BBC pundit Steve Stone has claimed that Eddie Howe must be wary of teams marking Bruno Guimaraes out of Newcastle United games.
Newcastle were rampant on Boxing Day as they ran out 3-0 winners away, with all of their goals coming inside the opening 45 minutes before then controlling the game in the second half.
But Stone believes there is something of a running theme, having watched Newcastle play Everton at home as the Toffees marked Guimaraes out of the game in the second half – with the Magpies failing to convert any chances in that second period.
Stone has claimed on the Football Daily podcast that Howe must find a way to stop teams from marking Guimaraes out of games moving forward.
The former England international said: “He was excellent. What he’s doing at the minute, he protects that back four really well, he puts himself in some really good positions. He’s not the quickest player in the world, but he’s got a really good footballing brain.
“For that second goal for Almiron, he was the one that started the move and drifted the ball out wide [with] a 30-40 yard ball out to Trippier, and then he makes the ground up to then play the pass back in for a one-two with Almiron.
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“He’s just so key to this Newcastle side at the minute. I did see Everton earlier in the season when they played against them, try to stop him and they did a good job on it second half and it changed the game.
“So Newcastle have got to find other ways of playing when people are going to start to cotton on to what a good player he is, and the press that he’s going to get, and the demand he’s going to get now, he will get more attention. But Newcastle have to find other ways as well, which I think they can do.”
TIF Thoughts on Guimaraes…
It would be no surprise to see teams in the second half of the season start to clock on to Guimaraes and try to mark him out of games because he is very influential to Eddie Howe’s side as he gets all about the pitch.
The Brazilian can’t be pigeon-holed into one position as shown by Almiron’s goal, where he picks up the ball in his own half before finding himself just outside of the Leicester City penalty area creating a goal.
Therefore, it will be very difficult for teams to mark him out of games, but with 829 touches in just 13 league starts (FBref), his influence on the Newcastle team appears to be too obvious to ignore.