On Sunday afternoon I sat down with two fellow West Ham United fans at my local.
Whats that old chestnut again? Oh yeah, that the more things change, the more the stay the same.
If thats true, Newcastle seem to be doomed to a miserable existence at the lower reaches of the table, in a constant battle for the wooden spoon.
All the familiar failings have reared their ugly mugs yet again. A lack of guile and inventiveness going forward, mediocre and, at times, slapstick defending, as well as Jason Hoffman as striker.
The man responsible? One Ernie Merrick
Hold on a second, you say. Isn’t he the man that turned the club around? Led them to second in the table and a heartwarming grand final at Newcastle itself? How could he be the problem? Impossible!
Well, good coaches can make poor decisions. They’re only human.
Lets review some of the baffling decisions that have contributed to Newcastle’s slump this season.
Hoffman as striker
Hoffman’s a fine player who bleeds Newcastle blue, but lacks the technical requisites to succeed in his new role. He would be better used as an impact sub when chasing games, where his aerial ability is more of a threat.
Possible Solution: Playing Kosta Petratos/Shifting to a false 9 system of play.
Lachlan Jackson as LB
Lachie’s a centre back. Lachie’s a centre back. Lachie’s a centre back. I dont know how else to describe this.
Lacks the crossing ability and technical skill required to an offensive fullback and guarantees a lack of attacking nuance down the left flank.
Possible Solution: Ivan Vujica/Nick Cowburn/ Daniel Gieorgievski (flanks switch)
The insipid 4-3-3
The 4-3-3 shape they currently line up in calls for players that they don’t have. It is a classic case of square pegs, round holes in its current form.
A possible solution would be a return to the 4-1-2-1-2 that saw them thrash CCM 8-2 last season. Has the additional bonus of maximising S.Ugarkovic’s effect as a shield on the defence. God knows they need all the help they can get now.
So thats it for my analysis. What do you think are the problems that plague the Jets this season – and how can we solve them?