Amongst all of the positives, Lee Ryder delivered a disappointing verdict on the display of Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock in the Magpies’ 3-3 draw with Manchester City.
Eddie Howe’s side clawed their way back into the game to cancel out Ilkay Gundogan’s equaliser through Miguel Almiron’s goal, before Callum Wilson and Kieran Tripper gave them a commanding 3-1 lead. Erling Haaland soon struck, however, to give City the chance to then equaliser through Bernardo Silva.
There were plenty of positives for Howe to take from the game, though, given that his side went toe-to-toe with the Premier League champions and very nearly had them out for the count at one stage.
Ryder, however wasn’t left too impressed with Willock, saying in his player ratings for Chronicle Live: “Gave it his all but not much came off for him. Howe took him off with quarter of the game left.” 6/10.
TIF Thoughts on Willock…
The midfielder managed just 29 passes in the game, which was 11 less than Nick Pope and lost possession 8 times (SofaScore).
Ever since turning his loan move permanent from Arsenal in 2021, he has struggled to replicate the form he showed to earn that move in the first place. In the 2020/21 season, he starred for the Magpies, scoring eight goals from midfield. A season later, though, he managed just two goals.
Now, with Newcastle in a new and richer era, he may not be given time to rediscover his best form at St James’ Park. So far this season, he has gone three appearances without a goal contribution – a drought that must come to an end.
Howe won’t be too concerned just yet, but he will be aware of Willock’s drop off when it comes to numbers that the former Arsenal man is currently producing.