With record signing Joelinton making his Newcastle United debut, people would have been forgiven for putting their focus on the club’s new number 9 ahead of kick-off against Arsenal on Sunday.
While the Brazilian showed glimpses of what he can do, it was a far more familiar face who was Newcastle’s best player: Isaac Hayden.
The 24-year-old had been linked with a summer move away from St. James’ Park during the summer, as reported by The Northern Echo, though his performance against the Gunners highlights how important it is that he stayed.
It was the former Arsenal man who was awarded the highest rating of any Newcastle player by WhoScored – in fact, Man of the Match Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the only player on the pitch to get more than his rating of 7.5.
The midfielder made five tackles throughout the game, a number which was only beaten by Paul Dummett.
He also made three interceptions, which was only bettered by Fabian Schar, who made a very impressive seven.
Hayden was efficient on the ball as well as off it, as he completed all three of his attempted dribbles and had the highest pass success rate of any Newcastle player, finishing with 84%.
The 24-year-old may not be the most glamorous of players, but he is certainly a useful one to have in your side.
There was some calamity in the Newcastle midfield following Jetro Willems’ introduction, as reported by The Daily Mail, but Hayden was able to still put in a solid performance and show just how reliable he can be.
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