Doom and gloom seem to enshroud Newcastle United at the moment and when you face some of the Premier League’s big boys, proceedings are only going to get worse for Eddie Howe.
When PIF’s takeover from Mike Ashley was confirmed, there was radiant hope for a better future for the Toon but things are only getting worse, even with a new manager at the helm.
Ashley and Bruce are both gone and there is huge significant backing within the club but the fact of the matter is, they still sit 19th in the Premier League with a solitary win to their name.
The January transfer window can’t come quick enough for the Magpies but convincing players to join will be an arduous task.
It’s becoming increasingly evident, however, that Howe will need to improve his squad, particularly in defence.
Tweeting during the club’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Thursday, journalist Luke Edwards said: “Hayden isn’t good enough at this level. Ritchie isn’t. Schar & Lascelles aren’t PL pairing. These are 4 most obvious replacements needed in Jan.”
Lascelles has struggled for a while now and as the current captain, that is a worrying trend. However, his defensive partner in Schar is also proving to be a liability on a regular basis.
He was fortunate not to give away a penalty at one stage when he sent Sadio Mane tumbling inside the area, only for the loose ball to fall the way of Mo Salah who found the back of the net.
But it was his strength and discipline that was of most concern. A player so used to bringing the ball forward from the back and playing the ball out, he was horrendous in this regard on Thursday.
Furthermore, Schar completed just 52% of his passes – 11 in total – and was extremely lightweight in physical situations.
He won only one of his six defensive duels – a loss rate of 83%. Once described as a “danger” in the past by Alan Shearer for his offensive ability, he certainly lived up to that tag this week but from a negative point of view.
Poor performances have been a constant trend for the centre-back, who put in a similarly lacklustre display vs Burnley. Per SofaScore, he lost 11 of his 13 duels and only completed 42% of his attempted passes, losing possession 20 times in the process.
With that in mind, Howe would be very wise to replace him over the winter because at the moment, he is betraying his manager.