Newcastle United have sent Burnley down following a 2-1 win against the Clarets at Turf Moor on the final day of the season.
Callum Wilson opened the scoring from the spot in the 20th minute after Nathan Collins handled the ball inside the area and the Newcastle number nine doubled the visitors’ lead on the hour mark with a composed finish. Burnley did manage to pull one back through Maxwel Cornet in the 67th minute but Newcastle managed to hold on to finish the campaign in 11th place following a remarkable turnaround under Eddie Howe.
Here are five things we learned from the game.
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Newcastle spared relegation play-off nerves as Burnley go down
Just as Newcastle’s recent games against the might of Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal were a gauge of how far the Magpies had come, and still had to go, so too was this trip to Burnley. The Clarets may have been languishing in 17th place, but Mike Jackson’s side were fighting for their lives on the final day and needed to better Leeds’ result at Brentford.
Turf Moor was, unsurprisingly, rocking so just how would these Newcastle players handle such a hostile atmosphere after previously dropping below their usual standards when facing another relegation-threatened side, Everton, at a bouncing Goodison Park a couple of months previously?
Howe made just two changes as Kieran Trippier made his first start since February and club captain Jamaal Lascelles came in for Fabian Schar, who suffered a blow to the head against Arsenal. Newcastle produced their best performance of the season against the Gunners last time out and, clearly, Howe was not about to do Burnley, his former side, any favors. As Callum Wilson put it before the game, ‘you never want to relegate a team but, at the end of the day, we’ve got a job to do’.
Howe had previously earmarked this game as potential relegation play-off and Sean Longstaff also admitted that, as recently as December, he thought it was going to be a ‘pretty much make or break game’. Newcastle knew they were going to be in for a fight and the visitors looked to take the sting out of the game at every opportunity, whether it was calmly keeping possession or taking their time with restarts.
Newcastle have played better this season, but visitors handled the occasion expertly in the opening hour and it was hard to see a way back for Burnley after Callum Wilson had put the black-and-whites 2-0 up. However, Newcastle duly look the Clarets back into the game with some sloppy defending for Maxwel Cornet’s goal and Cornet, Weghorst and James Tarkowski all went close to equalizing late on as Newcastle were pinned back, but the visitors managed to cling on to send the Clarets down.
Callum Wilson’s timely reminder ahead of summer
Chris Wood may have only returned to training this week, after missing the win against Arsenal with a hip issue, but it said it all about the options at Howe’s disposal that the £ 25m signing was only named among the substitutes against his former club as Callum Wilson led the line once more. The striker ultimately proved the difference between these two sides.
It was Wilson who opened the scoring from the spot in the 20th minute after Newcastle were awarded a penalty by VAR after Nathan Collins had handled the ball inside the area. Wilson had a long wait, as Burnley fans booed the striker, but the number nine mirrored his side’s composure on Sunday with a cool penalty straight down the middle. The atmosphere changed in an instant.
Newcastle, dominating possession, and ruthless on the break, looked the likelier scorers and it was Wilson who grabbed that all important second goal on the hour mark with a superb first-time finish after Saint-Maximin picked him out inside the area following a clinical breakaway. It was Wilson’s eighth goal of the season and while Newcastle’s need for further firepower this season is clear, when the striker is the club’s top scorer despite only playing 18 games, the £ 20m signing still has a huge part to play going forward. This week has been a timely reminder why.
Burnley fans show class as Joelinton suffers worrying injury
There were just a few minutes on the clock when Joelinton went down with a worrying looking injury after appearing to land awkwardly. There have been occasions this season where Joelinton has played through the pain barrier and managed a groin issue to help this side, but it was soon clear that the Brazilian would have to come off as a stretcher was readied.
Although Joelinton did not require oxygen on the field, the midfielder looked in distress as he was carried off and had his hands on his face after suffering what the club confirmed was a ‘deep laceration’. Just as Newcastle fans showed their support by singing Joelinton’s chant – ‘He’s Brazilian. He only cost £ 40 million! ‘ – Burnley supporters showed their class as they applauded the 25-year-old off the field.
Joelinton was replaced by Jacob Murphy in the ninth minute and, although that led to a switch of systems, from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1, Newcastle quickly adjusted and it was Burnley who were disrupted by the stoppage.
Some Newcastle players potentially bid farewell
Just six days after a glorious send-off at St James’ Park, a number of these players potentially bid farewell at Turf Moor. It may be a summer of evolution rather than revolution on Tyneside – Howe is keen to retain the togetherness that has served his side so well – but there will be changes in the coming months and some of these players may have been named in the match day squad for the last time.
After all, there are question marks surrounding the futures of so many: the long-serving Karl Darlow, Federico Fernandez, Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle face uncertain futures; Matt Targett’s loan move is coming to an end; and Sean Longstaff is entering the final weeks of his contract although the club have always been confident the midfielder will extend his stay.
There is also the small matter of those players who were not involved, such as Javier Manquillo, who had chicken pox, and Isaac Hayden, Ciaran Clark and Jamal Lewis, who were not registered in the squad for the second half of the campaign. Howe will speak to these players and the rest of his squad next week.
Newcastle’s 11th-placed bonus
There was, obviously a bigger prize on offer for Burnley on Sunday, a place in the top-flight, but Newcastle also had a number of incentives to win the game. Not only was a place in the top half still potentially up for grabs – Newcastle could have finished anywhere between 10th and 14th depending on how results elsewhere went – but there was also prize money at stake.
Clubs are awarded a merit payment for their league position and Newcastle banked nearly £ 19.5m last season season for finishing in 12th place. Everton, who ended up in 10th, went home with over £ 23.8m while 14th-placed Crystal Palace were handed more than £ 15.1m. You can see why there are additional benefits to finishing as high as possible.
At a time when Newcastle need all the income streams they can get to comply with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules, even an extra few million pounds could potentially help Newcastle sign an additional player or cover a target’s wages. That is why finishing 11th, rather than 14th, is nothing to be sniffed at.
Howe will now look to bring in the players who can help take his side to the next level after Newcastle finished with their best points total in eight years – despite the Magpies failing to win any of their opening 14 league games. January may have been a game changer, but that return is testament to the job Howe has done.
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