The match at the weekend was great for so many reasons, not just the win but the opportunity for so many supporters to release the pent-up emotions that have built up in a calendar year, that had seen just two previous wins at St James Park.
Sunday summed football up for me; goals, a win, entertainment, comical defending….
Hopefully one other thing was preying on the minds of those who have power at Newcastle United.
Namely, the upcoming January transfer window and beyond.
The team display against Norwich was interesting in so many ways, uplifting in certain aspects but depressingly familiar in others.
The strengths and weaknesses of the team exposed once and for all.
By my reckoning, we have six players at the minute who are top ten, or higher, Premier League players. Some of them are just beginning their careers i England but on what I have seen they are up to the standard.
Here is my team and the positions that are desperate to be filled:
Whilst Mbemba and Janmaat weren’t brilliant against Norwich, they are two very good players judged on what we have and/or the potential. You have to think though that these are the two most at risk of being dragged down by the mess around them.
Clearly the team’s strengths are on the attacking side and Sissoko wins inclusion in my ‘good enough’ team because of what we saw on Sunday and what we know he is capable of, rather than his performances overall in recent times.
Elsewhere, I think Mitrovic and Wijnadlum have shown great character and ability, whilst it was criminal when Steve McClaren left Ayoze Perez out of the early matches.
However, the weaknesses are so glaring, Coloccini shocking as he has been for the last three seasons, no left-back good enough for the job.
Tim Krul out at least for the rest of this season and will he return to even his ‘decent’ standard of recent years after such a serious injury?
Elsewhere, the club have ended up without a decent central midfielder at St James Park, if you added Tiote, Colback and Anita together then you might get a decent one by combining the three.
The knock on effect of the below par defenders, keeper and central midfielders is often fatal for the rest of the team. Sunday a key pointer – Newcastle scoring six but Norwich so easily could have done the same.
The central midfielders provide next to no cover for the defence and give minimal help at the other end.
Whilst in defence it is organised chaos for most of the time as the lack of leadership with Coloccini at the heart of that, leaving Newcastle looking permanently fragile.
The areas that need strengthening are all too obvious but the question is, what will Mike Ashley do about it and when?
Until the problems are addressed, Wijandlum and others had better have their shooting boots on because it looks like we will need goals and plenty of them.
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