TFI – Player Ratings vs Watford – 23 Jan 16

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Beatski

Watford were on a woeful ruin of form leading up to this match, so in classic Newcastle style we helped them out by being rubbish and playing in an unfamiliar style, with McClaren opting to play some sort of 3-4-3; three at the back being a strategy that has never paid dividends for us. The team looked disjointed and unsure of their roles for a lot of the match.

The first half was a scrappy affair, with neither team really taking a hold of the game and playing decent football, and there were few clear cut chances as a result, the best of which fell to Mitrović, who probably should have scored but instead drew a good save from Gomes. Almost instantly after the break, Ighalo was put through one on one with the keeper and calmly rounded Elliot to put the hosts in front, replays showed that he was offside but that’s the kind of call we just haven’t been getting this season. 12 minutes later, after giving away a needless foul on the edge of the box, failure to clear our lines resulted in the ball falling kindly at the feet of Cathcart, who couldn’t miss from six yards out.

Lascelles halved the deficit on 21 minutes with a powerful header from Shelvey’s corner to put us back in the game. As we chased a point, Ayoze, followed by Gouffran and then Rivière, all had clear headed chances to salvage something for us, but every attempt was put massively wide of the goal.

For the TFI, we ask our forum members to rate each player’s performance in the concerned game out of 10, which we then average out to get a rating representative of the fans’ views, we also collect a few user comments to summarise how the player did and show a few different viewpoints from the board. The top scoring player is man of the match; the lowest is mug of the match.

Jamaal Lascelles picks up his first Man of the Match award for us with a score of 5.80, not a particularly high score and no-one thought he had a particularly good game either, but when the rest of the team doesn’t actually do anything much it seems a goal is going to put you above the rest. Despite getting MotM in his first PL start, I doubt many fans will be clamoring to see more of him in the starting lineup in the near future. Rolando Aarons (3.70) picked up our Mug of the Match award, but its hard to blame him when he was played out of position in a formation our entire team was unfamiliar with, the side as a whole averaged 4.81.

Our perhaps you could consider our manager the real mug of the match, as fans rated him a lowly 2.70. Fans hanging a lot of the blame on him as he changed to playing three at the back, due to our squad not having a fit left back. Of course not having a player accustomed to playing left wing back either never crossed his mind, so instead of playing a one player out of position in a back four we had half the team in unfamiliar roles. That its the second time we’ve played a back three against Watford and lost makes it all the more inexplicable.

Elliot – 5.75 (Ratings ranged between 5 and 7)
“Not at fault for either goals. Some important saves to keep us in the game. Distribution needs work but solid performance.”
“Kept the score down with some good saves.”
“Didn’t really need to keep us in or out of a game as we we’re never really in one. Few decent saves.”

Lascelles – 5.80 (Ratings ranged between 4.5 and 7)
“Poor defensively, looked yards of the pace of Deeney, Jurado and Ighalo. Not bothered if he scored. Was a major part of a back 3 that looked awkward.”
“One slip up that wasn’t punished, good goal and was driving us forward at the end.”
“Goal, tried hard, might come good with a run of games.”

Coloccini – 4.80 (Ratings ranged between 4 and 6)
“Struggled with the random formation but was probably our best defender.”
“Our most experienced player. Captain, leader of a back 3, but still let players turn him numerous times in one-on-ones, and let players spinned behind.”
“Poor defensively, all over the place and didn’t appear to know his role in the formation.”

Mbemba – 5.05 (Ratings ranged between 4 and 6)
“Part of a defence that didn’t defend, so can’t deserve anything higher; otherwise tackled well, and didn’t really have a bad game.”
“Defensively decent for the most part, distribution poor at the minute though.”
“Not a ball playing centre back and he needs to realize that. He also struggles against forwards more physical than him and aerial challenges. He had a few decent tackles but all season has failed to gel with Coloccini. Today as a back 3 the cohesion of the back five was wanting with no one stepping up to close the midfield runners.”

Janmaat – 5.75 (Ratings ranged between 4 and 6.5)
“Some decent runs going forward. Offensively always looks a threat and most of the team’s the good work came from the right side. Still, suspect defensively but no major errors today.”
“Better attacking wise than defensively and probably the only player who is more suited to this ridiculous formation.”
“Combined well with Sissoko and put some dangerous balls in.”

Shelvey – 4.15 (Ratings ranged between 3 and 5.5)
“Can’t always play the magical balls and a lot of simpler ones just didn’t come off for him today. Decent cross for the goal but otherwise anonymous for long periods of the game.”
“Not suited to this system at all. We need to give him the role he had last week all the time.”
“Anonymous. Didn’t get anywhere near Capoue, and let Ben Watson run midfield. Passing looked totally off, which wasn’t helped by the team not really bothering to get forward on the break ahead of him.”

Saivet – 4.95 (Ratings ranged between 3 and 7)
“Solid enough but like Shelvey he’d be better in a 4-2-3-1 which is what we should have been playing. ”
“Watched Tiote in the FA Cup game close down, tackle and get in the face of Watford’s midfield. Saivet did none of this. No better than Colback on this showing.”
“Promising full debut, was very much involved and in a good way.”

Aarons – 3.70 (Ratings ranged between 3 and 4)
“Played out of position so was completely ineffectual all game. Manager’s fault not players’.”
“Feel sorry for him being shoe-horned into a position that he doesn’t suit, whilst playing with 9 other outfield players that don’t suit the formation or the system that we we’re trying to play.”
“Really poor, obviously hes not a defender but his attacking play was awful.”

Sissoko – 4.75 (Ratings ranged between 4 and 6)
“Tried to make things happen, stupid decisions though and just wasn’t his day.”
“Some bright moments and a couple of excellent deliveries. But that sums up his season, our most creative player and excellent when he’s playing well but can only do it for 20% of a game. The remaining 80% can go absent.”
“Always looks good when we counter and break on teams well. Could never do this when we played 3-5-2.”

Wijnaldum – 3.70 (Ratings ranged between 3 and 4)
“Not defensively, like Sissoko, good enough or minded to support Shelvey/Saivet against Watford’s midfield, which aided us losing that battle.”
“After a couple of wonderful games, where he was not making just box-box runs but also getting behind the defense to stretch the game, today he couldn’t get hold of the ball. Playing higher up with Mitrovic doesn’t suit him – probably because someone will pick him up. Looks far more dangerous playing in midfield and making late runs.”
“Might as well not play him in away games. He only performs at home. I don’t know if he’s just f***ed up mentally or McClaren restricts his creative freedom away from home.”

Mitrović – 4.40 (Ratings ranged between 3 and 5.5)
“Poor in this system but then he was isolated for large parts. Last week we used him perfectly so its baffling why we would change that approach.”
“Unlucky not to score, completely isolated until Perez came on.”
“No support at all, especially with the extremely negative system, but his movement wasn’t as good today and he should be doing more.”

Gouffran – 4.85 (Ratings ranged between 4 and 6)
“Did well, much better on the left, never a CM.”
“Actually did well, even chased back 70 yards at one point, running past about 5 of our players in the process.”
“Solid enough, did lose out on a tackle with Capoue late on that could have resulted in a goal but did his best to get forward and offered more with down the left flank.”

Ayoze – 4.85 (Ratings ranged between 4 and 6.5)
“Always looks bright off the bench. Added more depth up top but no end product today.”
“One of his poorer games. Worked hard but not clinical enough.”
“Missed a golden chance by an absolute mile, missed another one later on.”

Rivière – N/A
“Should have been on earlier but McClaren is hopeless when it comes to subs.”

McClaren – 2.90 (Ratings ranged between 2 and 5)
“His fault we lost. Incredibly stupid to change the formation, especially after we played quite well and won last week. Majority of the squad aren’t suited to the formation and some don’t even seem to fully understand their roles in it. Yes we had no LB but all he had to do was put a CB at LB. Changing the formation was a ridiculous thing to do, especially since we don’t have any LWB’s either so still ended up having to play a player out of position. Mitrovic was too isolated as well, needed more players closer to him. Needed to bring Riviere on earlier as well. He won’t be but if we fail to pick up at least 4 points from our next 2 games he should be sacked.”

“Wouldn’t say at fault for the defeat, he doesn’t make the players fall asleep or make mistakes. Made decent subs considering what we had on the bench, changed the game a bit.”

“Three at the back is not the answer to anyone’s problem ever, never has been and never will be. Perez did not deserve to be dropped, especially for a player that has yet to prove he is good enough at this level. We shouldn’t be changing the shape of the entire team just because one player (a weak link anyway) is missing. If we don’t have another defender to play LB just play someone else there and stick with the system that works. Four at the back is the only option and should never be tampered with. Ultimately this loss is McClarens fault as someone with his experience should know better than to try inadequate formations.”

Do you feel these ratings are fair, or do you have anything to say about this match in general? If so, do so in our discussion thread here.

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