After narrowly falling to defeat to Manchester City last time out in the Premier League, Newcastle will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they take on Sheffield United at home on Wednesday evening.
Steve Bruce’s side were on the wrong end of a thrilling 4-3 encounter against the champions, with a hat-trick from Ferran Torres leaving the Magpies with no points.
While the majority of the Newcastle team played commendably, one man who struggled to rise to the occasion was Federico Fernandez.
The Argentine had been out of action for the best part of two months with a thigh injury before making his return to the first team earlier in April, and he has been a consistent presence in the Newcastle defence since then.
However, his performances have left a lot to be desired, with only one of his last five Premier League games seeing him earn a higher match rating than 7.0 from Whoscored – his latest display against City earned him a measly 5.62.
As per Sofascore, the £45,000-a-week earner made zero tackles and interceptions over the course of the game and competed in only two duels, winning one. Fernandez looked a touch slower than everyone else in either getting tight to City’s front-line or trying to step in and react to danger, while he also had fewer touches than Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
He finished the game with a 5.9 match rating, which was by far the lowest of any outfield player on the pitch (Sofascore).
Writing in his post-match player ratings for the Shields Gazette, Liam Kennedy gave him a five, saying: “Looked a yard off the pace. Second to every ball. Since returning from injury it’s not been the best of runs in the side for the usually reliable Argentine.”
With his contract on Tyneside coming to an end this summer, and The Athletic claiming that his long-term future is in limbo, Bruce must surely consider dropping a player who looked well off the pace against City.
He looked a liability against the Premier League champions, and the Magpies would surely be better off giving someone from the club’s academy a chance to shine and make an impression before the end of the season rather than an out-of-form and soon to be out-of-contract defender.