Newcastle team v Leeds with six changes that can get this season back on track
Looking at this Newcastle team v Leeds.
You have to wonder, is this a six pointer already?
Or at least a three points that Newcastle United ‘have to’ win?
The next six games see Newcastle playing away to Watford, Wolves, Palace and Brighton, whilst the only home games in that period taking us up to past the November international break are Spurs and Chelsea.
With Newcastle United already in the relegation point and only Norwich preventing NUFC being rock bottom, points and a confidence boost look desperately needed against Bielsa’s side.
With that, here’s my choice below of Newcastle team v Leeds for this upcoming on Friday night, as well as my reasons for going with this eleven.
As a starting point…
This was the Newcastle team v Man Utd:
Woodman, Manquillo, Hayden, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Willock, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton
I make it six changes in total that I would make to that starting eleven that were hammered 4-1 at Old Trafford, with a significant change of direction in terms of both team selection and tactics / set-up.
It is unfortunate to do it just after Woodman made the blunder for that first goal at Old Trafford but I think Darlow should now play.
I don’t think Woodman has done a lot wrong and the vast majority of problems have came from those in front of him. However, now that Darlow is fit, I would have played him now, regardless of whatever was going to have happened against Man Utd.
Changing from a back five to a back four is also another easy choice in my opinion.
There is no magic answer when you have Steve Bruce in charge and Mike Ashley adding to the problems with his ridiculous summer transfer window. However, having a back five clearly isn’t a positive this season, more goals conceded than any other PL team and difficult to see how a back four would do any worse under Bruce’s direction.
Manquillo an easy choice at right-back, arguably Newcastle’s best player on Saturday and as well as his goal, reminded us he is easily the best NUFC defender on the right side.
On the other side, Ritchie like Murphy had proved a liability when it comes to defending this season, Lewis is at least quick and mobile and worth a chance against a Leeds team who play with pace and energy.
In the middle, for me Fernandez is easily our best defender and organiser to play in centre of defence, whilst Fabian Schar, as well as defending, can help get Newcastle playing better football from the back. Lascelles has been poor in terms of both form and leadership, so could do with a step away to sort himself out.
Continuing the theme of trying to get as much pace and football / passing ability in the team, I would overlook Hayden in midfield.
Newcastle need to match Leeds as much as possible in these departments, compete higher up the pitch and hopefully win back possession in dangerous areas.
Murphy is no defender and I think we can get better overall performances out of him playing higher up the pitch, going forward is his strength and also not bad at getting interceptions in and winning the ball back.
Sean Longstaff has done ok in the middle despite Bruce’s formation / tactics often leaving him outnumbered. Whilst Joe Willock completes a mobile midfield three to compete with their Leeds counterparts.
With no return date for Callum Wilson, I know that Dwight Gayle isn’t an ideal replacement BUT he is the only one we have got! Joelinton is woeful and whilst I have seen fans point to a few things he contributed at Old Trafford, overall he continues to be terrible and you’d be amazed if he ever scored another goal. Six in seventy two PL appearances says it all.
Get Gayle in scoring positions and he can score goals, Leeds have been poor at the back and I think he can get some joy on Friday night if on the pitch for the first(!) time this season in the Premier League.
On Saturday, we saw Miguel Almiron showing us at times just how good he is in turning defence into attack, no time more so than on the goal he engineered for Manquillo.
Almiron has to be encouraged along with ASM to get further up the pitch and once again, if Newcastle can win back possession in dangerous areas, this pair can create chances for both themselves and the likes of Dwight Gayle.
My Newcastle team v Leeds:
Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Schar, Lewis, Willock, Murphy, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Gayle
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]