Steve Bruce has an opportunity to do what Rafa Benitez has achieved three times with Newcastle United.
Newcastle United won their last game against West Brom (2-1) at St. James’ Park on Saturday despite not being at full strength, and they will now prepare for a difficult game against Leeds United at Elland Road on Wednesday.
The congested schedule over the festive period will now begin for the Magpies, but this first game against Leeds United has the potential to be a special clash for Steve Bruce. Since taking charge of the club last July, Bruce has not won more than two consecutive Premier League games.
His predecessor, Rafa Benitez, achieved that impressive record on three separate occasions when he called the shots on the sideline. Benitez saw his team earn three consecutive victories against the following teams:
- West Ham, Swansea City, Stoke City (2017-18)
- Huddersfield, Leicester City, Arsenal (2017-18)
- Watford, Bournemouth, Burnley (2018-19)
Bruce can begin creating a list of his own if Newcastle United manage to defeat a Leeds United side that prioritizes attacking, entertaining football from the opening whistle. The Magpies are growing in confidence after defeating Crystal Palace and West Brom, but Leeds United is a different animal.
The Whites are capable of dominating this game and scoring multiple goals if they can score early on, but their defending has been exposed by far too many opponents this season, especially from corners. With the arrival of Callum Wilson, Newcastle United are able to catch more teams off guard on the counter, and they are much more clinical in front of goal.
Predicting the outcome of Wednesday’s game is difficult seeing that both teams present one another with unique challenges, but Bruce has sufficient talent he can deploy higher up the pitch to finally claim his third consecutive victory with the Toon.
The fact that Newcastle United expect more key players to be available for this clash bodes well for Bruce’s personal goal, but the most probable outcome, in my opinion, is a 1-1 draw. A win would be massive for the Toon, though, as it could send them into the top eight.