Newcastle United drew 1-1 with West Ham United on Saturday night, and pundit Jermain Defoe believes that the Magpies should be worried by their second half performance.
Eddie Howe’s side got off to a flying start and had the ball in the net twice within the first three minutes. However, only Callum Wilson’s goal stood after Joe Willock’s strike was chalked off due to the ball going out in the buildup.
It was incredible to see Newcastle start so fast, and it looked like the club were going to carry on the wave of momentum following Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi final.
But West Ham got back into the game, and eventually found an equaliser through former Toon target Lucas Paqueta.
Newcastle became more and more frustrated as the game went on, and had to settle for another draw – their 10th of the season already.
The result sees Howe’s side drop down into fourth, while Tottenham’s win on Sunday closed the gap in the race for Champions League qualification to a point.
Jermain Defoe worried by Newcastle’s lack of ‘control’
Former England international Defoe spoke about Newcastle’s performance on Optus Sport’s Matchday Live Extra, and admitted he was concerned by what he saw.
“It was electric and you’re going to get that playing there,” Defoe said.
“The manager demands it and the place demands it and we’ve seen that all season.
“They get the first goal early on but they didn’t get a second and well done to West Ham for that but the second half in contrast to the first… they didn’t create anything. There was no control. That’s a thing that would worry me.”
Bruno was a big miss for Newcastle
It was a tough night for the Magpies. We really struggled to create chances. Wilson had a second half header saved, while he was denied another opportunity by a wonderful challenge from Nayef Aguerd.
The big problem for Newcastle was Bruno Guimaraes’ suspension. We massively missed the Brazilian, who has now served one game of his three-match ban.
His absence meant we didn’t have anyone in midfield who could provide that killer pass. That made us easy to defend against, and limited our ability to create goalscoring openings.
However, Defoe’s comment about control doesn’t tell the whole story. We did control large parts of the second half, keeping the ball well and applying pressure. However, it was control without a purpose. For all we had possession, we didn’t look capable of finding the net.
Scoring goals has been a slight issue since the World Cup ended, and it is something that Howe will be eager to address in the coming weeks.