Newcastle United player ratings versus Preston North End

Newcastle United's Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates scoring their fourth goal

Rafael Benitez's Magpies romped to a 6-0 victory over Preston in Tuesday night's EFL Cup round of 16 tie.

Picture this, it is the 84th minute and Preston North End, who are currently trailing the game 5-0, are holding the ball in Newcastle United's corner, attempting to run down the clock in a desperate attempt to gain a brief reprieve from the rampant Magpies' endless onslaught of attacking forays.

It was an unusual scene which summed up Rafael Benitez's side's utter supremacy during their impressive 6-0 trouncing of Simon Grayson's men in Tuesday night's EFL Cup round of 16 tie.

The Magpies were already leading the game 1-0 courtesy of Aleksandar Mitrovic's opening goal before Preston midfielder Alan Browne was sent for an early bath following a hare-brained challenge on Jack Colback; a red card which effectively ended the tie as a contest and lit the touch paper on a painful night for Simon Grayson's in-form Lilywhites in front of an almost 50,000 strong crowd.

Further goals followed courtesy of Mohamed Diame (2), Matt Ritchie, Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez, as the Magpies laid siege to the Preston goal, and Benitez's men could have won the game by double figures after striking the woodwork several times and spurning a number of glorious opportunities.

Here is how Benitez's red-hot Newcastle side rated in their systematic dismantling of Preston. 

Matz Sels - 8/10

The summer-signing from Genk has not had a dream start to his Newcastle career after coming in for criticism from large sections of the St James' Park crowd for a series of costly errors; mistakes which have ultimately led to him losing his place in the Magpies' goal to teammate Karl Darlow.

However, Sels was handed an opportunity to show what he is capable of in Tuesday night's game, and the 24-year-old performed well, showing good distribution and confidently dealing with a number of dangerous looking Preston crosses.

The Belgian international produced a stunning late save to preserve his side's clean-sheet, and his accomplished display reminded supporters that he still has plenty to offer.

DeAndre Yedlin - 8/10

Yedlin has been outstanding for Newcastle since joining the club from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, and the 23-year-old continued his impressive form with another swashbuckling display against Simon Grayson's side.

The United States' international's blossoming relationship with winger Matt Ritchie is striking fear into Championship sides up and down the country, and Preston had no answer for the pair's slick interplay and pacy exchanges, as they ran riot down the right-hand side.

Grant Hanley - 7/10

The former Blackburn Rovers captain has performed impressively for Newcastle in the EFL Cup this season, and he continued his good form by putting in another solid showing against Preston. 

In truth, Hanley was rarely tested by the Lilywhites' redundant front line, however, he looked sharp throughout and his leadership qualities were evident for all to see.

Chancel Mbemba - 7/10

Fan favourite Mbemba has endured a difficult period in his Newcastle career after suffering a bizarre injury and then losing his place in Benitez's starting XI due to Ciaran Clark's exceptional form, however he bounced back with a confident showing in Tuesday night's game.

Like Hanley, Mbemba was never forced to break a sweat against Preston, but he performed all of his tasks with aplomb and looked back to full-fitness after a frustrating spell of niggling issues.

Paul Dummett - 7/10

Dummett was handed the captain's armband in the absence of skipper Jamaal Lascelles, who was rested, and the Welsh international was solid throughout, putting in his usual diligent defensive display to render Preston void as an attacking force.

Matt Ritchie - 8/10

Ritchie has proved to be one of the signings of the season since his summer switch to St James' Park from Bournemouth, and the Scotland international continued his terrific form in a black-and-white shirt with another industrious display on the right-hand side of midfield.

The 27-year-old has instantly earned himself a place in the hearts of the Geordie faithful, and he netted his fifth goal of the season with an emphatic finish from the penalty spot to make the game 3-0 and put Newcastle out of sight.

Jack Colback - 7/10

Colback was actually one of Newcastle's better players during the opening stages of Tuesday night's game, before Browne's x-rated challenge left him lying in a heap and forced him to be withdrawn from the action prematurely.

Hopefully the underrated midfielder's injury is not too serious and he can make a swift return to the Magpies' squad.

Isaac Hayden - 8/10

Hayden has been another of Newcastle's surprise packages this season, and the former Arsenal youth prospect was head and shoulders above the Preston midfield throughout the 90 minutes, as he turned in an adventurous performance which was full of quality and invention.

Christian Atsu - 8/10

With Ritchie in fine form on the right-side, Atsu was introduced to the opposite side of Newcastle's midfield during Tuesday night's game, and the on-loan Chelsea winger added balance and menace to Newcastle's attacks down the left-hand side during an impressive individual display.

The nippy 24-year-old was desperately unlucky not to grab the second goal of his Magpies' career after striking the woodwork on two separate occasions, however, he can be very happy with a virtuoso performance.

Mohamed Diame - 8/10

Marquee summer signing Mo Diame has been heavily criticised by some Newcastle fans in recent weeks after an underwhelming start to life in the North East, however he turned in his best display in a black and white shirt to date on Tuesday night.

The unorthodox Senegalese international was full of running throughout, and showed his class with a series of delightful finishes, strikes which should erase humiliating memories of his howling first-half miss.

Hopefully this can be the platform the powerful 29-year-old needs to kick-start his Magpies' career and rekindle the terrific form he showed with former club Hull City.

Aleksandar Mitrovic 9/10

Cult hero Aleksandar Mitrovic has been chomping at the bit in recent weeks, after finding first-team minutes difficult to come by due to the scintillating form of teammate and The Championship's current top goalscorer Dwight Gayle.

The enigmatic Serbian was handed a rare start against Preston on Tuesday night and he delivered an exceptional no.9 performance to remind Benitez of the unique assets he can offer this season.

Mitrovic chased down every loose ball, harried the Preston defence, challenged earnestly for every header and demonstrated fine composure to net a duo of expertly-taken finishes.

The jubilant St James' Park crowd let the burly 22-year-old know how they felt about his all-action display by relentlessly chanting his name during the closing stages of the game, and the former Anderlecht hit-man has certainly given his manager a selection dilemma after a masterful performance.

Substitutes

Jonjo Shelvey - 8/10

Shelvey was introduced to the action following Jack Colback's nasty looking first-half injury, and the former Swansea City visionary once again showed his enviable creative talents during a consummate display.

Vurnon Anita - 7/10

The versatile Anita was brought on in place of Paul Dummett with the game wrapped up late in the second half, and the former Ajax star linked up well with Atsu whilst he was on the field.

Ayoze Perez - 8/10

Perez entered the fray as a late replacement for winger Matt Ritchie, and the gifted 23-year-old netted a fine curling finish to build upon his stylish double in last weekend's 3-0 victory over Ipswich Town.

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