Newcastle lost for the second match in succession as they were beaten 1-0 by 10-man Everton in the Premier League on Thursday night.
The Magpies lost 1-0 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last time out and were unable to bounce back in a controversial clash at Goodison Park.
In a game devoid of quality, the most exciting period of the match came when a pitch invader successfully ziplocked himself to the Toffees goalpost as part of a protest. It took multiple stewards and a failed attempt to cut the tie before they eventually got him out after an eight-minute delay.
The home side found their winner, after Allan was sent off for a lunge on Allan Saint-Maximin, during the lengthy stoppage time as Alex Iwobi played a one-two with Dominic Calvert-Lewin before sliding the ball into the back of the net. Martin Dubravka left a large gap to his left and the ex-Arsenal man took full advantage to secure the three points.
Eddie Howe has worked wonders since arriving at St. James’ Park as he recently led the team on a nine-game unbeaten run to send them clear of the relegation zone.
In this match, however, he made his first mistake as he opted to select Joelinton in midfield.
Ahead of the game, Howe said this of the Brazilian’s availability:
“He is touch and go for this game. We have a decision to make. Whether we look after him with the break we have afterwards or whether we push him back out there – we’ll have to make a late call on that one.”
This was after he missed the clashes with Southampton and Chelsea due to injury, with his comment pre-match suggesting that he was not fully fit.
Instead of heeding his own warning, Howe decided to start with Joelinton and his performance was one of a player lacking in fitness and match sharpness. He struggled throughout the game and ended up proving that picking him was a big mistake from the head coach.
As per SofaScore, he lost possession every 3.1 touches as he flopped big time on the night. He failed with three of his four attempted dribbles and did not create a single chance throughout the game, whilst only completing 74% of his attempted passes.
Off the ball, he left a lot to be desired. Via SofaScore, he lost nine of his 13 ground duels and failed to make a single block, tackle or interception, whilst he was dribbled past three times. This shows that he was unable to deliver on or off the ball as he looked off the pace.
However, it is hard to blame Joelinton for his performance as the evidence suggests that he was not ready to play the game. Howe took a risk by selecting him and it backfired badly, with his display contributing to the defeat on Thursday night.