Not this again.
Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez found themselves in a state of disbelief yesterday, as the club’s win-less streak reached seven matches in a 3-2 loss against Leicester City. It is difficult to place the defeat on only one area (there were multiple), but one unfortunate trend appeared yet again at St. James’ Park last night.
Just like in losses at Manchester United and Chelsea, an early advantage for the Magpies deteriorated and brought no points for Benitez’s side. And that was not only due to the early strike, but overall play was at a much higher level within the first few minutes of the game.
Constant pressure and excellent desire saw Leicester on the back foot to begin the contest, as Newcastle’s midfielders and forwards made the Foxes uncomfortable.
This approach helped to bring about the opening goal, as Joselu put away his third of the Premier League campaign.
But what makes the situation so curious for supporters is why this strategy and style goes missing soon after such success.
Dwight Gayle, who also scored yesterday, found the back of the net at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge. Before the half-time break in each match, the advantage was long gone.
Finding a reason
To consistently press the opposition, fatigue and fitness will both be critical aspects. To say that the Magpies are simply tired is too easy, and incorrect.
The problem may be how they are the most effective in scoring goals, and pressure ultimately provides more joy than possession.
With Jonjo Shelvey again not a part of the line-up, Mikel Merino and Isaac Hayden struggled to influence the proceedings. The Magpies must find how to work their way into the final third, and not rely solely on turnovers and counter-attacks.
Saturday brought another Newcastle United loss after an early lead. This bad habit absolutely needs to be eliminated by Rafa Benitez as soon as possible.