Matty Renton, The Magpie Channel TV
Three losses in a row for Newcastle United have raised concerns across the fan base, who for once are pleased there’s an international break. Something is broken in this side and it needs fixing, the two-week break gives Eddie Howe a chance to work out what it is and how to resolve it.
In my opinion, it’s the midfield.
Newcastle look unbalanced in the middle of the park and are getting exploited. The debate at the moment is can new £55m signing Sandro Tonali and Bruno Guimaraes play alongside each other or are they too similar? Does the midfield miss local lad Sean Longstaff? His work rate and energy was imperative last season and the stats show a 57% win ratio when starting compared to 30% when left out.
It doesn’t help matters when star players aren’t performing to their ability. Bruno and Joelinton look off the pace, Alexander Isak is scuffing chances and star defender Sven Botman is injured. Then you have Nick Pope - not selected by Gareth Southgate for his England squad and it was proven why again at Brighton. Pope's distribution and decision-making is poor and questionable at the best of times.
The fixture list was always going to provide a tricky start for the Magpies but the manner of defeat by the Seagulls is worrying. It didn’t look like an Eddie Howe side. No intensity, no desire and a truly lacklustre showing. A lot of work to be done in the next two weeks before the Brentford game, then it’s just a small matter of a trip to the San Siro...