Newcastle United are a hot mess right now and that status will not change ahead of Tuesday’s EFL Cup clash with Brentford.
Newcastle United were considered to be fortunate when they were drawn against a Championship outfit in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup. At the time, yes, that draw generated some optimism, but recent form has only sparked major pessimism among fans, and rightfully so.
The hard work the Magpies put in against Crystal Palace (2-0) and West Brom (2-1) a week ago has been undone with their embarrassing performances against Leeds United (2-5) and ten-man, relegation-threatened Fulham (1-1). The last two games were difficult to watch and brought real shame upon the Toon Army on national television.
Steve Bruce does not know how to get the best out of his players, the players have no motivation to play his dinosaur brand of football, and this contributes to the frustrating inconsistency that is displayed on the pitch. No one ever knows which Newcastle United team will show up when the opening whistle is blown, but it is quite easy to predict what will happen on Tuesday: Brentford will advance to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup.
Unlike Newcastle United, Brentford take the game to their opponents, regardless of who they face, and that alone will allow them to dominate the game. Former Newcastle United striker Ivan Toney is currently the top scorer in the Championship with 16 goals, and he will cause major problems for a back-line that has conceded 22 goals in 13 games, which is the fourth-most in the top flight.
In addition, Toney is not the only true threat Brentford have in the final third. Toney is the star of the moment, but Marcus Forss, Bryan Mbeumo, and Josh Dasilva have a combined running tally of 13 goals and nine assists. The trio have also created a total of 64 chances in the Championship this term, so look for them to test Karl Darlow with confidence.
As a Newcastle United supporter myself, I hope this prediction is incorrect, but the writing is on the wall. The Magpies have not been organized defensively, they have lacked urgency and creativity in the middle of the park, and the players are surely growing aware of all the criticism aimed at Steve Bruce lately.
The team is too inconsistent and too short on confidence to find the spark they need to get the job done against a Brentford side that is on the right path to earning promotion. A win would be massive for Newcastle United, but unfortunately my prediction is 2-1 for Brentford.