NEWCASTLE: It has come to one thing when Newcastle United, the group that would not purchase a win in late 2021, are claiming three factors regardless of not taking part in effectively.
Nonetheless, that’s precisely what they did at St. James’ Park as they noticed off prime half Brighton & Hove Albion to make it eight video games unbeaten within the prime flight, their longest unbeaten run since late 2011.
Most significantly, although, these three factors, coupled with defeat for Burnley towards Chelsea, stretched their hole to the underside three to seven factors, which means a brighter future, a Premier League future, feels inside touching distance.
The Magpies’ win was sealed within the opening 45 as man-of-the-moment Ryan Fraser netted solely his third aim in black and white from shut vary early doorways.
Fraser then turned supplier as Fabian Schar nodded in a free kick to ship St. James’ Park into raptures.
Brighton did reply within the second half as Lewis Dunk beat Martin Dubravka to the bounce to half the deficit, however the guests couldn’t muster a deserved second regardless of loads of late huff and puff.
Successful ugly isn’t one thing Newcastle followers are all that accustomed to, however they may take all of it the identical.
Regardless of the return of Allan Saint-Maximin to the squad registering early headlines, the Frenchman might solely win a spot on the bench with Eddie Howe going unchanged for the third Premier League recreation in succession.
Whereas Graham Potter’s aspect had been simply the extra fluent and simple on the attention, Newcastle proved the extra medical within the first half.
Newcastle’s midfield, so spectacular in controlling proceedings towards West Ham and Brentford, didn’t have issues all their very own means towards the Seagulls, who moved the ball from left to proper, with overlapping fullbacks, at will.
Nonetheless, that strategy did go away gaps on the again, and United had been in no temper to let that go unexploited.
Fraser, nominated for the Premier League participant of the month, was a continuing thorn within the opposition aspect, and it was he whose lung-busting run was rewarded together with his second aim of the season.
With Brighton hemming Newcastle into their very own half and simply trying the extra prone to rating, a wise flip and go by Chris Wooden, in what was his most spectacular efficiency since arriving, unleashed pacey Jacob Murphy by means of the center.
Exhibiting the Brighton backline a clear set of heels, the wideman solely had the keeper to beat, and whereas his chipped end rebounded again off the submit, Fraser, who had burst ahead in help, was rewarded with the simplest of finishes as he finessed previous numerous sprawling Brighton our bodies on the road.
If the primary felt prefer it was a blow towards the run of play, the second was much more of a shock.
Inside minutes the Magpies received a free kick on the fitting, and swinging within the heart was Fraser for Schar, whose striker-like dart away from a defender noticed him meet the cross powerfully, beating Robert Sanchez at his entrance submit.
To that time, it was laborious to argue that Newcastle deserved the lead, however given their season’s plight, they’re removed from undeserving of a slice of luck and goodwill.
On the half hour the guests, smarting from their defensive capitulation, regarded to chunk again. A poor ball from Joelinton, a uncommon slip, allowed Brighton to interrupt, and having been performed in, Danny Welbeck’s effort was met with the sturdy body of Martin Dubravka, who diverted over the bar.
Two objectives down, Brighton continued to play their soccer, however the probabilities, in the primary, fell the way in which of Newcastle.
On the eve of the break, a slip by goal-scorer Dunk allowed Murphy the possibility to web a 3rd, however his left-footed effort was weak and simple for Sanchez to say.
After the break, little modified by way of the circulate of this one, with Newcastle pinned again and Brighton the aggressor.
Their lifeline got here at 55 minutes when Dunk rose above Dubravka to move in for 2-1. Cue a St. James’ Park siege as wave after wave of Brighton forays ahead had been repelled by Emil Krafth and the more and more spectacular Dan Burn.
Trying to relieve the stress, Howe turned to Saint-Maximin and record-signing Bruno Guimaraes off the bench. It did little to stem the circulate of Brighton assaults.
Leandro Trossard, so typically a game-changer towards the Magpies, pressured Dubravka right into a low cease as time ticked away.
However with the house crowd roaring them on, Newcastle held sturdy to climb to twenty-eight factors from 26 video games this season, the primary time they’ve been forward of the curve in terms of factors per recreation this marketing campaign.
And lengthy could it proceed. This was a efficiency for the purists. It lacked the swagger of the West Ham draw, the chopping fringe of Everton or Aston Villa, even the management of Brentford final week. However there was one factor it didn’t lack: Coronary heart.
Below Howe, there’s a lot to love about this United aspect, who appear to be a group reworked from the one which limped into 2022 with a defeat towards League One Cambridge United.
They aren’t the completed article, of that there isn’t a doubt, however what group ever is? Effectively, bar Manchester Metropolis perhaps, or prime Pep Guardiola Barcelona.
This group, and Howe, are studying on the job, and having mastered the artwork of profitable within the Premier League, the one means feels up for United, on and off the park.