Newcastle United have a full agenda with six games over a two-week period stretching from December 16th through January 2nd.
Newcastle United, like every other team in the Premier League, will have a busy schedule as they are set to take on six teams over the course of two weeks. Unlike most teams in the top flight, though, Newcastle United have an extra fixture to play as they find themselves in the quarter-final of the EFL “Carabao” Cup.
The Magpies begin their busy schedule with a difficult trip to Elland Road on December 16th, where they will face Leeds United. The rest of the games consist of the following opponents:
- Fulham (H) – December 19th
- Brentford (A) (EFL Cup) – December 22nd
- Manchester City (A) – December 26th
- Liverpool (H) – December 30th
- Leicester City (H) – January 2nd
The Key to Success for Newcastle United
Playing so many games in a short amount of time is a nightmare for every team, so there is no room for excuses from Newcastle United. The frequency of the games, but also the quality of the opposition is going to prove difficult for the Magpies to cope with, but the team is not doomed.
It is important to remember that other teams will be facing similar dilemmas, along with the fears of picking up injuries to key players. In other words, no team will be at full strength over the next two weeks. Squad rotation will be critical, and this is especially true for Newcastle United if they wish to frustrate some superior teams.
The good news for Steve Bruce is that he has plenty of options to choose from in every position. This is the first time in years that Newcastle United enjoy quality depth, but it will be up to Bruce to determine how he will rotate his players.
For example, Bruce took a gamble and played midfielder Isaac Hayden as a central defender against West Brom, but that type of shift would make Newcastle United vulnerable against Manchester City, Liverpool, and Leicester City.
The return of Dwight Gayle has come at the perfect time. Overworking Callum Wilson is the last thing the Magpies need. Without his clinical finishing over a long period of time the team would gradually sink back into that relegation discussion.
The wide areas is where most of the rotating should occur. With players like Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin, Jacob Murphy, Matt Ritchie, and Ryan Fraser, Bruce has the luxury of playing a different duo on the wings in the next couple of games to avoid a major injury crisis.
Newcastle United are in good shape as they sit nine points clear of the bottom three, but whether they expand that cushion or start falling in the table over the next two weeks will depend on Bruce’s team selection and tactical approach.