A little observation from yesterday..
Against Swansea, the 11 players that started at St James’ Park were ALL present in our Championship squad last season.
Last season, Gayle and Ritchie were our main men going forward, sharing a massive 35 goals between them. Gayle would gobble up every chance he was given & Ritchie wouldn’t give the oppositions LB a moments rest. Yesterday we saw an under-confident Gayle never look likely despite 3 great chances and Ritchie look reluctant to get in our attacking half, never mind run at this man, fail to get going with Yedlin in an attacking sense and rarely fire in the crosses/shots we knew him for last season.
It perhaps shows just how badly we need investment when you see how out of sorts they have both looked at times this season. It’s pretty ominous for us & unfair on them if we’re going to be left relying on both at this level.
This is not me aimlessly pointing the finger after yesterday’s frustrating result (we could and should have had it won at half-time), but Gayle and Ritchie’s form and inability to be ‘the difference’ in a game that was there for the winning was a perfect advert as to why we NEED new signings to give us the spark and match winning quality you need at this level.
This is NOT a pop at them (they work hard, do their best & are still very useful players for NUFC), this is just an example of their limitations and a striking case of why Mike Ashley can’t afford to leave us short in the final few months of the season.
The same can be applied to so many areas of yesterday’s side, but the most apt example is highlighting just why our two main men and top scorers from last season cannot be relied upon this season. What does Mike honestly expect a Championship squad to achieve in the Premier League?
Did I expect Gayle and Ritchie to hit anywhere near the heights of last season this term? Of course not. But the NUFC owner’s lack of investment in certain areas suggests he was happy to hedge his bets that they would. His risk isn’t working. Even Mike Ashley should be concerned by this..
Back Rafa or risk ANOTHER relegation, Mike.