Is this Newcastle United’s biggest weakness?
I’m often amused at some of John Carver’s comments, he refers to what happens in matches as though it is something that he has no influence over.
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Yesterday, the Newcastle Head Coach praised his team for their second-half transformation:
“It’s amazing, once we got on the front foot and all of a sudden the team came alive, the stadium comes alive – nice to see.”
Whilst we can all agree that United did play much better in the second-half, unlike Carver the rest of us are asking why he doesn’t send his players out on the ‘front foot’ from the first minute?
It was the same under Alan Pardew, negative tactics see the team sitting deep and invite the opposition to dictate play, which just as it did yesterday then surprise surprise leads to goals.
In only two Premier League matches this season have Newcastle scored in the opening half hour (Burnley (two goals) and Southampton at home), that is three goals in 30 matches.
It works out at a goal exactly every five hours of football. In fact in both of those games (Burnley and Southampton at home) the opposition also scored in that first half hour.
To put it another way, in 28 Premier League matches out of 30 this season, Newcastle haven’t scored in the opening half hour.
Compared to that, the opposition have scored 17 goals in the first half hour this season (once every 52 minutes), including Arsenal’s two yesterday.
On twelve different occasions, including home and away to Arsenal, the opposition have taken the lead in the first 30 minutes, Newcastle have done it once (Burnley home).
No wonder Newcastle struggle when they hand the initiative to the opposition time after time.
Like every other manager, John Carver often talks about how crucial the first goal of a match is. So maybe it is about time that he sets his team out to try and achieve just that.