Newcastle United travel to the London Stadium tonight to face West Ham United in a key game in their battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
They will be up against a Hammers side who are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the Premier League table and will be desperate for any points to contribute to their survival hopes.
However, to keep his side sharp, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe may need to make alterations for the trip to the capital given the hectic fixture schedule.
With Miguel Almiron out with a thigh injury, and Ryan Fraser not in contention, the team’s options are limited on the flanks, and rotation may be necessary to prevent further injury setbacks.
A player who must come in and perform for the Magpies is winger Anthony Gordon, who has struggled to make an impact since his £45m January arrival from Everton, but who possesses the talent and creative spark to keep the Newcastle side fresh if he is performing at his best.
What could Gordon offer against West Ham?
Murphy has struggled to offer consistent output during his time in the North East, registering just six goals and ten assists in 140 appearances in all competitions during his time at the club.
In his ratings for the win over Manchester United, The Independent’s Jamie Brainwood summarised how Murphy struggles with his final ball despite working hard, with his comment that although he ‘saw lots of the ball’ he was ‘quite limited in his final product’.
Gordon, on the other hand, is a dynamic forward who has already shown his potential during his time at Everton.
Against a team that has conceded just once in their last four games in all competitions, Howe should opt to unleash Gordon who Braintree notes offered ‘more energy’ after his introduction at the weekend.
Newcastle legend Alan Shearer has himself praised Gordon’s “fearless attitude” which could be key as the club finds itself in such an unfamiliar position in the table with just 11 matches to play.
He has the directness and tenacity needed to make an impact from the start, as demonstrated by the £24m-rated man’s strong cameo against United.
With the investment from PIF made in the player, Howe must put faith in the man he has described as having a “fantastic mentality” (via Chronicle Live) and give him a chance to shine from the start, even if it comes at Murphy’s expense.