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Usain Bolt isn’t the answer at Newcastle United but…

5 years ago

During my exile from Newcastle, I have seen football matches played up and down this country across pretty much any level, from international to Northern League.

Whatever division you look at, a simple principle will usually hold true: a quick attack will almost always score goals.

How many years is it since there was a genuinely quick combination of strikers for Newcastle to use, guys that defenders simply could not keep up with?

On his day, Obafemi Martins could destroy teams that way. Every time he played against Tottenham he would tear Michael Dawson to pieces.

Townsend is a foot in the right direction in regards to his own speed and direct style against full backs. Nevertheless, wingers generally only move the ball up the side of the pitch, a striker, on the other hand, can make themselves free in the box or break the offside trap.

Signing Usain Bolt won’t exactly be the magic pill to getting up the league table; far from it. But at least in terms of goals, which have been severely lacking for the past three seasons, someone able to run with the ball is a key ingredient.

It might even be heresy to the puritan football tactician, brought up with the ever-present need for a target man, but playing two nimble strikers up front is a reliable way of creating scoring chances. If Riviere ever learns how to put the ball in the net again, he could be a possible answer.

Look at how England beat Germany at the weekend.

Kane, Alli and Vardy all have the ability to run past their markers. Their enthusiasm to immediately close down the ball in the opposition half (again something that NUFC are crap at) also gave their performance a constant momentum and created at least two chances late in the game.

Fine, we don’t have players anywhere near as good as the three already mentioned. Ultimately though, there is a better way to play than having one powerful forward – supposedly Mitrovic in our case – and asking him to hold up the ball while the midfield tries to catch up at every opportunity.



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