Newcastle United fans were left raging on social media over the performance of midfield maestro Mikel Merino in the Magpies’ clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The north east side went in at half time 2-1 down to the Blues, despite having taken the lead through Dwight Gayle, with Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata netting to turn the game on its head.
After a bright start from Rafael Benitez’s men, Thibaut Courtois blocked a close range effort from Jacob Murphy only for the ball to fall to Gayle, who poked home into an empty net.
However, Chelsea went on to dominate the first 45 minutes, with the Belgian midfielder and the Spanish striker taking advantage of gaps in the Newcastle defence, and it was 3-1 after Hazard netted a second half penalty.
One man who disappointed the Toon Army was firm fans’ favourite Mikel Merino, who struggled to have the desired impact in the centre of the park against his self-confessed hero Cesc Fabregas.
They took to Twitter to voice their frustrations at what they saw from the 21-year-old, with many questioning whether the role he was employed in by Rafael Benitez was suited for his qualities.
Here, Football Insider has rounded up a selection of the supporters’ best tweets:
Sorry like but Merino needs to step it up defensively just spectating
— Neil (@Gazzareay) December 2, 2017
To be fair it’s Merino that’s been the worst today. Left hazard for the goal and isn’t tracking back. Diame is trying not his fault this is too high a level for him
— Craig Ferguson (@Fergie_1984) December 2, 2017
merino miles off the pace again , lack of games hurting him 🙁
— mark-nufc (@M_P_J_) December 2, 2017
Merino is simply not a holding midfielder
— mark allman (@allman85) December 2, 2017
Merino has been abysmal today.
— Jack Bell (@jackbnufc) December 2, 2017
Not sure if he’s unfit but Merino has been so sloppy the last two games. Lejeune is awful defensively #NUFC
— Dan Blackwell (@DanBlackwell77) December 2, 2017
Merino desire to get on the ball is taking the shape out of the team. Diame is horrendous
— Rafas Beard (@BillWal66497733) December 2, 2017
His appearance at Stamford Bridge was the 12th appearance in his Newcastle career, after joining from Borussia Dortmund on an initial one-year loan before it was turned into a permanent deal, with a five year deal signed.
In other Newcastle United news, Danny Higginbotham has pinpointed the Magpies’ failures in recent weeks.