After their FA Cup win over Birmingham City, Newcastle United will host Rotherham United in EFL play.
Newcastle United has won their past two matches, first an EFL victory over Brentford, then an FA Cup triumph midweek over Birmingham City. They are also riding high after the return of midfield maestro Jonjo Shelvey from a five match misconduct ban. Their opponent tomorrow will be Rotherham, the club currently at the bottom of the league table. This is a match that NUFC must take three points in at home. Here are three ways they can help make that happen.
1. Take away all hope
This weekend, it will be a matchup of the top team and bottom team in the EFL. It’s also a home match for the higher rated side. Rotherham has not won a single away match this season, and has only came away with one draw in 13 tries. The worst thing NUFC can do is allow Rotherham to build confidence, and stick around in a close game. If it’s equal late, a flash goal from the Millers, and Newcastle gets embarrassed at St. James’ Park. To combat this, they need to bury them early. Go out aggressively, and try to score a quick goal. Even if they can’t score quick, by possessing the ball and moving where they want on the pitch, Rotherham will begin to feel overmatched. When they start to get frustrated, or hang their heads, that’s when the Magpies will be able to capitalize.
2. Control Danny Ward
The clear danger man for the Millers is Danny Ward. He has nine goals in league play, and that is six more than the next highest on the club. He has been the target of transfer rumors, as one of the few bright spots on a last place side. Ward is a quality passer, and crafty in the box. Newcastle will need to make sure they are zeroed in on stopping the 25 year old, and keeps his scoring total where it’s at currently.
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3. Play loose
Wednesday’s win against Birmingham City was fun to watch. A big reason was because the players looked like they were having fun as well. The return of Jonjo Shelvey was a big part of that. With his pinpoint passing and incredible vision, players end up in good areas to make plays. The Magpies should bring that same enthusiasm and freedom to the pitch tomorrow. When the club just plays and doesn’t appear too hectic, they are tough to beat, especially in front of their home supporters.