Newcastle United need to change their tactical approach if they are to turn around their poor form. Rafa Benitez has been married to a 4-2-3-1 defensive set-up for the majority of his coaching career, but he needs to be proactive over the coming weeks.
The Magpies weren’t bad against Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend. They had 68% possession, attempted 27 shots and had 10 corners. On the balance of the play, they didn’t deserve to lose.
That would suggest the tactics used by Benitez are working. However, there was a focus on crosses into the box with an attack of Yoshinori Muto and Ayoze Perez. Neither are forwards that thrive in the air.
This is a key part of the season for Newcastle as they aren’t scheduled to face a top-six team until Boxing Day. That means that they need to start picking up points soon or risk being cut adrift at the bottom.
Benitez remains confident of turning it around and to do that, he should consider dropping Ayoze Perez and playing with two in attack. It would be risky, but it could fix their goal-scoring problem.
Salomon Rondon is powerful and can dominate in the air, while Muto has showed impressive movement since his move to Tyneside. The duo could work well in a partnership.
Something has to change at Newcastle and a more daring set-up from Benitez could be the answer.