With no wins to start off the new Premier League season, Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce is under increasing pressure to deliver some much-needed results as his side make the trip to face Wolves on Saturday afternoon.
The Magpies remain winless after their opening six games and find themselves just outside of the relegation places by virtue of a superior goal difference to Leeds.
The defence has once again been a major issue of concern for Bruce, with the Tyneside club’s tally of 14 goals conceded better only than bottom club Norwich in the entire division.
A shake-up at the back could be exactly what’s needed, and the Newcastle boss could start that by dropping Ciaran Clark.
The Republic of Ireland international has been a mainstay of the Magpies’ defence for the start of this new season, whether it’s featuring in a back three or a back four.
Just like the rest of his teammates, though, the 32-year-old has really struggled, and was particularly disappointing in the defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford a couple of weeks ago. As per Sofascore, he lost both of the duels in which he was involved that day, made no tackles whatsoever and was dribbled past once as Cristiano Ronaldo and co ran riot in the second half.
Writing for The Shields Gazette and The Chronicle respectively, both Miles Starforth and Lee Ryder were critical of Clark’s second half performance in particular, giving him a measly five and four in their post-match player ratings.
With Fabian Schar waiting in the wings for his opportunity to start, Bruce could inject a bit of fresh energy by dropping one of the players in whom he seems to surprisingly put his trust every week.
While Clark has hardly been the sole reason as to why Newcastle’s defence has been very leaky to start the new campaign, his shakiness at the back isn’t what’s needed at the moment – in fact, his average match rating this season of 6.34, as per WhoScored, is only the 12th best of any Newcastle player.
The £35k-a-week ace simply has to be dropped today, as he has been decidedly poor in recent weeks.