Right, this is starting to develop into a problem, we as Newcastle fans knew two very basic things before a ball was kicked at West Ham:-
- We concede goals.
- We don’t score goals.
So with these bits of information in mind, after four league games (2 goals scored, 5 goals against) we go to a side that hasn’t had the best of times on their own patch, once again set up with two holding midfielders (Anita and Colback ever present) and one lone front man.
Well after five outings, although not a long run of games, it’s enough to figure out what’s working and what’s not – two defensive midfielders and a lone striker is most definitely not working.
I had hoped beyond all hope that Steve McClaren would dispense with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and go with 4-1-3-2 which would’ve given Papiss Cisse a partner (in Ayoze Perez), still kept a creative three behind them and, let’s be fair, if we can’t protect a back four with two players, how many ARE we going to need?
We are currently looking at a season defining game against Watford. Win it and it’s something to build on, lose it and we have the prospect of Chelsea and Manchester City next up- not the sides you want to be facing needing points to stay afloat.
In years gone by, I’d always be confident in the knowledge that the opening six games didn’t mean that much, we’ve always been slow starters, yes it can hamper where you’re going to finish at the end of the season, but a bad start didn’t stop Sir Bobby Robson and his side finishing in the top six.
Why? Because the club had the resources to change things.
There were a core group of players that knew what was required at the club and in the Premier League as a whole.
Shay Given, Gary Speed, Nobby Solano, and Alan Shearer had the attitude, while the likes of Craig Bellamy, Laurent Robert, Jermaine Jenas and Kieron Dyer, put in enough performances of sufficient quality, that you knew a bad run of form wouldn’t last very long.
Fast forward to 2015 and I don’t see the characters that are going to dig this side out of trouble.
You have a few different factions of player at the club at present…
A selection of players that need time to bed in
Another lot that seem to be disinterested unless the environment at the club is perfect
A few players that can’t seem to control themselves (Typically, these are the better players at the club)
Then we have a bunch of players that aren’t good enough.
Add in the mere fact that the side isn’t set up right and the problem becomes even more pressing and prominent.
Back to that hope I was talking about before.
I hope that for the Watford game, Steve McClaren alters our approach, we take the game to the opposition and attack from the off.
We need to give up this barmy idea that defence is the way to get something out of the game (it’s blatantly not) and listen to all sense and reason that has been bandied about from all sides over the last couple of weeks.
There was a poll submitted on The Mag before West Ham on who the fans wanted to see up front (A front two of Cisse and Perez was the clear winner ahead of just playing one or the other).
Pundit Jamie Carragher has had his say, as has Gary Neville, as well as Steve Claridge and Alan Shearer on where Newcastle are failing.
Over to Steve McClaren to see to what is staring him squarely in the face.
EVERYBODY ELSE can’t be wrong!!
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