Thursday, 21 January 2016

Fork In The Barrack Road

I started a post with this title nine days ago, leading on the point that while Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet were good players, they were not the strengthening that was required. Judging by the five goals and four points that came Newcastle's way since then, I was perhaps being a bit pessimistic!

Let no-one be fooled, though, finishing is still a big problem on Tyneside. Aleksandr Mitrovic is a fine player, but whether through lack of confidence or killer instinct is not someone to reliably finish off a move.

The build-up and excitment to the West Ham game was dampened somewhat with the news that Charlie Austin had made a snip of a £4 million move to Southampton. Among all the hype of "Wow! What a great deal!" it was perhaps overlooked that Austin's contract expires in the summer, so QPR were lucky to get anything for him. Given that they are marooned in mid-table, far from either play-off contention or relegation sweats, it was perhaps the prudent financial decision to get a bit dollah into the coffahs.

If Southampton get anything approaching double figures in goals from the striker, the powers-that-be at Newcastle may take a good, hard look at themselves and ask themselves why they let such a deal get away from them. Saido Berahino, at 22, has perhaps the higher all-important sell-on potential, but arguably also the higher risk of being a petulant child judging by his recent time at West Brom. Then again, is Tony Pulis really the one to get the best out of a maverick youngster? Heck, is Steve McClaren?!

Speaking of apparently questionable characters, what a debut from Shelvey. At times I thought I was watching Barcelona (As a Newcastle fan I am starved of any killer passes, so forgive my OTT-ness). It was as comfortable a 2-1 win as I have seen in awhile. Even when we came under a bit of pressure in the second half, I always felt confident we had a third goal in us, and Mitrovic did a good job of holding up play, although sometimes his distribution/finishing lacks a bit of conviction.

With Watford next on the horizon, a swift revenge should be on the menu. The 1-0 FA Cup defeat with a full strength side was the final straw in terms of what we had. An injection of quality to the squad was needed and has been delivered. However it is imperative not to stop there. At least one striker and a left-back are a must. While Newcastle have improved of late, all the bottom sides, including Aston Villa, have made their own gains. Standing still is not an option, and trying to do so will lead to a well-deserved relegation for any of the contenders.

No comments:

Post a Comment