Newcastle played out an enthralling 3-3 draw with Brentford on Saturday in Eddie Howe’s first game in charge with Allan Saint-Maximin rescuing a point.
Jamaal Lascelles glancing header gave Newcastle the lead inside the opening ten minutes with the urgency and entertainment earmarking the start of a new era. However, in a ridiculously frantic first half, Brentford levelled the proceedings within 67 seconds.
While Newcastle were still celebrating the goal in their heads, ex-Magpies academy ace Ivan Toney linked up with Bryan Mbeumo and fired a low driven shot that snuck under Karl Darlow. Rico Henry then took advantage of an extended period of pressure by the visitors darting onto Sergi Canos’ curving delivery to bring Brentford 2-1 up shortly after the half-hour mark.
However, in the 39th-minute, a shot, fortunately, bounced to Joelinton inside the penalty area, and the Brazilian took a brilliant first-touch before burying the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-2. After a breathtaking opening period, both sides started the second half in a relatively quiet manner.
Frank Onyeka’s deflected effort put Brentford back in the lead before substitute Ryan Fraser’s cross was volleyed-in by Allan Saint-Maximin to bring the scoreline to 3-3. While Newcastle rallied desperately late on to get the winner, Brentford held off the Toon to share the spoils.
Newcastle now find themselves rock-bottom in the Premier League, with Norwich picking a crucial win against Southampton. Nevertheless, they will take the positives from their attacking display. The Hard Tackle will run the rule over Eddie Howe’s men after an entertaining draw at a rocking St James’ Park.
Karl Darlow: 3/10
Darlow had an absolute howler for Toney’s equaliser. He should have kept that out as any reliable Premier League keeper would have. But he scrambled it as the ball went between his legs. His kicking was also poor, but he did release the ball quickly for Newcastle’s third goal. But overall, he was poor and should potentially be replaced by the usual first-choice Martin Dubravka.
Fabian Schar: 6/10
Schar was decent on his return to starting XI. He was progressive with his passing and brought composure with his ball-playing abilities. But he couldn’t offer the defensive assurance, although he did make an important goal-line clearance from Ivan Toney in the first half. He was subbed off after limping in the second half.
Jamaal Lascelles: 6.5/10
The skipper made sure Howe’s tenure got off to an excellent start but could not command the defensive line well enough as Newcastle at times looked ridiculously open. An ice-cold tackle to deny Henry a clear sight on goal was a standout moment. However, he will need to improve under Eddie Howe’s management with time.
Ciaran Clark: 5/10
Clark didn’t look comfortable in the new approach as he had to do a lot of covering for Jacob Murphy. He struggled defensively and could be replaced by Emil Krafth or Javi Manquillo in the next game.
Jacob Murphy: 6.5/10
Murphy did well offensively, but defensively he was far from convincing. His face contorted in shock as he saw Henry nodding in Brentford’s second goal after he failed to track the wing-back’s run. He missed a vital tackle on his opposing counterpart in the build-up to Brentford’s third goal. At the same time, he did make six tackles and two key passes to his credit.
Joe Willock: 6/10
A much-improved display from Joe Willock on just his second Premier League start since September. The former Arsenal midfielder offered an option for breaking into the opposition box with darting forward runs but none turned fruitful on the day. As the game progressed, he was pushed deeper before being replaced for Ryan Fraser.
Jonjo Shelvey: 7/10
Anchoring the midfield, Shelvey was impressive in the game. His passing ability and vision were there for everybody to see. He started many of Newcastle’s counter-attacks and was regularly switching play. For all the criticism he received for his lack of work rate, his presence was sorely missed at the centre of the park for Newcastle. On his day, he’s up there with some of the best technicians the league has to offer. He laid a match-high five key passes and completed ten accurate long balls.
Matt Ritchie: 7.5/10
Ritchie was at fault for the cross that ended up in Brentford’s second goal as the Magpies conceded twice in 30 minutes. Playing an advanced role suits Ritchie, who is more of an attacking player, but the Scotsman struggled to defend as the Brentford wingers easily wriggled past him. His wicked left foot proved effective on the day, with him delivering some extremely dangerous balls into the box.
The Brazilian was the shining light with a MOTM performance on the day. He not only showed his attacking talents but worked his socks off defensively. When Newcastle were struggling, he was the last man fighting for every second ball, chasing midfield runners. He took a lovely first touch before smashing a well-placed left-footed effort past Bees’ keeper Alvaro Fernandez.
What a performance from Joelinton today, looks like a complete different player 🔥 #NUFC
— ToonArmy (@toonarmy_com) November 20, 2021
Joelinton had two shots on goal, completed all three dribbles he attempted, and created two key passes in 90 minutes. The 25-year-old also demonstrated his hold-up play, aerial and defensive abilities by making two interceptions, three clearances, and winning a monstrous 11 of his 16 contested duels. With Howe and his staff working hard on unlocking his potential, Joelinton could prove to be a huge player in their battle against relegation.
Callum Wilson: 6/10
Wilson showed immense determination pressing from the front throughout the 90 minutes. His only real chance was cleared off the line by Toney. He fired off 6 shots, but only 2 were on target; usually very prolific with his shots on goal, he just couldn’t find the back of the net on the day.
Allan Saint-Maximin: 8/10
Saint-Maximin grew as the game progressed and looked back to his usual best, lively on the ball, running at defenders and unleashing thunderous shots. He volleyed home the equalising goal to earn his side a deserved point. His direct running panicked Brentford defence. He had one Ben Arfa-Esque run when he drifted past 4 or 5 Bees’ players from the centre of the park before setting up for Joelinton’s late chance.
Ryan Fraser: 7/10
Fraser showed a glimpse of what he could offer after coming on as a substitute. A former favourite of Howe’s at Bournemouth, he made immediate impact swinging in a devilish cross met by the on-rushing Saint-Maximin at back-post.
Sean Longstaff: 4/10
Longstaff displayed poor ball retention and gave the ball away recklessly far too many times in a short span to put Newcastle under unwanted pressure late on.