Christian Atsu was handed a rare start for Newcastle on Wednesday night, in a performance which both impressed and disappointed in equal measure.
The Ghanaian international played the full 90 minutes against Everton at Goodison Park, after a suspension kept fellow winger Matt Ritchie out of the starting line-up.
Atsu has made seven appearances from the bench this season, and had also made one previous start against Leicester.
He was fairly anonymous in that display, and the midfielder also struggled off the bench against West Ham.
He arguably gave his strongest showing yet against Everton, but Newcastle supporters are split on his effectiveness in the side. Despite working incredibly hard and looking a constant threat, two missed chances late on blighted his overall display.
Newcastle fans’ divided opinion on Atsu performance
Good result last night. See the Everton fans took it well 😂 Imagine if Atsu didn’t actually shoot like my 3 year old daughter #nufc
— Wayne S (@Sneddas15) 6 December 2018
#nufc after yesterday’s performance, i don’t see how @rafabenitezweb can justify playing Ritchie ahead of Atsu on the right wing. Atsu worked just as hard, showed just as much “passion” and above all, has the skill to actually take on defenders and create chances unlike Ritchie
— NaijaToonArmy (@NaijaToonArmy) 6 December 2018
Great point but still such a frustration! If Richie had the late chances Atsu did, it’s 3-1.. Still a good point away nevertheless! #NUFC
— Lewis Henderson (@Lew_Henderson) 5 December 2018
— JP Quinn (@AttackingCB) 5 December 2018
He’s set low standards so far this season, but I thought Atsu did pretty well tonight.
SHOULD have scored, but improved all round.
Schar, Fernandez and Dubravka the other standouts – and Rondon did his job once again.
Yedlin and Manquillo did much better in the 2nd half. #nufc
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) 5 December 2018
Atsu fails to impress me game in game out. Missed 2 clear chances and giving away stupid free kicks. Can’t attack and can’t defend? Why’s he on the pitch #NUFC
— Sam Geen (@Geeny200) 5 December 2018
Christian Atsu probably shouldn’t play in the premier league again. #NUFC
— Dan (@Dan21R_) 5 December 2018
Should Atsu replace Ritchie?
Although Ritchie is likely to regain his spot against Wolves, The Ghanaian gave a good account of himself on Wednesday.
Of the two chances missed by Atsu in the dying stages, both fell to his weaker right foot.
Although the second was a poor finish, his first effort was actually phenomenally saved by Jordan Pickford who was incredibly alert to the strike.
But despite those misses, he impressed in other areas.
The winger worked incredibly hard in defence, and supporters wont be disappointed at his series of tactical fouls towards the end of the game.
But although he can match Ritchie’s work rate, and better him for pace and shots at goal, the winger lacked crossing ability.
Ritchie’s crossing is easily the best in the side, and without him the team lacks a creative touch in the final third.
The Scotsman will be favourite to start versus Wolves, but Atsu’s Everton performance should merit him another few minutes as a substitute.