Eddie Howe’s pragmatic call to start £35m man Bruno Guimaraes on the bench was not well received… but the Newcastle boss got everything spot on as the Magpies recorded a vital win over Everton in their relegation battle
- Bruno Guimaraes started on the bench as Newcastle beat Everton on Tuesday
- Newcastle fans were unhappy with the Eddie Howe’s pragmatic selection call
- But it was the right decision as the Magpies cruised to victory at St James’ Park
- Everton substituted Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek were both anonymous
It was the biggest and most anticipated selection call of Eddie Howe’s Newcastle reign so far and, to no surprise, it was not well received. Bruno Guimaraes, the £35million Brazilian set for his debut, was on the bench.
Filtering out those who responded to the news with expletives, the temperature of the hot-takes was still somewhat blistering – ‘If we lose, this on Howe’ the most common interpretation of the manager’s decision.
Frank Lampard’s choice in naming new signings Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek as substitutes was met with a far greater degree of understanding among Everton’s supporters.
Newcastle fans were unhappy with the Eddie Howe’s call to leave Bruno Guimaraes as a sub
Fans were excited to see the £35m January arrival but he started on the bench against Everton
But Newcastle’s fans had ventured here to see Bruno. Goodness, they’d even had a giant flag commissioned in his honour.
The player, too, had ramped up expectation on the eve of the game when likening himself to Xavi and Andres Iniesta and declaring that he was here to win the Champions League.
For now, though, it is about staying out of the Championship – and to that end Howe’s call was pragmatic, even if the home masses were longing for romance.
The opening 20 minutes were as chaotic as Newcastle’s fruitless deadline-day hunt for a striker. It would not, you suspect, have suited the subtlety of a playmaker straight out of Ligue 1.
The Gallowgate End still wanted to see him on 17 minutes, as Ryan Fraser received treatment on a hefty whack to his ankle. ‘Bruno, Bruno’ they chorused.
Jamaal Lascelles celebrates after atoning for his own goal in front of a joyous St James’ Park
The new boy was only needed for a stoppage-time cameo, and what a welcome he received
Not that there was any anger directed towards Howe. The disappointment of the team-sheet had way for support of the names on it, and the head coach, too.
Howe’s name was chanted with even more gusto than Bruno’s after Newcastle took just one minute to draw level after Jamaal Lascelles had put through his own net. Lascelles earned redemption when his header forced Mason Holgate into an own goal at the other end.
But a word on those midfielders Howe picked ahead of Bruno. Joelinton, his compatriot, missed two glorious chances before half-time, even contriving to kick the ball into his own face with one of them.
Joe Willock was, for the most part, all running and no cunning, while Jonjo Shelvey did well enough in Bruno’s central role, even if he did look like neither Xavi nor Iniesta. But, in the wider context of the team, the trio worked – and work hard is exactly what they did.
Dele Alli (pictured) and Donny van de Beek were both anonymous for Frank Lampard’s side
For Everton, Alli was introduced on 25 minutes for the injured Andre Gray and did nothing to impact the game. Van de Beek arrived just before the hour and was equally anonymous – that pair best get used to the bench on this evidence.
By then, Newcastle were in front thanks to Ryan Fraser. Yes, those on the terraces continued to croon for Bruno, but ‘Eddie Howe’s black and white army’ was undoubtedly top of the hit parade.
Bruno was still warming up when Kieran Tripper whipped home Newcastle’s third 10 minutes from time. In the end, the new boy was only needed for a stoppage-time cameo, and what a welcome he received.
But to revisit the earlier criticism of the manager – Newcastle won, and this was on Howe.
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