By Dominic Toner
Football Insider analyses three talking points from Newcastle’s 2-0 victory against Aston Villa in the Championship.
Diame should be axed
Newcastle attacker Mohamed Diame should be dropped to the bench for the next game after his performance against Aston Villa. The 29-year-old can’t be faulted for his efforts in the match, but was lacking end product in his game. He played in the number 10 role behind the striker, but was unable to threaten the Villa goal. Diame was recalled to the starting XI and failed to make the most of his chance. The attacker has scored just five goals in 28 appearances this season and should be achieving a better goal rate in the Championship. Newcastle do have the options to rotate the attacking line-up, with Ayoze Perez a potential replacement for Diame.
Performance of champions
Newcastle delivered the kind of performance shown by champions in the win over Villa on Monday night. Rafael Benitez’s side were extremely quiet in the first-half and were restricted to just one goalscoring opportunity, which Yoan Gouffran gratefully accepted from a corner. They improved in the second period and Henri Lansbury scored an own goal, but were nowhere near their best. The Magpies returned to the summit of the league table with the win and managed to grind out a result. Newcastle have shown this season they have the quality to blow teams away with their play, but the victory over Villa was equally as impressive. They are showing all the signs of a team that can gain automatic promotion and should be favourites to beat Brighton to the title.
Darlow a top goalkeeper
Karl Darlow kept yet another clean sheet for the Magpies this season and has been a crucial part of the club’s success. He was fairly quiet during the majority of the Villa game, but was called into action on a couple of occasions. The 26-year-old showed he has the qualities of a top goalkeeper by keeping his team in the game, despite being a passenger for the most-part. Darlow has continued to develop this season and has firmly grabbed the number one position. He now has 12 clean sheets in 25 league games and teams that get promoted always need a solid goalkeeper. The shot stopper has certainly proven his worth to Benitez and can guide the Magpies to promotion.
In other Newcastle team news, Jack Colback has identified the key to success this season.