What a performance. Here is how we rated our heroic troops and who we (eventually) decided on for man of the match!
Vito Mannone – 9
Mannone has been an absolute revelation. Yet again today he was standing big, making excellent saves, and generally commanding his box. He didn’t flinch when Newcastle had chances after the break. Only misses out on a 10 because of one flap at a corner, which could have cost us a goal.
Phil Bardsley – 10
Superb. This was Bardsley at his absolute best. Newcastle left wingers in his pocket, including fatty Ben Arfa, the man who thinks he can win the Ballon D’Or, who had to switch wings to get away from him. Excellent going forward, including winning the penalty. Hard as nails wherever he was on the pitch. Give the lad a new contract now.
Wes Brown – 10
As commanding a centre half performance as it is possible to put in. Must be sitting at home chuckling to himself that Pardew decided to rely on long balls. Forget Adam Johnson (until further down the page), take Wes to Brazil!
John O’Shea – 8
An excellent performance from O’Shea. The less obviously important member of our partnership at the heart of defence, but looks so good alongside Brown and was untroubled all day.
Marcos Alonso – 9
Again, he was excellent. What a baptism for a lad whose first month for us have included two semi finals and a derby – none of which have phased him. We have looked a far better side since he arrived. Only misses out on a 10 because he should have done better with a header in the first 10 minutes.
Liam Bridcutt – 8
Exactly what Brighton fans said we would be getting – and exactly what we needed. A natural leader in the middle of the park, in his very first game at this level – and his first game of any description in a month. He will undoubtedly be Gus’ General on the pitch. Faded a little in the second half – that’s understandable. Very impressive debut.
Ki Sung-Yeung – 9
After an unusually dodgy performance against Stoke in midweek, right back to his best. Clearly the man making us tick, his composure and ability on the ball has caught on with the rest of the team. As the game spread out in the second half, he bossed the midfield.
Jack Colback – 10 – (Man of the Match)
For someone who is sometimes criticised for not imposing himself on a game, midfield performances do not get more dominant than this. He was everywhere. Scored a goal, set one up, and got everything he did right. A perfect display. Give the lad a new contract.
Adam Johnson – 9
For all the discussions about what he is doing differently, I think it’s quite simple. He’s clearly enjoying his football, and playing with a freedom where he isn’t afraid to a mistake. The team are playing to his strengths, instead of giving the ball in our own half, and how he is making the most of it. The Mag slayer.
Fabio Borini - 9
Outstanding. It’s been one of the stories of the season, how he has gone from a substitute making little impact, via two derby goals and crucial cup goals, into one of our most important players. I love the confidence he has in himself when we have a penalty. If anything, I love the work rate (including yet another clearance off the line) even more.
Jozy Altidore - 9
Building on a good performance against Stoke, this was even better. The skunks simply could not handle him at all. Overnight, he seems to have discovered how to use his strength to maximum effect – and to be fair to him, the players around him aren’t leaving him isolated up front. His lack of goal scoring instinct remains an issue though – I was terrified when he wanted to take the penalty, and gutted for him that he didn’t score the goal he deserved when one on one with Krul.
Seb Larsson – 8
Came on for Johnson to shore things up when the game was clearly ours to lose. He did his job, worked ever so hard, defended high up the pitch, and snuffed out their attacking threat down our right. Could – and maybe should – have scored with a half volley late on.
Craig Gardner – N/A
He came on right at the death, so I cant give him a rating – but for a lad who appears to be on his way out of the club, and who clearly doesn’t fit Poyet’s style, I'm glad he came on to be on the pitch at the end – for all his faults, a more wholehearted, committed player, you couldn’t hope to find.