With Steve Bruce playing mostly starters vs. the League One side, Newcastle United couldn’t defeat Rochdale and will be forced to play a replay.
Newcastle United dominated possession and the action in the first half, but a Miguel Almiron goal was canceled out by Aaron Wilbraham’s second-half score in the 1-1 draw.
Striker Struggles Continue
Steve Bruce started Yoshinori Muto and Joelinton up top against Rochdale, likely to give both players confidence to carry into Premier League play. But, the two strikers brought their poor league form with them as each missed quality chances in front of goal. Once Rochdale equalized, Joelinton should have had an opportunity to attack the ball and put one on frame, but he stood frozen a step away from the ball.
Wonderful Out Wide
Against the League One side, Christian Atsu and DeAndre Yedlin looked like world-class players going forward. Both did well to use pace and skill on the ball to zoom past Rochdale defenders and fire in crosses. Yedlin actually made two defenders stumble with quick dribble moves. Their quality of crosses was not matched by the players trying to get on the end of them, as we mentioned above. Atsu did provide the assist on Miguel Almiron’s goal.
- When I wrote that Newcastle United should not focus on winning vs. Rochdale, I was mainly referring to avoiding injuries and giving some regular starters a break. It didn’t look serious, but the fact that Miguel Almiron seemed to be showing some discomfort in his groin is the exact thing that wasn’t worth risking. I know he scored the goal, but if somehow you’re without Miggy for a few weeks, was it worth it, especially in a draw?
- The other player I’m especially surprised got the start was Martin Dubravka. He came up with a big save, but this was an obvious chance to give the Slovakian one match off as he’s already an Ironman in the Premier League.
- I’ll have another article coming soon on how this was EXACTLY what Newcastle needed to avoid.
- It was great to see Matt Ritchie back on the pitch for the Magpies. With the injuries mounting, it’s great that he can factor into Steve Bruce’s squad now.
Okay, What’s Next?
Newcastle United will face Wolves in Premier League play next Saturday. Wolverhampton has lost two straight matches and they will take on Manchester United later today in the FA Cup third round.