By Alex McMahon
Newcastle United have struggled in the opening stages of the season
The Magpies have disappointed in the early weeks of the new campaign and have failed to win any of their first five Premier League fixtures under Steve McClaren. The former England manager replaced Jon Carver in the summer but has failed to make an immediate impact at St. James’ Park. Newcastle are showing a number of the same, negative attributes that were evident in their performances last season and McClaren will be desperately looking for an improvement in the next few weeks.
The Magpies have an ‘average’ squad
Despite bringing in a number of new players this summer, Newcastle still have plenty of mediocre footballers in their squad. The likes of Mike Williamson and Jack Colback struggle to inspire and, although these players give their all, they are simply not good enough to play regular football in England’s top flight. Newcastle don’t have much strength in depth and they are suffering from a lack of options, particularly off the substitutes bench.
Newcastle’s leaders are struggling to motivate
Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini are two of Newcastle’s most experienced professionals but these players are struggling to motivate the remainder of the squad, particularly on the field. After an uncertain transfer window, Coloccini has signed a new deal at St. James’ Park but looks a shadow of his former self. The Argentinian is Newcastle’s captain but has shown a severe lack of leadership during the last twelve months. Meanwhile, Krul can come across as aggressive at times and should perhaps try to give out some constructive criticism.
Defensively, their signings haven’t been good enough
Newcastle supporters were incredibly relieved to hear that, after two transfer windows without significant defensive investment, the club had signed Chancel Mbemba this summer. The 21-year-old is a promising, young prospect but lacks the ability to perform at the highest level. He’s still very inexperienced and often looks a little naive, and this naivety has contributed to Newcastle’s defensive failings this season. In fact, their only clean sheet of the season – a 0-0 draw with Manchester United – occured when Steven Taylor and Coloccini were selected as Newcastle’s central defenders.
Newcastle still lack talent in attacking areas
Meanwhile, they also lack top quality up front. Aleksandar Mitrovic was brought in to lead Newcastle’s forward line but all the Serbian has done is develop a hot-head reputation across the Premier League. The Newcastle striker has picked up two yellow cards and a red in his first five games for the club and may spend a significant portion of the campaign sat on the sidelines unless his disciplinary record improves. Meanwhile, Papiss Cisse just isn’t the player that he used to be and the likes of Ayoze Perez, Emmanuel Riviere and Rolando Aarons have been given cameo roles in wider areas.
Newcastle’s flair players are failing to excite the fans
Perhaps most importantly, their ‘flair’ players are still failing in their duty to provide excitement for Newcastle’s supporters. Traditionally, the Magpies have been one of the Premier League’s most attacking sides and their unique style of play had fans on the edge of their seat. Nowadays, their talented players look restricted and low on confidence. Moussa Sissoko, Perez and Riviere are just three of Newcastle’s top stars who are currently struggling and the St. James’ Park faithful will continue to be frustrated until McClaren gives these talents the opportunity to strut their stuff on a regular basis.
Are Newcastle suffering from the same old problem or can McClaren guide the Magpies up the Premier League table? Let us know!
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