The story behind Newcastle United’s inconsistency

Robbie Roar Pro

By Robbie, Robbie is a Roar Pro

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    After finishing a lofty fifth in the English Premier League last season, Newcastle United now look to be spiralling down into the depths of the relegation zone.

    The engine of desire that propelled the Magpies last season was spluttering. It had been pushed to the limit and it had been exhausted. The club needed refuelling.

    With two wins in a row, the last against Chelsea 3-2, Newcastle look like they have finally found some fuel in the form of some fresh and returning faces.

    Newcastle went into the current EPL season suffering from a severe case of over-confidence. Due to the success of last season, it was assumed that the same crop of players would be sufficient to combat the rigours of the coming season, despite the added pressure of European football.

    Alan Pardew didn’t feel the need to make any big signings. Only three players were brought in. 18-year-old, GaĆ«l Bigirimana, 19-year-old Curtis Good, and 22-year-old Romain Amalfitano.

    While there is a deep reservoir of potential among these three players, it will take time to dig down to the water table. These were long-term signings. Pardew could hardly have expected them to have a major impact this season.

    The warning bells should have been blowing the eardrums of Newcastle staff. Depth in the squad has always been a problem.

    A few injuries to key players, such as Yohan Cabaye, Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini and Hatem Ben Arfa, and disaster inevitably struck.

    A string of poor results saw the abyss of Championship football beckoning Newcastle once again. The players’ confidence and energy looked sapped. The audacity and flair of last season was non-existent. They looked like they were still suffering from a hangover from last season.

    Last season Newcastle were the club with the most shots blocked off the line. This season Alan Shearer was calling the team out for not putting their hearts on the line.

    Captain Coloccini wanted to return home to Argentina.

    Fans had no idea what had happened to the team. Hopefully the signing of five French players during the January transfer window and the improved performances that have resulted have shown the fans what went wrong.

    The new faces provided the Toon with something they had been lacking. They provided competition for starting spots. In a squad that previously had little depth, the same players were coming out onto the pitch week after week.

    The fresh faces have sparked the flame of desire and the fighting spirit in the players. The new signings have brought energy not just in themselves but in their teammates.

    The impact of Cabaye’s return should not be underestimated, however. In his first game back after injury, three weeks ago, he scored Newcastle’s only goal against Reading. Cabaye brought back the X factor to the Newcastle midfield, which, without Ben Arfa and himself, had all but disappeared.

    Since that match, Newcastle have beaten both Aston Villa and Chelsea. Whether the signing of five French players is simply a pit-stop or a long-term remains to be seen.

    Judging by Moussa Sissoko’s double against Chelsea, the future looks bright.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • February 4th 2013 @ 10:30am
      Darren said | February 4th 2013 @ 10:30am | ! Report

      Not a bad article Robbie – I agree in part that the club hierarchy were a bit over confident in not making enough signings to help consolidate and push us up the table (we actually did make 1 senior player signing along with the kids you mentioned in Vurnon Anita). There is no doubting the quality of the best 11 however, as soon as the injuries to key players hit as well as to the normal back up players from last season, the season really started to fall apart. Last season we were blessed with a great run of no injuries – I think Steven Taylor being the only long term absentee from the best 11. The added games in Europe didn’t help as we were forced to play many of the kids (who generally have shown some signs but are still too young/raw to make a decent impact at senior level). I believe we had the worst injury toll of any premier league club up until January (not sure if this is still the case given we’ve had a few players return). It basically was a recipe for a disaster for an already small squad. I think it’s important to note though our form in Europe playing a weakened side wasn’t bad either – only losing 1 game in the group stage. Just glad the owner and his chairman have invested some money to reinvigorate the team!

      • February 4th 2013 @ 5:10pm
        Robbie said | February 4th 2013 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

        I can’t believe I forgot about Anita. I guess that blunder is somewhat compensated for by the fact that he has been another on the injury list. Nice to see Mike Ashley pumping some money into the club too

    • February 4th 2013 @ 12:33pm
      Matt F said | February 4th 2013 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

      I think you’ve pretty much nailed it, though as Darren said we did make one senior signing in Anita. We had very little depth in a number of positions. We were able to get away with it last season because we had very few injuries to key players (Steven Taylor was probably the only major one), no European football, no long cup runs and our key players were in form. In other words everything went right so we didn’t need to use our squad players too much. This season it’s different.

      Extra Europa League games, more injuries to key players than last season and some key players not performing as well as they last year (Tiote and Jonas come to mind) have all hurt. Our January spending is really what we should have done in July/August. Now we’ve got good depth, and increased quality, in all areas apart from probably up front.

      Of course the biggest thing is probably momentum. We were in one of those deep holes that teams can get into but the new players not only brought new energy into the place, but would have picked up the other players as well. Now we’ve got 2 wins in a row and a bit of momentum behind us. In the space of 5 days we’ve gone from being one point out of the relegation zone to six points out, and three points off 10th.

      I’m developing one serious man-crush on Moussa Sissoko right now…

      • February 4th 2013 @ 5:11pm
        Robbie said | February 4th 2013 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

        Woops forgot about Anita.

        Such a shame that Steven Taylor’s career has been blighted by injuries. He still has a lot of potential

    • February 4th 2013 @ 5:47pm
      Khan said | February 4th 2013 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

      Magic Sissoko!! What a buy for us and looks impeccable. The other boys have given confidence to the dressing as well. The board did well to get our transfer business done quickly in the window but Mike Ashley’s gamble on not buying in the summer didn’t work and depending on the kids back fired. Lessons learnt and lets push on. HWTL.

    • February 5th 2013 @ 11:34am
      REBBA said | February 5th 2013 @ 11:34am | ! Report

      If your playing in Europe its an absolute must you bring in more depth to cover your best XI. You look at the big 4-6 clubs and you see the names on the bench, that is something NUFC didn not have at the start of the year, they didnt believe they needed it but we did! With all the signings we have just made throughout the January transfer period, if they had of been made prior to the season opener, you just never know where the toon would be sitting on the ladder. The signs from the past couple of weeks have been very promising but our second half against Villa was horrible! With some important fixtures coming up, it can really set up our season. If we beat spurs in the lunchtime kick off this satdi, it will put us in equal 10th spot whcih would be a sight to see, finally in the top half of the ladder! Howay the Lads!

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