These Were Newcastle’s Four Best Players At Brighton


There were a number of excellent performances from Newcastle players last night in the dramatic 2-1 win at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, which put Newcastle back on top of the Championship after being displaced for only four days following our 2-2 at home to Bristol City on Saturday.

For the second game running Ghanaian winger Christian Atsu was our Man of the Match (30%) and he had two assists and another good game.

He brilliantly set up the winner after collecting a fabulous cross-field ball from Matt Ritchie and finding Ayoze Perez in the penalty area for the winner on 89 minutes.

Christian Atsu,  Ayoze Perez and Paul Dummett after winner
Love this photo!


More games like this from Christian and he will become a permanent Newcastle player in the summer and he’s already popular with Newcastle fans.

Another good display from Christian – and he almost scored with the last kick of that first half – well done.

Second in the voting and on the EFL Team of the Week (for midweek games)  is goalkeeper Karl Darlow (21%) who had an excellent game for us and kept Newcastle in the game with a string of excellent saves.

Certainly Karl’s confidence had not been broken a by a couple of recent errors and he’s using those errors to improve his game – as all good players do.

A great display from our goalkeeper last night who seems to keep improving.

Next in the voting and who’s usually in the top four for every game is Matt Ritchie and what a pass he put in to find Atsu who set up the winning goal late in the game.

It was a real quality goal from Newcastle to win such an important game at the death.

Matt continues to have a great first season on Tyneside and he  has been one of our best performing players all season – a great buy for only £10M.

Fourth in our voting on 13% is local lad Paul Dummett and that’s one of the best games we have ever seen Paul play for Newcastle – he didn’t give star winger Anthony Knockeart much of anything last night.

Paul is fast becoming a stalwart at the back for the team and the photo above is such a great photo after Ayoze had scored the winner when Newcastle fans around the world simply went nuts!

This was not only a great win for the Magpies but the performance – especially in the second half – was that of a top team as we raised and raised our game until we got the equalizer and then scored the winner.

These games are stuff of legends and our players know if they can go on from here and get us promoted this season they will be forever remembered as heroes on Tyneside.

The lads were terrific last night but now we need the same thing again at Huddersfield Town on Saturday – where it will not be any easier.

It’s a great chance to put another 3 points between us and the 3rd placed team.

Who Was Newcastle's Best Player Against Brighton?

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91 comments so far

  • Oldgit1

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:13 PM

    Comment #1

    28Oldgit1 // Mar 1, 2017 at 5:12 PM

    Had a great few days of football, Newcastle vs Bristol., under 18s, spennymoor vs Blythe Spartans, and see my grandson play for Byers green. The joys of being retired. Shame I missed the under 23s but wife needed shopping. Now going to settle down and watch the Newcastle vs brighten again. People said I would be bored after retiring, how wrong they can be.

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  • Oldgit1

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:19 PM

    Comment #2

    I so like Atsu, he appears to have a low centre of gravity about him, a joy to watch. Do hope his loan deal becomes permanent,
    I have been sticking up for Dummett and getting stick for it, so I have some satisfaction to his recent performances. He is not the type to go flying down the wing, but he is a solid defender.

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  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:20 PM

    Comment #3

    Rotonda
    You misunderstand. I’ve never put our position in the league down to some sort of fluke. In fact, we have had more than our fair share of bad luck and poor refereeing. It’s bad luck that we’re not safer than we are.

    All I’m saying is that the people are entitled to say that Rafa leaves his substitutions too late for their liking. I’m saying Rafa left it far too late last night (my view at 1-0 and saying it on here at the time) and he got lucky. You’re not telling me that, in similar circumstances in the next game (1-0 down), you’d want to see him leave changes as late, are you? Maybe you are and that’s fine by me.

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  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:26 PM

    Comment #4

    Munster and Tuff
    Well said. Perfectly reasonable.

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  • Munster Mag

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:27 PM

    Comment #5

    B+B , loads of guys were on here screaming at Rafa last night to get subs on. When a rabid Toon fan like Rob Lee says we cudnt argue if we had got a draw, I think that says something. And Darlow got on team of the week . Obviously we murdered Brighton then!

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  • JackBall

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:28 PM

    Comment #6

    I think the reason that many have a problem with the criticism of Rafa is not that there is criticism or debate about tactics, player selection, etc., but that the tone of the negatives (as perceived, maybe not intended) and higher (sometimes much higher) percentage of the negatives in the body of the comment, or cumulative comments, appears (maybe not empirically, havn’t done a statistical analysis) to that of the amount of positives is discouraging and I think unwarranted based on the position we are in as compared to where we have been.

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  • JackBall

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:29 PM

    Comment #7

    Sorry for the crazy run on sentence.

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  • hibbit

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:30 PM

    Comment #8

    Blackley and Brownlie
    only post 19 addressed to you !!!

    i know by our past discussions you love your football but some folk on here are way over the top i get the points your trying to make along with Muster
    we have possibly lost a point or two though Rafa’s substitution policy but who can say he was right or wrong last night the timing seems to have been perfect judging by the result

    just as you and Munster lump all the pro Rafa bloggers together
    unfortunately for you and Munster you are now being
    classed as the anti Rafa after every game its Rafa should have done this Rafa should have done that but unfortunately for you the table tells a different story

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  • toon kk

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:30 PM

    Comment #9

    Rafa is doing a great job, we are top of the championship after all and tbf he saved our club from the down slide it was on. Only falt I agree with Blackley, he does leave our subs to far too late in the game.

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  • Munster Mag

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:36 PM

    Comment #10

    Hibbitt, there’s no unfortunate . I;m happy as larry. But this is a crap league, full of teams who cant keep possession, and we have spent a pile and have a squad much better than the likes of Brighton. Who knows, maybe we are achieving at the right level and Brighton are ver achieving – maybe that’s a fair point. But when a forum become a criticism free zone we need to take a look at ourselves. When a guy like me gets goaded because I “want NUFC to lose” by a man who’se sole obsession seems to be removing the fat man who appointed his messiah , then the world is a bit mad.

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  • Munster Mag

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:38 PM

    Comment #11

    I agree Toon KK. the injuries improvement is testament to this

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  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:39 PM

    Comment #12

    Jackball
    My comments were prompted by Bobby saying that many of us don’t understand the art of substitutions and Rafa got it spot on – the result proves it. The result doesn’t prove it. If a pilot breaks one or two important rules then lands the plane safely, does that prove he got it right and is beyond criticism? Do you blow smoke up the pilot’s arse for a safe landing? Don’t think so.

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  • hibbit

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:43 PM

    Comment #13

    Munster Mag
    crap or not it’s the league were in and we can only beat what’s in front of us
    in over 50 year of going to st james i’ve never known folk moam so much about a winning table topping team

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  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:47 PM

    Comment #14

    Hibbit
    I’m not aware that I criticise Rafa very much. I might say I don’t think Mitro or Perez are good enough (and Rafa seems to have similar doubts). I think Rafa has put together a great back four and I’m often on here defending his choice of Dummett and Lascelles. I’ve stuck with Darlow as has Rafa. I like Atsu, Ritchie, Shelvey in midfield. Who can argue with his signing of Gayle? A masterstroke. The problem is, as soon as you say one thing critical of Rafa, sides are taken and you’re labelled anti-Rafa. It’s nonsense.

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  • Thump

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:48 PM

    Comment #15

    Christ, some of you lot could start an argument in a locked room with only yourself for company.

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  • JackBall

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:49 PM

    Comment #16

    My comment was not directed specifically to this discussion, but a general remark about where the confrontation may be coming from. I too wanted the substitutions done earlier. In fact, I commented that i wanted a striker to start the game. If we lost I could argue I was right, but would not be able to prove it. And as you say, the fact the team as selected and the subs were performed when they were and that we won, does not prove the timing was perfect.

    That being said, I have read many comments that I feel are way off balance. We could start a good conversation about substitution patterns, but to just list 6 negatives (using hyperbole) about Rafa with just the caveat that we like hime and never to an equal degree point out what you believe he has done right, makes many feel that it must be this “Luck” that has caused us to be on top and very little to do with Rafa. Not a messiah, but man am I happy he stayed.

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  • JackBall

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:52 PM

    Comment #17

    Thump, I agree, but Im still so excited about last night that I will have any conversation I can about NUFC right now

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  • AncientC

    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:55 PM

    Comment #18

    I am not sure how anybody can make the argument that Benitez isn’t responsible for some of the individual errors in previous games, but last night, Benitez gets credit for his subs, when one goal was as bizarre a fluke as you will ever see, and the other goal came about via a world class pass from Ritchie.

    I agree that Benitez isn’t responsible for individual errors, he can only coach the side in an attempt to prevent errors occurring, but without world class players, errors will happen. I think it is also fair to say that Benitez’ coaching had no hand in the 2 goals last night – one goal coming from essentially a Diame mistake & the other from a world class long-ball.

    If you want to discount individual errors, you also need to discount individual moments of luck/brilliance.

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  • Ian Toon

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:09 PM

    Comment #19

    Munste- I respect your opinion but I don’t agree with it. Whilst I’m at it’s my view that it’s a mistake to link the thoughts of Bobby B and Jail in any conversation to do with football. That’s if you want to be taken seriously. Bobby B usually expresses an appreciation and sound football knowledge. I personally recognise the tactical acumen which Benitez has going back to his Liverpool days. It’s not new for Benitez to be criticised for playing the numbers game and delaying his substitutions. Last night he was spot on – Atsu also came very much into the game as Brighton visibly tired and we had fresh impetus and momentum. Weren’t lucky because after the first 20 minutes we largely dominated- I was at the game.
    I have recently read “The numbers game” by Chris Anderson and David Sally which features a lot of Benitez thinking and practice.
    Bobby is right in the contention that it’s not luck but Benitez manipulation in the use of substitutions. Nobody with any nous is suggesting he gets it right all the time.
    The book looks at the beach ball goal at Sunderland and the “Miracle of Istanbul”. The introduction of Hamann at half time and the tactical shake up to come back from being three goals down to beat AC Milan.
    Gerrard has spoken of the self belief that Benitez instilled into him and many others which culminated in an utter denial of the prospect of defeat. We are already seeing this in the language used by players it’s almost an indoctrination into ” Benitez speak” he’s not infallible but an immensely experienced manager who’s seen it all before- my father contrasts him with the older SBR and thinks he’s at the perfect age to take us onwards and upwards. Time will tell.
    Having now watched the post match interviews with players I would suggest that Benitez is also an amateur sports psychologist. There is no way to examine scientifically what would have happened had Rafa not made those half time changes. But the players self believe that they could win was clearly engendered at half time. There will be some “football fans” who will claim that ACMa threw away the game.
    Such is the debate in football.

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  • Ian Toon

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:10 PM

    Comment #20

    Sorry Munster.

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  • U.S Magpie

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:14 PM

    Comment #21

    Just got back from a mini vacation, you know how hard it is knowing the game has been played already and also knowing I have it recorded and not looking up the result.
    Watch the game just now and now I’m thinking about going on another mini vacation, after watching that I feel I need one. Looking at the game we looked so much better with Murphy and Perez on the park, lets hope Rafa looks at that and goes with this option again. Thanks Newcastle see you in four days.

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  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:17 PM

    Comment #22

    I do not think it is worth folk falling out because of their opinions. However saying that, some folk have got crap opinions (which they are entitled to hold).
    This season is a one off – objective is to get out of this league by fair means or foul, by hook or by crook, bad play or good play.
    So how we do it is immaterial – a lot of the players (half a team in my opinion) will need replacing if we go up – so not really worth arguing about them.
    Totally different next season – there will in my opinion be a few more voices of discontent.
    Rafa might be in charge of who comes in – but he certainly is not in charge of Mr Tubbs piggy bank.

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  • toon kk

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:19 PM

    Comment #23

    I was very proud of our players last night and still am, after the first twenty minutes we started to play some decent football, Darlow did some very good saves to keep us in the game. Atsu had a great game. I couldn’t see where our goals were going to come from though. Rafa’s subs changed the game for us. Lucky goal off Diame who I thought was poor tbh but thanks for the fluke goal.
    Rafa just needs to get his subs on earlier, chasing games is a risky strategy.

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  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:22 PM

    Comment #24

    Ian
    Intetesting you should mention The Numbers Game by Anderson and Sally. You don’t mention the statistical yable on timing of substitutions. Brett Myers of Villanova University says, “If a manager’s team is losing, for maximum effect he should make his first substitute before the 58th minute, his second before the 73rd and his third before the 79th.” Thought you might have mentioned this given the relevance.

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  • jimmysmith

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:26 PM

    Comment #25

    I think he plays Diame in behind because he’s striving and stretching for balance and competition, but for me we look far better with Diame next to Shelvey and Perez in behind. I think the squad is a little unbalanced and it shows in our at times patchy play. I think we’ve needed another genuine number ten as competition for Perez, allowing Shelvey, Diame, Hayden and Colback to compete for the two central mids. Gayle is the obvious choice to compete with Perez, but his goals have made him almost impossible to drop back, and so ironically he is part of the problem. I’m not sure the timing of the subs was spot on, rather they simply allowed for a more functional 11. He wants competition, but the squad isn’t quite right.

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  • Munster Mag

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:26 PM

    Comment #26

    Lads I agee with most of that. At least its sensible and not abusive, For what its worth I;m pleased we have Rafa but don’t think we should inure him from criticism. We didn’t dominate that game last night and its one eyed to think so. We had our keeper in form and a mad goal, a dodgy pen against us, a pointless possession stat and a sub who came on with a minute to go. If he was that good, maybe Rafa could have got him on earlier. Thing is, if we had drawn, and I said Rafa was stupid for not making subs, people would have shouted that Perez is crap and Rafa was right all along. But to repeat, glad we have the Spaniard and glad for the great position we are in.

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  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:38 PM

    Comment #27

    The Numbers Game page 238.
    “Across the Premier League, when managers followed the – 58, 73, 79 rule, 40% of the time their clubs reduced the deficit and often drew the game, whereas other, slower substitution patterns reduced the deficit only 22% of the time. According to this theory, reluctant substituters such as Jurgen Klopp of Borussia Dortmund and Rafa Benitez of Liverpool were damaging their team’s chances of salvaging a point or more from a losing position. Benitez was iften accused of managing the numbers; that may have been the case, but in terms of his substitutions, it appears he could have veen using the wrong numbers.” “Across every league, the 58, 73, 79 rule offered a greater hope of mounting a comeback than any other substitution pattern.”

    “The reason some managers fail to follow the rule is obvious: they simply misjudge the crossing point where players’ objective performance declines sufficiently to warrant teplacement.”

    Oh dear. A criticism of Rafa’s substitutions. Not by a daft Toon fan but a University professor. Of course, University professors who study the statistics can be wrong. But I put it out there anyway. I’d forgotten Rafa was mentioned in the book but had recalled there was an interesting section on substitutions.

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  • Australian Pie

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:38 PM

    Comment #28

    Jackball said perfectly. I just cannot stand after every win coming on here to people criticising the team instead of just being happy. Every day on every post negative comments and views. I honestly believe some of you live to put other people down and not commend them on good work.

    Criticism is great, but it has a time and place. Just as there is a time and place to be positive and happy and spread that feeling around the fans. This is that time.

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  • toon kk

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:40 PM

    Comment #29

    Tbf we have a championship squad which is doing a very good job in the championship, much better than I expected tbh after the first two games of the season. One thing for cirtain there’s alot of rebuilding to do if we’re promoted. I’m sure Rafa has has his plans, just hope he stays and Mash backs him.

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  • Bobbybee

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:40 PM

    Comment #30

    The game lasts 90minutes, give or take. Tactics have to take into account the full game. I think Rafa went to frustrate, then makes subs to make the difference. He couldn’t account for a dodgy ref. Still, he didn’t panic, he stuck by his game plan. He made his subs at the time he thought was right and it worked. Timing is crucial. He’s done it before, it’s not luck. If we hadn’t won, you might have a point, but we won, so he was right – again.
    Munster, my go at Blackers had nothing to do with tactics. His reply to me was smarmy and I don’t suffer fools gladly. Give it, take it. Get over it. What bugged me was his accusation that I don’t allow criticism of Rafa. That’s simply nonsense. He’s mistaking me for someone else, because I have criticised Rafa when I think he’s got it wrong. Blackers had his arse on about people not allowing
    criticism and for whatever reason lumped me in that. Wrong person. What I don’t like is criticism of anybody when we’re winning. What’s it for? I’ve seen your row with jail and it’s nothing to do with me. I said it before and I’ll repeat it – letting Arma go back was a mistake. Said it at the time, that if Gayle gets injured, Arma slots in seamlessly. That is me criticising Rafa. Gayle got injured and we haven’t a like for like. Big mistake imo. Does that sound like someone who won’t hear criticism? Have a go at me for my opinion on subs, fine, that’s opinion, but don’t accuse me of something that isn’t true. Nobody is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes, but when Rafa does something – like his timing of subs – and gets it spot on, why criticise him. He got it right ffs. We won. He makes those decisions and lives and dies by them and he gets it right more often than not. If he doesn’t, he deserves criticism, but not this time. We won. Again. Why cry about he should’ve made them earlier, when the winning goal left them no time to recover. Bit of luck, granted, but as someone said, the more he learns, the luckier he gets. He knows more than all of us. Trust him until he messes up.

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  • Toonces

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:46 PM

    Comment #31

    Looking ahead… 3 days until we are away to Huddersfield this Saturday. Huddersfield has their FA cup match today as well against Man City. Wonder how they will approach this game with our key match coming up with a day less rest for them. Interesting to note that Wagner is serving game one of his touchline ban today and the second is our game. He will be there but in the stands.

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  • jimmysmith

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:47 PM

    Comment #32

    I think Rafa runs a critical over everything, at least I hope and believe so. We aren’t perfect. We are a work in process and do what we can with what we have, and will inevitably make mistakes along the way. The important thing is to be constantly identifying weaknesses and working to improve them.

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  • jimmysmith

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:47 PM

    Comment #33

    critical eye

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  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:51 PM

    Comment #34

    Okay Bobby. A reminder of what you said (see below). You patronise those of us who were calling for earlier substitutions as not appreciating how important timing is when making substitutions. Then you blow a whole load of smoke up Rafa’s arse. You urge us not to criticise and let Rafa get on with it.

    Perhaps you would like to comment on the statistics? Your thoughts on the numbers game.

    11Bobbybee // Mar 1, 2017 at 1:31 PM

    I think a lot of people don’t appreciate how important timing is when making substitutions. It’s not always wise to make subs too early and one thing Rafa has proven many times is that he makes them at just the right times. That’s not luck, that’s years of experience and know how. The timing of both subs last night resulted in the win, just as they did against Norwich earlier this season. It’s easy to say he should have made those subs earlier, but he knows when to do it and he gets it right almost every time. Like I say, it’s not coincidence the timing results in wins. He knows what he’s doing, just let him get on with it. These wins aren’t down to good luck, it’s down to good management, great timing and changing tactics at just the right moment. We’re very lucky to have someone who knows exactly when to make the changes like Rafa.

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  • Ian Toon

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:54 PM

    Comment #35

    Blackley- I did by reference to “it’s not new for Benitez to be criticised for playing the numbers game”. I didn’t want to turn it into an academic exercise. At the end of the day it’s always a judgement call. By the manager. Statistics are an aid to and not the solution. That’s why football is played and determined on the pitch.

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  • Bobbybee

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:55 PM

    Comment #36

    There’s a reason he’s a professor and Rafa’s a very very successful elite manager. Mmm, who would I trust? Absolute ballony. I can’t even believe a football fan takes notice of that. Rafa was so crap at Liverpool he won the Championship League. What’s Professor Plum ever won?
    Blackers, you mistook me for somebody else mate – maybe jail? I criticise when it’s warranted. Disagree about my opinion on timing of subs by all means, but don’t accuse me of something that simply isn’t true.
    You know, I don’t get this blog sometimes. Last two seasons I could understand the negativity, it was warranted, but why this season? Are we not top of the league? Top scorers? Best away record in the country? What on earth has anybody got to be negative about? I’m loving it! After a few garbage seasons of turning up week in week out to watch pants, why can’t people just enjoy this season instead of subjecting the rest of us to whining all the time? It’s why I’ve been less frequent on here. We’re doing great, yet the second something goes wrong it’s like somebody died. Honestly, I don’t get it. We win, so I come on to buzz with everyone, only to be greeted with whining about nothing. Why? Enough time to whine if or when it’s warranted, but right now? Jesus.

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  • WWSBRD

    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:56 PM

    Comment #37

    According to statistics Iraq are the best national football team arent they?

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  • Bobbybee

    Mar 1, 2017 at 7:00 PM

    Comment #38

    Blackers, I’ve read that again. Why is it patronising? It’s pointing out why Rafa makes his subs when he does, when some want him to make changes the second we go behind! The game’s 90 minutes. His job is to get the best out of those minutes and he did. Again. Patronising? Why would you find that patronising? Was I even talking to you? Grow a thicker skin if you find that patronising.

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  • toon kk

    Mar 1, 2017 at 7:03 PM

    Comment #39

    Rafa has been very calm, he’s taking each game one at a time and doing a great job. He has made errors with team selection or leaving it too late making a substitution on occasions (imo). But what he can’t forsee is the stupid mistakes we’ve made in some games costing us points.

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  • Ron Knee

    Mar 1, 2017 at 7:05 PM

    Comment #40

    Is Wagner fielding a strong side? Anybody know?

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