Talk about going down with a fight. After a wretched display before the international break saw Newcastle slip to a dismal 2-1 defeat to Southampton, you would have thought Steve Bruce’s side would be raring to put things right on Saturday afternoon against Chelsea.
Instead, they were timid, far too defensive and void of any creativity. A familiar scene for any Magpies fan this season. Frank Lampard’s side ran out comfortable winners in the end, and barely broke a sweat, with Sean Longstaff’s long-range strike deep in the second half the only real worthy effort of note.
And whilst they were poor going forward – they managed just one shot on target in the entire game – one man let his manager down massively: Federico Fernandez.
The Argentine has arguably been one of the more reliable performers this season at St James’ Park, but he was nowhere near the kind of standards he has set for himself.
The 31-year-old was involved in Chelsea’s first goal, and his attempts at trying to claim a foul from Ben Chilwell was pathetic. The 6 foot 2 central defender was far too weak in defending an incoming corner, and instead of trying to clear his lines, seemed more interested in going down at the slightest of contact from the Blues ace. The end result? He ended up sticking it into his own net.
And his nightmare display wasn’t all about his own goal either. As per Sofascore, he made no tackles or interceptions whatsoever, and competed in just one duel – which he lost.
For a centre-back to go through an entire game without registering a defensive contribution like that is frankly shocking, and he just looked all at sea in trying to deal with the pace and movement of the likes of Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham.
Jamaal Lascelles’ injury probably didn’t help his cause either, but for an experienced professional like him to put in such a nothing display, was just a slap in the face for the supporters and Bruce.