Newcastle United were eliminated from the FA Cup in the fourth round today as the Magpies were defeated by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Newcastle United were outplayed by a conservative Chelsea side as the Blues defeated the Magpies 3-0 in London. The negatives significantly outweighed the positives earlier today as Newcastle United played one of their worst matches in the 2017/18 season.
A lack of energy, communication, and commitment on both ends of the pitch from Newcastle United led to an easy victory for Chelsea in front of their home crowd. Here are five things we learned from today’s loss.
The lone bright spot for Newcastle United on this afternoon was the play of midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. Considered to be the most talented individual on the roster, Shelvey lived up to that recognition by playing aggressive football and creating multiple scoring opportunities.
At one point in the match, Shelvey turned around and expressed his frustration to his team-mates as he tried to apply high pressure with no assistance. With a crucial match against Burnley just around the corner, it is important for the Magpies to reflect on this poor performance and understand that success on Tyneside will only come from collective effort.
Massadio Haidara made his season debut for Newcastle United at the left-back position against Chelsea. The young defender had a decent performance against the Blues, but he did not stand out to make the case for more first-team minutes going forward.
The FA Cup fixture presented Haidara with a good opportunity to showcase his athleticism and pace, however, he had an uneventful afternoon. The Frenchman struggled in his effort to stay in front of the opposition and his poor positioning enabled Chelsea to spread the field effectively.
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Javier Manquillo and Chancel Mbemba got the nod from Rafa Benitez today, but the duo was ineffective in stopping Chelsea’s attack on the right wing. Manquillo has been scrutinized by fans over his recent form, and his poor passing, tackling and lack of pace did not help in that regard.
Mbemba has played well this season and he played aggressive defense today. The problem with Mbemba against Chelsea, however, was his excessive aggression. The defender conceded multiple fouls and was fortunate not to pick up a second yellow card for his questionable slide tackles.
Attacking Weakness Exposed
This is nothing new for Newcastle United, but the Magpies’ inability to score goals was on full display against Chelsea. Aside from two great chances in the first half, every other shot for the remainder of the match was a wasted chance.
Dwight Gayle started the match as the lone striker, but he did not present Chelsea’s defense with any dangerous moments. Newcastle’s midfielders and forwards need to improve their decision-making when the ball is at their feet. Knowing when to pass the ball and knowing when to hold the ball to create an individual scoring chance is something the Magpies lack.
Focus on Relegation Battle
The Toon Army have voiced their desire for a deep run in the FA Cup as Newcastle’s most fervent supporters wish to see their Magpies achieve success at the domestic level. Today’s result means the FA Cup run is over but is that really a bad thing?
While a successful FA Cup run would have been nice, the primary focus of this season is to avoid relegation in the Premier League. A deeper run in the FA Cup this year would have led to more distractions from this key objective.
Now that Newcastle United have been eliminated from the FA Cup, it is important for the club to focus on the 14 matches that remain in the Premier League to stay in the top flight next season.