The 2020/21 Premier League season began on 12th September 2020, with the new campaign beginning behind closed doors, with West Brom, Leeds and Fulham returning to England's top-flight. We will be providing match reports from select Premier League games throughout the season as the Covid-era of football continues. All aboard.
Match Report (GW2): Newcastle 0-3 Brighton
After a solid away win at West Ham the Toon host a Brighton team who were beaten by Chelsea on the opening day of the season. Both teams had a point to prove after polarising starts to the season, with Steve Bruce picking the same starting eleven that bested West Ham.
The action quickly started, with Allan-Saint Maximin giving away a penalty in the 2nd minute for hacking down Tariq Lamptey in the Toon box. VAR didn’t even need to double check, even though it did, to confirm that Brighton had an early chance with only a handful of touches played. Neal Maupay stepped up and scored the penalty, driving his shot straight down the middle of the goal.
There wasn’t even enough time to breath before Brighton added a second goal to their tally. Neal Maupay slotted it past Karl Darlow in the 8th minute, with the goal originally being called for offside, but VAR intervened to give the goal as no Brighton player was offside.
Lewis was shown the yellow in the 26th minute for a reckless tackle on Lamptey who was tearing up the Newcastle defence so far. Shelvey had also been booked earlier for tacking him down too. Newcastle were struggling with the pace of the game and were looking sluggish in their overall play. Hendrick on the right of the Toon midfield was a ghost in this fixture. Graham Potter would be pleased with his team’s performance, and Brighton were pressing for a third.
Allan-Saint Maximin was off as he struggled with an injury in the 33rd minute, being replaced for Ryan Fraser who makes his Newcastle debut in the Premier League. Maupay could have had a third but Darlow sat on his shot, much to the relief of a watching Bruce. The half ended with Brighton dominating the game, with Carroll and Wilson barely having a touch of the ball in the first forty-five minutes. Not a single Toon player influenced the game, and they needed to rally to get back in the game.
Miguel Almirón was introduced at half-time for Andy Carroll, hoping to add some creativity to the Toon forward line that had been lacking this game. The game carried on where it left off, and the best chance was again Brighton’s in the 69th minute when Aaron Connelly hit the bar, before flagged for offside. Brighton hit the other post two minutes in the 70th when Trossard hit the bar after a great run from Solly March. When Joelinton came on in the 72nd it looked like the game was over. Connelly nearly finished the game in the 73rd minute with both centre backs watching the ball and then seeing it just go over Darlow’s goal.
Brighton did get that third goal in the 83rd minute, and it fell to Aaron Connelly who had been knocking on the door. Neal Maupay made a darting run through the stagnant Newcastle defence, picking out Connelly who opened his body and curved it into the net to kill off the game. The only respite for Newcastle was when Yves Bissouma was given a red card, with the referee going over to the monitor, and changing his decision from a yellow to a red after a dangerous kick on the face of Jamal Lewis.
Newcastle were abysmal today, and Brighton were excellent all over the pitch, even with the late card which was Brighton’s only blemish in the game. This has been the most deserved win of the season so far, with the result also being the first clean sheet of GW2.
Man of the Match: Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)
Even though the former Chelsea loan player played fifty-six minutes, the damage was done in that time with Lamptey the tempo setter for the Seagulls in this fixture. The raw pace of the full-back forced the penalty which Maupay converted, and Lamptey was time and time again the danger man making piercing runs into the Newcastle half. Jonjo Shelvey and Jamal Lewis both picked up yellow cards for taking him out, with Steve Bruce’s team only resorting to making deliberate fouls to slow him down. The game lost some of its intensity when Lamptey went off and was the most influential man on the pitch today.
Insight and Analysis:
After hearing about how open and goal ridden the Southampton versus Spurs game was, my gut feeling was that this game between two teams that finished the bottom half of the table last season was going to the opposite of a barnstormer. I also had Jamal Lewis in my FPL team, and his performance fully summarises the first half for the Toon. Lewis picked up a yellow card, couldn’t defend, and was woeful in every sense of the definition.
Newcastle barely strung a handful of passes together, and Andy Carroll’s performance was on par with a beaten-up traffic cone, just standing there and being avoided. We often criticise Steve Bruce for sucking the soul out of football, and despite the results last year, the brand of football being played is just desperate long balls with no purpose. Why Miguel Almirón isn’t playing behind Wilson is baffling, and he was introduced at half time in place of Carroll when the damage had already been done.
Newcastle could have played another ninety minutes without a clear chance on goal, with Maty Ryan a spectator in this fixture. Newcastle lacked absolutely everything today, literally, everything: attack, defence, cohesion, communication, spark, momentum, sharpness. They were a butter knife in a sword duel today, and all the good work that was shown in the West Ham game had evaporated. Graham Potter’s side were brilliant today and deserved the three points, and they did everything right to earn the three points.
Venue: St James' Park
Manager: Steve Bruce
GK: Karl Darlow
LB: Jamal Lewis
CB: Federico Fernandez
CB: Jamaal Lascelles
RB: Javier Manquillo
LM: Allan-Saint Maximin (Fraser 33’)
CM: Jonjo Shelvey (Joelinton 72’)
CM: Isaac Hayden
RM: Jeff Hendrick
ST: Callum Wilson (Almirón 45’)
ST: Andy Carroll
Mark Gillespie, Ciaran Clark, Joelinton, Matt Ritchie, Emil Krafth, Miguel Almirón, Ryan Fraser
Manager: Graham Potter
GK: Maty Ryan
LWB: Solly March (Lallana 78’)
CB: Lewis Dunk
CB: Ben White
CB: Adam Webster
RWB: Tariq Lamptey (Burn 58’)
CM: Yves Bissouma
CM: Steven Alzate
LW: Aaron Connolly (Jahanbakhsh 90’)
RW: Leandro Trossard
ST: Neal Maupay
Jason Steele, Dan Burn, Joel Veltman, Bernardo, Pascal Gross, Adam Lallana, Alireza Jahanbakhsh
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