Prozac at the ready…

We are fast running out of games, and we are fast running out of time to strengthen in this window.  With last week’s result, the pressure intensifies on the team and the head coach.  If we don’t begin winning games soon, and I mean against Leeds, there must come a point where we have to start looking at both the manager’s decisions and also the owner’s decision to bring in a manager with a PL win percentage almost exactly the same as the previous manager.   Is this really giving us the BEST chance of staying up?  Who knows?

Anyway, onto the game.  I can’t see how we cope with the Leeds press given how uncomfortable our players are on the ball and how ponderous/pedestrian we are in midfield. Shelvey, hardly renowned for his pace, energy, and dynamism.  Is he the right man to play against Leeds?  Probably not.  He’s in the side for creativity.  We’re yet to see that in any way shape or form, even against League One Cambridge United.  He didn’t play against Leeds back in September, when we drew a truly bizarre game, so I’d like to think that the gaffer would recognise this and change something up.

Allan Saint Maximin was the hero back in September, as he was last weekend.  If we look back to the start of the season Bruce used ASM centrally, either as a 9 or a 10, and this was arguably his best spell of the season with two goals and three assists in the first six games.  Given we’ve bought a striker who thrives on crosses perhaps the time is right to play with Allan as a 10 and play two wingers? We must give ourselves the best chance to win which means scoring more goals than Leeds – who scored four away at West Ham last week.  I can’t remember the last time we scored 4 goals – in total we’ve only scored 4 goals since the end of November. Jesus this is making me so depressed.

Leeds are having an injury crisis but have won their last two league games, scoring six goals. Crisis, what crisis?  I’m afraid to say that I expect a heavy defeat.  We’ve got zero confidence; we don’t know how to win or even score goals – but we are good at conceding them.  Ten games in and still waiting for this new manager bounce. Maybe it starts at Elland Road?  Probably not.

Danger man: Lascelles. 

Prediction: 3-0 Leeds

Tim Wood @Geordie2Step

Kings of the north?..

When Shaun William Ryder wrote the song “A big day in the North” for the madness that was Black Grape, it was clearly written for Saturday January 22, 2022. Leeds away.

A little disclaimer here. If someone said to me before we played, we would lose to Cambridge and Watford, but beat Leeds away I would have taken it. I can’t stand them. I once worked with a typical Leeds fan and lost a bet that they would finish above us. It was twenty quid. I paid the poor sap in pennies bagged up by an irate woman in HSBC the night before.

I doubt I would do that to many sets of fans. Sunderland, Man Utd, Chelsea possibly.

Anyway, back to the game and at the time of type, no new faces for our last game until early February, so it’s up the players who got us into this mess to get it us out of it.

We desperately need to use our heads, play a counter attacking game, reel a still vulnerable Leeds in and hit them on the counter like many sides have done.

Bielsa’s plan when it works is inspirational, but when it doesn’t, it’s a car crash and the toon need to exploit the fact that they might be understrength.

Any repeat of last season’s capitulation when they actually had Leeds by the throat but fell apart at a time when the whites notoriously tire, and we really could be on that plane to Saudi staring down the barrel.

Expect Friday night’s game to not be a draw and this game becomes as important as it gets.

Can I see us doing it? Strangely I can. A big day for all those players who have flattered to deceive that many times that I don’t think they’ve got it in them anymore, but a massive day for St Maximin.

Could this be his type of game? Will he do more? Answers on a postcard.

Last time we had fans at Elland Road was in the Championship in 2016, and eight of our squad now were playing then, while Wood was playing for Leeds.

Lose this and we may have to start thinking about that league again. A big day in the North, alright.

Scott Robson

We go again…

Despite uncertain times about their Premier League safety, the show must go on as this weekend the struggling Magpies travel to Elland Road as they face off against rivals Leeds United in the latest episode of the campaign.

Last time out Leeds managed a 4-2 win over West Ham whilst Eddie Howe’s side once more let go of their lead against Watford and had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

This weekend’s hosts find themselves in 15th place in the league after an impressive start to 2022 and nine points above the relegation places. The visitors still occupy 19th place on twelve points, only one point above Burnley and one behind Norwich who sit in 18th.

Leeds have shipped a total of thirty-nine goals, which is the most conceded outside of the bottom three. Nineteen of those goals have been conceded in the last seven top flight games so Newcastle will be hoping to capitalise on those stats.

Despite Allan Saint-Maximin’s spectacular second half goal last weekend, the Magpies couldn’t hang on to what would be a crucial win and three points. Chris Wood didn’t have the debut he would have been hoping for and the Geordie faithful will be hoping that he can link up with Kieran Trippier who has looked promising since he arrived on Tyneside too.

Last time Newcastle faced Leeds at Elland Road, it ended up in a 5-2 defeat for the visitors.

Leeds United Team News: Marcelo Bielsa will be boosted by the return of Diego Llorente following a ban but will be without the likes of Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips, Liam Cooper and Jamie Shackleton who remain side-lined through various injuries. Stuart Dallas could feature on the left side with Llorente’s return to the squad, Luke Ayling is expected to return on the right flank whilst Dan James could find his place under threat by Rodrigo who is in form at the moment.

Newcastle United Team News: Centre Backs Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez will miss out as they are side-lined with Covid and thigh injuries respectively. Callum Wilson is still a few weeks off his return to the line-up so Chris Wood will be expected to lead the attack once more. Jamal Lewis could come into contention for a start, but Eddie Howe is expected to name the same starting eleven that faced Watford.

Sutty’s Match Prediction: I think Leeds will be a tough nut to crack at home as they have proven that in recent weeks and Newcastle’s leaky defence will be an appetizing sight for them. The Magpies desperately need that second win of the season to boost their bid to avoid the drop this season but as much as I try to be optimistic when it comes to my beloved team…I can’t see it happening. I hope I am proven wrong but my score line prediction at FT is Leeds 2 Newcastle 1.

Jack Sutton @jsuttonwrites