Following his deadline day arrival from Ligue 1 strugglers Monaco, Newcastle fans must be licking their lips in anticipation as they wait for Antonio Barreca to make his expected debut against Tottenham this weekend.
To make your debut in English football at Wembley is the stuff of dreams, and Barreca could have a particularly enjoyable time against Spurs if he is deployed in a left wing-back role given the north Londoners’ issues at right back.
The former Italy Under-21 international is a solid, dependable left-back who particularly excels at tackling and maintaining his focus throughout. The 23-year-old excelled in the Serie A two seasons ago before his move to France, but has joined the Magpies after falling out of favour under Thierry Henry before he was sacked by Monaco.
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His talents have made the Tynesiders work hard to bring him to St James’ Park on deadline day (as per the BBC), and the Italian looks like he could be worth bringing to the club on a permanent deal should he perform to his maximum.
As aforementioned, he should line up at left wing-back in Rafa Benitez’s 5-4-1 system against Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who are particularly struggling at right-back this season.
Tottenham have deployed each of Kieran Trippier, Serge Aurier and Kyle Walker-Peters in the problem position this season, and none of them have done enough to convince the former Southampton boss that they should be trusted to start consistently – Trippier’s performance against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup was strikingly poor.
Pochettino likes to play wing-backs too, so it should be a direct battle between Trippier and Barreca down that side of the field, and one that Barreca should come out on top of given the England international’s awful form this season.
As a result, the game could be won or lost given who wins the battle down that flank, as Barreca’s impressive crossing ability onto the head of target man Salomon Rondon could be the order of the day if Benitez wants to claim a second successive scalp.