It’s been a tough start to the season for Newcastle United and it looks set to continue as the Magpies host the Premier League champions tomorrow.
After a criminally underfunded transfer window, Newcastle lost their opening game against Spurs, drew with newly promoted Cardiff and lost to Chelsea last weekend. They also continued that performance into the League Cup where they lost 3-1 to Nottingham Forest during the week.
Last week, Benitez employed a five-man defence against Chelsea which although was an incredibly defensive strategy for a home side, almost worked.
Much was said about Jorginho having more passes than the entire Newcastle team but in fairness, barring a Deandre Yedlin own goal, Newcastle should’ve come away with something from the game.
It’s a defensive style but against Manchester City this weekend, Benitez must employ a similar strategy, a la Wolves last weekend.
Deploying five defenders to eliminate any chance of width, and with four midfielders ahead of them compressing any space between the lines, Wolves managed to stifle Man City. While Guardiola’s side continued to prod and search for space, Wolves kept a solid base and were able to break on the counter. Newcastle must do the same.
Key for the Newcastle is the return of Kenedy following his ineligibility against Chelsea and is going to be vital in giving the team energy to burst forward.
Defensively, Newcastle must be wary not to drop too deep and have to press the City midfielder and stop them playing forward. On the wings, Kenedy and Ritchie must work to eliminate the space for City’s fullbacks.
It’s a negative formation but it could work for Newcastle.
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