We scored 45 goals last season and conceded 68 goals, the most we have ever conceded in the Premier League – ever.
Captain Coloccini – makes a huge difference at the back
And it was obvious in the run-in to the season that we had great difficulty scoring goals, and scored only three goals in the last six games and conceded a massive 12 goals – so that our goal difference as also the worst ever at -23.
So two things we have to do next season is to tighten up big time in defense, and not let in so many goals, and then we need at least two additional strikers to put the ball into the back of the net.
We have some good players in defense, Mathieu Debuchy, Fab Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon and Massadio Haidara – so surely we can make a few solid back fours out of those available players.
Maybe our best back four is Debuchy, Colo, Steven Taylor and Davide Santon, but we think Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will get in there somewhere.
Colo returned for the last three games of the season, when we conceded only two goals and he was massive at the back, and we have to keep this man on Tyneside, even though San Lorenzo have started to make noises that they want him back in Buenos Aries for next season.
As for the attack, we need to bring in two good strikers, but it doesn’t look like Andy Carroll will be one of them – he seems too expensive at £15.5M from Liverpool, with West Ham now in the driver’s seat for him.
It would be great to have the local lad back a the club – and at least he would be a threat in the penalty box with his heading ability.
And last season we have over 70 injuries, and it was one of the worst seasons for injury we’ve had in a long time, with top players like Ben Arfa, Tim Krul, Yohan Cabaye, Steven Taylor and Colo being out for months at a time.
We hope that was discussed in the meeting on Wednesday with Mike Ashley, because we are doing something wrong in training or the way we treat our players after they get those knocks.
And finally we haven’t scored from a corner in ages, and the last time was that hand-ball goal from Demba Ba at Reading, and we’ve looked pitiful from our set plays this year – so a good header of the ball – like an Andy Carroll – would at least help.
So those are four things we have to do better next season – it’s simple really – the main two are concede less goals in and score more. 😀
And then fix the injury problem and be more creative on set-plays.
If we can do that of course we’ll be better next season.
Over to you Alan Pardew.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org