Pace is the answer for Newcastle United
Two of the first names on the team sheet tonight for me, are Christian Atsu and DeAndre Yedlin.
No disrespect to any other players but when either or both of these players are included, it makes Newcastle a more dangerous animal.
Christian Atsu provided more threat in the final 20 or so minutes against Sheffield Wednesday, than the rest of his teammates showed over the whole 90 minutes. As well as his ability on the ball, his sheer pace terrifies the opposition.
All of us who have played football at any level, know that the one thing you can’t do anything about if it is used effectively, is pace. If it is a straight run for the ball you are knackered and likewise, if a quick player runs at you and knocks the ball past, your only option is to foul them.
With Newcastle playing a possession game it is essential there is the odd wildcard such as Christian Atsu, who can give something different and get the opposition on the back foot.
Likewise, DeAndre Yedlin, as soon as Newcastle have decent possession in the middle of the pitch, he is away down the right hand side to give the Magpies an extra attacking angle. The thing is as well, the USA international is so quick, he can get back into position if the ball if the other team get possession.
I’m not saying that Gouffran and/or Anita don’t deserve a place in the team but I think it is an easy choice whether to play those two or Atsu and Yedlin.
Either Anita or Gouffran could be used in a different role maybe against Nottingham Forest but the extra pace (and ability) that the speedy duo can provide, is essential down the wings.
A lot of the problems against Sheffield Wednesday came from the slow passing of the ball but that can be largely negated by players like Yedlin and Atsu who are also prepared to carry the ball, not just rely on passing it time and again.
With Matt Ritchie not hitting the heights of earlier in the season he is maybe another one who is under pressure from Christian Atsu but whether it is Gouffran or Ritchie, surely the Ghanaian international has to get a game tonight ahead of one of them.
The same with DeAndre Yedlin, he brings such energy to the team and makes opposition players commit. Getting Forest under pressure from the first minute is imperative and both Atsu and Yedlin can help get a number of early bookings by running at their opposite numbers.
Possession is great but there has to be an end product, both of these pace merchants can help supply that tonight.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]