Newcastle’s six-game winning streak in the Premier League came to an end on New Year’s Eve when Leeds were held to a 0-0 draw, losing their chance to finish second in the 2023 table.
The Magpies failed to get going after Manchester City were also held to a draw by Everton, but remain third in the Premier League on 34 points, two points behind Pep Guardiola’s side as the new year beckons.
The game was played in difficult conditions as the rain fell at St James’ Park and it was fiery at times, but a dominant Newcastle side could not find a way past a stubborn Leeds defense that kept a first clean sheet in eight league games.
Ilan Meslier also made some great saves, repeatedly denying Chris Wood and Fabian Schar, while Shaun Longstaff and Joelinton were among the players to hit wide as Newcastle managed 16 shots and an xG of 2.11.
They will probably feel aggrieved not to be awarded a late first-half penalty after Tyler Adams’ clumsy challenge on Schar. Tensions simmered late on as Newcastle’s frustration came to the fore, but Leeds held on for an impressive point.
Jesse Marsh’s side will end the year in 14th place with 16 points, three points above the relegation places, and the Leeds boss was delighted with his side’s performance.
“We defended really well, especially the set pieces, because in the second half they put the ball forward almost every time they had a chance,” he said.
“Our mentality to get the clean sheet was fantastic and then executing what we wanted in set-piece situations we did very well. Ilan Meslier also had a big day.”
How Leeds upset Newcastle
Bruno Guimaraes paid a touching tribute to Pele before kick-off. The midfielder wore a Brazil shirt with ‘Pele’ written on the back as players gathered around the center circle for a minute’s applause to remember the football legend.
It was also a perfect start at a windswept St James’s Park. However, Newcastle created the better openings, Wood unable to capitalize after rounding Meslier before Joelton also shot straight at the Leeds keeper.
But Newcastle soon began to dominate with Kieran Trippier’s set-piece delivery giving Leeds real problems. With two corners, Char headed over a free and Dan Byrne and the powerful Miguel Almiron were also unable to find the net. Sven Bottman then forced a save from Meslier from Trippier’s free-kick.
- Newcastle named the same XI that beat Leicester 3-0 on Boxing Day. Callum Wilson returned to the bench after illness ruled him out of the previous game.
- Leeds made three changes as they lost 3-1 to Man City. Luke Ayling, Jack Harrison and Tyler Adams returned to the XI. Rasmus Christensen, Sam Greenwood and Mark Rocca dropped to the bench.
- Crisencio Summerville was also named among the subs, but the game came too soon for Patrick Bamford, who was left out of the matchday squad.
Newcastle will question why they were not awarded a penalty in the first half. Schar led the counter-attack before Adams fouled him. However, despite having to answer from the clumsy challenge, VAR did not review the incident.
The second half was fit for New Year’s Eve fireworks and both keepers were made to work early. Trippier’s free-kick was tipped by Botman to Wood, but Meslier got out quickly to smuggle the ball away from the striker’s feet. At the other end, Nick Pope dived to keep out Rodrigo’s curling effort.
Meslier denied Char again when another easy header was pushed away by the Leeds keeper. Longstaff had a great chance soon after, only for Messier to beat from close range, but he fired wide.
Newcastle: Pope (6), Trippier (8), Bothman (7), Schaar (7), Joelton (7), Wood (6), Almiron (6), Willock (6), Byrne (7), Longstaff (6), Guimaraes (7).
Subgroups used: Wilson (6), St Maximin (7), Murphy (none).
Leeds: Meslier (8), Ayling (7), Forshaw (7), Koch (6), Cooper (7), Aaronson (6), Harrison (6), Adams (7), Rodrigo (6), Struik (7), Gnonto (7).
Subgroups used: Roca (6), Klich (6), Summerville (6), Christensen (6), Geldhard (none).
Player of the match: Ilan Meslier.
With Newcastle in the lead, they soon introduced Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maxmin. However, chances continued to slip away with both Longstaff and Jolinton firing over from distance as the home crowd grew increasingly frustrated.
It soon spilled onto the pitch in the last minute of the quarter. Wilson called Meslier’s long clearance into question by pushing the goalkeeper to the floor. There were then confrontations between the two sets of players before Wilson and Guimaraes were brought on.
Player of the match – Ilan Meslier
Another great performance from the Leeds keeper who was key to keeping a clean sheet for his side.
Howe: We were hoping to win today
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe:
“It was one of those days for us. We had enough chances to win comfortably but it just didn’t work for us today.
“We had some really good moments in the game early on and you have to take one of the chances we create.
“It shows how far we’ve come that they wasted time and took seconds out of the game. From our point of view, we have to do better in certain situations. The only thing missing was the killer instinct in front of goal.
“We were frustrated with our game and it got bitter and fragmented, but we still created chances until the end. We’re disappointed in the dressing room. We were hoping to win today.
“A lot has happened in the year to go back 365 days and reflect on where we were. The success of the players and everyone involved at the club, it’s been a great year and now we’re looking forward to next year. I hope we can continue that momentum. , which we have obtained.”
Marsh: We weathered the storm to get a good point
Leeds boss Jesse Marsh:
“We defended really well, especially the set pieces, especially in the second half they sent the ball forward almost every time they had a chance.
“Our mentality to get the clean sheet was fantastic and then executing what we wanted in game situations we did really well. Ilan Meslier also had a big day.
“We’re very united internally. It’s a close-knit group, it’s a group that cares about the club and the direction of the club.
“Whether guys are starting, off the bench, everybody knows it takes all our energy in one direction to give ourselves a chance to be a good team in this league. I think it’s rewarding for the fans to see a hard-working, committed team.
“I thought maybe we could have scored in the first half and we were actually quite good. Maybe it was unfortunate but Newcastle have amazing first halves.
“I think it was a good point for us to go into half-time 0-0, play pretty well and weather the storm in the second half.”
Morrison: Good point for Leeds
Clinton Morrison on Sky Sports News:
“It’s a poor finish from Newcastle but when you go to St James’ Park and defend like that you deserve it [a point]. Leeds defended brilliantly and they were outstanding.
“It’s a good point for them because nobody expected them to get anything but Newcastle will be disappointed because they were the better team.
“You can never write Newcastle off [for the title race]. At the start of the season, would we say Newcastle are there? No chance, so their fans might not think they have a chance, but it depends on what kind of business they do in January.
“They will be disappointed today, but you can’t write them off.”
FPL Stats – Newcastle 0-0 Leeds
FPL Stats: Newcastle v Leeds
|Bonus points||Trippier (3), Meslier (2), Cooper (1)|
Opta Stats – Another goalless draw for Newcastle
- Leeds have gone unbeaten in four consecutive away league games against Newcastle for the first time (W1 D3).
- Newcastle took 41 points at St James’ Park in 2022 (P18 W12 D5 L1), with only Liverpool (48) and Man City (44) taking more Premier League points at home in the calendar year.
- Newcastle have had more goalless draws (4) than any other team in the Premier League this season.
- Newcastle have not won their last league game in any of the last six calendar years (D5 L1), since they beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 in the Championship in 2016. The last time they won such a game as a top league team was in 2014 (3:2 against Everton).
Tuesday, January 3, 7:00 p.m
Start at 19:45
Newcastle’s first game of 2023 is on Tuesday when they travel to Premier League side Arsenal, live on Sky Sports; start at 19.45 Leeds host West Ham at Elland Road on Wednesday; start at 19.45