Newcastle United - 5 things to be rectified
I think it would be fair to say that it has been a disappointing start to the season 2012 – 13. Not only have the results not gone in the club’s favor, but the sad 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 in 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 the first three months. Even in pre-season, 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, and then Krul. Tiote was out for close to a month, as was Simpson. Injuries and now suspensions are taking their toll. Newcastle 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 as almost certainties, with very little options and elements of surprise. We also need to work on our set pieces, which have been just awful from start to finish and, to be honest, look out of vogue.
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 need to bolster the squad. Not only will it increase competition for places, it will reduce pressure on 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 question.