Newcastle have found the crowded fixture list to be quite challenging and Steve Bruce decided to experiment by going back to playing two strikers against Everton, but it was a gamble that didn’t pay off.
Joelinton and Andy Carroll are too similar as they both excel in the air with respective averages of 5.1 and 6.3 aerial duels won per game, but the Toffees were able to deal with their threat, winning 2-1.
That was despite the former managing an incredible 24 aerial duels won, which suggests that the problem was a lack of understanding from Bruce’s side because of the formation change.
Watch Newcastle United Videos With StreamFootball.tv Below
A return to 5-2-3, which has brought a lot of joy this season with wins against Manchester United and Sheffield United, should serve them well, particularly as it provides more width and allows Miguel Almiron to play in his natural position on the wing.
That change should be significant enough for the Magpies to improve against Leicester, but in order to deal with the likes of Jamie Vardy and James Maddison, Bruce should consider recalling Javier Manquillo to replace DeAndre Yedlin.
It is little coincidence that the USA international hasn’t played throughout Newcastle’s recent good spell, with his last start prior to Everton coming against Aston Villa, which the Magpies’ lost 2-0.
Who the heck is that?! Can you name all 25 of these obscure Liverpool signings…
With Manquillo in the side they have lost just two out of their last six matches, and the defensive shape will be integral against a team who put five goals past them earlier in the season.
Joelinton playing on the left is a risk but he offered a lot more than Christian Atsu did when he was substituted onto the pitch on Saturday, and against Burnley, the Brazilian demonstrated he could be effective on the wing with two key passes and 90% pass accuracy.
Jonjo Shelvey could also have more room to manoeuvre without Almiron in the middle and that could be imperative to launching counter-attacks, something that could be a crucial method to the home side picking up points.
It is important Bruce sets up right as the previous match showed a worrying lack of strength on the bench, with two individuals really underperforming.