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.

Mid-Season(ish) Report

Originally a forum thread by Yacob

We are 22 matches into the Premier League season (the Watford TFI results are not in as of writing) and there still a lot of unknowns surrounding us as a club. Is Steve McClaren the right man for the long term? Will Aleksandar Mitrović be a success? And will Rolando Aarons ever stay fit longer than two weeks?

It’s been a disappointing start to the season, but there have definitely been positives and if we look at this coaching set up as a long term strategy, we could accept a relegation fight this season for future successes. Although that is a huge if, given that McClaren hasn’t delivered stability since his days at Middlesbrough.

How have we fared?

We have been a lot worse than last season in the league, when we had 27 points at this stage, compared to the 21 we have now. We were safely positioned in mid table last season, while we are in the relegation zone currently. Although we are only six points behind last year’s tally, there are a lot fewer teams down the bottom of the table. At this time last year, six points separated 12th to 20th, compared to this year, when the gap is much larger, meaning that realistically only six teams are in the relegation battle.

In the cups, we have once again disappointed, despite the club stating that we would be targeting the competitions for success. A really disappointing defeat in the Capital One Cup to Sheffield Wednesday should have been avoided had we played a stronger side, while we had a narrow defeat to Watford in the FA Cup, which leaves the club extending their run without a trophy. Steve McClaren said that we will be better in the cups under him, and although it’s early days, the first impressions are not great.

Player by player review

Must have played eight or more matches, also we use our own definition of what constitutes an assist. Rather than just the last team-mate to touch the ball other than the goalscorer, we also give credit where a player clearly created the opportunity, even if the opposition touched the ball, which is more in line with FIFA’s 1986 criteria.

Rob Elliot – 6.45

Average Rating: 6.45 (σ 1.48)
Best Rating: 9.71
Worst Rating: 3.75

The Irishman has had an unexpectedly good season so far after the injury suffered by Tim Krul. He has played 14 times in all competitions and has won the club points throughout his time as number one. His shot stopping is excellent and the saves he made against Tottenham and West Ham in particular secured the club three points on each occasion. His distribution is also much better than Krul’s. He is putting a case forward to be the regular number one at the club, which could lead to the sale of the inconsistent Krul.

Tim Krul – 5.80

Average Rating: 5.80 (σ 1.67)
Best Rating: 7.64
Worst Rating: 2.33

The Dutchman was unlucky in contracting a season ending injury in October, but his form prior to that was far from encouraging. He had two great games against Arsenal and Manchester United, only conceding once across the two fixtures. However, he looked shaky when tested from distance and his kicking was once again a big weakness in his game.

Daryl Janmaat – 5.47

Average Rating: 5.47 (σ 1.58)
Best Rating: 8.33
Worst Rating: 2.05
Goals: 2
Assists: 4

Janmaat was poor to begin with this season, and was at fault for several goals, with the Crystal Palace match being a turning point in his form. Since then, he has looked like the player we saw last season, and at times looks to be our best player in the final third.

Chancel Mbemba – 5.81

Average Rating: 5.81 (σ 1.67)
Best Rating: 7.83
Worst Rating: 2.25
Assists: 1

The former Anderlecht man has looked like a potentially top class centre back, with the calmness and confidence that we have lacked in recent years next to Coloccini. However, this can sometimes result in some huge errors, which is a concern going forwards. Overall, he has looked good though.

Fabricio Coloccini – 5.51

Average Rating: 5.51 (σ 1.95)
Best Rating: 8.39
Worst Rating: 1.38
Goals: 1

He has looked back to his best in the past month, but before then Coloccini was a liability and he should have lost the captaincy in the summer. Hopefully, we see the Colo from the last month for the rest of the season.

Paul Dummett – 5.11

Average Rating: 5.11 (σ 1.62)
Best Rating: 6.91
Worst Rating: 1.25
Goals: 1

Let’s be honest, Paul Dummett shouldn’t be considered a starter for a Premier League side. However, he hasn’t been as bad as people make out and has looked okay in the majority of games. There is always a chance that he will be dominated by a pacy winger, which was the case at Selhurst Park. That goal though.

Massadio Haïdara – 5.33

Average Rating: 5.33 (σ 1.43)
Best Rating: 7.00
Worst Rating: 2.83
Assists: 2

With 8 matches played, he just makes the cut. The Frenchman looked shaky defensively at the start of the season, but there is no doubt that he is much better going forwards than Dummett. He has much more potential and should be considered as our starting left back when he returns.

Vurnon Anita – 5.25

Average Rating: 5.25 (σ 1.40)
Best Rating: 7.21
Worst Rating: 2.80
Assists: 1

This has been his best season in a Newcastle shirt as his reading of the play and ability on the ball makes him the perfect midfielder for Steve McClaren. He is also getting better in the tackle, which is a positive. However his partnership with Jack Colback was a weakness, but he should excel if given the chance to play alongside Jonjo Shelvey.

Jack Colback – 5.02

Average Rating: 5.02 (σ 1.31)
Best Rating: 6.60
Worst Rating: 2.13

Colback hasn’t found his form from last season, when his all action game was superb to watch. He has been poor on the ball this season, while in terms of hard work and defensive contribution, he has been outshone by Vurnon Anita. Could lose starting place in coming months.

Cheick Tioté – 4.91

Average Rating: 4.91 (σ 1.13)
Best Rating: 6.83
Worst Rating: 3.00

He looks to be on his way out and that’s a good thing for the club. He was poor for the majority of the games he played in, except the Arsenal and Manchester United matches this month. Probably time to leave.

Moussa Sissoko
– 5.29

Average Rating: 5.29 (σ 1.91)
Best Rating: 8.79
Worst Rating: 1.50
Assists: 6

Moussa Sissoko has been inconsistent, but his ability is obvious and he is central to our counter attacking style of play as he has the pace and power to cause teams problems. He needs to start contributing more in the final third, if he is to convince sides that he is ready to step up to Champions League football as he claims he is.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 5.65

Average Rating: 5.65 (σ 2.12)
Best Rating: 9.67
Worst Rating: 1.50
Goals: 9
Assists: 4

Without a doubt our player of the season so far, with his quality in the final third being as good as any player we’ve seen at the club in the last ten years. His ability to weave past defenders and his movement off the ball are both sublime. We need to build the team around him.

Siem de Jong – 5.03

Average Rating: 5.03 (σ 1.77)
Best Rating: 8.33
Worst Rating: 2.00
Goals: 1
Assists: 1

He has been a victim of the system that we are playing as he can’t get past Wijnaldum and into the team. He showed glimpses of his ability against Spurs and Liverpool, but he hasn’t been given a real chance of impressing. It may not work out for him at the club. (1 assist)

Florian Thauvin – 4.74

Average Rating: 4.74 (σ 2.31)
Best Rating: 10.00
Worst Rating: 1.50
Goals: 1
Assists: 3

He has only played 420 minutes of league football and hardly had the chance of living up to his price tag. His crossing looked dangerous against Aston Villa, while his Capital One Cup performance was brilliant, albeit against League 2 opposition. He should have been given more of a chance, but he has failed to impress in his limited game time.

Ayoze Pérez – 6.03

Average Rating: 6.03 (σ 1.40)
Best Rating: 8.30
Worst Rating: 1.40
Goals: 5
Assists: 2

He has played all across the front line and has continued to grow as a player under Steve McClaren. Pérez has so much technical ability, which is evident when he is running with the ball and he links up well with Sissoko and Wijnaldum. Hopefully his final product will improve with experience. Huge talent.

Papiss Cissé – 4.07

Average Rating: 4.07 (σ 1.52)
Best Rating: 6.50
Worst Rating: 2.23
Goals: 2

Cissé is a goalscorer and he will always score when given the chances. He looked poor this season, but that is more down to the lack of service that he received. He offers little apart from scoring goals. Hopefully when he returns, the team will be creating more as if they do, he will score.

Aleksandar Mitrović – 5.74

Average Rating: 5.74 (σ 1.48)
Best Rating: 8.03
Worst Rating: 2.90
Goals: 4
Assists: 2

The Serbian was always going to be a player that needs time to adjust to the Premier League, and that has been the case. It was unfair for the club to put the goalscoring burden on him so early, which is why we need a forward this month. His overall game and his hold up play have been really encouraging. There is certainly a player in there. (4 goals, 2 assists)


It has been a very poor first half of the season, with Newcastle’s 2015 being one of the worst years in the club’s history in terms of results. However, there are signs that the side is beginning to click and the signing of Jonjo Shelvey could be the key in unlocking the potential that is without doubt present in the squad.

I think we should be able to avoid relegation, but I don’t expect us to surge up the league. However we can’t accept a similar first half of the season next year. A strong second half should give us the impetus to become a regular top half side as that is where we should be.

Do you agree with Yacob’s assessment of the season so far? Have your say in our discussion thread.

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Beatski

A frustrating day out for the lads as despite looking the superior side and peppering the opponents’ goal, no-one could find a way past Butland, who is maturing into a top keeper by the looks of it, Joe Hart had better keep an eye on his rear view mirror.

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.

Accolades are shared for man of the match today, with both Sissoko and Ayoze getting a rating of 7.29, the pair were the stand outs in our attacking quartet, but despite looking threatening neither succeeded in netting us those elusive three points. Mug of the match today goes to De Jong, who was subbed on in the second half to amble around to little effect when we really needed him to inject some impetus to push on for the winner.

McClaren comes away from the afternoon with a creditable rating of 7.14, reflecting his side’s control of the game for the majority, the players themselves come in with a lower team average of 6.38 due to their inability to capitalise.

Elliot – 6.57 (Ratings ranged between 6 and 7)
“6.5 – Did what was asked, made an important save to keep us level.”
“7 – One very good save, came for crosses and kicked well.”
“6 – Few good saves, but not really that much to do.”

Janmaat – 6.21 (Ratings ranged between 5 and 7)
“6.5 – Was fighting through injury, but threatened when on.”
“7 – Good going forward, although few lapses of concentration.”
“6 – A bit more quiet going forward than usual, albeit solid at the back.”

Mbemba – 7.07 (Ratings ranged between 6 and 7.5)
“7.5 – Solid performance, composed on the ball.”
“7.5 – Solid, wins the ball back often.”
“7.5 – Beast in the air at both ends of the pitch, made some good runs but needs to be more decisive with his passing once he gets forward with it.”

Coloccini – 6.79 (Ratings ranged between 6.5 and 7)
“6.5 – Relatively untroubled.”
“7 – Solid all day.”
“7 – Much better from him.”

Dummett – 6.07 (Ratings ranged between 5.5 and 7)
“6 – He’s ridiculously slow, the effort is there but he just doesn’t look very sharp.”
“5.5 – Few good tackles here and there but gets caught out too easily, makes me nervous every time he’s on the ball.”
“6 – Fine, but not a long term option.”

Sissoko – 7.29 (Ratings ranged between 7 and 7.5)
“7.5 – Always a threat going forward, glad to see he’s picked his form up. Should have bagged today.”
“7 – He’s on a good run of form at the moment, but he lacked that end product in this game, should have scored.”
“7.5 – Another good performance.”

Tioté – 5.79 (Ratings ranged between 5 and 7)
“6.5 – Best he’s looked in his defensive role for a long time, but some bad passes stood out too.”
“5.5 – Slowly improving, no unnecessary fouls/cards.”
“5.5 – Lost possession cheaply at times – would have been punished against a better attacking side.”

Anita – 5.64 (Ratings ranged between 4.5 and 7)
“4.5 – Not a great game for him, whole point of him being in the team is that he retains possession well, but he gave the ball away cheaply at times.”
“5 – Not at his best.”
“6.5 – Solid performance.”

Wijnaldum – 6.14 (Ratings ranged between 5 and 7.5)
“5.5 – Not as good as his past few performances and was a bit anonymous at times, although he gets into good areas and has great composure.”
“7.5 – Love watching him play. Finds great positions, so calm on the ball.”
“5 – Often found himself in great areas around the box but far too ponderous.”

Ayoze – 7.29 (Ratings ranged between 6.5 and 8)
“8 – Easily one of our best players, great on the ball, tricky feet and works well with Mitro.”
“7 – First half was the Perez show but he tired badly in the 2nd.”
“7.5 – Deserved a goal, becomes that link between Mitrovic and the midfield and has an amazing work rate. he showed some great skill in tight situations and was ghosting past Stoke players.”

Mitrović – 6.50 (Ratings ranged between 6 and 7.5)
“7 – An absolute menace, but has to avoid getting wound up by the likes of Shawcross.”
“6.5 – Started well, had a good game but marked him down for his antics.”
“6 – Put himself about well but became frustrated and lost his head bit due to Stoke defenders constantly fouling him on and off the ball. yes he should have had more protection from the ref (wont get it due to his already poor reputation) and Wollscheid could have easily been sent off (Mitro would have walked if other way around), but this is what hes going to have to get used too because most teams will do this to him.”

De Jong – 5.50 (Ratings ranged between 5 and 6)
“5.5 – Didn’t really get involved much when he came on.”
“N/A – Would like to see a longer appearance from him.”
“5 – Is he capable of anything other than a light jog?”

Lascelles – 6.10 (Ratings ranged between 6 and 6.5)
“6 – Unlucky not to score.”
“N/A – Didn’t have much to do.”
“6 – So unlucky not to score his first for the club.”

McClaren – 7.14 (Ratings ranged between 6 and 8)
“8 – Picked the right team, had us playing well, nothing more he could do. That would have been a decent win against almost any other keeper.”

“7 – Pleased with how he has us playing, it’s a shame we didn’t pick up more points in our last 2 because the pressure is still there and we can’t quite get that winning momentum.”

“7 – Would like to see subs made earlier, especially in a match like this where we’re struggling to break through. Overall though, been a promising few weeks, with more composed and entertaining football.”

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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