Prior to this evening’s clash with Leeds United, Newcastle United manager has spoken of the Whites’ ability to start well and blow ‘teams away’, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.
The Vital View
It’s hugely important Newcastle sort out their tendency to start slowly.
Against Brighton, another high-pressing side, the Magpies found themselves two-nil down within seven minutes, giving themselves an almost impossible mountain to climb given the general lack of goals in the team.
Indeed, the game plans to sit back and soak up pressure against the likes of Chelsea and Southampton were ruined by conceding early, so it’s clearly been a problem over the course of the season. Given Leeds’ all-action style, they are surely likely to come out at home and get into their opposition, a real worry for the Toon Army if they repeat some of their previous antics.
According to Footy Stats, 25% of the 16 goals conceded have come in the first 10 minutes and Soccer Stats rank that as the second-highest during that period across the whole division, with only Fulham having a worse record from the start.
Bruce does appear to be acknowledging that and hopefully the returns of key players such as Federico Fernandez can help keep things tight, though that is of course easier said than done.
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If they can, Newcastle have a real chance given the fluctuating nature of the Whites’ form.
Weirdly enough, a former outcast at Newcastle is now more important to the club than we are to him! Read about it here…