Newcastle United progressed through to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night as they beat Leicester City 2-0 at St. James’ Park under the lights.
The Magpies dropped out of The FA Cup at the weekend, after losing to League One side Sheffield Wednesday, but are well on their way to being in with a strong chance of picking up silverware this season in the EFL Cup.
Are Newcastle going to win the EFL Cup?
Eddie Howe’s side produced an impressive performance against the Foxes as they dominated the match from the first whistle to the last and created a number of high-quality chances.
Sean Longstaff and Bruno Guimaraes both came close to opening the scoring in the first half but the opening goal eventually came in the second half when Dan Burn burst into the box and calmly rolled the ball into the far corner.
Joelinton then sealed the victory and Newcastle’s progression through to the last four as he raced onto a brilliant through ball from Miguel Almiron and slotted the ball past Danny Ward.
The Brazilian winger assisted the opener and scored the winner and, because of that, deserves plenty of plaudits for his involvement in the win. An unsung hero, however, for the Magpies was central midfielder Sean Longstaff.
Newcastle’s academy graduate put his big miss early in the match behind him to produce a sublime, high-intensity, display in the middle of the park.
The Magpies constantly put pressure on the away side in order to win the ball back in the opposition’s half and Longstaff played an important role in the tactical set-up.
He won eight of his 11 ground duels and made three clearances, one interception, and three tackles throughout the match, as per Sofascore. This shows that he was able to physically dominate the Leicester midfielders and this allowed Howe’s team to control the game and pile on Ward’s goal time and again.
Longstaff also showcased his ability in possession as he created three chances and completed 88% of his attempted passes from his 58 touches of the ball, as per Sofascore.
The dynamo made a big impact on and off the ball throughout the match and his intensity in and out of possession, alongside Bruno Guimaraes and Joe Willock, set the tone for the match.
He may not have scored or assisted any of the goals but his aforementioned statistics show that Longstaff played a pivotal role in the win and that is why the gem was the unsung hero.