The optimism that I am feeling for the rest of the season all relies on one thing, Goals! Newcastle of late has played some really good football, creating some fantastic chances, but failing to put them away thanks to a lack of confidence, which in turn means that the players have not been brave enough to get into the box when it counts.
The Everton game added a lot of pressure and asked some hard questions about Newcastle’s character and it showcased the defensive frailties that have been haunting Newcastle so far this season. It also raised some serious questions about McClaren’s tactical ability.
The West Brom game was the much needed lift everyone at the club needed, while the goals weren’t flying in, Newcastle got that all important win and played some really good football. It’s just a matter of time before players start consistently finding the back of the net. Several players stood out for me as there had a welcome return for Steven Taylor who helped the club keep a clean sheet for the first time in 4 games. Rolando Aarons played a fantastic part in an unfamiliar role at left back as he showed what a talent he can be, and Cheick Tiote showed that he still has a role to play at the club having almost been sold off to a club in China. Overall a great team performance, it’s just a matter of them kicking on and scoring more goals to kill off games a lot quicker.
Looking at Newcastle after what can be considered the best January transfer window Newcastle have had for 3, if not more, seasons. Newcastle continued on from the summer transfer window by adding some more quality to the squad with some important acquisitions. All that was missing was another center back, or left back (since Dummett can cover both) and a permanent striker.
Four new players arrived at St James’ Park in the form of central midfielders Henri Saivet and Jonjo Shelvey, winger Andros Townsend and then on loan striker Seydou Doumbia. Newcastle haven’t had a deep lying playmaker at the club since Yohan Cabaye and Shelvey is a typical deep lying playmaker, his performances of late have been absolutely fantastic and he is showing why McClaren spent 12mil pounds on him. The potential that Townsend has will hopefully be realised at Newcastle having been frozen out at Tottenham he’ll have plenty to play for, especially with the Euro’s just around the corner. Doumbia and Saivet a both enigma’s and will hopefully get used to the physicality of the Premier League quickly and can play important roles at the club for the remainder of the season.
Having now spent around £73 million this season on new players Newcastle will now be expected to put on some much better performances on the pitch, and rise up the league.
Howay the Lads.