Newcastle United v Manchester United: Pictures
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Newcastle suffered the ignominy of being dumped out of the FA Cup by League One strugglers Cambridge United at St James’ Park on Saturday. The Magpies fell behind 11 minutes into the second half as Joe Ironside struck. And the home were unable to find a breakthrough at the other end as they eventually lost 1-0.
Newcastle have been shambolic this season and have only won one game in all competitions.
And their latest hammer blow will lead to questions over whether Eddie Howe is able to transform his side’s fortunes and keep them in the Premier League.
The Magpies were taken over by a mega-rich Saudi-led consortium in the autumn but the team’s form has hardly improved since then.
Boss Howe will surely be desperate to delve into the transfer market for further reinforcements this month after already landing Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid.
And Express Sport takes a look at four players the former Bournemouth manager must upgrade after his team’s latest loss.
Emil Krafth has appeared at right-back and centre-back for Newcastle this season.
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Trippier’s arrival means the Sweden international is unlikely to play at right-back again if the England man is fully fit.
And he could find his opportunities at the heart of the backline limited after his performance against Cambridge.
He was poor at the back and wasted an opportunity to grab a leveller in the final minute as he scuffed an effort straight at Cambridge goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov.
With Krafth failing to impress on Saturday, it may come as somewhat of a surprise that Fabian Schar was probably the weaker of the two centre-backs.
Schar was run ragged at times and looked unconvincing despite his status as a seasoned Premier League campaigner.
And he hardly covered himself in glory for the goal as he headed Harvey Knibbs’ effort off the line but straight to Ironside before failing to prevent the follow-up after a lethargic effort to close down the Cambridge frontman.
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Jacob Murphy at least attempted to find a way past Mitov on Saturday – but he was found wanting time and time again.
The winger had a chance to open the scoring in the first half but saw his tame effort pushed away.
He then shot straight at Mitov after taking up a good position in the box and being teed-up by Ryan Fraser.
Murphy was unlucky not to eventually find the back of the net when his thumping effort was tipped onto the crossbar just before the break.
But Newcastle surely need a more clinical finisher in their attack if they are to beat the drop this season.
Everton have been tipped to sign Sean Longstaff this month and Howe might decide to take the cash and put the money to better use.
The midfielder was denied a penalty in the first half but headed wide from six yards out when it looked much easier to hit the target following a delicious cross from Allan Saint-Maximin.
Longstaff failed to stand out against the lower-league opposition and was put out of his misery on the hour mark when he was replaced by Miguel Almiron.
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