Newcastle crashed to their 13th defeat in just 24 games this season after a humiliating performance at the hand of Everton.
Having not played a competitive game for eleven days, during which time Everton had played away from home twice in both cup competitions, there could be no excuse for McClaren’s side buoyed by the recent signing of Townsend who would start the game and Doumbia who would only make the bench.
Despite Everton’s cup win a Carlisle at the weekend the toffees would enter this game with a poor recent record with just one win in five top flight games conceding 10 in the process. Add to that the three they conceded against City in the cup and the cracks were there for all to see.
After another clutch of bad results for Newcastle in other games on Tuesday night this game was an opportunity to keep in tough with those pulling away from the relegation zone above. It would not work out that way.
McClaren almost inexplicably would start with only Perez up front. Whilst after the game the Newcastle boss confirmed this was a deliberate tactic to try and hit Everton on the break it was clear within a few minutes of the start of the match that actually all this would do is allow Everton’s rejigged back line (without the dropped Stones), to easily mop up every ball thrown at them and dominate the game
STARTING XI: Elliot, Dummett (Aarons, 45), Mbemba (Lascelles, 43), Colo, Janmaat, Shelvey, Saivet (Mitrovic, 55), Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Townsend, Perez
The performance from those in black and white was, quite frankly, a disgrace from the first whistle.
And whilst some of the players will need to have a long hard look at themselves (quite why Jonjo’s rubbish identical twin brother got a game is beyond me), much of the blame in my view has to sit at McClaren’s door.
I’ve been more than willing to give McClaren the benefit of the doubt, especially after some improved performances of late, but this game was a masterclass in how not to set up a team. Even the departure of Lukaku at half time did little to stem the tide of Everton’s dominance in the game.
Perhaps most frustrating for those of us watching on was that Everton didn’t even play that well. Indeed their first goal would come from a ‘nothing’ attack when Lennon received the ball on the edge of the box and guided his shot to the opposite corner than most expected taking the Newcastle defence and goalkeeper alike by surprise on 23 minutes.
The Magpies created nothing in the first half of note and although they rallied in the second half a little two crazy challenges would hand the blues two penalties. Both taken by Barkley. Both scored (88 and 93 minutes).
And to top it all off, Newcastle would lose both Mbemba and Dummett to injury in 2 minutes in the first half, and have now lost Lascelles following a straight red for his challenge in conceding that second penalty.
Having joked before the game “just watch Mbemba go and get injured tonight as we just didn’t buy any cover”, any long term loss of our defensive rock could be catastrophic for the team over the coming weeks.
Quite how McClaren is going to even put a back 4 out this weekend against West Brom will be a question in itself.
Oh, and did I mention that Everton hit the woodwork three times. No. You get the idea.
What a mess…..