Newcastle’s abysmal Premier League campaign continued as they lost 4-0 to Manchester City at St James’ Park on Sunday.
The game got off to the worst possible start as miscommunication between Martin Dubravka and Ciaran Clark allowed Ruben Dias to nod in from close range. Joao Cancelo then scored a thunderbolt from distance to double the lead, before goals from Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling rounded off the scoring.
One player who let Eddie Howe down badly in the game was Joe Willock. He was left out of the starting XI against Liverpool in midweek and was brought back into the limelight by the ex-Bournemouth manager, but the 22-year-old was unable to repay his boss’ faith as he put in a poor display against Pep Guardiola’s side.
The summer signing from Arsenal was hooked at half-time with the score at 2-0, with Howe seemingly not happy with the midfielder’s performance.
Defensively, he offered next to nothing. As per SofaScore, he lost 80% of his individual duels in midfield. He was also dribbled past twice, whilst failing to complete a single tackle, block or clearance and making just one interception.
This shows how lightweight he was in the middle of the park, as he was too easily beaten by Manchester City players off the ball. He did not get his foot in to make a successful challenge and was taken out of the game by the opposition dribbling past him with ease.
On the ball, Willock also struggled. As per SofaScore, he had far fewer touches (13) than Magpies goalkeeper Martin Dubravka (42). He also completed just seven passes and failed in his one attempted dribble. This shows that he did not do enough to make himself available in possession to get Newcastle up the pitch whenever they got the ball back off the visitors.
The 22-year-old let his manager down with a disappointing display as he failed to make a positive impact either on or off the ball, leading to his withdrawal at the start of the second half. He will need to drastically improve his performances if he wants to be a regular starter throughout the rest of the campaign, as this was a dreadful outing for the Arsenal academy graduate.