Isaac Hayden was back in Newcastle’s central midfield with Mikel Merino being out with his bad back, and we still don’t know exactly when the 21-year-old talented Spaniard will be able to return to the side.
But we’ve missed the skill of Mikel in the last two games – both of which we surprisingly lost 1-0.
Isaac does an efficient job in midfield for the Magpies and to hold down his starting place the former Arsenal Academy product will need to keep improving with the guidance of manager Rafa Benitez.
Rafa used the 4-4-2 system on Saturday to try to get two strikers up front so we can score some goals – and it worked quite well in the first half – although we still missed the chances we created.
Isaac Hayden – Newcastle midfielder
This is what Isaac has said on Newcastle’s website:
“I thought we dealt with the formation quite nicely,”
“It can be more difficult when you play two up front because it leaves the midfield a little bit more exposed – especially on the counter attack – but saying that, I thought we did it quite well.”
“Dwighty and Joselu worked really hard and, as I’ve said, we did create a fair few opportunities.”
“We didn’t take those opportunities, and the whole team – not just the strikers – have to take responsibility.”
“A defender might have the final ball, a midfielder might have the shot or the final ball, so everyone has to take responsibility for not scoring goals or creating chances.”
“I don’t think we deserved to lose the game. We had quite a few chances, but when you don’t take your chances in football you’re always susceptible to lose the game late on, and that’s what we did.”
“It was sloppy, really. We should have closed the throw-in down a little bit more – the throw-in shouldn’t even have happened.”
“Jermain Defoe has the shot – we could have closed that down a bit better, and obviously the marking for the corner could have been better, as well.”
“There are a lot of mistakes, and for those we have to take full responsibility as a team.”
“It’s disappointing not to get three points, or at least a point, before the international break, but we can’t dwell on it too much.”
“To lose the game on a simple set-piece and a simple header is frustrating, but there are still a lot of games to play and we’re still in a good position.”
“So those who are here – we have to work hard over the international break and crack on afterward.”
We have some tough games coming up before the end of the year, and currently, we are 5 points above the drop zone.
We need to somehow get some wins before the end of the year if we are to remain in mid-table.
We wouldn’t be surprised if Rafa uses 4-4-2 in some of our home games against weaker opposition, but at Old Trafford in our next game, it will definitely be a 4-2-3-1 formation.
If we can get a couple of good strikers in during January Rafa will continue to play his usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
Here’s where we stand in the league table.