Against Burnley, Kenedy was exceptional. He was signed on loan from Chelsea as a left back, but he is a creative attacking mind that the team needs.
In the 17th minute, Kenedy received the ball from Christian Atsu in the middle of the field and he found himself with two tough passing options to Joselu and Ayoze Perez. Facing a disadvantageous situation, the inventive Brazilian managed to get a quality shot off which ended up hitting the post and rebounding to an unprepared Atsu, who directed the ball right into Nick Pope’s mitts. Regardless of whether you believe Kenedy should have passed the ball to Joselu, he showed his class by managing a shot on goal against the odds.
Later in the first half, everyone’s favorite Robert Kenedy Nunes Nascimento earned Newcastle a penalty kick when Phil Bardsley slid through the winger just inside the 18. Joselu’s penalty was saved.
Kenedy played an attacking role on the left in a 4-2-3-1 formation and he excelled. He exited the pitch to cheers in the 72nd minute, giving way for Matt Ritchie.
DeAndre Yedlin is valued mostly because of his speed and energy, not his defensive prowess. After years of top tier training and experience, DeAndre Yedlin could be an excellent right back, but I think that right now he offers more as a right wing back, seeing more of the ball in attacking positions.
Yedlin has shown his crossing ability over his years on the Seattle Sounders and the United States national team. In Yedlin’s current right back position, his pace is employed to keep up with speedy wingers on defense, but with three center backs giving protection, he can use his speed to carry the ball up the sideline and fully commit to an attacking run without being required on defense so urgently if the ball is lost. Yedlin will press with the same intensity, but higher up the pitch, like he has done before as a right midfielder for the USMNT.
Kenedy and Yedlin are creative players with the physical attributes to help them execute their ideas. I believe that putting them in positions where they can apply their creativity will help the team.
Paul Dummett played well against Burnley. He could replace the currently injured Florian Lejeune, shifting Ciaran Clark centrally. Also if Kenedy is given an attacking midfield role, Paul Dummett will suffice as left wing back.
Jacob Murphy is a weapon off the bench, but if Matt Ritchie endures poor form, he could start and he would give venom to our attack.
Jonjo Shelvey is a quality player, but Mikel Merino and Mohammed Diame have competed well in his absence. Merino has been a regular to the starting 11 this season. Diame was a warrior in holding midfield against Burnley. Diame fought for every 50-50 ball and he relentlessly pressured the opposing ball carrier. Shelvey’s passing ability is missed when Diame is his replacement, but Diame’s presence in the midfield is undeniable.
Karl Darlow deserves more chances in the team. The own goal last game was not his fault. Both he and Rob Elliot are solid keepers and they should be in the squad immediately if new goalkeeper Martin Dubravka doesn’t perform up to their standards.
Ayoze Perez is not consistent enough to earn an attacking midfield position. Slimani’s addition probably forces Ayoze out of the depth chart at striker.