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First Team

Match Preview: Newcastle United vs Brentford

All the build-up to tomorrow's trip to St James' Park

19 November 2021

THE OPPOSITION

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Eddie Howe will have to wait for his first taste of the St James' Park atmosphere after testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday. The news came on the eve of the match which will signal a new dawn for Newcastle United Football Club. 

The last month has seen a complete change in atmosphere on Tyneside with new owners at the helm in the shape of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. Their arrival ended Mike Ashley's 14-year reign as owner and Steve Bruce's two-and-a-half-years in the dugout. 

Despite having the Premier League's richest owners, there is a realism on Tyneside that PIF's first job is to ensure that next season, they are not the richest owners in the Sky Bet Championship.

The Magpies are winless in their opening 11 games, with just five points to show for their efforts so far. They have failed to keep a clean sheet this season, facing the second most shots per game of any top flight side. 

Eddie Howe will likely oversee a change in style on Tyneside; prior to his arrival, Newcastle enjoyed the least possession of any Premier League side (37.3%) and registered the second lowest numbers of shots on target per game (2.9).

Howe has already detailed his admiration for midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, the former England man likely to be the playmaker in the new-look Newcastle. 

Callum Wilson (above) has four of Newcastle's 12 league goals this season and flourished under Howe during their six years together at Bournemouth.

THE GAMEPLAN

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When asked for Hot Off The Press how Eddie Howe's Newcastle will look, The Athletic's Chris Waugh, said: "What he said at his unveiling was that he was keen not to give any secrets away or ideas of exactly what he wants to do, but what he has said is that he has a philosophy and that is front-foot football, trying to have more of the ball and to be attacking.

"That’s the insight he has given about what he is trying to do but what will be interesting is how quickly he can instil those ideas and how much it is revolution or evolution because, for Newcastle, that would mark quite a change if they start trying to dominate the ball a bit more than previously. For the whole time they have been back in the Premier League, they have, more often than not, had more possession that the opposition. It will be interesting to see if Howe tries to build on that counter-attacking or immediately tries to change"

TEAM NEWS

Shandon Baptiste (shoulder), Yoane Wissa (ankle), Zanka, and Mathias Jensen (Covid) are all in contention for tomorrow's trip to St James' Park. Kris Ajer (hamstring), David Raya, Julian Jeanvier, Mads Bech (all knee), Josh Dasilva (hip), and Tariqe Fosu will miss out.

For Newcastle, Paul Dummett (calf) aside, Eddie Howe has a fully-fit squad including goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. Howe has hinted that Fabian Schar, Jamal Lewis, Jeff Hendrick, Emil Krafth and Miguel Almiron are unlikely to start, given the limited training they have had under him, with the latter only returning to Benton on Friday.

MATCH STATS

  • Brentford striker Ivan Toney made two Premier League appearances for Newcastle United in the 2015/16 campaign. In Premier League history, Newcastle have conceded more goals to players who used to play for them in the competition than any other side (49). 
  • Newcastle are the only side without a win in the Premier League this season, with 11 matches being their longest run without victory from the start of any league campaign. However, the last two winless sides in the Premier League this season got their first victory against Brentford (Burnley in Matchweek 10 and Norwich City in Matchweek 11). 
  • This will be Eddie Howe’s first match as Newcastle head coach. Only one of the last eight managers to take charge of the Magpies has won their first Premier League fixture, with Alan Pardew beating Liverpool 3-1 in December 2010. 
  • Brentford have lost each of their last four Premier League matches. They last lost five consecutive league outings back in December 2007 in League Two.

THE MANAGER

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After 18 months out of the game following his departure from AFC Bournemouth, Eddie Howe is back in management

Synonymous with AFC Bournemouth, Howe spent a quarter-century on the South Coast as a player and manager. He made 300 of his 302 professional appearances for The Cherries, before injury forced him to retire, aged 29 in 2007.

He then joined the coaching staff at Dean Court and was appointed caretaker manager on New Year's Eve 2008 with AFC Bournemouth second from bottom in League Two, seven points from safety. 

His time on the South Coast took him, and The Cherries, from 91st in the EFL to the Premier League. After preserving their Football League status during the 2008/09 season, despite a 17 point deduction, Howe earned League Two promotion the following season and added a promotion from League One three years later. In between those promotions was a short spell in charge of Burnley.

In May 2015, Howe led Bournemouth to the top flight of English football for the first time in their history, completing their journey from bottom to top in just five seasons. There The Cherries remained for five years, punching well above their weight and playing an attacking brand of football that has become Howe's trademark. 

Their relegation in 2020 ended Howe's eight-year spell in charge but the 43-year-old is now back in management with The Magpies.

THE OPPOSITION VIEW

Eddie Howe told nufc.co.uk: “I'd like to think you'll see a Newcastle team playing in the way that I want them to, and a way befitting of what the Newcastle supports want to see as well.

"I'm going to try and deliver that as best I can. How quickly we can get there, well, we'll see – but I'd like to think you'll see a team that is playing for the shirt, the supporters and the badge, and doing the team and the city proud.

"I think [Thomas Frank] has done an amazing job and the biggest compliment I can give him is that when you go so close to promotion a number of times, to then come back the next season and get the team going again and believing again is incredibly difficult.

"He managed to do it, and then get over the line eventually, which I thought was a great achievement. They've come into the Premier League in the same manner, so full credit to them and the club."

LAST TIME OUT

THE OFFICIALS

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Referee: Robert Jones

Assistant Referees: Eddie Smart and Simon Beck

Fourth Official: Jeremy Simpson

VAR: Kevin Friend 

Assistant VAR: Scott Ledger

Newcastle United 2021/22

107 fouls – 11th in Premier League 

30 yellow cards – Most in Premier League

1 red cards – Joint-Most in Premier League

MATCHDAY INFO

The visiting fans section is on Level 7, with 140 stairs and 14 landings on the way up. If you have mobility issues or feel challenged by the climb, please speak to a steward who can direct you to a lift.

To minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission, St. James’ Park will be supporting contactless payments; Cash is accepted in selected locations only.

Newcastle ask all supporters to download and register on the NHS App and to have their NHS Covid Pass (or home country equivalent) available for potential inspection on arrival.

Spot checks will be taking place around the ground as supporters arrive

Plan your Matchday

The M1 will be closed Northbound all weekend between J14 and J15 while a protest is planned on the A1 from Gateshead into Newcastle City Centre from 11am on Saturday.

HOW TO FOLLOW

Saturday's game is not being broadcast live in the UK so the only way for domestic fans to follow all the action is to listen on BeesPlayer. Joining Mark Burridge will be former Bees favourite Isaiah Rankin.

For fans around the world, the game is being shown live through the Premier League's broadcast partners. Click here to see if the game is on where you are. 


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