Newcastle saw their recent good run come to an end, losing 1-0 to Burnley, and despite having both Andy Carroll and Joelinton in the side, did not register one attempt on target.
It was a woeful performance from a patched up team, with neither Miguel Almiron nor Jonjo Shelvey recovering from niggles, and joining Allan Saint-Maximin on the sidelines.
With both wide-men out, Christian Atsu was given the chance to stake a claim for a starting spot, but to say he did not grasp it fully, would be an understatement.
The Ghanaian was very poor in the first half, and the odd time he was on the ball, he either ran into defenders or failed to find a teammate with a pass.
If that was bad, his second half was even worse, as he was merely an anonymous spectator for 35 minutes, during which, it is hard to recall him even touching the ball, which led to him being hooked in the 80th minute.
Atsu had a chance to prove he can fill in for Saint-Maximin
Of course, he was not the only player who did not do himself justice, but with Saint-Maximin out for what could be a significant spell, and no one knowing how long Almiron will be absent, he certainly had the most to gain by catching the eye.
In fact, he should have been busting a gut to prove he has what it takes to step in for either of the missing wingers, and make it difficult for them to oust him from the side when they return to fitness.
But you would never guess that by watching his abject showing at Turf Moor.
Fans, and probably Steve Bruce, must now be hoping beyond all hope, that either or both of his regular starting wide players are fit sooner rather than later.
Fans offered little sympathy to the former Chelsea player on Twitter after the game, and it is hard to criticise anyone for being frustrated with him, as he continually fails to take any of the opportunities afforded to him.
Here are some of those fans’ comments:
First 11 is half decent, but as soon as we have injuries, up front there’s very little in reserve. Anytime we need to start Atsu, we are in trouble….. #nufc
— Michael Armstrong (@jmagla) December 14, 2019
Awful Atsu like, pure feeble #NUFC
— Nathan Gilchrist (@nathang1990) December 14, 2019
Atsu is completely pointless. Like someone’s little brother allowed a game with the big lads.
— Graham (@grahambull67) December 14, 2019
— Stuart McFall (@StuartAM23) December 14, 2019
Without @asaintmaximin we have absolutely nothing going forward, Atsu was woeful today, wouldn’t even have him in the squad after that display! Give Muto a go….I expect us to pick up nothing now until ASM is back fit! #NUFC
— JJ Fletcher (@JJFletcher7) December 14, 2019
Horrendous up top! Joelinton and Atsu not good enough for the championship never mind the premier league
— Gary Hastie (@Gary_Hastie) December 14, 2019
Christian Atsu has to be dumbest #NUFC player ever.
Why does he want to take every corner short is beyond me, the idiot couldn’t then get his crosses off the ground.
— Himanshu Dhingra (@HD_07) December 14, 2019
Lee charnley ‘aye we’ve got great squad depth” hmmmmm atsu couldn’t get into wor kids u15 side #nufc
— Robbo🏃🗑 (@JOHNROB79) December 14, 2019
What a woeful game of football…dreadful performance although slightly understandable given the injuries, The referee was a disgrace, Atsu is absolutely horrific and I haven’t a clue what’s happened to Longstaff…roll on Palace, hopefully Almiron and Shelvey are fit!! #nufc
— David Tench (@DT3NCH) December 14, 2019
Sack Atsu and Gayle right now
— Sam (@1892SamV2) December 14, 2019