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Eddie Howe’s priority at Newcastle should be plugging a leaking defense, but the fans are happy with the attack.

Eddie Howe’s priority at Newcastle must be plugging a leaking defense, but the fans were happy with the team’s intention against Brentford.

  • Newcastle won a point after drawing 3-3 with Brentford on Saturday
  • One of Eddie Howe’s priorities must be to cover up the Toons’ weak defense.
  • Fans were impressed with Newcastle’s forward mentality against the Bees.


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the The view from Eddie Howe’s quarantine rooms is as awe-inspiring as the size of the task he faces at Newcastle United, because it is the mighty steel structure of the Tyne Bridge that casts a shadow over his riverside hotel.

The water running below him has long been murky, and the depths to which his new club has sunk at the bottom of the Premier League are just as dark and dangerous. That’s not what Howe is doing, of course, but it’s his job to bring his winless team back to the surface.

However, before you can beat an opponent, you must first beat Covid-19, the virus that stole from you one day that would have ranked you as one of the best of your career. Instead, Howe watched his first match in charge of Newcastle from a live stream in his hotel room just a mile from St James’ Park.

Eddie Howe was forced to watch his team from home after testing positive for Covid-19

Eddie Howe was forced to watch his team from home after testing positive for Covid-19

There is still a chance he could be on the bench for Saturday’s trip to Arsenal, but that depends on him returning a negative test and determining when his symptoms started. It is simply one more concern to add to the many you have inherited.

Not that this storm against Brentford was that bad. Far from there. And so, in light of that 3-3 tie, Sportsmail looks at the three areas Howe needs to improve and three where he has already made a difference …

Net earnings

With a total of 27 conceded and not a single clean sheet, it is obvious where Newcastle’s biggest problems lie. Against Brentford, Howe stayed with goalkeeper Karl Darlow and let Ivan Toney’s tying goal come into play. Martin Dubravka’s fit should be called in and Howe suspects he will know he was wrong in that decision.

There is no case for defense

Three center halves are supposed to stiffen the bottom line. At Newcastle, it appears to lead to an abdication of responsibility, evidenced by Brentford’s second when winger Jacob Murphy was dragged in to cover forward Toney and the man who should have been scoring, opponent Rico Henry, sneaked in to score.

Where were the defenders? It is in Howe’s best interest to keep things simple with four flat wingers and two recognized wingers, rather than wingers Murphy and Matt Ritchie being asked to fill those positions.

The confusion in Newcastle's defense led to Brentford's left-back Rico Henry scoring a goal

The confusion in Newcastle's defense led to Brentford's left-back Rico Henry scoring a goal

The confusion in Newcastle’s defense led to Brentford’s left-back Rico Henry scoring a goal

Game management

Newcastle took an early lead when Jamaal Lascelles headed in, but within a minute Toney had scored. They need to be a lot smarter to control a game, and that goes back to central midfield, where the ball was bouncing before Brentford’s first goal.

Joe Willock hasn’t convinced as one of the two in the middle and Howe needs to have an extra body in there to protect his defense and free up players like Jonjo Shelvey. A 4-3-3 formation is perhaps your best bet with the available staff.

Fans from behind

He was telling Howe who instructed him by his side to say thank you. The idea is to promote union. Howe’s name was chanted throughout despite his absence, and it is clear that his words and actions have already earned him much goodwill.

Newcastle fans were at the top of their lungs during the 3-3 draw with Brentford on Saturday.

Newcastle fans were at the top of their lungs during the 3-3 draw with Brentford on Saturday.

Newcastle fans were at the top of their lungs during the 3-3 draw with Brentford on Saturday.

On the attack

Newcastle had 23 shots and Howe’s use of Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin in open positions brought out the best in them. They both got it right and combined for what should have been a late winner when Joelinton was played, only for the Brazilian to slip. But the fans left happy, buoyed by Howe’s intention, who brought in three goals for the first time this season.

Fitness and desire

Lascelles revealed that the discipline had changed since Howe’s arrival and said he expected to see a “big difference” given the intensity of the training. And we did it. For once, Newcastle finished a game strong. They also recovered twice from going back. But fitness and hunger must be a given. The challenge for Howe is to build on those values. Because the job in front of him is as big as that bridge beyond his bedroom window.

Newcastle's attacking display was better as they recorded 23 shots against the Bees.

Newcastle's attacking display was better as they recorded 23 shots against the Bees.

Newcastle’s attacking display was better as they recorded 23 shots against the Bees.

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