Newcastle have a fight on their hands as they end a very disappointing first half 0-0 at St James Park against Oxford. We’ve created far too little, and the scrappiness of this game suits the visitors.
Newcastle came out in a 5-3-2 with Saint-Maximin playing centrally behind Joelinton. Nabil Bentaleb was the deepest lying midfielder with Sean Longstaff and Miguel Almiron in front of him.
The game was sloppy for much of this half with very little quality from either side. Newcastle’s center-halves saw far too much of the ball as Oxford did a good job of preventing the midfield from getting into the game.
Newcastle started to come to life a bit at about the twenty-minute mark with a few attacks; however, a quality final ball was again short supply.
Most of the attacks came through Allan Saint-Maximin, who Oxford were able to quickly get a couple of defenders on. Though the Frenchman had a nice run in the 40th minute that resulted in a save from Oxford’s Simon Eastwood.
Newcastle have looked solid defensively but continue to be sloppy in possession, of which they have close to 70% of.
Miguel Almiron has been strangely quiet for much of the first half with very few attacks.
Nabil Bentaleb has looked good as he sits very deep in front of the Newcastle backline. He had a crucial tackle on Marcus Browne in Newcastle’s box in the 35th minute after the attacker had got past Yedlin.
Newcastle need to do far more in the second half to avoid another early exit from the FA Cup. Oxford are up for this one and will be the happier of the two sides at how this game is unfolding.