It’s not the place we thought we would be at this time of the season. Bottom of the table with only two points to our name, Newcastle United has struggled to gain any form of traction this season. What seemed like an okay start against Tottenham despite a loss followed by a string of subpar performances. As Newcastle United take on Southampton today, it is expected that the club begin to gain that traction.
But if you think there’s pressure on Newcastle in this match, just look at Southampton’s side of the table. Without a home win since April of last season, the club needs to begin delivering strong performances as well. Each club has something to prove, but in the end, that should make it for a much more interesting match.
The only thing that can hurt Newcastle United today is the lack of offensive talent upfront. If Salomon Rondon does not perform at the level expected of him then Rafa needs to make an immediate change of plans involving the striker upfront. As it stands, Muto is one of our best offensive options, and Newcastle should look to make opportunities for him going forward.
Midfield for the Toon has a lot to prove today as well. Ayoze Perez has been nothing short of terrible as of late. If the Spaniard continues to fail at his makeshift no.10 role then it’s become clear that he needs a significant amount of time on the bench. I know I like to joke around about these things, but the truth is in front of us. Perez isn’t up to snuff where he’s been, and while he can certainly be an attacking force, he lacks the creativity.
Kenedy, Jonjo Shelvey, and Mo Diame will have to look to start generating quality scoring chances. This is a talented midfield, but if the striker at the top is failing to convert, we really need players able to step up.
Newcastle United’s defense has usually been pretty solid. The lack of offense and constant defending have led to defensive breakdowns that have generated scoring opportunities for the opposition. If the squad can look a cohesive unit, there is no reason that Newcastle United comes out of this match with a draw or a defeat. This should be three points for the magpies.
But we said that last match as well, so. Oops.
Prediction: Newcastle win 2-1, with Muto and long-shot Perez scoring the pair.
Howay the Lads!