This season Newcastle United may find that they are best set up to play away from home, looking to accumulate a significant amount of points on their travels.
When playing at St James Park, home fans often expect the Magpies to take the game to the opposition, especially against so called weaker clubs.
However, like last season showed, this can be Newcastle’s downfall, as they were often left exposed at the back when pressing for a goal.
Throughout pre-season Rafa Benitez has been working hard on the defensive side to Newcastle’s game, which was evident in the opening game on Sunday.
Until Jonjo shelvey’s red card five minutes into the second half, Spurs were struggling to break down a solid looking defensive line, which looked compact and organised from the off.
On the road this campaign, the Magpies are going to be tested defensively, with the opposition having large chunks of possession.
This means Rafa’s players are going to have to defend resolutely and also be deadly when they create chances at the other end.
At the top end of the pitch Benitez has a lot of pace at his disposal, with Christian Atsu and Dwight Gayle proving they are more than capable of beating a man and getting into dangerous positions.
When Jonjo Shelvey returns from suspension, he and new boy Mikel Merino will be pivotal in turning attack into defence.
This week Benitez drafted in Spanish forward Joselu, who will go straight into the squad for Sunday’s trip to Huddersfield – the 27 year old will offer an aerial threat in the opposition box, something which Newcastle lacked against Tottenham.
With Matt Ritchie’s crossing ability, the former Stoke man will thrive off his deliveries, giving Newcastle an alternative option.
Joselu has impressed during pre-season at Stoke scoring four goals and will add firepower to a team/squad needing more of a goal threat.
Teams will see Newcastle as a winnable game on their own soil, which will put extra pressure on the home team to get all three points.
It will allow Benitez’ men to play with less demand than that which they will face at St James park.
And the Magpies certainly enjoyed playing on the road last campaign, breaking their record, when winning 14 games and only conceding 17 goals in the process.
Sunday’s opponents Huddersfield also benefited from playing away in their first match last weekend, beating Crystal Palace 3-0 at Selhurst Park.
David Wagner’s side will prove tough opposition at the John Smith Stadium this weekend, however Benitez will be looking to pick up hisfirst three points of the season.
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