The big name players who are yet to score at St James' Park
On Sunday, Paul Pogba looked like Moussa Sissoko whilst Alexis Sanchez also went missing. Both of these players are yet to score at St James' Park, this got me thinking which other big names who've scored quite a few goals in their career have also been played at St James' Park but are yet to score.
We start with Alexis Sanchez, who isn't just yet to score at St James' Park, he's yet to score against us at all. He set up a good chance for Romelu Lukaku, which the Belgian striker completely fluffed but was turned by the DeAndre Yedlin and despite taking the ball around Martin Dubravka, he attempted a fake shot when it was an open goal, meaning Florian Lejeune was back in time to make the block. The only thing I can remember him doing against us was getting an assist when Arsenal beat us 4-1 in December 2014, the last time we down tooled against the Gunners (any coincidence that this game came shortly before Alan Pardew left?).
Diego Costa has only played once at St James' Park so far and apart from a curling effort that went just wide in the first half, the Spaniard had no big impact as his Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the season thanks to some heroic defending. Costa missed the trip to Tyneside the following season due to a suspension and was missed by the Blues as we held them to a 2-2 draw although he scored in both games against us at Stamford Bridge.
Paul Pogba looked like his fellow Frenchman Moussa Sissoko on Sunday and was subbed off shortly after Matt Ritchie scored the winning goal. He may have netted on his return from injury when we lost 4-1 at Old Trafford in November but was dominated by Mohamed Diame and Jonjo Shelvey as Man Utd slipped to a 1-0 loss on Tyneside.
Rivaldo was close to a move to Tyneside in 2002 but joined AC Milan instead. But whilst he had a successful five year spell at Barcelona and was named in the team of the tournament as Brazil won that summer's World Cup, he was involved when the Catalan giants were beaten 3-2 at St James' Park in September 1997 and failed to get on the scoresheet with future Barca boss Luis Enrique and Luis Figo, another player who'd be close to joined us in the future, scoring the consolation goals.
Xavi started in Barcelona's 2-0 win at St James' Park in March 2003 but didn't have much impact. The young Spaniard picked up a yellow card nine minutes into the game as the Catalans rarely threatened us in the first half and was subbed off for Gerard López early on in the second half.
Samuel Eto'o has played at St James' Park four times and not only hasn't scored against us at all but has also been on the losing side every time. The first two occasions were in the round of 16 of European competitions, firstly in a 4-1 loss with Real Mallorca in the UEFA Cup in March 2004 and secondly in a 1-0 loss with Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League in March 2013. His other two appearances at St James' Park were both in the Premier League, he came on as a substitute for Fernando Torres during Chelsea's 2-0 loss on Tyneside in November 2013 but had little impact other than seeing a shot superbly blocked by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and then started for Everton as they were beaten 3-2 in Alan Pardew's last game in charge of us in December 2014 but all he did was send a golden chance in the second half over the bar.
Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne impressed in Man City's 1-0 win at St James' Park in December but is still yet to score on Tyneside. He scored a worldie in his first game against us as the Citizens hammered us 6-1 in October 2015 but when they came to St James' Park six and a half months later, the Belgian playmaker and his Man City teammates were facing a much different Newcastle side, who now had Rafa Benitez in charge and he was stuck in Jamaal Lascelles' back pocket that night and the only notable thing he did that night was waste a golden chance to make it 2-0 by putting the ball over the bar before a Vurnon Anita strike sealed us a 1-1 draw.
Luis Suarez is arguably one of the best strikers on the planet but he never scored at St James' Park during his time with Liverpool. He had a cross tipped onto the bar the first half of the Reds' 2-0 loss on Tyneside in April 2012 before he missed their 6-0 win at St James' due to suspension a year later, although his strike against us in November 2012 at Anfield won Match of The Day's goal of the month award. But he did get an assist for Daniel Sturridge to save the Merseysiders a 2-2 draw in October 2013 and came close to winning it with the last kick of the game as his shot was brilliantly saved by Tim Krul.
Gareth Bale might have single-handedly won the game for Tottenham against us at White Hart Lane in February 2013 but has never scored at St James' Park, he went off injured in his game on Tyneside in October 2007 as Spurs lost 3-1 and was an unused substitute in a 2-1 loss in December 2008 before going off injured again in a 1-1 in January 2011. Makeshift left-back Ryan Taylor coped well with the Welshman in a 2-2 draw nine months later. He did hit the bar as Spurs dominated the first half when they came to St James' Park on the opening day of the following season but didn't get on the scoresheet as they were beaten 2-1 in Andre Villas-Boas' first game in charge meaning he's never been on the winning side in a league game at St James' Park, in fact, Spurs' first league win on Tyneside in nine seasons (including our first season in the Championship) came in their first season without Bale and although he played in their 2-1 win at St James' in the League Cup in September 2008, he was subbed off with the score still 0-0.
Alessandro Del Piero and Pavel Nedved
I've decided to include Alessandro Del Piero and Pavel Nedved in the same section as their only competitive appearances at St James' Park were both in Juventus' 1-0 loss on Tyneside in October 2002. Nedved wasted a good chance to give the Italians an early lead after a poor clearance from Steve Harper whilst Del Piero might have scored a double as we lost 2-0 in Turin three weeks previously but had a quiet night as Gianluigi Buffon's heroics might have kept Juventus in the game but he was eventually beaten by Andy Griffin. When the Old Lady visited us again in July 2007, this time in a pre season friendly, Nedved played the whole game whilst Del Piero was an unused sub as Claudio Ranieri's side were beaten 2-0.