Newcastle United return to Premier League action this weekend as they take on Brighton at St James’ Park on Saturday.
The Magpies are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run in the division and will be hoping to extend their impressive string of results as they face off against Graham Potter’s side.
Eddie Howe’s men beat Brentford 2-0 last time out as a powerful header from Joelinton and a composed finish from Joe Willock secured all three points for the Toon in west London.
Despite that result, one change that the ex-Bournemouth boss must make from the win over the Bees is to bring Javier Manquillo into the starting XI in place of Emil Krafth.
The Spaniard suffered a knock in the win over Aston Villa and was only fit enough for the bench against Brentford last week, but he has now had seven days to train and get himself ready to play 90 minutes.
Krafth has simply not been good enough for the Magpies this season. He has averaged a dismal WhoScored rating of 6.38 across 10 Premier League appearances (eight starts) and made two tackles and interceptions per game for the Toon.
This shows that his performances have been below-par over the course of the campaign, which is why he must be axed from the line-up for this clash, as the £37k-per-week dud has been a liability to the team with his worrying displays.
Meanwhile, Manquillo has averaged a score of 6.61 in the top flight across 15 outings. Whilst this is not a mind-blowing rating for the Spaniard, it is still far better than his Swedish team-mate’s score, and that makes him less of a risk to the team on the pitch. It shows that he is a solid, albeit unspectacular, performer at the back for Newcastle.
He has also shown that he can put in excellent displays from time to time, with Steve Bruce once describing him as “terrific” and Chris Waddle stating that he has a “good engine”. Therefore, the 27-year-old is the better option out of Howe’s two available right-backs and should be selected in the starting XI.
Howe must unleash him from the start against Brighton and axe Krafth in the process, as the evidence suggests that the former will be less of a liability throughout the match, giving Newcastle a greater chance of picking up all three points.
AND in other news, Newcastle facing potential setback before Brighton, Howe will be worried…