Following his deadline day move from France, it’s seemed quite clear that Emil Krafth has been Steve Bruce’s first choice otpion at right wing-back – but that may change this weekend.
While I don’t subscribe to this idea that this Swedish international is ‘useless’ following his poor display at Liverpool last weekend (he was up against Mane and Robertson after all!), I do think he could be left out of Saturday’s crucial clash with Brighton.
Firstly, this is a game we should be attacking, and one thing that seems fairly clear with Krafth is that he’s NOT a naturally forward thinking full-back. He seems reluctant to carry the ball forward into space and has misfired badly when handed two big chances against Norwich and Liverpool.
With that in mind, could Bruce turn to Javier Manquillo? He’s far from perfect as we know, but he carries the ball quite well, is decent in possession and is far more of an attacking wing-back then Krafth – and that could be key in a game where we must be on the front foot in a bid to get our first win of the season at St James’ Park.
Not only that, I feel it was harsh in the first place that Krafth immediately took Manquillo’s place in the starting line up.
I don’t think Krafth is a bad player and actually think he’s not been given credit for the way he kept Son quiet at Spurs and did his job defensively against Leicester and Watford, but it only feels fair that Manquillo gets his chance in this one.
He did a very good job in Yedlin’s absence towards the back end of last season, looked sharp over pre-season, was solid in our opening day defeat to Arsenal and, unlike Krafth, seems more comfortable in a right wing-back role.
Krafth doesn’t deserve any major punishment for his sloppy display at Anfield, it’s more that Manquillo deserves his chance in a game that could suit him better.
Time will tell, but I’m hoping Bruce opts for the Spaniard ahead of the Swede in this one.
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