There’s a good chance Christian Atsu will be handed just his ninth start this season. Steve Bruce spoke to BBC Newcastle ahead of the trip to Oxford about the 28-year-old winger.
Matthew Raisbeck tweeted the following section of Bruce’s interview this morning.
“Christian started the season very, very well.
“He has been a bit frustrated because of Saint-Maximin… but, it's an opportunity for him (at Oxford) – and let's hope he grasps it.”
— Matthew Raisbeck (@raisbeck10) February 4, 2020
The part of his comments that are intriguing for tonight’s match is the following:
“He has been a bit frustrated because of Saint-Maximin. But it’s an opportunity for him (at Oxford), and let’s hope he grasps it.”
It appears as though Christian will come in for Allan Saint-Maximin on the left wing. However, Atsu did play left wing-back at Rochdale in the third round, so it could be Matt Ritchie who he comes in for.
Either way, this is an opportunity that Atsu has to take. He refused a move to Blackburn on deadline day to fight for his Newcastle future. Well, tonight is his moment to do just that.
Atsu is a solid professional but has been very poor of late. He started the season well, as Bruce asserts, and was outstanding in the Tottenham win.
He has led the team in assists for some time now. As it stands, he is joint top with Andy Carroll, both on 4.
Atsu has always had a problem with consistency, and it’s been no different this season. If he does get a chance tonight, this is the moment he stayed at Newcastle for.
He needs to take it and help Newcastle get through the fifth round.