Premier League: 5 Newcastle United Storylines to Follow as Season’s End Nears
5 Newcastle United Storylines to Follow For the Rest of the Season
Sitting ninth in the Barclays Premier League is pretty good unless you look at Newcastle United this year. They had a sparkling November and have slowly lost momentum ever since the new year. They have now lost five straight games at St. James' Park after a 4-0 loss to Tottenham yesterday. They are not feeling pressure to be relegated but the top half of the league is moving away. Newcastle is lost and there are no answers in sight.
On paper, three points can be gained from five of the next six matches with only the Everton match on March 9 looking like a tall task. They will try to regain the early season form this weekend against Aston Villa. Villa has the composition to give Newcastle a test as they often stress defense, and the Magpies are not scoring. Dating back to the Boxing Day match at the end of December, Newcastle has only found the net three times and that all happened in one match. Loic Remy leads the team with 11 goals in 22 matches. Yoan Gouffran is next with seven goals in 27 matches.
Fault for the downfall is being placed throughout the Newcastle team as will be shown in this post, but the back line has been an issue. Steven Taylor is getting the brunt of the negative attention as the right back came back into the lineup right when the slide hit. While not scoring, the Magpies have given up plenty. Including the Tottenham loss, Newcastle has conceded 10 goals over the last three matches.
Where does Newcastle go from here and can they regain any of the early season momentum? Their schedule sets up nicely but their form is pitiful. The Magpies have a lot of work of work to do to regain the confidence of their fans.
5. Who Can Replace Yohan Cabaye?
When Newcastle sold Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain it came as a bit of a surprise. The word was no one wanted him to go and no players would be sold. He had seven goals in 20 appearances for Newcastle before moving to Paris. Cabaye was one of the more consistent players for the team and really drove the attack through the middle. He worked from box to box, but now that player is missing from the Newcastle attack.
4. Can Moussa Sissoko Fuel the Offense?
Most fans would be surprised to see Moussa Sissoko on the first page of the stat board for the most chances created in the Premier League. At one point he trailed only Eden Hazard in that category. Unfortunately, he may not be the answer to the previous question as he likes to create more than track. With the lack of goal scoring, he needs to find a new strategy to be creative and help his team find a goal.
3. What Happened to Papiss Cisse?
After joining the club in 2012, Papiss Cisse scored 13 goals in his first 14 matches but has recently been challenged by manager Alan Pardew. There is talk of Cisse not staying with the club, which would cause quite a conundrum with two other current strikers on loan with the club. He has been dealing with a back injury but only scored three times in 18 appearances.
2. Does Alan Pardew Have the Respect of His Players?
The team was supposed to have a day off today, but after the loss Pardew said they will be back on the field. He was quoted as saying his team "better get the message," after the 4-0 defeat. He was obviously not happy but a lot of the same refrain was said after the previous loss. Pardew sits in a bad spot as he has not been given much freedom from the owner but seems to have lost his players as well. The manager has also had to juggle plenty of injuries. Pardew's latest tactics have been to go back to basics and move to the 4-4-2 formation. Whatever he is trying is not working and his words are not being heard.
1. What is Going On in the Front Office?
The transfer chief of Newcastle, Joe Kinnear, resigned at the beginning of the month. The move was welcomed by most fans as the Chronicle Live poll had a 98 percent approval rate. However, it seems more fans have amassed angst toward owner Mike Ashley. He seems to have controlled any and all moves lately, but those are all outgoing. Ashley seems to say all the players that leave, like Cabaye and Andy Carroll, demand a transfer. This is the owner that is rumored to have not looked through the financials before agreeing to buy the club. This type of news has piled up and there is a heavy amount of disgust from fans and even players. That disgust is being directed toward Ashley. The fans at St. James' Park have even used his name in negative chants. Observing from afar shows a large amount of disconnect between the owner and the product.