Monday, 12 December 2011
Newcastle's slender squad in more than one way
After having a terrific start to the season, Newcastle United are steadily starting to fall off the rails. After a tough run of games which brought them 1 point in 9 against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea, they went to Carrow Road Saturday with an injury hit squad, especially at the heart of the defence. When playing against a very physical side like Norwich, you need commanding center backs at the heart of your team who are going to win the ball and be strong against the likes of Grant Holt and Steve Morrison. With Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor both on the sidelines (the later of which unfortunate to be ruled out for the entire season), the Magpies had to have a make shift center back partnership of Danny Simpson and James Perch.
Paul Lambert got his tactics spot on seeing the slim lined defence partnership and ensured Norwich kept on getting crosses in the box, which was a very successful tactic to play. It certainly paid off with all 4 goals coming from crosses into the box in a 4 vs. 2 win for the Canaries. Newcastle were lacking a strong physical presence in their team, which opened them up to the airial attack of Norwich.
Newcastle without their early season formidable defensive partnership and also missing players in the middle of the park including Cheik Tiote and Danny Guthrie, were starting to suffer from a lack of strength in depth. This is something that Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have consistently been able to create in-order to finish in the top 4 season after season. The premier league season can be brutal on the players, especially with the addition of cup and European football. Good quality squad players are not easy to come by, as all players want to be playing week in week out and managers have a very difficult task trying to keep everyone happy within a club. But the development of quality younger players is always a good way of solving that problem and could be the answer for Newcastle in the long term. In the short term however, they will certainly need some investment into their squad in the January transfer window, to build up a stronger squad to try and stick around at the top part of the table.
If the investment is made I believe that it will be a guaranteed top 10 finish for Newcastle United.