A number of Newcastle players have to take responsibility this season.
Of course everyone who ever steps onto the pitch needs to do that but when it comes to goal I think we need to have explicit expectations that particular players need to step up.
Little wonder that players such as Wijnaldum, Mitrovic and Thauvin were brought in, all with very good goalscoring records for their respective positions.
Looking at Newcastle United since they returned to the Premier League in 2010, things have been bad and then got progressively worse.
I was surprised to find that the Newcastle squad scored as many goals in the first season up as they did the following year when United finished fifth.
The numbers of Premier League goals scored each season is as follows…
When you see the next set of statistics then you will see just how serious the situation had become.
These are the only players who have scored 5 or more PL goals in a season since promotion:
2010/11 Best (6), Lovenkrands (6), Shola (6), Carroll (11), Nolan (12)
2011/12 Ben Arfa 5, Cisse 13, Ba 16
2012/13 Cabaye (6), Cisse (8), Ba (13)
2013/14 Gouffran (6), Cabaye (7), Remy (14)
2014/15 Perez (7), Cisse (11)
Surprising to see that United had as many as five different players sharing the goals around in that first season after promotion.
In the next four seasons though, it has been feeble just how few players have managed five or more goals in a season.
When you take the strikers out of the equation, the only players to do this were Ben Arfa, Gouffran and Cabaye twice.
Personally, I would fine any midfielder or winger who doesn’t get at least five goals, if they play most of the season, unless you have a central midfielder who is under orders to anchor that midfield and not stray forward. To a lesser extent I would also fine the centre-backs if they don’t pitch in with two or three goals each per season from set-pieces etc.
If you look at Newcastle’s team from this perspective where goals are expected from right across the midfield and attack, who fits the bill?
Obviously Alan Pardew’s largely negative tactics are no longer an excuse that can be used, so which players are capable?
I would say that Mitrovic, Perez, Cisse, de Jong, Thauvin, Aarons and Wijnaldum are all more than capable and should be expected to contribute at least five or six if they get enough games.
On the other hand, I struggle to see Tiote, Riviere, Colback, Gouffran, Obertan, Anita and Marveaux doing the same, even if they were to play most PL matches.
Whilst I am not saying you should choose all players from that first set of names to populate the front half of the team, I do think those from the second group should be kept to a bare minimum.
After all, if you are playing in the front five positions in the team, what are you primarily supposed to be doing if it isn’t creating and/or scoring goals?
Last season it was painful as most games only Perez and Cisse ever looked like a real threat to the opposition.
Similarly in previous seasons it wasn’t much better, with it being obvious just which small group of players the opposition had to worry about.
For starters, I think Steve McClaren has a big decision as to whether to leave out Colback and/or Anita. Having two midfielders who are no threat to the opposition creates a really negative balance and makes your play far too predictable.
I saw the article showing the predicted team v West Ham earlier and if we put that eleven out then I can guarantee you, Newcastle will score either one or zero goals at Upton Park on Monday night.
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