Do we have more squad depth than it appears? (Part two)

Enough in attack?
In part one of our look at the depth and talent Newcastle have at their disposal, we looked at our defensive options, with most agreeing that a quality full back and central defender would be more than adequate to ensure we look sound defensively for the season ahead.

This time, we look at our attacking options and the necessity for offensive strengthening.

It now seems certain that we will have Demba Ba for another season, as the supposed “clause” in his contract has now expired according to media reports. Will Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Shola Ameobi provide enough ammunition up front? Do we have enough creativity in our central midfield to challenge the big boys? And how good will the service be out wide? Let’s take a look at what’s available…

Attacking centre midfield: Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Romain Amalfitano, Dan Gosling and Haris Vučkić

Yohan Cabaye is clearly our main creative force in the centre of the park. I haven’t included Cheik Tiote because his role is to protect the back four and despite the ability to play a good ball I don’t see him as a playmaker.

We all know Cabaye’s credentials, but what happens when he gets an injury or suspension? Who steps into the role now that Danny Guthrie is wearing the colours of Reading.

Romain Amalfitano seems to be the man who is to replace Guthrie, although from what I have seen of him to date, he has played more of a position out wide. Hatem Ben Arfa is an option, but does he have the work rate required to be a midfield engine like Cabaye is? Perhaps Dan Gosling can show his true worth and deserves and opportunity?

I believe our best option for this position is Haris Vučkić but he needs to get fit and stay fit. Perhaps buying someone like Vernon Anita would allow us to play two deep lying midfielders which would give someone like Ben Arfa more freedom to stay forward and create havoc up front? Or will we be using Jonas to perform that role again?

Left wing: Sylvain Marveaux, Jonas, Demba Ba, Hatem Ben Arfa, Romain Amalfitano, Shane Ferguson

For a few seasons now, most of our attacking play has come down the left side. Jonas has been our main man for a while, but I have high hopes for Sylvain Marveaux this season. The mere fact that he is naturally left footed and has a good final ball would be a huge asset to us.

If we look at the options available to us I honestly believe this is a position which we have well and truly covered with both defensive and more attacking options.

Right wing: Hatem Ben Arfa, Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux, Jonas, Romain Amalfitano, Ryan Taylor, Sammy Ameobi

For me, the right flank is an area where we have an abundance of options, but not an abundance of quality.
Hatem Ben Arfa seems to do well in a 4-3-3 formation on the right side, but is inconsistent when being deployed as a right wing in a 4-4-2. Ryan Taylor has a decent final ball,but in my opinion it is still overrated, while Jonas has never really been given an opportunity on the right, Amalfitano is a bit of an unknown quantity, while Sammy is still very raw, and I fear, like his brother, he may be stuck in that “raw” stage forever!

For more, Obertan is actually very underrated. Yes, sometimes he looks indecisive, but we just seem to have better movement and more fluidity to our play when he is on the pitch. His work rate is also excellent and I feel that with Debuchy overlapping him, he could be our best option!

Overall, I feel we are ok but could re-access the situation and make moves if needed in the January transfer window.

Strikers: Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, Shola Ameobi, Hatem Ben Arfa

We start this season with far more confidence in our strike force than we did last season. Demba Ba is fitter than we first feared with his knee problems, and very capable of scoring 20 goals a season. We know we have a deadly instinctive finisher in Papiss Cisse, another 20 goal a season man, and a man who can create a goal out of nothing with moments of pure genius in Hatem Ben Arfa.
And then we have Shola…  who… is for the Mackems I guess.

If we lose the Demba’s to the ACoN in January we will definitely need a new striker. I personally feel we need extra quality anyway, in the form of someone who can play in the centre and out wide on the right if needed. I feel Loic Remy would have been ideal if he was affordable. However, Andy Carroll for me would be a pure luxury, not a necessity and therefore simply isn’t needed, especially at the reported price tag.

In summary, two offensive players would be enough to give us a seriously potent attack. Those players preferably being a young central midfielder and a striker who can play just as well out wide. The chances of us getting both at the moment are almost zero, so I would suggest a forward/winger is of far greater importance at the moment.

In the youth department we have the following players coming through:

Attacking centre midfield: Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling, Haris Vučkić, Michael Richardson, Brad Inman,     Romain Amalfitano, Gael Bigirimana.

Left wing: Shane Ferguson, Romain Amalfitano, Yven Rochild Victor Moyo.

Right wing: Romain Amalfitano, Samuel Ameobi.

Strikers: Nile Ranger, Adam Campbell, Jonathan “JJ” Hooper.

Looking at this, it immediately stands out that we could use an additional quality young striker. Someone who, at around 19 or 20 years of age could immediately be challenging for a first team place.

So, do you agree that offensively, one quality addition, preferably a strong youth prospect  would be enough to see us looking very strong?

[poll id=”69″]

About JJ

Toon supporter since 1993. Living in South Africa. I've been following Newcastle since the days of Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley. Despite all the turmoil recently, the passion only grows with time.

181 thoughts on “Do we have more squad depth than it appears? (Part two)

  1. dave iam gonna have to take you under my wing agen and show you how to deal with scum like TC 😉 😆 😆


  2. Batts where did I bite mate ❓
    Kim I think the Hammers are getting linked with everyone, I would like to see Simmo stay as I think he is a lot better than he is made out to be


  3. Dave His stats last season were good ,don’t know why MA won’t sort the wage issue out tbh ,he would be one I wouldn’t want to see go. He is not a RB who bombs forward but he’s pretty effective at defending and gets way too much stick.

    Did I read somewhere that Toon had offered xisco cash to leave the club 😕 .


  4. Simmo is a good right back.

    I just want Debuchy so I don’t have to defend Simmo during every game, and in the match report of every game 🙄 😆


  5. Kim I seen the story about us offering Xisco £400k to go but I think its just rag crap as for Simmo yeah his stats had him as the 2nd or 3rd best RB in the prem, now I know stats can be read differently but he must be doing something right


  6. Dave unfortunately I have a life other than this blog so wasn’t here to watch you arguing with thin air!
    I can’t really be bothered to search through blog archives when deep down you know that this time last year you stated that if we didn’t sign another striker we would struggle. And labelled people that said we would get top 10 “dreamers”. Denying that is just an outright lie. So i may get self righteous, but I’m not a liar.

    I honestly can’t believe that a year on, and with just one player added, we have gone from “happy with top 10” to “disappointed with top 8”. The mind really does boggle.

    There is no chance in hell we have a stronger squad than Tottenham or Arsenal 😯 You can’t count RVP or Modric as gone, firstly because they haven’t yet. Secondly because they will have huge funds to replace them.

    Look at our back line. Judging by the blog we don’t rate anyone defensively other than Colo and Krul. And yet they make up for Friedel/Gomes/Walker/Corluka/Dawson/Gallas/Caulker/Bassong/Assou-Ekkoto/Naughten 🙄

    We have a talented first XI, lacking top class wing backs and another midfielder. Hopefully Santon will prove himself comfortably this season.


  7. Kimtoon-Aye especially if Obertan was playing on the right in a 4-4-2. If Obertan could find some form and instinct, together with Debuchy they would be awesome 😉


  8. Fcking hell. Honestly can’t believe people think we have stronger first XI’s than Arsenal and Tottenham.

    I am not looking forward to us narrowly missing out on 6th, finishing 7th, the rest of the country saying we have proved we can cut it, juggling league and Europe, but toon fans forming an angry mob, I thought we rid ourselves of the delusional geordie tag but evidently not.

    Dave you have yet to answer my question. Should Norwich/Swansea fans be disappointed if they don’t get 12th again? Even though Sunderland/Stoke/Villa will be stronger this year?


  9. ST if you state that I said we would be relegation battlers, then either show me where I said it otherwise I’ll tell you now your a Liar simple as that.
    I don’t have a problem with you or anyone else being as you said a “dreamer ” because thats your choice and I won’t be calling you or them as ridiculous or questioning if they are real football fans simply because they have different opinions from me, but don’t be bullshitting and telling me and everyone else that I said something unless you have proof and if you can’t be bothered to show me where I said it don’t try to use it against me simple.

    So what exactly are you saying now ” you know that this time last year you stated that if we didn’t sign another striker we would struggle” .
    Or ” How in the space of a year can you go from thinking we were relegation battlers to “we should be challenging for 4th place”.

    Which one is it Solano as they are completely different


  10. Solano-I wouldn’t say we have a stronger squad than Arsenal or Spurs, I think Spurs have one of the best in the league to be honest, and if Arsenal keep van persie or use the money wisely-and continue to sign players of the calibre they have done so far then they will have quality throughout the squad-they certainly need a new RB…

    The only thing I think is that it would be nice just to throw the dice, invest a bit, and see if we can challenge Spurs/Arsenal. Wenger is almost constantly under pressure nowadays, and Tottenham have a new coach whose abilities are still uncertain. If they did lose Modric they may well try and change their style of play and it could take a while for them to get up to speed whilst we could get some points early on.

    Chelsea are obviously flooded with talent now, we can hope Torres won’t find form and the other players will adjust, or that Di Matteo will get fired (which he will, probably next summer) but they’ll be too much for us as well in all honesty.

    I don’t think we could realistically finish above those teams, but it would be nice to give it a go. Finishing above liverpool and Everton, and anyone else, in 8th would be nice.


  11. As for your question @ 164 newly promoted teams do tend to have a good 1st season in the Prem but tend to struggle in the 2nd, but to be honest I don’t know what their fans will think and tbh Im not really that bothered because im a Newcastle fan, so what exactly has that got to do with us 😕


  12. Yawn Dave. Okay answer me this, how did you think we were going to fare this time last year? My point is that your expectations have swung a ridiculous amount based on one season. Still no answer to my Swansea/Norwich question? Standard eh.

    @Newkie, completely agree, would be disappointed if we didn’t challenge them, but can comprehend and understand that it may not happen (even with a couple of new signings). I just find the notion that people would be annoyed to not finish in such a competitive place in the league baffling.


  13. Solano-Aye, I just want us to challenge. I’d be disappointed in the owners if we don’t get the bodies in to be able to challenge, but certainly wouldn’t be disappointed in the players if we didn’t finish that highly-especially if its in relation to having too many matches and too few bodies.

    That being said, i’m very excited to see the youngsters this season, even if we put out an all *young* squad we’d have at least half of them as real quality prospects.


  14. Newkie I agree we were short of players last season but apart from that we still done better than anyone expected, but we have the chance to strengthen the team to help us maintain a top 6 spot and if we don’t do that then it falls at Jabba’s feet for not investing properly in the team.remember it was Jabba that came out and asked Pards when he was going to get the CB in that we needed well we never got him last window and we still haven’t got him.


  15. What? I am saying that last season you said we would struggle as we didn’t sign a striker yadda yadda. and this season you want top 5. Based on Cisse signing. Quite a jump in expectation don’t you think?

    How can you not understand my point about the clubs?! My point is that they can’t completely alter their expectations based on one great season. Maybe slightly higher aims than the season before. But for them to “expect midtable” when teams like Villa may not underperform again is as daft as us “expecting top 5” when Chelsea and Liverpool are highly likely to perform better.
    I’m leaving it at that, I can’t be arsed debating with someone that straight up refuses to acknowledge an arguments merits.


  16. “Anything less than 6th is a total failure”

    The statement that marks the turning of the tide as we once again become mocked by the nation for being delusional fans.


  17. Solano @ 94 ” How in the space of a year can you go from thinking we were relegation battlers to “we should be challenging for 4th place”.

    So your admitting now that you made that up then 😳 😳

    I leave it at that as I couldn’t be arsed trying to debate with someone that makes up stories to try to make a point, it must be embarrassing to know that you were caught out lying 😳 😆 😆


  18. 🙄 🙄 😆 😆
    reading all that reminds me of my kids arguing 😕 Neither are happy or will give it up, until they get the last word in 😆


  19. I enjoyed that read. Very funny. 😆

    You have to admit that we’ve come a long way when those who had tickets on the fantasy train last off season are concerned about not finishing in the top 6 this season.

    Long may it continue.


  20. Vegas, Troy has now been fitted with reversing beepers for safety reasons… He is doing that much back tracking, it was deemed a necessity for the well being of fellow bloggers :mrgreen: I think I will call him Troy – beep beep beep – Stavers, from now on 😆 😆


  21. I’ve just been picking my fantasy football team for this season and checked out a few squads.

    There was some mention of Spurs and Arsenal not having much of a squad earlier on this blog. Well, imo Arsenal look pretty good. Spurs need couple of forwards but have some canny players, and maybe they could do with a defensive player as well.

    Of course this all on paper and we all know games are played on a football field and not paper, but it seems to me that as it stands we’ll be hard pressed to make the top 4. I don’t think there’s much to choose between us, Spurs, Liverpool and Everton. And no doubt there’ll be an unexpected bolter along with the likes of 5under1land, Fulham and Villa. It’ll be an interesting season.


  22. Aussie @ 176 yeah it is a bit shit and might come across as kids arguing, but when someone makes up some pack of lies and tries to say that you said something that you never did just to try to make a point, I am not going to just ignore it and let them think they got away with it, Solano was challenged a few times but failed to back down and admit that he was wrong, and then tried to ignore it by changing the subject. He still hasn’t had the balls to admit he was wrong, that tells me a lot about someone 😉


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