Fresh Newcastle United injury blow prompts change of plan as Leeds United make statement - moments missed

Leeds United 2-2 Newcastle United: Here are some key talking points and moments missed from Newcastle United’s draw at Elland Road on Saturday.
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Eddie Howe’s ‘original plan’ as Newcastle United injury blow confirmed

Eddie Howe made one change to the Newcastle side that were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal the week before the trip to West Yorkshire. Miguel Almiron came back into the side in place of Jacob Murphy.

It’s understood Howe’s initial plan was to name an unchanged line-up but a late injury to Murphy forced the switch. Murphy has featured in more Newcastle games than any other player since Howe’s appointment as manager but Saturday’s match would be a rare occasion in which the winger wasn’t used as he remained on the bench.

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Howe confirmed afterwards: “Jacob just had a sore groin. That’s why he didn’t enter the pitch.”

Newcastle United fans get behind Jason Tindall

Newcastle’s assistant manager received some new found fame, or infamy, in the days building up to the match. The 45-year-old found himself trending on social media as a result of the ‘Jason Tindall desperate to be centre of attention (@jasontindall_)’ Twitter account which posted photos and videos of the Newcastle No. 2 posing alongside head coach Eddie Howe on the touchline, shaking opposing manager’s hands before Howe and being front and centre in post-match team photos.

While Newcastle fans have grown used to Tindall’s position next to Howe on the sidelines and enthusiastic wide-mouthed grin in the dressing room photos, it gathered plenty of traction with opposing fans and became somewhat of a social media craze ahead of the match.

As the Newcastle players took to the field to warm-up ahead of the match, Tindall went over to applaud the travelling supporters as they sang ‘there’s only one Jason Tindall’ - ironically making the Magpies assistant manager the centre of attention once more.

Newcastle United No.2 Jason Tindall.Newcastle United No.2 Jason Tindall.
Newcastle United No.2 Jason Tindall.

Newcastle United’s defensive ‘woes’ continue

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Newcastle went behind early at Elland Road as Luke Ayling pounced quickly on Nick Pope’s save from Rodrigo’s header. From Kieran Trippier allowing the initial cross to come into the box, to Sven Botman and Dan Burn having no idea where Rodrigo was and striker Alexander Isak not tracking Ayling as he ghosted into the box - it was a soft goal for The Magpies to concede.

It could be argued a few months ago they simply wouldn’t have conceded it. The first half of the campaign saw Howe’s side defend resolutely as a unit as they boasted far and away the best defensive record in the Premier League.

With 11 goals conceded in their opening 20 games, The Magpies were on track for an all-time great defensive record in top flight football. But with 20 goals conceded in the last 15 and just one clean sheet in 17 games, Newcastle look considerably more vulnerable at the back these days.

While Pope did his best to keep his side in the game once again with an excellent penalty save from Patrick Bamford at 1-0, rash challenges, hesitation and questionable positioning are becoming a more common occurrence in a Newcastle side that looked simply impenetrable around the turn of the year.

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Shoring up that defensive line in the final three match could be the difference between Champions League qualification and having to settle for Europa League football next season.

Leeds United's English defender Luke Ayling (R) scores the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Newcastle United at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England, on May 13, 2023. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)Leeds United's English defender Luke Ayling (R) scores the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Newcastle United at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England, on May 13, 2023. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)
Leeds United's English defender Luke Ayling (R) scores the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Newcastle United at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England, on May 13, 2023. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)

Callum Wilson keeps his cool

Moments after Pope’s penalty save, Newcastle were handed a golden opportunity to level the score after Alexander Isak was fouled inside the area by Max Wober.

Callum Wilson stepped up to make it 1-1 before giving Newcastle the lead midway through the second half, also from the penalty spot. Junior Firpo’s handball saw Newcastle awarded a second penalty of the afternoon following a VAR check.

Despite Joel Robles’ best efforts to put Wilson off, the Newcastle No. 9 kept his cool to send the Leeds goalkeeper the wrong way and take his goal tally to 17 for the season. It was Wilson’s 10th goal in his last nine Premier League matches as he became the first Newcastle player to score 17 goals in a top flight season since Alan Shearer netted 22 during the 2003-04 campaign.

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It was also the first time Newcastle had been awarded two penalties in the same Premier League game since the 5-1 win against Stoke City at St James’ Park in December 2013. And the first time both penalties have been converted in the same game since Joey Barton scored twice from the spot in the 4-4 draw with Arsenal in February 2011.

You would have to go all the way back to February 1994 and Newcastle’s first Premier League season to find the last time they scored two penalties in the same Premier League away fixture. A 4-2 defeat at Wimbledon saw Peter Beardsley score a brace from 12 yards.

Newcastle United No.9 Callum Wilson celebrates his goal with Fabian Schar.Newcastle United No.9 Callum Wilson celebrates his goal with Fabian Schar.
Newcastle United No.9 Callum Wilson celebrates his goal with Fabian Schar.

Leeds United fan arrested and banned for clashing with Eddie Howe

In the closing stages of the match, a Leeds fan made his way from the stands to confront Newcastle boss Howe in his technical area. It was a brief altercation as the supporter was quickly escorted away by the security he had just somehow evaded.

And Leeds quickly dealt with the issue, confirming in a club statement: “Following an incident at our Premier League match against Newcastle United today, an arrest has been made and a lifetime ban has also been issued.”

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Howe reflected on the incident after the match: “I can’t repeat what he said, but it makes you think ‘what if?’ It was personal to me. I can’t remember if he pushed me or not; it was such a strange thing to happen.

“Moments like that make you think. We need to be mindful of security.”

A point gained or two dropped?

Newcastle were 12 minutes away from picking up a crucial win in their battle for Champions League football before Rasmus Kristensen’s heavily deflected effort drew Leeds level. The match ended 2-2 after a late second yellow card for Junior Firpo saw Leeds finish with 10 men.

It was the first time Newcastle had dropped points after coming from behind to take the lead under Eddie Howe. So often, Howe’s side have been able to see out wins after turning the game in their favour, but not on this occasion.

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The point guarantees Newcastle will still be third in the table by the time they next kick a ball against Brighton and Hove Albion at St James’ Park on Thursday night. It also guarantees at least Europa League football for next season with three games remaining.

Another six points, or potentially a win and two draws, would be enough to secure a top four finish for Newcastle. In many ways, Saturday’s draw feels like a missed opportunity, but only time will tell as to whether it is a point gained or two dropped.