Following Newcastle United’s 4-0 drubbing at Leicester, it was yet another reminder that Eddie Howe has issues to urgently resolve.
Alongside Norwich City, who have played a game more than the Magpies, Newcastle have conceded a joint-high 34 goals in the Premier League heading into our ominous trip at Anfield tonight.
But against the Foxes on Sunday, it was equally concerning how much Callum Wilson cut an isolated figure.
Alongside those issues at both ends of the pitch, the former Bournemouth manager clearly has concerns to address in midfield.
Newcastle United one of the worst in Europe – big concern for Eddie Howe
It’s no disrespect to the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Willock, Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff, but PIF will have their hearts set on attracting some of the world’s best technicians to control the midfield.
Howe doesn’t have the luxury of being able to choose from a wealth of ball-playing midfielders, who can dictate the tempo of the match and dominate possession.
But looking at the latest stats as we head towards the halfway mark of the Premier League season, it’s little surprise that the Toon Army have been linked with talented midfielders such as Harry Winks and Arthur Melo.
The pair are the ilk of midfielders that could knit this disjointed Newcastle side together. Howe will be eager to recruit quality midfielders who can grab the game by the scruff of the neck and bring an element of calmness to Newcastle’s frantic and erratic play.
Out of 98 teams across Europe’s top five leagues, Newcastle sit joint-96th for the average possession percentage per game.
Alongside Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefield, the Geordies average 38.9% possession. Only Augsburg (38.2%) and Cadiz (35.9%) average less, according to WhoScored.
The problems are mounting up for Howe, but if Newcastle are going to survive, we are going to have to win practically every remaining game against the sides in the bottom half of the table.
Our chances of doing that will significantly increase if Howe can find a way to address our dreadful possession stats. We are starting to see more of the ball compared to the Steve Bruce era, but we still need to do better.
January was meant to be about resolving our leaky backline and adding some much-needed firepower to support Wilson, but we also need a sprinkle of stardust to glue the team together in midfield too.
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