“Maybe, I don’t really wanna know…”
Talent can sometimes undermine itself, and Newcastle United players have certainly felt that during the club’s frustrating recent run. The Magpies’ win-less streak has now reached eight games (with only one point gained) after a 1-0 loss to Everton on Wednesday evening.
On a day when so much positivity and excitement was generated with talks of new ownership working to complete a deal with Mike Ashley, manager Rafa Benitez’s squad was flat and short of ideas. Wayne Rooney’s first-half goal was enough to give the Toffees three points on the night.
Karl Darlow started again in goal, but his work at the back will draw the ire of many fans in the sequence that ultimately gave the visitors their win.
The attack had its moments, dominating possession throughout 90 minutes and creating opportunities to move forward.
But there was not enough in the final third, and several in the team disappointed. Mohamed Diame’s outing was particularly discouraging, as he did little in the opposing half.
Normally able to exploit space on the wings, Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie could not find any joy out wide.
Dwight Gayle and second-half substitute Joselu were not effective, while Aleksandar Mitrovic was not a part of Benitez’s selection.
Finding positives is not easy, but the return of centre-back Jamaal Lascelles will have benefits in the near future. Jonjo Shelvey received a second yellow card late in the match, and will be suspended for the trip to Arsenal on Saturday.
The atmosphere in the North East is beginning to reach surreal levels, and an announcement of a new ownership group may be the only thing to lift spirits this month.
Newcastle United and Rafa Benitez now prepare for the Emirates this weekend. Another loss seems unimaginable, but at the same time very likely following Wednesday’s display.