I did an earlier article establishing that for Newcastle to have any realistic chance of improving on last season’s fifth, they must score at least 65 goals.
In comparison United hit 56 last season, which helped claim fifth, but in the last five years 19 of the 20 teams to finish top four all scored 65 or more.
So for round figures Newcastle need at least 10 or so more goals, where will they find them?
First of all you need to look at where our goals came from last season;
Strikers: Ba 16, Cisse 13, Best 4, Shola 2
Wingers: Ben Arfa 5, Jonas 2, Obertan 1
Central Midfield: Cabaye 4, Guthrie 1, Gosling 1
Defence: Ryan Taylor 2
Own Goals: 5 (!!!)
I was a bit shocked to see Own Goal (whoever he is…) was our joint third top scorer and other stand out statistics that aren’t shown here are the fact we only scored once from a corner (Ba at Wolves) and won only three penalties, Ba converting against Manchester United and Stoke but failing against some other red and white striped team that I’m struggling to recall…
Starting at the top end, I fancy Ba and Cisse (all of this is assuming we keep the elite players) to score 40 goals from the striking positions, with the help of Shola and especially, a yet to be signed third choice striker. When Cisse and Ba landed at Newcastle after the African Nations, we scored 15 in 15 from the forward positions, at that rate 40 or more is more than likely.
Including the own goals it would leave the rest of the team needing to contribute 25 or more, which considering the 21 that came from those areas last season should be seen as a necessity.
No wonder Alan Pardew talked so strongly about bringing in a goalscoring centre-back, two goals from the whole defence is pitiful. If Steven Taylor stays fit then he should contribute and Coloccini has shown he is capable as well, as a whole though I would say the challenge must be a minimum of eight goals from the boys at the back with the corner embarrassment a must solve issue. What make sit worse is that those two Ryan Taylor wonder strikes came from a player who very few of us would see as a first choice.
Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas would seem to be very likely starters and backed up currently by the likes of Marveaux, Sammy and Obertan, the eight goals from those positions must be improved upon with a minimum of ten the target.
Central midfield; six was a poor return and being realistic Cheick Tiote will contribute few if any though he has to share some responsibility. A minimum of eight should be the expectation with Cabaye more than capable of delivering.
Strikers (40), Defenders (8), Wingers (10) and Centre Midfield (8) give 66 and a handful of own goals would take us up to around 70 if everything went according to plan, which is most unlikely.
It also puts a massive weight on the likes of Ba and Cisse but they are more than capable of carrying it.
Goals win matches and indeed, league positions.
Shoot on sight.