Newcastle are in a strange position heading into this weekend’s clash with Tottenham at St James’ Park following PIF’s takeover of the club earlier this month.
The 60-year-old will head into the match seemingly knowing that it will be his last match in charge of the club, which could make for a strange atmosphere both inside the dugout and in the stands. Will fans be more appreciative of his efforts knowing that he is unlikely to ever be there again? It remains to be seen.
One thing Bruce could do to somewhat appease the fans is make a crucial change to the starting XI from the defeat to Wolves prior to the international break. Javier Manquillo put on a disasterclass against Bruno Lage’s side and must be ruthlessly axed when Tottenham come to town.
It may sound strange to drop a player who provided an assist in his last appearance, but context is important. Manquillo played a three-yard pass to Jeff Hendrick, who then fired in a shot from 25 yards past an injured Jose Sa to score. This was not enough to make up for the other areas of his game which left plenty to be desired, both defensively and offensively.
As per SofaScore, he lost a whopping 86% of his duels on the pitch, winning just one of his seven battles. He also won zero tackles whilst being dribbled past twice, and he failed to complete a single cross or dribble in his 70 minutes on the field before being substituted.
This was not a one-off poor display from the full-back, either. In four full campaigns at the club, he has never averaged a seasonal WhoScored rating of higher than 6.59 in the Premier League. This shows that he is quite simply not good enough to be a regular performer in the top flight as he has proven over almost half a decade that he cannot play consistently for the Magpies at right-back.
His performance against Wolves was unfortunately a prime example of the type of performance he often produces and that is why Bruce must axe him against Spurs. Heung-Min Son has three goals and one assist in six Premier League matches and Manquillo could be torn apart by the South Korean if he plays, which is another reason why he must be dropped to the bench this weekend.