Strikers are great but creativity is what’s needed

Creating frustration
Creating frustration
The old clichรฉ ‘what a difference a week in football can make’ seems quite appropriate at the moment.

It was only seven days ago when we were facing up to the reality that the season was just around the corner and we were yet to flex our muscles in the transfer window. The lack of activity saw a dark cloud hanging of St. James’ Park where we seemed to lurch from one failed bid to another.

While those around us seemed to be hoovering up players left, right and centre we were stuck at the starting blocks going over the same three names messes Remy, Gomis and Bent until we were all blue in face, and when we thought there was no end in sight, finally we caught a break.

Fast forward a few days and we’ve signed Remy on a season loan, with Gomis, despite all the guff of the last few days, expected to join very soon.

As a result, Tyneside is now a much more contented place. The monkey is off the back. We’ve made a significant signing to an area of the pitch that needed addressing. Out of all the three strikers mentioned, Remy was the one I personally felt would bring the most. Not a traditional striker he has the ability to operate as an inside forward, who can cut inside and provide ammunition for Cisse as well as a goal threat. While I don’t see him as a 15-20 goals a season man i certainly hope to see a minimum return of at least double figures but more importantly it’s his creativity and his ability to support the forwards as being his biggest asset, and it’s this creativity that we needed to address.

Now without a shadow of any doubt, adding additional firepower up front was essential. Cisse can’t carry the burden on his own, Shola, bless him, is Shola and young Adam Campbell is not ready for first team football. If we manage to add Gomis on top of Remy then that on paper should provide a very potent attacking threat but in order for this to work effectively creativity is needed.

Now this next part is a matter of opinion but do we possess the level of creativity within the team to support a forward line of this ability?

Going through our team, on paper creativity looks like it’s there in abundance. Ben Arfa, Marveaux, Gouffran and Cabaye are all names which would suggest yes but when looking at the stats for last season they don’t make for pretty reading. Out in front with Marveaux with six assets, which, when you consider from 22 appearances, ten of which were starts, doesn’t really set the pulses racing. After this the rest are fighting it out with most averaging two over the season – for a team with players of this pedigree that is not good enough.

Now I fully appreciate last season there were extenuating circumstances such as injuries and questionable tactics but surely though with the players of those calibre, the returns should be better and in fact beggars the question, ‘are they as good as we think?’

Take Hatem for example. Now without question he is one of the most skilful footballers to ever grace the turf at St. James’. Particularly looking at his post Christmas form during the 11/12 season, was there a more exciting footballer in the league at that time? There is certainly a strong argument to say no, however, as he now approaches his fourth year with us, in that time, it can be equally argued that has been the only period in which we have seen the full array of his ability?

With Hatem of course you need to account for the horrific injuries which understandably have taken their toll but also what about the games that he goes missing, or when he opts for a mazy run that ends up with a wild shot closer to the corner flag or beating two and trying to take on a third when there are simpler options available?

Don’t get me wrong, on his day I love to watch him play but equally he can have me tearing my hair out. The same can be said for Marveaux – in my opinion probably the most creative player in the team last year but for whatever reason couldn’t seem to get that regular run in the team to produce the form he is clearly capable of – whether that’s down to injuries or the manager, the key to both these examples is ensuring that in order for there to be creativity it must come with consistency.

Now it’s unfair to single out these two as, let’s be honest, no one deserved to leave the field post Arsenal with their head held high. They were all poor and that is why this season we are due a performance from these guys – the big question mark though is will we receive it?

Maybe it’s my hardened years supporting this club but unfortunately for me i can’t seem to shake the existing concerns surrounding injuries – potentially it could be the case that we never see the days of HBA being able to fully match those glorious few months of early 2012. With this mind, my hope is such thoughts aren’t lost on the current management set up and if budgets permit, in addition to a striker, we’ll look to add some additional creativity to the team.

Undoubtedly I think this is certainly something Remy can bring but for me it would be wrong to pin so much weight on his shoulders, especially as there are options available should we wish to purse. Two names automatically spring to mind being Tom Ince and Scott Sinclair – both available at reasonable prices that would increase as they both develop, both possess pace – something we badly lacked last season with the ability to run at defenders, and both know where the back of the net is.

Now these two are just examples and I appreciate that for some the obvious question is if we bring them in who do we replace them with? Well for me it’s not replacing its adding and ensuring creativity to a squad that was and is lacking. Lessons have to be learned from last season and it would be wrong to assume the issues can be addressed with the addition of one lonely forward.

Your thoughts please.

By Southern Geordie

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An article written by a guest blogger! Check out the article itself for the name of the author.

572 thoughts on “Strikers are great but creativity is what’s needed

  1. Interesting comments [email protected] mate but we’ll only be stronger if we don’t lose a couple of our better players late in the window. If we do then potentially we’ll struggle especially with Pardew’s tactics. We look a bit lost to me. No real drive toward improvement from Kinnear. I think Pardew knows his head is on the block and he has 2-3 months to do something about it. Of course we’ll probably end up with another mediocre manager but it will be a new face to take attention away from Ashley.


  2. Some interesting excerpts from Alan’s little notebook:
    Newcastle v Liverpool: “we’re playing fairly well, although it is 0-4 for them at this point. The supporters seem a little unsettled. I think I’ll just keep me head down and keep writing in my little notebook.”
    Newcastle v Sunderland: “this is a definite improvement over some of our previous home games. I feel my tactics are really making a difference. I’m sure we’re going to win this one. Oh wait what is the score again? Should I look up now and risk taking a peak?”


  3. Some of Alan’s new excuses being prepared for the coming season:
    “I’ve never really liked the way the sun shines at St. James Park. Sometimes it gets in my eyes and makes it hard to write in my little notebook. That is one reason we are so poor at home this season.”
    “I’ve always felt the league has too many games each season. Let’s think about it. 38 games is a lot isn’t it? In fact it’s far too many. My players are clearly tired. And we even had 2 cup games, both of which we lost unfortunately. That makes 40. That’s far too many in my opinion.”
    “The recent illness of the tea lady has thrown a dark shadow over the dressing room. A lot of us are really down in the dumps about it. How can the club be expected to produce top performances with a crisis hanging over all of us?”


  4. Well thanks Santii. It’s good to hear from you too. Hopefully you feel better later in the evening.


  5. How is your knee now Kimtoon? I get that really sharp pain when bending down as well. I think I have a bit of floating cartilage that makes it lock up sometimes also. I find elevating the leg and using an ice pack on the knee in the evening helps a fair bit. Glad to hear you have a doctor’s appointment for it though. I’m starting a bit of redecorating this week so I hope it holds up under the extra work. Take care lass.


  6. No the two is for two Geordies in the family Santii. The real Geordie is my dad who still watches and loves the club. He’s as stubborn as I am I guess.


  7. G2 ,Well it’s giving me gip alright ,gonna go walk about now as standing is relatively painless it’s sitting that kills me ๐Ÿ‘ฟ


  8. The atmosphere has been open but also single-minded and, to return to the beginning, while my presence here has been fleeting, the reminder it has prompted is welcome. Because of decisions taken at the top of the club, it can feel like Newcastle is a haven for crisis, yet the reality is different. So many experts, so much professionalism, people getting on with it. Fine people, too.
    What comes next is the unknown โ€“ we all know the context โ€“ but there is a leanness and focus about Newcastle. โ€œThatโ€™s because of last year, if Iโ€™m being honest,โ€ Taylor said. โ€œEverybody knows the criticism we got and we deserved it because, as a team and everybody involved, we werenโ€™t right. For whatever reasons we werenโ€™t right last year, we have to put right now.
    โ€œEverybody is going to be targeting Newcastle, so we know weโ€™re under pressure, but I think thatโ€™s why everybody has come back in great shape this summer and so far itโ€™s been a completely different pre-season to what weโ€™re used to. Everybody is raring to go; everybody is buzzing like a bee out there.โ€
    The above is an excerpt from George Caulkin’s comments while in Portugal with the club in preseason. It has the balance that Caulkin is known for. He sees some positives in how the club is preparing for the season but he’s realistic as well. He knows we’re in for a battle and wonders about the hiring of Kinnear and the lack of transfer activity. It’s old now but still a good read.


  9. Try the icepack on it while it is elevated Kimtoon. If there is inflammation in there it will definitely help. I’ve done the same with my lower back and it’s just as good if not better than pain killers.


  10. It should be an interesting championship season. My early bet is that Watford, Blackpool and QPR will get promoted. I can’t see it for Wigan or Notts Forest. You never know about Wigan though and I think it was intelligent to appoint Coyle. He’ll be very ambitious to get back to the Prem and I think he’s a decent manager with a good attitude. He’ll have some of the money given to the relegated teams to work with as well. Ok, maybe I’ll change my prediction to Watford, Wigan and QPR. ๐Ÿ˜† Such is the value of predictions.


  11. Ridiculous time to have international friendlies Mark @541. Why now, just before the season begins?


  12. its not great m8. At least we have an extra couple of days to prepare ๐Ÿ˜ฏ the squad to defend against ManCity ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜†

    anyway, i’m going for a 3-1 defeat with Shola scoring our goal, late on


  13. does anyone think Carr might be looking at leaving?

    โ€œThereโ€™s never been a problem with me and Graham (Carr). Never. Grahamโ€™s brought some fantastic players to this football club and that will never be taken away from him.

    “He can take that on in his career โ€“ either here or whether he decides to go somewhere else, bt what is important is that we keep a very, very close eye on English-based players and Joe, Graham and myself are very aware that although the French market has been massively successful for us, we canโ€™t take our eye off that.


  14. Aye Mark @544 I saw that from Pardew about Carr as well and wondered about it mate. Is Pardew dropping hints that Carr is unhappy? I wouldn’t be surprised with Joe’s footprint all over the place in the club. Your 3-1 prediction of a loss to Man City sounds very reasonable to me since we just lost 3-1 to Liverpool in a closed door session. If City are really feeling frisky it could get a lot worse than that. Icedog have you heard any new transfer rumors, either incoming or outgoing mate? The rumbles about Cabaye just go on and on.


  15. Has toonsy abandoned the blog or something used to get 2-3 articles a day on here lucky if we get one a week at this rate ๐Ÿ˜›

    Get a new article up this one is dead.


  16. Santi ,@546 ,He’s doing more now cause he’s back working in the uk. To be honest there isn’t much to write about ,our transfer windows are awful ,every summer the same the last few years.

    G2 ,thanks for the ice tip mate ,I have been rubbing Ibrulieve in which hardly touches it ,will try some ice later . ๐Ÿ˜‰


  17. Heard that guy who bought Fulham recently on five live radio earlier. Some said he was interested in buying us. After listening to him we dodged a bullet there. Worse than Fat Mike.
    It does make you wonder, yes things aren’t how we would like it to be but Christ it could be a lot worse


  18. @Toby it is no where near as bad as some of these bed wetters are making it out to be.

    Again i will compare us to were we were last year. We needed more squad depth because of Europa league. We got the reinforcements late and payed the price for it. We have a far better squad than we did at the start of last year and a far far better squad than we did when we finished 5th. The reinforcements are not needed as much as they were because of Europe. We got a player in the position we need most and are still trying to get another players in for up front.

    Bar no one else leaving we have a better squad than at least half of the other teams in the league.

    Lets just see how the longer preparation effects how Pardew sets his team up… ๐Ÿ™


  19. A 3-1 defeat at man city will be an improvement on last years result.
    I’m predicting a minimum 5-0 defeat this year.
    I’m also predicting that Pardew will never get sacked.
    When Mike gets concerned enough about our position it will be JFK calling the game play , picking the team and making the substitutions.
    Pardew will only have the appearance of being the manager , standing pitchside during the game and giving the post match interview.


  20. What’s the Fulham guy like? I was worried he’d be another sugar daddy, is he just nuts like Venky’s then or?


  21. I think we’ve got a stronger squad and first 11, although personally Debuchy still has a lot of work to do to prove he is this masterful right back we’ve been crying out for because our defending has only gotten worse with him in the side. So glad to have Krul back too. No excuses for pards (Although he’ll probably find a few ๐Ÿ˜† ) going into this one. So long as the youngsters have a bit in their loans so that we can recall them whenever required all should be good-that way if we get hit hard with injuries we should be able to call upon players who are fully fit, have genuine game time under their belt and with any luck also in some good form. It’s much better than letting them rot in the ressies where they’re just as likely to get injured and sitting them on the bench “just in case” we do get injuries, imo.


  22. What do you think he will do with the defense Newkie?

    Debuchy Mbiwa Coloccini Santon Thats are strongest defense for me like.

    Who out of the young ones do you think has the best shot of a starting spot? Not including Haidara in that


  23. Santi-I’d agree with that defence, although that’s assuming Debuchy and Mbiwa (esp Mbiwa) have learned English by now because last season he didn’t have much of a clue of it if you ask me, him and Saylor had no understanding whatsoever, hence why he looked much more solid in the more independent LB role. He should know enough by now to partner Colo though, I would hope.

    I really like Haidara-but with the others do you mean inc those out on loan now? I think given the chance for injuries in what would be our first 11 (Benny and Remy being high up) then you’d think Vuckic would have a shot if he can show some form, but again he’s even more likely to be injured than them. Tavernier probably has a good shout because Debuchy will no doubt be spending half the time serving suspensions ๐Ÿ˜† I think it’s too soon for Campbell and would hope he can just nail down a place at St Mirren.

    I’m not convinced Dummett or Newton will ever feature for us now, although Dummett looked alright in pre season apparently.


  24. Maybe you should just tell us all who the bed wetters are Santii @549? Come on mate don’t keep us all in suspense. You clearly have a bone to pick so pick it.


  25. I get a feeling Pardew will start with Taylor and Colo. Think Debuchy and Santon are nailed on starters.

    Totally agree on Vuckic shame he seems to only be fit 1 month a year (June ๐Ÿ˜€ ). Didn’t watch much of the pre-season games as they are basically fitness tests but apparently Ameobi and Jonas done ok so i wouldnt put to much stock in Dummet just yet ๐Ÿ˜›

    Campbell seems to be way of being ready for any type of first team action. He hasn’t showed any of the promise yet that we have all heard about imo.

    Sammy and Bigi are the closest to the first team i would think both have shown glimpses of their talent for the first team but not enough of it.


  26. Mark @552 Ben Arfa’s gut is beginning to look a lot like Jonas’s from last year’s preseason mate. I hope he’s planning on losing it. He doesn’t need extra weight, he needs to be played in the right position for his skill set I would think. Here’s hoping he gets a fair deal from Pardew this season.


  27. Santii-Not too sure who will start, I don’t think Pards favours either of Mbiwa or Taylor for the moment, but maybe we’ll play Taylor until he picks up his first injury in September ๐Ÿ˜€

    Aye, I think Bigi looks good and could turn out to be a really good player for us, but we’re so stocked in CM for the moment that there are at least 5 players to play ahead of him there imo. It’s unfortunate for him that that’s our best spot. Sammy I want to do well and while offensively he’s probably better than Jonas I don’t think he offers us that much, but he could at least be an attacking substitution, almost forgot what they were like… ๐Ÿ˜€


  28. Lmao have you forgotten already Shola on for Cisse around the 60 minute mark its guaranteed every game. Thats the best thing Pardew ever gets to an attacking sub ๐Ÿ˜›

    I think Jonas is out for the first game i think. Cant wait to see who plays instead. Is Marveaux fit? if not then i guess Gouffran will play or Ben Arfa will get moved across and Sissoko on the RW (lol)

    Did Pardew play 4-4-2 in pre season at all? Honestly think with his limited tactical flair it is the best way to go for him. Keep it simple


  29. Santii @549 bedwetters … ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† I like it. I like it.

    I tend to agree that we have a better squad than at his time last year, but only theoretically; they have yet to prove to me that they can bring their talents to the EPL. There’ve been glimpses, but they still need to do it regularly.

    Their performance and that of Pardew are the two big issues for me in the coming season. Strangely, I recall saying the same thing 2 years back. Then, I was querying whether Pardew had the tactical nouse to compete and whether our new signings could settle. As it turned out, we went on to finish 5th and Pardew had a stormer. His performance last season, though, has me questioning him again, and some poor displays from the players has again got me wondering about their adaptability.

    Let’s hope history repeats itself. I can’t say I’m all that confident it will, though.


  30. People keep mentioning we have a better squad than the start of last season(on paper) but I’d also like a better squad than we finished the season with, we’re definitely weaker, isn’t that just as important or even more so? plus we may have a better squad but we still haven’t replaced Ba’s goals, without goals it doesn’t matter how much better the rest of the squad is!

    Anyway, instead of bitching and moaning and “bed wetting” all the time, why not try and get some enjoyment out of football, honestly try it, you may even like it ๐Ÿ˜‰ …
    Iโ€™ve set up a private league on the Talksport predictor league, if you click on the link and enter the code FC825-LCD then just follow the instructions….hurry places are filling up…erm, slowly ๐Ÿ˜†


  31. Agree, Ritchie, a better squad than ended the season would help the confidence levels. So far, the transfer window hasn’t inspired me much – at all, in fact.

    Still, looking forward to the new season.


  32. ๐Ÿ™„ Join Richie and all his mates in the EPL predictor league – You have a 100% chance of finishing in the top two ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†


  33. Yeah, what Richietoon is trying to say is Newcastle have the brilliance of Alan Pardew and Joe Kinnear. Making things better we have a generous owner and his check book, Mike Ashley. The amazing Shola and Jonas will get our goals for us


  34. Team to play City, Krul, Santon, Mbiwa, Colocini, Dubachy, Toite, Jonas ( Pardew wont drop him) Sissoko, Cabaye, Arfa, Cisse ( As lone striker, as we have no choose!). Formation 4 1 4 1 Pardew’s tactics.


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