Newcastle United are suffering an injury crisis, and that has created a big weakness in defence.
Fabricio Coloccini is currently suspended for two more games, leaving Mike Williamson as the only senior centre-half in the entire squad. As a result of this, Dutch full-back Daryl Janmaat had to provide cover in the central positions as the Magpies fell to a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday.
Despite playing out of position, the 25-year-old’s performance was impressive, but he did show inexperience in a central role. He will likely fill the same post in a fortnight’s time when the Wear-Tyne derby rolls around, although he may face a tougher threat than that shown against the Gunners.
Arsenal’s desire to play the ball along the floor worked in Janmaat’s favour, whereas Sunderland will look to break quickly using direct passes. The Gunners scored from two set pieces, but they did not challenge the aerial system as much as they could have, and that is something Sunderland will do.
Being not the tallest, the Dutchman does lack a physical presence when compared to a natural centre-half, and John Carver - who had no choice but to select Janmaat - believes that the full-back’s lack of heading ability is the main weakness he brings to Newcastle.
Speaking to the Chronicle, Carver said: “He could play there [centre-half]. But the one thing is Arsenal scored two from set plays so it’s important to have centre halves who can head the ball as well.”
With the lack of aerial dominance from Janmaat taken into account, Carver could look to call Lubo Satka up from the reserves, with the 19-year-old a natural central defender.