Player ratings and analysis as Magpies’ mid-winter revival continues


Newcastle 2-1 Brighton (Fraser 12′, Schar 14′ | Dunk 55′)

ST JAMES’ PARK — Graham Potter’s frustration was tangible on the touchline.

A Brighton performance full of enterprise and invention deserved much more than to become another victim of Newcastle’s remarkable mid-winter renaissance. To a season’s worth of what-ifs, Albion can add a day when they commanded nearly 70 per cent of possession and the lion’s share of the meaningful moments.

This was their fourth defeat on the spin: they are heading in a different direction to the upwardly mobile hosts who are now a healthy seven points clear of a relegation fight they are leaving firmly in their rear view mirror.

Newcastle’s lightning response to being penned into their own half for the first 10 minutes – two classic counter attack goals from Ryan Fraser and Fabian Schar – exposed the vulnerability that Potter must eradicate if Brighton are to consolidate in the top half of the Premier League.

How he must have glanced ruefully at the peerless Dan Burn, who did so much to contain the effervescence of his former side and preserve a priceless three points in Newcastle’s ongoing survival fight.

For Eddie Howe, there will be satisfaction that his rebooted Magpies prevailed despite performing below the standards set for themselves since their season-turning win at Leeds in January.

An unbeaten run stretching back to that day emerged unscathed, but few inside a sold-out St James’ Park would labor under the pretension that this was a vintage performance. Brighton contributed to Newcastle’s lack of cohesion, playing in front of their hosts with the sort of fluency that has become Potter’s team’s trademark, but Newcastle, for once, seemed uncomfortable being forced to play for long periods without possession.

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The irony of that statement given the way they set out under Steve Bruce – who regularly oversaw thumping reverses against Brighton – will not be lost on Newcastle’s supporters. They cheered on Bruno Guimares, the box-to-box midfielder signed from Lyon to reverse the Magpies’ tendency to cede midfield control to opponents.

For Newcastle this was a day to celebrate how Howe has established the fundamentals: organisation, resilience and defensive discipline.

Chief among their best performers were the industrious Joelinton – a meaty second half challenge on the edge of Brighton’s box to drain momentum from the visitors drew a lusty cheer – and the excellent Burn.

For the visitors there is a danger that such a bright start to the season could evaporate in the mid-table hinterland that Newcastle are enjoying. They have a five-point gap on the Magpies but should already have raced past the mythical 40 point mark that denotes safety.

Lewis Dunk’s header early in the second half raised the prospect of a fightback that ultimately did not materialize. They created the opportunities but despite ending with three forwards on the pitch, they were made to pay for their profligacy.

newcastle

  • Dubravka 7
  • Krafth 6
  • Burn 9
  • Schar 8
  • Targett 7
  • willock 6
  • Shelvey 6
  • Joelinton 7
  • Murphy 6
  • Wood 6
  • Fraser 8

Subs:

  • Saint Maximin 6
  • Guimares 6

Brighton

  • Sanchez 6
  • Veltmann 6
  • Duffy 6
  • dunk 8
  • Lamptey 6
  • Gross 7
  • get up 6
  • Moder 6
  • Cucurella 7
  • welbeck 7
  • Trossard 7

Subs:

  • March 7
  • Maupay 6
  • Mac Allister 6


inews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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