Newcastle United - EDITORIAL: Team Chemistry missing at Toon
UK time is: 14:46:24
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

EDITORIAL: Team Chemistry missing at Toon

Newcastle United FC have been swimming in a pool of mediocrity for much of the last four seasons. It may be attributed to a lot of causes, but primarily, when one watches a match involving The Toon, it is hard to imagine that the eleven players fielded by the manager are team-mates rather people randomly picked from a variety of sides brought together to play a charity match.

The Magpies have lost the two games out of the last three - a 2-1 loss at the Eastlands against Manchester City, and an embarrassing 3-0 mauling by former manager Sam Allardyce's Blackburn Rovers.

Yes, the club are suffering from injuries, and there is tension in the locker-room due to board-room conflicts and uncertainty of ownership, but what football fans don't quite understand is that, often, a team who may lack in talent can make up for in work-rate to save the day.

When examining the tapes of the City, and Rovers games, one thing was evident - the team simply does not have what football experts call 'team chemistry.'

The decision-making of the Toon is the worst in the league, and when players can't understand their team-mates, and engage in off-field shoving matches (ala former Toon player Charles N'Zogbia and Andy Carroll) it is time to reexamine the coaching structure and the skills of the manager.



Geremi... oh Geremi...

Image Hosted by

In the above diagram you can see the actual position Geremi found himself in, at one crucial point of the City match. He had two options (1) to take two defenders on, and try to cross, or (2) to pass the ball to Gutierrez inside the box who was screaming for it. Geremi chose (1) and nothing came of the chance.

Duff... the destroyer of chances...

Image Hosted by

You can see clearly: the choice was obvious between the well-marked out-of-poistion Andy Carroll, and a clear shy at goal... Damien Duff chose to pass it to his team-mate, and with no result other than a disappointing sigh.

Passing ability:

Despite having Kevin Nolan among the ranks, the Magpies' passing is questionable at best. Nicky Butt is the biggest question-mark, and as most games he was the one who gave away the first goal against West Bromwich Albion after a loose uncontrolled effort made way for The Baggies to put one passed the Toon.

Food for thought:

Notwithstanding the result at West Brom - which saw the side triumph 3-2 at the Hawthorns, NUFC are a club of confusion both on and off the field.


1. New players - Kevin Nolan, Peter Lovenkrands, Ryan Taylor, Sebastien Bassong, Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez all arrived this season. It will take them at least a season to come to terms with life in the North-East, and to coordinate with their team-mates.

2. Injuries - None of United's first-team strikers can honestly say that they have been injury-free this season. Mark Viduka, Michael Owen, Alan Smith, Shola Ameobi, Obafemi Martins, Xisco, and Andy Carroll have all suffered lengthy periods off the field this season due to injuries. By the time they get back the team is different from the one they last played with, and working with the new crop of players or in the new system becomes a problem.

3. Managerial changes - The last two years has seen the Magpies change managers like socks. Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce, Kevin Keegan and now Joe Kinnear. A revolving door of managers leaves players dazed and confused as they have to adapt to different approaches and tactics even before they can settle on any one.

4. Team selection - United lack a confident and gutsy manager to step in and say, 'Alright. If you don't play well - you won't be picked.' However, Toon managers always pick players not based on their performances, but rather their reputations, and/or namesake. E.g. Nicky Butt, Shola Ameobi etc.

5. Tactics - The longball tactic adopted by Joe Kinnear simply does not work unless at least one of the frontmen has pace. Michael Owen is obviously not the answer, and Oba Martins does not play off anyone, so, the best bet is newboy Peter Lovenkrands. However, once Martins comes back from injury, it is inevitable that Lovenkrands will be benched to allow Ameobi to do what he does best - nothing worthwhile.

Final Thoughts:

As the season draws to a critical stage, the Magpies are in a genuine battle to fend off relegation. With an unconvincing win against West Brom in the weekend, the team may have earned a respite - but nothing has been accomplished yet.

Togetherness, and honest intent from the players is what the club needs. Understanding does not develop in a day, but the road to better team chemistry can be paved if the right mentality is infused in the players. Whether Joe Kinnear can accomplish that, remains largely unknown.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Mehzeb Chowdhury Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday February 10 2009

Time: 3:05PM


Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Newcastle United Articles

Crystal Palace v Newcastle - Teamsheets! (Saturday November 28 2015)

Crystal Palace v NUFC Pre Match Thoughts (Saturday November 28 2015)

McClaren Admits Bust Up Ahead Of Palace (Friday November 27 2015)

The Newcastle Utd Injury Table Updated (Friday November 27 2015)

Match Day Officials v Crystal Palace (Thursday November 26 2015)

Is McClaren Ready For Judgment Day? (Wednesday November 25 2015)

Infographic - Most Fouled....Mitrović (Wednesday November 25 2015)

Audio - Worst Performance Of The Season (Saturday November 21 2015)

Archived Newcastle United Articles

List All TOTT Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

Vital Members League (view all)

1. Toon_NoMatterWot 80
2. billybobcat 60
3. officemonkey 48
4. daftladguy 35
5. keggy_keagal 31
7. thecorner 25
8. Mcnamee67 25
9. vin1892 20
10. claud_ballz 19

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
14. Swansea 13 3 5 5 -4 14
15. Chelsea 13 4 2 7 -6 14
16. Norwich 13 3 3 7 -8 12
17. Newcastle 13 2 4 7 -12 10
18. Sunderland 13 2 3 8 -12 9
19. AFC Bournemouth 13 2 3 8 -13 9
20. Aston Villa 13 1 2 10 -14 5

Newcastle United Fixtures (view all)

Breaking League News

Everton unchanged for Bournemouth trip
Everton : 28/11/2015 14:15:00
Mandron Goes On Loan To Hartlepool Utd.
Sunderland : 28/11/2015 13:50:01
Sam Pondering Keeper Recall?
Sunderland : 28/11/2015 13:21:00
Pulis Praise for Hammer Carroll
West Ham : 28/11/2015 12:42:00
Wilson Looking Forward to Brighton Experience
Man Utd : 28/11/2015 12:34:01

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Leicester MotM
Suggested By:  Site Staff
Elliot 30%
Janmaat 0%
Mbemba 14%
Coloccini 0%
Dummett 0%
Sissoko 0%
Anita 0%
Tiote 0%
Wijnaldum 0%
Mitrovic 0%
Perez 0%
Sub - Thauvin 0%
Sub - Cisse 14%
Sub - de Jong 42%