Newcastle must buy an attacking plan B in January after another drab draw

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez gestures from the sideline during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion at St. James Park on December 30, 2017 in...

Newcastle could find no way through Brighton on Saturday, despite turning to their bench in the second half. That must change.

Dwight Gayle of Newcastle United is challenged by Lewis Dunk of Brighton during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion at St. James Park on December...

Newcastle United were the better of the two teams as they battled Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, but it counted for little.

Mat Ryan was in inspired form in the Brighton goal, but Rafa Benitez's men did not trouble the Australian goalkeeper as often as they should have.

Smart stops from Isaac Hayden and Dwight Gayle were followed by a drab finale to the game as the Magpies failed to kick on and earn a vital three points.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez gestures from the sideline during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion at St. James Park on December 30, 2017 in...

And the closing stages of this latest stalemate only went to prove once again the glaring issue in Newcastle's squad: their lack of a plan B.

When Benitez turned to his bench in the hope of some inspiration to change the game, he found not a single striker and instead midfielders - Jonjo Shelvey - and wide men - Ayoze Perez and Jacob Murphy - who could do little more than replace tiring legs.

The Newcastle boss changed from a 4-4-2 to his favoured 4-2-3-1 late on, but Brighton comfortably dealt with the switch as the Magpies floundered.

Newcastle player Ayoze Perez in action during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on August 13, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It is no secret that Newcastle need forwards and creators in January, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the new men must offer something significantly different to that of Perez, Dwight Gayle and co.

Newcastle will need to pick up points from frustrating games in future if they are to stay up and that means Benitez needs something different among his substitutes.

January cannot come too soon for Benitez.

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