It’s a weird week for Newcastle because the schedule wanted it that way.
After the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the Premier League decided to postpone all games pertaining to matchday 7 and that is the main reason for this past midweek game against West Ham (ending in an undisputable 5-1 win) at the London Stadium.
In an interesting turn of events, the schedule crafted by the EPL before the start of the season had Newcastle and Brentford playing each other as part of MD30, which coincidentally takes place this weekend and just a few days after the Magpies arrived in London for their clash against the Hammer.
Alas, Eddie Howe and the rest of the last stayed put in the capital enjoying a few pints after their trouncing of West Ham and getting ready to face Brentford at the Community Stadium come Saturday.
Also coincidentally, Brentford played a game last Wednesday. They faced, also-also coincidentally, Man Utd—the last team defeated by Newcastle prior to beating West Ham—on the road and came back home with a 0-1 defeat on their hands.
So let me get this straight. Newcastle beat Man Utd, and three days later Man Utd beat Brentford. I applied what I learned back in those Math 101 classes and I arrived and a very saucy result: by the rule of extension, the Magpies will earn three points tomorrow after beating the Bees at their home stadium.
Howe took to the microphones and addressed the most pressing questions by the media on Wednesday, after the game against West Ham and ahead of the matchup against Brentford at the Community Stadium scheduled for Saturday, April 8th.
This was a weirdo-press-conference taking place after the game against West Ham, right then and there at London Stadium, so it’s not that we could get a lot of golden nuggets from what Howe told those asking questions.
According to Lee Ryder of ChronicleLive, Howe could make changes to his lineup and rotate the team against Brentford.
“I think I’ve got a strong squad, and with three games in six days, I want the players to enter the pitch in the best physical condition possible.”
“In my opinion, I’d be foolish not to rotate and trust the team.”
“I trust the squad and the players coming in. I’ve got no doubt on the quality, and we’ve got a lot of games in a short period of time.”
“It’s always going to be judged by the result whether [the rotation] is successful or not, and of course, I want to keep people fit and give them the best chance to play as many games as possible.”
Andrew Reynolds, reporting for NUFC Blog, got a few more interesting statements made by Howe before the game against Bretford.
According to Reynolds, Howe has “not yet decided who he’ll select at Brentford,” although the manager made clear that “both Wilson and Isak can play together in the same side,” adding that the gaffer hopes “the increased competition will drive both players.”
As a remainder, Isak sat on the bench last Wednesday while Wilson started against West Ham and bagged a brace, with Isak scoring after coming off the pine in the 5-1 victory against the Hammers.
Howe also discussed the current superb form of the team, though he’s still going game by game and not having wild dreams about playing European football next season.
“Every positive result strengthens our position, but we’ve got huge games to come and a lot of points to play for.”
“Nothing is going to be decided short term, but these are important wins.”
Related to that, Howe shared an interesting thought on the minimal playing time enjoyed by Matt Target—who arrived in the winter transfer market of last season—this year, saying that the left-back has been “a victim of the team’s success.”
Keeping it All-D, Howe “does not want to rotate” players on the backline for the sake of it, which means that we will most probably enjoy the supremely capable quartet of Trippier, Burn, Botman, and Schar plying their trade on Saturday.
Finally, Howe also said that he is preparing for “a completely different game against a strong Brentford side,” which implies he doesn’t think West Ham was one after what went down in London last Wednesday.
Brentford might welcome back Vitaly Janelt following a knee injury, although coach Thomas Frank warned the Bees faithful that it might be too early” to have him getting minutes as soon as Saturday against third-place Newcastle.
Keane Lewis-potter won’t be available nursing another knee injury himself, while Frank Onyeka didn’t play against Man Utd with a hamstring injury last Wednesday and is doubtful to play tomorrow.
- Date: Saturday, April 8th
- Kick-off: 15:00 BST / 10:00 EST
- Location: Community Stadium, Brentford (England)
- Broadcasts: fuboTV (CAN) — Peacock (USA) — N/A (UK)
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