While attackers like Miguel Almiron and Joelinton continued to struggle, there were some strong performances in midfield and at the back for the Magpies.
The one man who really came through and impressed was undoubtedly centre back Federico Fernandez. The former Swansea City man came in for his first Premier League start of the season and didn’t put a foot wrong.
However, the Argentine international’s strong performance has surely given Magpies head coach Steve Bruce a big headache. Namely, does he stick with Fernandez or reinstate Fabian Schar moving forward?
The Switzerland international will certainly be scratching his head after Sunday’s game. After youngster Matty Longstaff came into the team recently and stayed in the team, Schar will be worried that Fernandez may do the same at his expense.
You could look at this both ways, really. It’s easy to argue that it would be harsh to drop Schar out of the starting line up altogether once he’s back to full fitness. One good game from Fernandez shouldn’t usurp a season and a bit of excellence from the Swiss star.
However, Fernandez will argue that he is the form man and that Bruce should ride the hot hand. He certainly couldn’t have done more on Sunday, that’s for sure.
Not only did the 30-year-old grab the assist for Jamaal Lascelles’s opener with a terrific cross into the box, but he was incredibly solid defensively as well. As per WhoScored.com, the 30-year-old managed four tackles and nine interceptions on his way to a WhoScored rating of 7.67 for the game.
That was only one game, though. Schar, on the other hand, is averaging 2.4 tackles, 2.4 interceptions, 5.1 clearances and 1.1 blocks per game in the Premier League this campaign [Source: WhoScored.com].
It’s going to be a big decision for Bruce once the former Deportivo man is back to full fitness, but perhaps a welcome one.