I think it would be fair to say that it has been a disappointing start to the season. Not only have the results not gone in the club’s favor but the sad the part is the performances have been well below par. Things need to pick up drastically and here are 5 things that must be rectified as soon as possible to ensure Newcastle climb up the table.
- Lack of Goals – So far this term Newcastle have scored only 12 goals in 11 league games which for a team that has ambitions of Europe again is very poor. The goal sources too have been very limited with only four players netting in first three months. Even in the preseason we could not score many goals (Hartlepool aside). There needs to be more contribution from other players from midfield and defense to help ease the burden on the strikers.
- Fitness and Discipline – for one reason or the other, the manager has in my opinion not been able to name his first choice eleven. Firstly Coloccini got injured on international duty, then Krul. Tiote was out for close to a month as was Simpson, injuries and now suspensions are taking their toll. United must get their act together in these two critical areas and stop shooting themselves in the foot and allow the manager some slack.
- Defensive steel – last season Newcastle had one of the best defensive records in the division with 15 clean sheets. This season Newcastle have been very poor defensively and have kept only one clean sheet. What has made matters worse it the fact that there has been a lot of chopping and changing and in Simpson, Santon, Perch, Anita, Ryan Taylor, James Tavernier and Shane Ferguson seven different full backs have been used already this season. Time to put your bodies on the line fellas.
- Strategy – last season most of the success was down to the 4-3-3 formation, but this season we have been sticking to a trite 4-4-2. This has really stifled some of the Newcastle flair players. In addition changing of full backs and defensive midfielders during a match has had a confusing effect too. As for substitutions we have Gabriel Obertan and Shola Ameobi almost certainties with very little options and elements of surprise. We also need to work on our set pieces, which quite honestly have been pretty awful so far.
- Bolstering of the squad – The Newcastle squad for the season 2012 -13 is extremely thin. With the addition of Europa league it looks thinner still. I seriously hope with United almost certain for the later rounds of Europa, League matches and fingers crossed a cup run in the offing in the new year, Newcastle really bolster the squad in January. Not only will it increase competition for places, but it will reduce pressure of youngsters too.
Newcastle have a lot of catching up to do if they really want to emulate the performances and results of last season. If the club can rectify some of the aforementioned things then I believe achieving or even bettering last season’s results is not at all out of the question.
Do you agree? Join the debate on twitter or on the comments section below