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What’s Next for Newcastle Following Carabao Cup Defeat to Leicester City?

Posted on August 30th, 2019 | No Comments |

Yoshinori Muto goal
Yoshinori Muto celebrates a rare goal against Leicester
To say that Newcastle have enjoyed a mixed start to the season would be somewhat of an understatement. After Steve Bruce was announced as Rafa Benitez’s successor back in July, it’s clear that the fanbase was divided in their opinions of the future direction that Mike Ashley was looking to take the club in, especially after the departure of Ayoze Perez. An opening day defeat against Arsenal was followed up with a loss against Norwich thanks to three Teemu Pukki goals before the Magpies looked to have found their stride after shocking Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side with a one-goal victory in London.

With reports of poor warm-ups and much more surrounding Newcastle and their new boss, the win over Spurs injected new hope into their passionate supporters. Although a handful of supporters had hoped for a good run in this season’s Carabao Cup, the spirited display against Leicester City which ended in a penalty shoot-out defeat has highlighted that their application and spirit cannot be questioned. As a result of that, we’re going to consider what the aims should be for the remainder of the season following the recent cup exit.

The Importance of Finding Home Form

St James' park
‘Atmospheric’ St James’ park
For many years, St James’ Park has widely been considered as one of the most atmospheric and intimidating grounds to visit. With a capacity of over 52,000 and an average attendance of approximately 51,108 people, it’s vitally important that Bruce’s side find their home form if they are to avoid the drop this season. In their next three league games, a visit to Anfield to face the European champions is sandwiched between two winnable fixtures in the form of both Watford and Brighton, who have been somewhat inconsistent thus far.

While beating Leicester and progressing to the third round of the Carabao Cup would have been an ideal scenario, Bruce was true to his word when he stated that he wished to give the cup competitions a real go. With several first team-players absent, including Jamaal Lascelles, Joelinton and Miguel Almiron to name a few, the under-strength side reiterated the power of St James’ Park as they pushed a full-strength Leicester side all the way, albeit with far less possession. When Bruce can once again call on his entire squad on matchdays, and if his side can continuously show a similar level of desire, then as Leicester recently found out, St James’ Park could be a very tricky place to visit this season.

Management and Supporters Alike Shouldn’t Lose Hope for the FA Cup

Despite having fallen at the first hurdle of English football’s opening cup competition, the six-time FA Cup winners should be optimistic for the return of the historic tournament later in the season. While we’ve already touched on the fact that Bruce is keen to respect the domestic cup competitions, it’s highly unlikely that the experienced manager will be missing quite as many key players by the time that the FA Cup comes around.

Newcastle’s aggressive approach to the Carabao Cup should provide an element of optimism among the management and supporters. There’s no reason for Bruce to panic and alter his approach to the cup competitions, and with Betway having Newcastle at 25/1 to win the FA Cup as of 30th August, the return of star players could help Newcastle mount a much-needed cup run in their efforts to avoid a rudderless and troubled season.

Tactical Stability

Across Newcastle’s opening three Premier League matches, eight players have started all three games, while Allan Saint-Maximin and Sean Longstaff’s involvement has been limited due to injuries. With Bruce anticipating a three-week layoff for the 22-year-old French winger, the former Sheffield Wednesday boss will likely have to shuffle his pack once more to cope with his growing injury list.

NUFCBlog Author: Frankly Various Frankly Various has written 39 articles on this blog.

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