Rafa Benitez admits search is on for inspiration from elsewhere
Rafa Benitez has admitted that he is still desperately searching for more signings, players who will make the difference in the front third.
Whilst the two defeats have obviously been cause for concern, what makes it even worse is that there is no tale of woe as to why Newcastle haven’t picked up a point yet.
At Fulham, the keeper was forced into one crucial save when Matt Ritchie’s shot simply hit him and he fortunately saved with his feet.
Against Huddersfield on Saturday, the visiting keeper didn’t have one serious threat to save in open play, the most difficult call to action being a header from Shelvey’s free-kick that he comfortably turned over the bar.
As expected the opposition have been sitting deep and with Newcastle looking largely clueless in terms of breaking them down, little wonder that penalties have been the biggest hope/talking point.
At Fulham there was one obvious one not given and another that would have been harsh if awarded, whilst on Saturday a penalty was rightly given but the Huddersfield defender didn’t know that much about it.
The fact that Dwight Gayle produced a shocking penalty just about summed up Newcastle’s attacking threat, with the luck actually going the way of United, as the ball popped up from the keeper’s save for Gayle to head into an empty net.
As I said at the start, it isn’t as though the Newcastle players are peppering the opposition goal with shots, or creating numerous dangerous situation in the opposition box.
Instead we are seeing a lot of ponderous build up play, ending up most times with either hopeful balls aimed into packed penalty areas, or players caught in possession as they overdo the non-threatening passing and Newcastle in danger of counter-attacks from the opposition.
In a regular scenario of recent seasons, we are seeing Newcastle becoming very predictable as to where any threat will come from. On Saturday the only possible chance of creating anything was in the first half with Janmaat and Ritchie after the Scottish international’s introduction.
The left hand side with Dummett and Aarons/Anita producing almost nothing despite often given space and time to deliver, the one exception a Dummett cross that Ritchie should have scored from.
In three hours of football Newcastle have struggled to create many decent chances and the opposition keepers almost totally untroubled.
Like a number of our players Rolando Aarons has talked a good game and then with the overwhelming support of the crowd after his selection against Huddersfield, he produces absolutely nothing.
Not a case of writing off a young player but it just reinforces that Newcastle desperately need players in key positions such as left-back and left wing to balance the threat from Ritchie and Janmaat. Otherwise the other teams will simply overload their left side as they know where the threat will be, knowing they will be comfortable on their right (Newcastle’s left).
Impossible to judge Dwight Gayle so far and whilst it is understandable for him to be frustrated at the lack of service, we could do without some of the obvious negative body language he is showing as he is starved of support.
Looking for positives, these three positions (left-back, left wing and another striker) are the ones that are obvious to everybody, from Rafa Benitez to the fans. With the United boss looking to bring in Brendan Galloway in on loan, having a bid for Anthony Knockaert turned down, and admitting he needs another striker.
A long way to go but without these reinforcements it could be a long long season.
“It’s true that we didn’t have too many clear chances.
“I was concerned about that, even though we improved second half when we were going to wide areas and trying to do something – still it was not enough.
“Yes we have to keep looking for players that can help the team grow and make us better for the rest of the season.”
(To read writer/fan reaction to Saturday’s match go Here)
(To view the interactive player ratings from Saturday and add your own, go HERE)
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