It’s been a relatively uneventful first half with both sides being defensively sound. Newcastle lined up in their familiar 5-4-1 with Joelinton wide left and Atsu on the right. Isaac Hayden adopted the Shelvey role getting forward more while Sean Longstaff played deeper.
There have been few shots from either team with the goalies having to do very little. Though Martin Dubravka was forced into an early save from a Dwight McNeil effort that he had to push wide for a corner.
Andy Carroll has been a handful for the Burnley defenders, winning numerous balls in the air. He’s put in a great shift leading the line.
This game is missing that bit of quality that can open up the defenses. Newcastle’s set-piece deliveries have been very poor, rarely beating the first man.
We have had a couple of half-chances with Andy Carroll being involved in both. He had a golden opportunity to get on the end of a cross early but pushed it wide.
In a brilliant piece of play, the big man gathered a Jetro Willems long ball and played it off to a surging Christian Atsu. However, Atsu chose not to strike the ball with his weaker right foot.
We would like to see more out of Joelinton and Christian Atsu, who are not creating enough chances.
Steve Bruce will be pleased with the effort in the first half. It’s a scrappy affair but a very even one with both teams sharing around 50% of possession.
This is one that can go either way, so the lads will have to come out and keep grafting in the second half.