Football

5 things we learned from Newcastle 4-4 Luton

Luton held off a late Newcastle fightback to claim a 4-4 draw in a stunning game at St James’ Park.

Luton led 4-2 after a fascinating first-half but were pegged back by a determind Newcastle side as Harvey Barnes proved influential off the bench.

It is undoubtedly a Premier League classic and here’s the five things we learned.

Not a day for defences 

It is not often eight goals are shared evenly in a Premier League match. In true vintage Premier League fashion, Newcastle versus Luton was an end-to-end affair from start to finish, with both outfit’s defences having a day to forget. 

It was Dan Burn for Newcastle who bore the brunt of the difficulties of the Newcastle back line before being hooked off in the 64th minute, with the visitors frequently exploiting Burn’s lack of speed to steal away into the Newcastle box after cutting in from the left-flank on more than one occasion.  

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Luton struggled in similar fashion as the majority of Newcastle’s attacks came from the flanks also, with Anthony Gordon and Callum Wilson struggling to get into the game as Newcastle’s number nine in each respective half. 

Both Eddie Howe and Rob Edwards are sure to take stock of their sides’ respective defensive performances on the day, with both outfits often struggling to nullify the threats on the flanks that resulted in the majority of big chances throughout the game. 

Harvey Barnes back with a bang 

After being side-lined with a foot injury since late September, summer signing Harvey Barnes returned to action in the 63rd minute versus the Hatters. With Newcastle down two goals and in desperate need for an attacking option, Barnes replaced Miguel Almirón who had had a lacklustre game at best.  

Within ten minutes of the Englishman’s introduction, after a well-taken goal by Kieran Trippier drew Newcastle only a goal behind the Hatters, Barnes announced his return with an extremely impressive finish to draw Newcastle level with the visitors at four goals apiece.  

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Barnes was brought in by Newcastle this summer to offer Eddie Howe yet another versatile goal-scoring option, and while the Englishman has been out of action for the majority of the season, Barnes’ cameo against Luton will be sure to have excited Eddie Howe and the Geordie faithful alike. 

Longstaff at the double 

In a season which has seen Newcastle experience an unprecedented injury crisis, Sean Longstaff has proven to be a dependable mainstay in the Newcastle midfield. While Longstaff was kept out for four games in late November due to an ankle injury, the North Shields born star has proven to Eddie Howe that he is Mr. Reliable in the middle of the park.  

While not possessing the same flair or ball playing ability as Brazilian duo Joelinton and Bruno Guimarães, Longstaff’s work ethic and desire are second to none. The Englishman once again proved his worth on the day versus Luton, relentlessly pressing to win back possession and adding two goals to his name in the 7th and 23rd minute with near-identical finishes. 

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While the Englishman may not be known for his goal scoring abilities, Longstaff has already surpassed his highest goal scoring tally for any season, and to the hopes of Eddie Howe and the Geordie faithful, long may it continue. 

Trippier for the Playmaker award? 

Kieran Trippier registered his ninth assist of the season versus Luton and is now number one in the Premier League assist charts, and second only to Leroy Sané of Bayern Munich in Europe’s top five leagues.  

Trippier has once again led by example in what can only be described as a roller-coaster of a season for Newcastle United, and has not only contributed on the defensive side of the ball, but has created more chances on the offensive side than any other Newcastle player to date.  

Since its introduction in the 17/18 season, the Premier League Playmaker award has only been won by midfielders or forwards. But with Trippier continuing to serve up chances on a plate for his teammates, the right-back may very well become the first defender to take home the award. 

Anthony Gordon’s number nine struggles 

With Alexander Isak out with a knock and Callum Wilson not quite ready to start after returning from injury, Eddie Howe had no choice but to select Anthony Gordon as Newcastle’s starting number nine versus Luton.  

Gordon has enjoyed an exceptional season for Newcastle in the Premier League, scoring seven times and assisting seven times also. Gordon has played off both the left and right-flank for Newcastle this season, and Eddie Howe would have hoped he could continue his goalscoring form in the middle of the front three.  

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Gordon struggled to make an impact on the game as the centre forward, often reverting to his natural position and cutting in off the left-flank, leaving Miguel Almirón with no option to employ himself more centrally.

Gordon was hooked for compatriot Callum Wilson after a lacklustre first half, and while the U21 English international has certainly been a dangerous goalscoring threat for the Magpies this season, his performance versus Luton suggests he is not quite ready to be employed as the central forward for Eddie Howe’s side.   

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