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Tyne Talk

Form Is Temporary But Goals For Newcastle Are Permanent Problem

10 years ago
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Different points of view are the lifeblood of football and we have a sackful of them at the moment at Newcastle United but when it comes to Newcastle goal scorers, or rather the lack of them, the statistics don’t lie.

While the chronic lack of goals can’t lie, what is to be done about it opens a whole other box of tricks and opinions.

Firstly, the stats. The last 8 matches produced 3 wins, 1 draw, 4 defeats – not terrible, not great, pretty average.

However, scoring goals (or rather not) should be setting the alarm bells ringing.

0-3 Swansea (A)
1-0 Manchester united (A)
1-1 Southampton (H)
3-0 Palace (A)
5-1 Stoke (H)
0-1 Arsenal (H)
0-1 West Brom (A)
1-2 Cardiff (H)

The Stoke match papers over a lot of cracks if you just take the scoreline at face value.

In six of the eight games, Newcastle scored no goals and only one goal, on three occasions each.

While Newcastle did a very professional job in the second half of the Stoke match after the two players were sent off, in the first forty minutes it was arguably Newcastle’s worst half of the season after the opening period against Everton.

If the ref hadn’t intervened with some generous decisions then the odds are that yet again Newcastle would have scored either one or no goals. That would have now made it 7 out of 8 matches where we hadn’t scored more than one.

It might be stating the obvious but you don’t win many matches if you continually fail to score more than once.

This isn’t just a recent match phenomenon either, pre-season friendlies saw United struggle to score goals against very average opposition and while they managed four at Motherwell – in the other six friendly games it was only against St.Mirren that United managed to score twice.

Previous to that, the final twelve matches of last season saw Newcastle score one or less, only against the already relegated QPR did we manage two and that was thanks to two huge gifts from Bosingwa.

Things did look to have improved in the autumn but United were massively reliant on Loic Remy who was in a golden spell scoring goals out of nothing much of the time and even then we never managed to score more than twice in any match.

So what are we to do?

Well create a lot more chances and convert them into goals is the short/simple answer but how?

I think there needs to be more attacking emphasis when it comes to tactics and team selection plus it appears a no-brainer that we need to bring in players who can create and score.

The Sky Sports generated headlines on Sunday night, regarding up to four signings in January, have given some hope for optimism and we all await with interest.

The simple fact though is that with our defenders producing almost zero goal threat, we could well have a front six (without new recruits) of Sissoko, Anita, Tiote, Gouffran, Shola and Remy in the upcoming matches if Cabaye’s injury rules him out.

Other teams are clearly now taking much more notice of Remy and so we are then left with Gouffran, up to a point, as our only other remotely likely Newcastle goal scorer.

Many fans say that Hatem Ben Arfa is a luxury but for a team that scores and creates so little, can it really be an option to leave him out, especially if Cabaye isn’t available.

Keeping it tight and grabbing a goal on the counter-attack has worked up to a certain point this season but can’t be seen as a longer term answer, especially when Coloccini is out for the foreseeable, Debuchy for a couple more and now doubts about both Krul and Cabaye thanks to injury.

There are many more ways to win football matches and Alan Pardew must, like his players, raise his game.

He has a platform to build from thanks to a great run in October/November but now is the time for Newcastle United to go on the attack, both on the pitch and in the transfer market.

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