With the winter break coming to a closer, Newcastle are set to be back in Premier League action for the first time in over two weeks on Sunday.
A tricky trip to the Emirates awaits, and there’s one player Steve Bruce looks likely to drop ahead of our clash with Arsenal – and that’s DeAndre Yedlin.
The wing-back’s pace, energy and athleticism can be a real asset at times, but one area of his game that really let us down in recent games against Norwich and Oxford was his quality on the ball – or lack of it, sadly.
His blistering speed allows him to get in good positions, but aside from that one cross that led to Joelinton’s header that was well saved by Tim Krul, I can’t remember him putting a decent delivery into the box.
Not only that, there was several occasions where he failed to make basic passes at Oxford, showing a real lack of quality of composure to waste promising counter attacks – something we can’t afford to do when we get the chance at Arsenal on Sunday.
Javier Manquillo was keeping him out of the side prior to his hamstring injury on New Year’s Day, but now Inter Milan loanee Valentino Lazaro has had a week of first-team training under his belt, I expect him to come in at right-wing back on Sunday.
Sky Sports’ Keith Downie tipped him to make his full debut this weekend following his chat with the Austrian the club’s training ground, and I can see Bruce giving him the nod.
He immediately looked more assured when during his 40-minute cameo against Nowich at fortnight ago, playing some clever passes down the line and using the ball, so could help give us that quality we’ve lacked in wide areas at times this season.
Not only that, his arrival includes a £20m ‘option to buy’, so I’m sure Steve Bruce will be keen to get a good luck at him now he’s had a chance to be fully integrated into this Newcastle United squad over the winter break.
Yedlin out, Lazaro in on Sunday? Time will tell..