To get a result against Brighton on Saturday, Newcastle will need to be wary of Anthony Knockaert.
Knockaert has stepped up his form for Albion in recent weeks and has managed three assists in eight games.
Worryingly for Newcastle, he also appears to be more dangerous from dead-ball situations than open-play.
10 of his 14 chances created this season have come from corners and free-kicks.
It was revealed this week that Newcastle currently have the worst defensive record for set-pieces in the league and have conceded almost half their goals from set-plays.
Given this statistic, Knockaert will be more than fancying his chances come Saturday.
How Newcastle can minimise Brighton’s threat
Despite being Brighton’s most creative player, Knockaert has been oddly ineffective from open play.
Two of the Frenchman’s assists are from set-plays and he has only created four chances from open play thus far.
If the Magpies can keep their discipline versus Brighton, they may well be able to limit Knockaert’s influence on the game and stifle their main creative outlet.
But a large reason for Newcastle’s terrible set-piece record is the sheer amount of fouls they commit. With 91 fouls, they are the second worst in the league for giving away free-kicks.
While that may show desire some of the time – it can also be costly, Juan Mata’s free kick for Manchester United being a great example.
Seemingly out of the game, a poor Diamé foul gifted the Red Devils a lifeline. It’s an area where they must improve.
Identifying Brighton’s Shared Weakness
Interestingly, Brighton’s own defensive frailties from set-pieces are just as bad.
Although they have conceded 10 less chances from set-plays, they still have the second worst rate in the league. They have also committed the most fouls in the league, which may provide the Toon with plenty of free-kick opportunities.
Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Joselu often provide aerial threat from set-pieces, but so far delivery has been lacking.
Last season, the Magpies put together a series of wins thanks to Matt Ritchie’s pin-point deliveries from corners and crosses.
The midfielder already had four assists this time last season but has since seen his creativity subdued.
If he and Jonjo Shelvey can make their distribution count against Brighton, Newcastle can bag their first win of the season.