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Former Newcastle Midfielder Pinpoints One Big Problem

7:30 pm, Saturday, August 6th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 61 Comments

For the last few seasons one of the biggest problems we have had is Newcastle have conceded far too many goals – and we have conceded 255 in total over the last four Premier League seasons including 65 goals last season when we were relegated.

Another problem is that we have failed to score enough goals and find it difficult to put the back in the back of the net.

So we let in too many goals and cannot score enough goals – yes – those are big problems alright.

fulhamrafa benites talks to players fulham

Rafa Benitez talking to Newcastle players last night at Fulham

It is two problems that Rafa Benitez has tried to fix this season and he has brought in goalkeeper Mat Sels and defenders Jesus Gamez, Grant Hanley and Ciaran Clark.

Up front he has signed striker Dwight Gayle and goalscoring midfielders Matt Ritchie and Mohamed Diame to try to fix the goal-scoring problem.

But we let in a poor goal last night and had only two shots on target all night and were beaten 1-0 by a Fulham side that struggled against relegation last season.

Former Newcastle midfielder Jermaine Jenas was signed by Sir Bobby Robson from his home town club Nottingham Forest for £5M back in February of 2002, when Jenas was just 18.

Jermaine talked about what he sees as Newcastle’s main weakness on BBC Radio Five Live last night:

“One of the big reasons Newcastle went down last season was because they didn’t score enough goals, and it was evident again.”

“Yes, they’ve invested and brought in Dwight Gayle and they’ve got Ayoze Perez, who, from what I hear from people in and around the club, is highly rated.”

“But they didn’t show anything, and whether that’s down to supply or whether it’s down to themselves not really offering enough, it just didn’t happen.”

So that’s half the problem and Rafa will have to bring in at least one big striker in August.

Playing both Ayoze Perez and Dwight Gayle together may also be a bit of a liability.

Maybe Rafa can give 19 year-old Adam Armstrong a start next Saturday against Huddersfield Town at home – he could do a lot worse than give the very promising local lad a chance to shine at St. James’ Park.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Adam Armstrong · Ayoze Perez · Coaching · Dwight Gayle · Newcastle News

61 responses so far ↓

  • 1 gorgonzola ( former Pecorino former to gorgonzola) // Aug 6, 2016 at 7:33 PM

    No sh1t.

  • 2 gorgonzola ( former Pecorino former to gorgonzola) // Aug 6, 2016 at 7:35 PM

    Problem is supply AND finishing.

  • 3 Blackley and Brownlie // Aug 6, 2016 at 7:53 PM

    Your man Arma looked sharp. He certainly deserves a chance, at least.

  • 4 Oleg G // Aug 6, 2016 at 7:53 PM

    I will say again this about Sissoko to anyone who didn’t hear and I want to know if anyone disagrees:

    I don’t care if we don’t go up because he is not a player in the team.


    His disrespect for the team and his teammates and the fans is too much.
    He should be fined and thye should put him to play with the academy.

  • 5 posada // Aug 6, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    I don’t think our season will settle down until all the ins and outs are complete as far as transfers are concerned.
    Important to pick up points though before then.
    Thankfully next two games are at home.

  • 6 Bobbybee // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:06 PM

    I think he should start Arma on Saturday, because 20 minute cameos are never going to bring the best out of the kid. That said, he showed more fight in the 20 mins he was on than the majority did the 90. But we need to play to his and Gayles strengths, which are through balls through the channels. I don’t think we played one in the entire match last night. If we’re considering letting him go on loan again, at least let him have the chance to show why he should stay with a 90 minute performance. He certainly won’t let anybody down, unlike the majority did last night. He’s scored goals throughout his short career, for our academy, U21’s, England youth, as captain, and Coventry. They all played to his strengths, which gives us a clue how to play him. The long balls have to go, there were far too many last night. I expect changes on Saturday, with Diame starting. One holding midfielder will be enough hopefully and we need to play to our strengths, not our weaknesses. Put last night in the bin where it belongs and look forward.

  • 7 hatem786 // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:07 PM

    He will start tonight against palermo

  • 8 Bobbybee // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:09 PM

    B&B, agreed mate. He needs 90 mins, not 20 here and there. Showed more in 20 than others in 90 and deserves to be given a proper run out. He will score goals but the midfield need to help by creating chances.

  • 9 ShirebrookToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:15 PM

    One problem we had last night was the lack of a ball carrier. Someone to drive up the pitch and that’s where Diame fits the bill nicely. Shelvey needs to start next game and I’d play Arma up top instead of Gayle. He maybe small but he’s quick and a strong little fcuker lol

  • 10 ShirebrookToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:17 PM

    Also the combo of Ritchie and Janmaat on the right in the 2nd half last night looked promising. Need to find that balance on the left. Maybe Mbabu and Aarons?

  • 11 Pat On The Heed // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:19 PM

    We couldn’t score last season, and have just replaced Cisse, Townsend, Wijnaldum (17 league goals) with Ritchie and Gayle (7 league goals).

    Perez, Mitro and Gayle can’t be relied upon to suddenly discover consistency just because we’re down a league. We need an unfashionable experienced proven centre forward, probably of the type hounded out of the club by supporters for several years now.

  • 12 Lindisfarne // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:26 PM

    Too early to start making whole sale changes but it does seem that Gayle and Perez do not perform well as lone strikers, particularly against deep lying defences. The obvious alteration would be to play them more as a pair, keeping the ball between them and playing each other in. Then there is less necessity for attacking midfielders to press forwards, restricting the opposition from moving forwards and reducing the amount of space available to our forwards.

    The 4231 system is designed to add greater force to the midfield but it has been costing us. Season after season we have a frail defence that requires the full backs to be at the other end of the pitch to provide crosses into the box and simultaneously with a weak attacking threat for large proportions of the match. I hope that Rafa can quickly resolve the situation, either by improving the balance of the team or changing the system to reflect the most likely approach of the opposition.

  • 13 nearly // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:27 PM

    oleg g @4

    spot on couldnt agree more,he says players support him i ok CLOWN

  • 14 Bobbybee // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:29 PM

    Shirebrook, that’s why i have always maintained his size means nothing. He’s a little powerhouse that doesn’t get knocked off the ball easily, as he showed again last night. He has an electric first 15 yards that has brought him so many of his goals. He deserves a chance to show what he’s capable of and Saturday would be ideal. Especially with Diame in central midfield providing passes he can run on to. He’s not the finished article yet, he’s still a kid, but he knows where the goal is given something to work with.

  • 15 ShirebrookToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:33 PM


    With Shelvey in the deep lying role, Diame in the hole and Arma upfront on Saturday I can see us getting goals.

  • 16 so-far-king-quick // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:38 PM

    just gan with arma and rivi upfront next game may aswell like, give gouffy a shot on the lw

  • 17 toon kk // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:41 PM

    After watching our first game it’s hard to predict how we’re going to fare in the championship, another couple of games and we’ll see what we’re all about. How so many can predict us storming the league with over 100 points is beyond me. It’s a very tough league and we’ve got a decent squad along with every other championship club.
    One thing for cirtain it ain’t gonna be easy.

  • 18 martoon // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:44 PM

    Bobby – I’ve got to be honest I really want Arma to do well being a local lad who has come through the academy but every time I have seen him he just doesn’t seem to have it. He just looks like a boy lost amongst men!

  • 19 Bobbybee // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    Shirebrook, amen to that. I felt a bit sorry for Gayle last night, because he wasn’t given the tools to work with. Sadly Perez had a mare and the ball just kept bouncing off him! Certainly no need to panic yet, that much is for sure. When you look at the facts, Arma is the most prolific striker on our books, just waiting to make the step up. Would be a shame to loan him out when he has so many goals in him. It’s no coincidence that there’s a massive queue of clubs just begging to loan him either. Once that first goal goes in, he’ll bang em in regularly, he just needs that chance. Hopefully it will come on Saturday. Anyway, got to go now. Speak again soon.

  • 20 so-far-king-quick // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    does anyone else think its a shame we released obertan and marveaux I reckon they could of done the job this season as squad players, marveaux I can live with cause he never really got going anyway and hes joined fc lorient but obertan last season had some class games then got injured it was looking like he was nailing down a spot in the team I wouldn’t mind if we re signed him to be honest least on a 1 year deal with the option to extend

  • 21 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    Hoping Rafa realises that we cant ease our way into away fixtures as it gives the other teams hope we need to come out all guns blazing and not let the other team get out their own half

    Was surprised at the lack of pressing from Gayle , Perez and Richie considering they are nippy and can nick the ball

    Cant wait till Diame gets a game for us he is exactly what we need in the middle

    Just need to get this left hand side sorted though

  • 22 jazzyp // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:52 PM

    Well i have managed to stay off for nearly 24hr and gather my thoughts on last nights performance. And to be honest i still feel the same.
    My argument the other day was that i didn’t understand us bringing in another CB when we glaringly need a first choice LB.
    Dummett is no more than a back up option at Cb,Which is his best position… Yet we continue to persevere with him at left back.

    Anita has now been played in every position across the midfield, At right back, Yet has not cemented any position his own.

    Ayoze….. Please can someone tell me what he brings to the team, What his best position is ??

    We are making the exact same mistakes as last term on the field. We have nothing in the way of creativity.Our attack looks lacklustre and light weight.The squad looks totally unbalanced throughout. Yes its only the first game and hopefully things will improve. But i see no end game or improvement on the pitch from the drivel we were served up last season

  • 23 Bobbybee // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:55 PM

    Martoon, so far he has either come on when there has been virtually an entire change of team, or given 15-20 minutes. You can’t judge from that marra. I’ve followed him right through his short career and i know what he can do. Give him a chance and he’ll produce the goals. Did you see how many motm votes he got last night for his cameo? Not me either, i voted for Ritchie because i don’t think 20 mins is enough to pass judgement. He needs 90 mins mate with a midfield playing him through the channels, it’s that simple. Anyway, i realky must go. 😉

  • 24 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:59 PM


    in the first half there were some good pressing from them, we were decent Lito do possession just couldn’t defend set pieces, then we opened ourselves up when we started chasing the game

  • 25 geordie157 // Aug 6, 2016 at 8:59 PM

    Britt Asombolonga is what we need, pace and power.

    Him and another creative player/winger and we’ll be fine.

  • 26 Munster Mag // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:05 PM

    Bobby, rafa set them up exactly as I had thought, and had feared and it backfired predictably. I wasn’t ready for the sideways and backwards football though, and seeing him directing one player to pass the ball backwards, when no real pressure was apparent, was worrying. He needs to ditch the 2 in the 4231 and either go 442 or 4132 or alternate between these. If he buys another defender or player a defender on the wing i’ll do me nut. I’ll try to put that to bed now and expect more sizzle against Huddersfield. But we still need bodies ( bigger faster ones ) which says he is either buying the wrong players, or we were worse than even we thought. 8 players should be enough for him but evidently not so far. If I hear some numbnuts saying thauvin would have made a difference i’ll get the gun out and book a flight to Tyneside though.

  • 27 geordie157 // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    Bring shelvey, diame and Armstrong in for anita, colback and Perez.

    What did people think of janmaat, I thought he worked well with Ritchie but another mini tantrum from him and he got done a few times by Ayite. I wouldn’t mind seeing Gamez, Sterry or Mbabu at right back

  • 28 martoon // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:08 PM

    Bobby I can appreciate that but when he comes on the ball just seems to bounce off him and when he got a chance last night he scuffed it. Sorry but even in 20 minutes I expect to see something but I just don’t – I hope I’m wrong because I say I really want him to do well.

  • 29 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:08 PM

    We were missing our 4 main “Match Winners” from last season as well in Mitrovic , Sissoko , Wijnaldum and Townsend with only really Richie looking like an adequate replacement for Townsend

    Diame will help replace Sissoko but we then still need a left winger to replace Wijnadlum then with Mitrovic we could do with a backup for him

    Dummett and Colback dont really offer anything but a back pass or a square ball which ruins the flow when they get on the ball so we will always struggle offensively when they are involved in passing moves especially when Colback is taking the ball from the centre halfs

  • 30 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:11 PM

    Assombalonga would be a great buy, powerful and pacey

  • 31 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:13 PM


    Swear down I didn’t actually see your comment haha.

    Victor Moses would be such a good purchase as a winger, explosive sort of player

  • 32 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    Aston Villa chairman Dr Tony Xia has whetted fans’ appetites with a promise of up to EIGHT further signings at the Sky Bet Championship club.

    Still say we should have been signing Mccormack lets hope they dont get anymore players at his level

    @James Toon

    Yeah Moses for Left wing would be a good signing

  • 33 toon kk // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:22 PM

    Tbh we looked really light weight last night, Perez has skill but is knocked off the ball so easy. We lack power in most areas.

  • 34 so-far-king-quick // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:38 PM

    would anyone take a risk on Ravel Morrison to come play cam ? was supposed to be better then pogba but had the attitude of hba

  • 35 jimiley // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:39 PM

    Powder puff up front and easily knocked off the ball. Rafa is also too cautious and defensive. We showed Fulham far too much respect with our defensive set up. They were sixth bottom last year and have sold their two best players. We needed a win at Villa last season and you would have thought we were playing at the Nou Camp. So defensive and that game cost us any chance of survival. We need some flair up front. Not 11 grafters like Hayden and Colbeck

  • 36 jazzyp // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:46 PM


    Given time i think Hayden can be a cracking lad for us as a holding midfielder, But i agree that we should not be going out with 2 defensive midfielders every game.

    The flaw is there for everyone to see yet nothing has changed from last season.

    Its good and well changing the mentality of the players.And reshaping the training facilities, But it is results on the pitch that count

  • 37 cyprus // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    Ed and all,
    I think the Rafa this Rafa that adulation is now over. Back to the real crusty Chris Hughton world. Hard work and Real talent is needed. Rafa must hire some real players, above championship level or else we’ll be… Championship level.
    The statue can wait. We need footballers now. HBA level, to rip up this small league.

  • 38 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:52 PM

    Huddersfield got some danger men, Palmer and Van la parra, they also got klopp’s former assistant is their manager. We simply need to beat them though

  • 39 cyprus // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:55 PM

    Reading below we is scraping the barrel. Obertan? Shelvey?! These sort of characters got us in this trouble man. Poor, poor players.

  • 40 jimmysmith // Aug 6, 2016 at 9:57 PM

    Playing Arma is quite risky in such a critical season. In one respect its the ideal level to blood him, in another we do need to win. He did look better than Perez and Gayle, in his 20 minute cameo, but Rafa wouldn’t be showing much faith in his established strikers if he dropped them after one match against motivated opposition away in the first competitive game of the season.

  • 41 jimmysmith // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:03 PM

    I think we got into trouble because of an unbalanced squad. I can’t think of a single player in last seasons group apart from perhaps Thauvin who wouldn’t have been useful. The squad needed a few additions in a few key positions, but the wholesale changes have been more in response to the losing mentality within the group, that resulted from poor recruitment over three seasons, in my opinion.

  • 42 jazzyp // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:03 PM

    Every team that plays us will be motivated as should we who ever we play, And there lies the problem.
    We offered nothing going forward and are still playing players out of position which again led to our down fall last season.
    You cannot go into a game and consistently keep playing 3-4 players out of position, Simply because we do not have an automatic starter to cover that position

  • 43 so-far-king-quick // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:05 PM

    one could argue it wasnt shelvey that got us into this trouble, climbed aboard a sinkng ship in the winter window to try and rescue it and actually was a shining light in a failing side, hes probably one of the best center mids in the league I cant see us signing better bar the exception of diame

  • 44 cyprus // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:09 PM

    So far
    As always, respect your and other’s opinion but disagree. He was brought in to help us kick on, did exactly the opposite. He is, always was, an overrated poor player. Hope the lad proves me wrong.

  • 45 toon22 // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:12 PM

    In this league you need a big CF to dominate their CBs.
    All we have is two light weight CFs,Mitro who might do it but is so hot headed i can see him being a liability with the new rules and a few French guys who really should be sold.
    We also still have next to nothing on the left hench Ritchi being tryed out there.

    Big CF and a someone with a left foot and we will be fine.

  • 46 cyprus // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:13 PM

    We spent millions, more than ALL Europe, to kick on in that winter window. We ended up worse, were subsequently relegated. Those players were duds. Carr, and many of our fans, to be fair, wanted them. Result? Relegated.

  • 47 toon22 // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:15 PM

    DO people here think Galye is upto being our no9 ?

  • 48 benjohnsen // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:15 PM

    The most important thing regardless of which type of players who are in the team, is to play at each players strength.

    Gayle and Perez both have great technical ability. When your own team then give you no through-passes along the ground, but choose to ålay the one pass which you are weak one you will fail. Hitting long againts Perez and Gayle, when oposition has a low defensive is sucicide. This is basic football ono on one.

    If Newcastle start to play on each other strengths they will suceed, however, yesterday they played each other bad.

    I would be interested to hear what people think of each single playes main weakness and strength on the field.

  • 49 so-far-king-quick // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:17 PM

    I actually agree with you that’s a tad over rated but I don’t think he is poor by any means, his quality is there to see its just consistency but I know from playing, its hard to perform and play well in an under performing team where every player isn’t playing well, you get the odd player have the odd game where they stand out but is that cause they’ve played well or is that cause everyone else has played so bad who knows but I do think every player needs to have a clean slate this season under an actual manager with proper coaching to show what they can do then halfway through the season we can judge them

  • 50 toon22 // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:20 PM

    Imho Gayle/Perez/Arma are almost the same kind of striker.
    Mitro is our only real outlet in this league,yes Rivi might be an asset but since he seems to have vanished it obvious its time to sell him.

    Last time we had Carrol and Nolan as our main strikers,couldnt be any different if we tryed.

  • 51 cyprus // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:25 PM

    So far.
    Fair comment.

    I actually think we’ll make it to the PL again. I am optimistic, but the fans went a bit overboard, thinking we’d walk it. Ed and all would accept no Rafa criticism. Like he ain’t human, like he already won us something.

    I think we’ll do it the hard way, the Newcastle way. Playoffs, win at Wembley…

  • 52 JP...from The Rock // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:25 PM

    We need strong players upfront with pace also. A proper winger and a proper big striker at least.

  • 53 NUFCPaul // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:27 PM

    @cyprus – Newcastle win at Wembley? Does not compute. It’s a sentence that makes absolutely no sense to me. Did you mean to say ‘win’ or was that a mistake?

  • 54 jimmysmith // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:29 PM

    Ritchie will be great, that’s a definite positive. We also have some substantial and powerful players to come in, and we need them. Diame and Mitrovic in particular, but really Tiote, Shelvey, De Jong and of course Sissoko should he stay are all very formidable players at this level. Mbemba, Gamez and Krul also to draft into the defence. You need a core of 23 to 25 players and we are probably a big striker short of having that, as things stand, Perez, Aarons, Sissoko, and Ritchie should give us enough in wide positions, and Gamez, Clark, Haidarra and Dummett enough at the problematic lb position, but certainly that wasn’t our best 11.

  • 55 NUFCPaul // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:29 PM

    Last time I was at Wembley it was the old Wembley and Man U beat us in the Charity Shield not long after we signed Shearer. We mocked them for missing out on him on the way in. We were all pretty quiet on the way back out and all the way back to Newcastle in the coach.

  • 56 so-far-king-quick // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    Am just going to throw a name out there, artem dzyuba 23 goals in 44 appearances last season they only problem is the championship might be a step down from zenith, what happened to nano things went very quiet on that front

  • 57 cyprus // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    We won’t be playing them. We’ll win at Wembley 🙂

  • 58 cyprus // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:39 PM

    Is Rafa done? OK we brought in some utility players, but we still got Anita Janmaat as… Wingers!?

    Come on Rafa, use your influence, your contacts. Bring in some amazing talent.

    Painting Benton is a good idea, granted. Now bring in some mesmerizing talent from,,, who cares. Timbuktu. Brexit or whatever is immaterial.

  • 59 Toon-Prodigy // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:39 PM

    Mitrovic to go? Loan deal for Galloway of Everton.

  • 60 Munster Mag // Aug 6, 2016 at 10:52 PM

    Jmiley glad its not just me who got the hump with rafas conservative approach. It was always likely given his previous history. However he knows what he is doing so i expect the kind of changes many people have suggested here. Its a bit remarkable though that with 8 signings we could still be so lacking in attacking options. We need a win next, and a bit of serious threat attack wise. But at home we will be fine and rafa will surely ditch the two holding players

  • 61 dannyodyssey // Aug 7, 2016 at 3:35 PM

    All our strikers are dwarfs. Not a single players are above 6 ft. What a shame….

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