Newcastle United are desperately missing Javi Manquillo. They’re also ruing the departure of DeAndre Yedlin.
Within the space of a week, the Magpies went from three first-team right-backs to just one.
With Manquillo injured and Yedlin moving to Turkey, Emil Krafth is now Newcastle’s sole right-back.
And ever since he’s been all alone, the performances have been rough.
Particularly in the previous two games, Krafth has been exposed.
Chelsea attacked him time and time again the other week, with the out-of-form Timo Werner getting a new lease of life against the Swede.
The following week Krafth was up against Marcus Rashford, and struggled even more.
Rashford could smell blood from minute one, and ran at the defender at every opportunity. Every time Rashford got the ball he would ghost past Krafth, which inevitably led to the opening goal.
That’s two games in a row that Krafth’s inability in one-on-one situations has cost us the first goal.
We can’t afford for this to keep happening, but things aren’t going to get any easier this weekend.
How can we stop Pedro Neto?
Our next game is against Wolves on Saturday night. With Fulham not playing until Sunday, we have a chance to move six points clear of the relegation zone.
However, if we’re going to get anything against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, we will need to find a way of stopping Pedro Neto.
For the past two games, Krafth has struggled against speedy left wingers. That’s exactly what Neto is.
The £18million man has been one of Wolves’ best players this season, and can operate on both flanks.
But considering the form that Krafth is in, Neto is probably begging Nuno to put him on the left wing.
Krafth needs help. The 26-year-old is far from one of Newcastle’s best players, but the current system exposes him massively.
The narrow diamond allows the opposition to get at our full backs with ease. And when they’re as out of form as our current full backs, it usually ends in tears.
Steve Bruce needs to find a way of helping out Krafth. Whether that’s changing system so that a winger can sit in front of him or forcing one of the central midfielders to get wide and aid Krafth, something needs to change.
But regardless, Krafth must improve himself. His place in the team is hardly under threat, but his performances of late have been nowhere near good enough.