It seems the weakness of Newcastle this season has been in defense.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – Magpies have watched this player all season
Newcastle seem now and again to completely collapse away from home, and this year that has happened at Fulham, Tottenham and Wigan, and in total we conceded 14 goals in just three games, and in all three games we conceded four goals or more in one half.
It’s not good enough for a Newcastle side that will be trying to make top four next season, and it’s an area Alan Pardew has detailed as one he needs to fix.
And with 34 goals conceded away from home, Newcastle have the 7th worst goals allowed on the road in the league, and only Norwich City, Wgan Athletic and the bottom four sides have conceded more goals away from home.
Alan Pardew had talked earlier in the week about needing to strengthen in defense, and he had this to say:
“At the back is an area we need to strengthen. We’ve let in too many goals,” “We have to tighten up at the back. We finished with only a plus-five goal difference.”
“We let too many in and didn’t score enough to win 21 games – that’s the truth of it. “But to win 19 means you’ve been really tight all year.”
“We’ve had to grind wins out and next year we are going have to make sure we win 21 games with a little bit more style.”
“It’s important that we don’t rest on our laurels, that we understand we have taken the Club on a huge leap forward, finished above some great teams below us, and then try to improve on that.”
FC Twente’s Brazilian 6’4″ center-back Douglas, and Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who has just been called up in France’s provisional 26 man squad for Euro 2012, have both been linked with a move to Newcastle during the season.
And Lille right back Mathieu Debuchy, and PSV defender and Dutch International Erik Pieters, are all defenders Newcastle have been watching for a while, and Newcastle almost brought in Pieters last summer.
We’ll probably see two good defenders arrive in the summer, and more if Danny Simpson leaves.
And Alan said last week on the call-in show on BBC Radio Newcastle, that he had been impressed by some youngster on trial at Newcastle.
Alan would like to bring in a top young center-back, and from some of his comments he seems to have been impressed by at least one youngster currently on trial at Newcastle.
That could be Lucerne’s 18-year-old defender Valentin Gjokaj, or it could be Marseilles France Under-19 international center-back Christophe Lowinsky, who are both currently on trial and both are highly rated young defenders.
If we were to hazard a guess, we’d say that Lowinsky has been impressing the coaches in training, but certainly defenders seem to be Alan Pardew’s priority this summer.
More competition at the back is what’s needed for next season.
What do you think?