Newcastle United will travel to face Brentford tomorrow in a Championship fixture.
Sandwiched in between two FA Cup matches with Birmingham City, is a trip to Griffin Park to take on Brentford in league play. The match was scheduled for tomorrow, then moved to Monday with Sky Sports coverage, before finally being returned to Saturday afternoon following the draw with Birmingham City. When the clubs met earlier this season at St. James’ Park, it was the Magpies coming away victorious 3-1, on a brace from Dwight Gayle, and a header from Ciaran Clark. Jonjo Shelvey had two assists in that one, and he’ll finish up his ban watching tomorrow’s fixture. Here are three things NUFC must do to take the double from Brentford this season, and secure their first win of 2017.
1. Another hero must emerge
Relying on one player to score all the time is not a great recipe for success. Dwight Gayle is certain to be the focus of Brentford’s back line tomorrow. While he may be able to still find the net, another player might have an easier go attacking with less attention paid to them. Who could that be? The clearest option would be if Rafa pairs Gayle with another player up top: Yoan Gouffran, Ayoze Perez, or if Aleksandar Mitrovic is healthy enough to go. A dark horse option could be Isaac Hayden, who could be effective playing directly behind the forward.
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2. Be calm in the box
The Magpies are often the aggressor offensively, usually outshooting their opponents. Unfortunately lately, that hasn’t been enough to come away with three points. Too many times an open man is found only to sky the ball well over the goal, not forcing the keeper into action. The Bees defense at home is nothing to look past, allowing only 11 goals in their matches at Griffin Park this season. Newcastle United attackers will need to be composed, and make sure the majority of their strikes are on frame, because the chances may be limited if Brentford plays a defensive approach.
3. Don’t get complacent
Complacency has been an issue for Newcastle in recent weeks. Whether it’s overlooking an opponent in general, or dominating a match, but allow the other team to steal three points, they have both been a problem. They cannot underestimate 14th place Brentford, and they must keep their foot on the gas for 90+ minutes. Scott Hogan is third in the EFL with 14 goals, and if the Magpies defense isn’t locked it at all times, he can beat you. To get a much needed win, NUFC must play their game, and never lose focus.