NUFC Home Truths
Another away match and further disappointment for Newcastle United.
Our last away win in the league remains Chelsea at the back end of last season and concerningly we can't seem to string a few results together.
Everyone has their theories and reasons as to why we are struggling this season. Tactics, formations and Mike Williamson all to blame according to a lot of fans.
However, whilst I acknowledge Williamson isn't a defender we should have in our squad let alone the first team I think it's misguided to suggest he's our biggest problem.
First of all we have no other choice but to play him. Yes Perch could step in but he had been injured and so for a while Williamson was our only option. We can blame Ashley for allowing us to go into what was always going to be a more demanding season than last, under strength and short of numbers particularly in an area we were lacking in last season.
Secondly and more concerningly in my opinion at least is our general lack of bite in the final third. Cissé looks lost this year and part of that is down to the way we are not servicing him and playing to his strengths. I don't believe he's a bad player. I believe he is a player who thrives in a confident team. At the moment we're not and I think that is partly why Cissé is struggling.
But we also must look at creativity and our midfield. The harsh reality is that some of the players we love aren't doing enough from midfield. Ben Arfa is a supreme talent but we seem over reliant on him. He can't always skin three players and then put in a pin point cross. As a team we need to help him more. Jonas' work rate is undeniable and in the past his contribution late in games and away from home where he holds the ball up and wins free kicks has been a great asset. But in home matches where we need creativity we all know it's lacking. It's by no means just Jonas though, from central midfield we offer very little without Cabaye from a creative point of view.
Everyone in the team needs to look at their ball retention and distribution. Our passing is extremely sloppy in most matches and gifting the opposition possession so cheaply leaves us on the back foot unnecessarily.
January is so important to us now. Not only do we need to buy reinforcements with experience, (we simply can't persevere with young lads who aren't ready for the first team) we need to start winning matches because after the ominous looking Christmas schedule it's likely we'll be in a relegation fight.
Of course we know injuries have to some extent damaged us this season but for a team with top 8 aspirations that's really not an excuse.
Although I'm concerned by recent form this is really our first rocky patch under Pardew and it was always going to happen eventually. He still has my complete backing and I'm still confident that we'll improve significantly in the second half of the season but only if the team pull together as they did last season. As we know you're never too good to go down.