Though losing on the weekend is never fun for the punters propping up our bar, the Newcastle United supporting lot have found a reason to cheer, following their 3-1 reversal away at the Etihad against Manchester City on Saturday. Indeed, with no new arrivals to get excited about just yet, our resident Geordies are glad to have something to shout about.
Jacob Murphy, who bagged a stunning goal against the Premier League champions-elect is proving to be an excellent outlet for the Magpies. Rafa Benitez’s biggest signing on Tyneside thus far, the former Norwich City man has largely had to wait for his chance in black and white, though has been impressing of late.
With Newcastle always likely to play on the counter under Benitez, the 22-year-old’s searing pace is a huge asset. With Christian Atsu impressing on the other side, Murphy can provide an effective outlet for the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Mikel Merino in central midfield, hitting teams on the counter.
Clearly, that’s a rather obvious tactic, though his finish against City proved Murphy’s class in front of goal. When given licence to roam, as he also proved against Stoke City when he laid on a wonderful assist for Ayoze Perez, the former England U21 can occupy the spaces created by Joselu and actually finish off an attack, something the Spaniard fails to do.
Though Benitez will be hoping to add to his squad before the window closes, Murphy’s development can play a huge role in Newcastle’s survival bid. With games likely to open up during the latter parts of the campaign, as well as a three-man backline deployed on Tyneside to give the Magpies an extra platform on which to build, releasing Murphy from deep positions on the counter could prove to be a sewing motif between now and the end of the season.