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Opinion

The biggest media myth of all on these Newcastle United players

2 weeks ago
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I know that there is pretty tough competition when it comes to media myths and these Newcastle United players.

That is before of course we get to media myths and Newcastle fans, which is of course a far bigger and absolutely more ridiculous debate.

However, on this occasion, I just want to stick to the Newcastle United players.

In the lead up to this January transfer window and indeed in the 10 days and counting that have now passed of it, there is one totally clueless comment I have kept hearing.

Journalists and pundits regularly uttering something along the lines of ‘Scoring goals isn’t the problem for Newcastle United, it is defenders they need.’

Now don’t worry, I haven’t gone totally mad and going to try and argue that Newcastle don’t need better players at the back and in defensive midfield etc etc. Along with Norwich, NUFC are well in the lead with 42 goals when it comes to conceding in the Premier League.

Instead, it is this idea that scoring goals isn’t a problem, which I want to address.

So far in 2021/22 Newcastle United have scored 19 goals in 21 games (all competitions) and this is the breakdown of who has scored them:

6 Wilson

4 Saint-Maximin

1 Hayden, Hendrick, Joelinton, Lascelles, Longstaff, Manquillo, Murphy, Shelvey, Own goal

Can you see what I might be getting at?

With 21 games played, nobody apart from Wilson and ASM has scored more than one goal.

If journalists and pundits were making themselves look pathetic before, when claiming scoring goals wasn’t a problem for this group of Newcastle United players, it is a whole different level for any who are still uttering that now, after news that Callum Wilson is now out for at least eight weeks through injury.

If anybody wants to point the finger of blame, it is Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce who are absolutely to blame for this shocker of a situation that they have fled the scene from. The shameless pair leaving St James Park with pockets full of cash, leaving an absolute mess for Eddie Howe and the new NUFC owners to sort out.

The thing is, fans were completely aware of just how precarious the situation was, both this summer and indeed over a period of years. Yet this summer when Andy Carroll left, Steve Bruce when asked about the need to bring in more goalscorers, instead insisted that Newcastle United had so many great options they didn’t need to bring in any new ones.

Last season, only two Newcastle United players scored more than four Premier League goals, Wilson got 12 and Willock eight. Willock scored those eight goals from only 17 shots, a run that was never going to be repeated and not something / someone you could rely on, whilst Wilson has a history of injuries and sadly, no surprise that he is now injured yet again. He only managed to start 23 of the 38 PL matches last season, so nobody at Newcastle could have claimed they weren’t forewarned.

It was completely negligent and reckless that Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce ensured the summer 2021 window ended with this group of Newcastle United players in place.

An absolute recipe for disaster, a defence largely reliant on players still here from the 2016/17 Championship season and which had absolutely fallen apart thanks to two seasons under Steve Bruce. Whilst at the other end, so few players who were ever going to be capable of scoring many goals.

I don’t want to worry you too much but I think it is clear that Newcastle have less players capable of scoring goals than other Premier League club. Burnley have four players who have score two or more goals (all competitions) this season, even Norwich have three!

Meanwhile Newcastle have only two and the main hope is knackered for the foreseeable. I then read comments from the lunatic fringe of supposed NUFC fans, who talk about Allan Saint-Maximin being a luxury that Newcastle can’t afford in this relegation fight. He has scored four PL goals and got three assists, as well as being the only creative player in the Newcastle squad, the player who everybody else just gives the ball to and hopes he does something. Aye, get him out the team as soon as possible!

You really have to feel for Howe and the new owners, trying to bring in goalscorers and creative players in January, when they are the players all other teams are absolutely desperate to hang onto, whether they are fighting it out at the top or bottom. These players had to be brought in during last summer but Ashley and Bruce absolutely failed the fans, no surprise there.

You see desperate journalists and pundits wanting to question why Eddie Howe hasn’t turned results around yet?

You saw on Saturday yet again how desperate the situation is when you don’t have any / many goalscorers, there were actually plenty of shots (23) and indeed more than enough on target (9), but some truly feeble finishing, as well as their keeper making a few excellent saves…though even then he should have been left with no chance on those ones as well.

I don’t excuse the current Newcastle United players by the way, they might not be capable in most cases of becoming natural regular goalscorers BUT they have to take more responsibility, not just expect ASM and new signings to magically make things better.

For all the praise coming his way, I think it is still unacceptable that Joelinton provides so little goal threat. One goal so far this season is woeful and he has to add at least a reasonable number of goals to the improvement he is showing in other areas.

Shelvey is of course shameless and he needs to put the effort in and get up there in and around the box to score (and create) goals, he showed with his goal against Liverpool and couple of really good efforts at Arsenal that he is capable of far more goal threat, BUT needs to run up the pitch and get involved.

As for the rest, exactly the same, whether Fraser, Longstaff, Murphy, Almiron, whoever, show the desire to get in there and the belief that you are going to score goals.

The running of the club under Mike Ashley has ensured that since promotion five years ago, Newcastle have been put permanently at risk of a third relegation under him.

The failure to properly address the situation when it comes to scoring goals has been appalling…

Here is an overview of  the top Premier League goalscorers for Newcastle United since promotion in 2016/17, the players who have score four or more:

2017/18 

8 Perez, 6 Gayle, 4 Joselu

2018/19 

12 Perez, 11 Rondon, 4 Schar

2019/20 

6 Shelvey, 4 Gayle, 4 Almiron

2020/21 

12 Wilson, 8 Willock, 4 Almiron, 4 Joelinton

Joelinton doing ok in some ways now BUT it is still a disaster that Mike Ashley forced Rafa Benitez out (as well as Rondon, plus selling Perez), so he could get his own way and have Newcastle United paying £40m for the Brazilian, rather than buying the essential goalscorers that were needed.

The patient needs major surgery, here’s hoping the waiting list in January won’t prove an impossible hurdle in terms of signing goalscorers proving impossible.

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