Now that we have the squad finalized after the summer transfer window, we have gone through the various positions in the side and assessed what we see as the strengths and weaknesses of the Newcastle squad, but one positive thing seems to be we are stronger than last year at this time, but of course other middle of the table sides have strengthened in the summer, more than Newcastle have – so it’s all relative.
Loic Remy – could have huge impact
Here are the various positions in the side that we have assessed.
Tim Krul and Rob Elliot are two good goalkeepers and Rob proved last season he is now an excellent stand-in for Dutch International Krul, and Rob has improved a lot since he joined us two years ago. But we probably should have signed a third goalkeeper in the summer, with only Jak Alnwich currently the third choice, and Jak has precious little first team experience, although the youngster is highly rated.
We have Mathieu Debuchy who plays at right back and Massddaio Haidara who can play at left-back, and we have Davide Santon, Paul Dummett and James Tavernier who can play on either side.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa can also play anywhere across the back four although we think Alan Pardew will play the French International in central defense this season. Newcastle seem to be well covered in this position with Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon likely to be the first choice full backs this season. We have brought in two specialist full backs and lost Danny Simpson in the summer.
Newcastle have Fab Coloccini, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson as the four major players in central defense, and we have youngsters Curtis Good and Remie Streete coming through the ranks. Fab Coloccini will probably be partnered by either Steven Taylor or Yanga-Mbiwa, and it could be the Frenchmen has stolen a march on Steven, who has missed the last three games because of the suspension he picked up at the Etihad.
Somehow we still think this position is a weakness for the team, and we would have loved to have seen the Brazilian Douglas come in, and his 6’4″ frame would have been a welcome addition in the center-back ranks, and if he had come in over the summer we could have sold Mike Williamson for £2M or £3M. Douglas is also a threat from corners and other set plays, which we struggled with all last season.
Newcastle seem to be fairly well off in central midfielders with Yoan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote last season’s starters, but that could be shaken up a bit with Moussa Sissoko now in the squad, and Vurnon Anita looking to have improved a lot since he signed a year ago from Ajax. Dan Gosling also had a good pre-season, and was our best player at St. Mirren, where he had an excellent game. And 19 year0ld Gael Bigirimana could be a big star in the making for the club, and in his 25 appearances last season he didn’t look out of place at all – we look strong in central midfield.
Newcastle seem fairly well off for wingers with Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez, Sylvain Marveaux, SammyAmeobi and Gabby Obertan able to play there and so can Dan Gosling, but we need for these players to be able to score some goals from the wide positions. What we need from the wingers are more goals, and Ben Arfa set the example last Saturday with just an absolute stunner after 87 minutes, to win the game against Fulham and get us an extra 2 points.
We have Loic Remy, Papiss Cisse, Shola Ameobi and Yoan Gouffran this season, and this is probably a weakness in the Newcastle squad – Adam Campbell is coming through well, but he will probably spend at least the first half of the season out on loan at either St. Mirren or Hartlepool United. Cisse and Remy will be our two top strikers, and we’ll have to see how they play together, and we need to keep Shola fit, and hope that Yoan can chip in with a few goals too – but we should have signed Bafe Gomis or another top striker in the summer.
A lot will depend on how Loic Remy plays for Newcastle, but this lad is a good player, and he could very well become a big star for the side – and very quickly too. We hope so.
Let us know what you think the strengths and weaknesses of the squad are, and what are the main positions we still need to strengthen – maybe even in January – to become a really good side again.
Comments welcome, but please keep them civil.
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