Nabil Bentaleb’s dribbling and vision have added a new dimension to the Newcastle United midfield.
Nabil Bentaleb arrived at Newcastle United less than a month ago. Since then, he has featured in three matches, two in the FA Cup vs. Oxford United and in the Premier League vs. Norwich. While he’s not at his best yet, he has added a new dimension to the Newcastle United midfield.
Being that he was outside of the first team with Schalke, there is definitely some rust for the 25-year-old midfielder. You can see that in how he’s given away possession with poor passing at times. But, he has worked hard defensively and displayed a willingness and ability to switch the pitch out wide or clip the ball over the top. Most importantly though, he’s showcased an ability to take a quick touch around defenders and string a couple of dribbles together to push the ball forward.
Looking at the rest of the Newcastle United central midfielders, none of them possess that ability to press forward on the ball. Jonjo Shelvey and Sean Longstaff are willing to spray the ball around the pitch, but they don’t have much quickness in their dribbling. Isaac Hayden is a defensive-minded player and isn’t as good of a passer or dribbler. Matty Longstaff has some confidence dribbling going forward, but he doesn’t have the vision passing the ball that the others do.
As the loan deal continues, Bentaleb will be crucial to Newcastle’s success. When they are playing in a defensive setup, he can make a quick move around an opposing midfielder to start a counter-attacking move. Once he is healthy, a central midfield pair of Bentaleb and Shelvey will be fun to watch and Steve Bruce’s best option in most matches.