There is only one route left for Newcastle United to take and it may well not suit everybody.
We all like to see great football (not that there has been much/any this season anyway) but needs must.
The only strategy left for Newcastle United must surely be route one.
Even with a massive change for the better in Rafa Benitez over that clueless smoggie, he simply doesn’t have the players at his disposal to try and play Newcastle out of trouble.
This season, the Newcastle midfield hasn’t looked capable of dominating the opposition (with very rare exceptions) and so game after game passes by where the team get nowhere fast.
In Jonjo Shelvey we might have one part of the answer but he can’t do it by himself.
As things stand, the likes of Ayoze Perez and Gini Wijnaldum are totally anonymous for 90% of many games, especially away from home. Moussa Sissoko constantly looks like he is going to do something but never does.
Whilst up front, even if the team were capable of breaking fast, Aleksandar Mitrovic hasn’t got a hope in hell of arriving in the box in time to get on the end of anything.
There isn’t the right combination of ability and pace in the Newcastle midfield to run any game, only when the likes of an ultra negative West Brom turn up at St James Park and hand over all initiative. can the current group of players run the game.
So route one.
We need to get another striker (Doumbia, Cisse, Perez, whoever…though not Riviere!) alongside Aleksandar Mitrovic and then hit it long to the Serbian and build from there.
Get the likes of Townsend, Wijnaldum etc then looking to pick up the knockdowns, lay-offs and take advantage of having possession deep in enemy territory. The status quo simply sees United far too slow and predictable and finding it all but impossible to break down organised opposition.
I would also find a way of playing Shelvey further forward as an essential part of these remaining matches.
It is a collector’s item when anybody shoots from outside the area for Newcastle and Andros Townsend has changed that to an extent since his arrival, albeit in a small way. However, in Shelvey’s first few matches he also was getting a number of long range efforts in – that is why we need to get somebody playing alongside/behind him that allows him the freedom to have a go – whether it is Tiote, Saivet, Sissoko or whovever.
Newcastle desperately need to expand their range of scoring opportunities and get any likely goalscorers as close to the goal as often as possible.
I really think there is nothing to lose by going down this route (one) in the short-term, as the alternative is certain relegation.