Paul Merson believes it will only be a matter of time before Manchester City break down our defence tomorrow.
The former Arsenal and Middlesbrough midfielder was also heavily critical of Rafa Benitez’s defensive tactics against Chelsea. In his predictions for this weekend’s Premier League matches for Sky Sports, he said:
“Last week’s stats against Chelsea were bordering on atrocious. With 25 minutes played, it was 90 per cent possession to 10 per cent in favour of Chelsea. I’ve seen that in five-minute spells, I’ve never seen it in a 25-minute spell, ever.”
“Newcastle will go to the Etihad and defend, but Man City will break them down, 100 per cent. It’s just when, and how many times.”
Rafa wouldn’t have expected the lack of possession against Chelsea, even taking into account the fact we were playing a five-man defence. The major concern will be the lack of control in midfield, and if we give the ball away as much as we did against the Blues, we will be in for a long afternoon at the Etihad.
To prevent us ceding so much possession, bulking up the midfield could be an option. In my view, we need to match up with City with five men in midfield, and moving to a 4-5-1 may make us weaker defensively, but it may prevent us sitting too deep, and getting trapped inside our own box with no escape route.
Guardiola’s side thrive when they control the game high up the pitch, and we need to give them something to fear on the counter-attack, otherwise, I can’t see us getting a result.