Sat 23 Dec 2023, 18:59 by Ash Harrison

Luton Town (A) player ratings: Can we not just play all our games at St James'?

Luton Town (A) player ratings: Can we not just play all our games at St James'?
Serena Taylor/Newcastle United
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Newcastle United suffered their most disappointing defeat in this most relentless of seasons with Luton Town running out deserved 1-0 winners at Kenilworth Road on Saturday afternoon.

The Magpies weren't at it from the off, with Martin Dúbravka called into action too often, too early, and not enough of our outfield players looking up for the battle with their motivated hosts.

In a strange atmosphere due to the circumstances surrounding Hatters captain Tom Lockyer (get well soon!), Eddie Howe cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines as nothing his charges tried came off.

There were some really poor performances from our lot again, unfortunately, with the quartet of Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimarães, Miguel Almirón, and Callum Wilson particularly awful.

In terms of minor positives: Alexander Isak showed a few flashes of brilliance, Kieran Trippier didn't gift the opposition a goal, and Sven Botman got more crucial minutes under his belt after his long layoff.

Let's get into the nitty-gritty, then, in yet another rating article we're writing under duress.

When your front six average a '4' it usually means trouble

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Wilson deserves credit for completing another 90 minutes, but he had a stinker

Martin Dúbravka – 6

This was one of Dubs' best performances since returning to the side. He made one particularly good save with his feet that was positively Pope-esque, but his distribution was again quite poor (also rather Pope-esque) and he still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of commanding his area.

Kieran Trippier – 7 ⭐️

He showed a huge amount of character to put in this sort of performance after the month he's had. While he was still far from the Tripps of old, he should be last in line for blame when the inquest is held. He made eight tackles, five key passes, and won 11/15 duels.

Jamaal Lascelles (c) – 5

We're surprised he's lasted as long as he has done since coming into the side, but he only managed 37 minutes here before being forced off with what looked like a hip injury. He was partially to blame for the goal, being slow to react when defending his zone on a corner.

Fabian Schär – 6

Fab showed equal parts good and bad today and, like many, looks a shadow of his former self on the road at the moment. We don't have any complaints about his work in possession, but there were too many naïve moments defensively for someone of his experience.

Dan Burn – 6

We haven't missed Big Dan Burn's aimless headers while he's been absent, we'll tell you that for free, but those few moments and some typically poor moments in possession aside he was largely fine here. We'd still have started Livramento ahead of him at left-back, though.

Lewis Miley – 5

He has to take most of the blame for the goal for switching off and leaving Townsend a free header, but that lapse in concentration aside he was probably our best midfielder. We were quite surprised to see him substituted so early, especially with how poor Longstaff was.

Bruno Guimarães – 4

While he succeeded in the big moments against Fulham last week, every time Bruno needed to make a crucial pass here he failed to do so, often spectacularly. We need much, much more from him in games like this, but it wasn't for a lack of trying today, he had 114 touches.

Sean Longstaff – 4

Longy hasn't offered enough since returning to the side after injury and this was another poor showing. He always looks like he's on the verge of falling over and he often does go down far, far too easily, while he's bypassed much too often by opponents in the middle.

Miguel Almirón – 3

We appreciate that he's running on fumes, but we're so, so tired of seeing Miggy's name on the teamsheet at the moment. The one pass of note he managed to connect with in the game was to an offside Isak and so was meaningless, much like the rest of his display.

Callum Wilson – 4

Full credit to Wilson for playing a third game in a week and for being available during Isak's absence, but this wasn't his day at all. He missed the best chance of the game in the first half and almost faded from view entirely in the second, but did have some nuisance value.

Anthony Gordon – 5

Much like Almirón, he's very clearly tired out, but Gordon is at least still contributing. He created the best chance of the match for Wilson and was involved in a couple of our better moves when drifting infield to get on the ball. Nobody needs a rest more than him, though.

This was our strongest bench in quite some time

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Serena Taylor/Newcastle United
Isak showed some flashes of his quality, but he's still miles off his usual level

Sven Botman – 7

It's so, so good to have him back. While this wasn't a flawless display by any stretch, he came into a difficult contest and acquitted himself very well, one shaky moment aside.

Alexander Isak – 5

There were a few flashes of magic from Isak here in possession, but the combination with Wilson didn't work and there were a handful of really sloppy passes and touches.

Tino Livramento – 4

Only got given a brief cameo at the end on the right flank and lost possession on three of the seven occasions he had it.

Lewis Hall – 5

He won a couple of tackles but looked quite sluggish considering he only played a handful of minutes.

Next up for the Magpies is Nottingham Forest at home

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We beat Forest 2-0 on opening day last season with Schär scoring a howitzer

As bad as things have become away from St James', we're still a force to be reckoned with on home soil. Happily, we're back at Gallowgate on Boxing Day to welcome Nottingham Forest.

That's Tuesday, for those unsure. The game is a disgustingly early 12.30 p.m. GMT kick-off which will be broadcast on Amazon Prime.

Howay the lads! (And a Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!)

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