This is how Newcastle United should use Dwight Gayle to expose Leeds United’s defensive weaknesses
Newcastle United face Leeds on Friday night desperately needing their first win of the campaign – but could Dwight Gayle prove to be the key to success?
Against Manchester United, because of the absence of Callum Wilson through injury, Steve Bruce opted for a front-two of Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton.
With Wilson expected to be out until at least the October international break, it is imperative that someone is able to fill the void left by Newcastle’s number nine.
And where better to start than against a Leeds side who will reportedly have a ‘make-shift’ defence on Friday night?
Saint-Maximin and Joelinton, to their credit, did trouble the Manchester United back-line on Saturday with both having chances to grab themselves a goal.
However, neither have a ‘striker’s instinct’ and too often would Newcastle be in dangerous positions, only to find there was no one in the penalty box to finish off a chance.
This is where they must improve on Friday, and this could be where Dwight Gayle comes into his own.
Gayle, much like Wilson, is a poacher. He knows his role is to get into the area and trouble defenders as close to the goal as possible.
With a ‘makeshift’ defence in-front of him, Gayle’s instinct to get into the box and simply be ‘in the right place at the right time’ could be crucial for Newcastle.
He even showed his ability to do this against Friday’s opposition when a brace in the Championship secured Rafa Benitez’s side a 2-0 victory at Elland Road.
Scoring goals has not necessarily been a challenge for Newcastle this season, they’ve only blanked once so far in the Premier League, however, having an identity up-front has been a problem.
Wilson is a huge miss, but Gayle can fill a similar role, if given the opportunity by Bruce.
Gayle is by no means the answer to all of Newcastle’s problems, however, against a ‘makeshift’ Leeds defence, he may be one of the keys to victory.