benitez made the move to Tyneside, he was already an accomplished manager. Winning the Spanish League with Valencia, the Europa League with Chelsea and even the Champions League with Liverpool, the Spaniard has an incredibly impressive CV. This was made even more surprising when you consider that his last post before taking of the relegation troubled Newcastle United, was the record ten time European Champions Real Madrid.
As you would expect, a manager of his calibre has certainly managed to turn things around at St James’ Park in a relatively short space of time. Although Newcastle are still in the drop zone at this current time, the performances on the pitch have been noticeably better and with 12 points to play for, who better to attempt to lead Newcastle to safety?
There is still need for a striker
When Newcastle entered the summer transfer window before this season started, a new centre forward was what the fans cried out for, among other signings. Charlie Austin was strongly linked with a move from QPR but that transfer never happened. The now Southampton striker moved to the Premier League side for the measly sum of £4 million in January, leaving man fans scratching their heads as to why their side didn’t make a move for the Premier League experienced front man.
The man that did travel to St. James’ Park however, was young Anderlecht striker Aleksander Mitrovic. Originally seeming like a great capture, the Serbian international was courted by sides the likes of Roma before choosing to make the move to the North-East.
Yet the goals have no exactly come flowing for the 21-year-old, and although time is on his side, Newcastle need a striker who can perform now, a finished article.
The fact that Benitez relied on Anita to score the goal for his side, a man who personifies the term non-prolific, is testament to the fact that a new striker is still needed for Newcastle.
Jamaal Lascelles is a perfect fit for the back four
The young centre back joined Newcastle in 2014 with a big reputation as a teenager that had impressed at Nottingham Forest. Despite not featuring heavily in the team until recently, the now 22-year old has seized the opportunity and has been a stand out performer in the Newcastle defence.
The situation that Newcastle find themselves in this season will be an interesting situation for the England U21 international’s development but if he can impress and be a driving force in Newcastle’s hopeful survival this term, it only puts him in good stead for the future.