Only two options – Steve Bruce has to drop Valentino Lazaro at Crystal Palace after one start or…
Valentino Lazaro is a big headache for Steve Bruce.
The January loan signing definitely has ability but gives the NUFC Head Coach a major problem ahead of Saturday’ match.
Steve Bruce has to drop Valentino Lazaro at Crystal Palace after one start for Newcastle United, unless he makes major changes.
At Arsenal, the Austrian international did ok. The home side understandably nervous after only two wins in their last 17 Premier League matches and showing little ambition before the break.
With the Gunners not committing too many players forward, it meant Valentino Lazaro and the rest of the defence looked pretty comfortable.
It also meant that Lazaro had a decent amount of freedom to get forward down the right and put some good balls into the box, as well as linking up quite well with teammates when attacking.
After the break a very different story, Mikel Arteta giving his team a talking to and telling them to get up the pitch and get at Newcastle.
The second half seeing the NUFC defence, especially Valentino Lazaro, looking anything but comfortable.
The Austrian international at least partly at fault for the first two goals, as Newcastle United collapsed to a four goal defeat.
Valentino Lazaro actually summed up the game pretty well, especially from his own perspective, when reflecting on his first start:
“The first half I felt very good and confident on the pitch, I had a lot of ways forward and also with the set-pieces.
“We had some chances to score, for my first start I was really happy with the first half.
“Second half, after those two quick goals, we fell apart.
“Unfortunately, for the second goal, Nicolas Pepe gets the ball between my feet and that was very unlucky.
“Unfortunately, after that, the whole team fell apart. We have to bounce back from those mentally tough situations.
“I’m adjusting to that [playing wing-back], you can see that I’m a winger and my strengths are in attack.”
Six days later and Newcastle United face Crystal Palace.
Palace are the only team to have scored less goals than Newcastle but they always have one big threat.
The idea of Valentino Lazaro up against Wilfried Zaha brings me out in a cold sweat.
Zaha is arguably the best and most dangerous dribbler in the Premier League.
If Steve Bruce keeps Valentino Lazaro, a natural attacking winger, at wing-back against Zaha, it is asking for trouble.
You need an out and out defender marking the Palace dangerman and for me, it has to be Javier Manquillo, if he is fit enough after returning to training.
Failing that, Bruce needs to go with DeAndre Yedlin. The USA international might not be the greatest defender either but he is a far better option than Lazaro.
This is where we then get into the politics of the situation.
Both Lazaro and Rose have came to Newcastle to play every week in order to be fit for the summer Euros. Newcastle United have committed to give them regular games but is this an obligation that would still allow them to leave Valentino Lazaro out as a one-off? We are maybe about to find out.
The alternative of course is for Steve Bruce to play Manquillo or Yedlin up against Zaha and find another place for Lazaro in his team.
However, I’m guessing that to do so, would mean having to totally ditch the usual formation and go with four at the back.
Personally, I would go with that, at least for this game.
Put Miguel Almiron on the left wing, which is his preferred side anyway, put Lazaro on right wing, then Joelinton and ASM through the middle.
What will be Steve Bruce’s call?
I am intrigued to find out.
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