Friday, April 20, 2018

Newcastle just not good enough for the Premier League

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 10 Apr 2016

Rafa Benitez has been unable to turn things around at Newcastle and halt their descent into the Championship

Rafa Benitez has been unable to turn things around at Newcastle and halt their descent into the Championship

I have often commented on Newcastle in my editorials, because quite simply they are a club with massive potential that never quite delivers any of that promise to its fans.

The Toon Army are a very loyal bunch, but much like any group of supporters whose side are failing they are starting to get restless about their team.

Yesterday’s 3-1 defeat at Southampton moved the Magpies one step closer to relegation into the Championship.

Rafa Benitez’s side are now six points behind 17th place Norwich, which is not a great gap, but with poor performances and games running out it may prove an insurmountable one.

Talented but inconsistent

Newcastle hired highly-rated Spanish boss Rafa Benitez to dig them out of the hole that they were buried so deep in. However, it turns out it takes more than just a new boss to change the clubs fortunes.

In truth this group of Newcastle players are currently so demoralised that they seem to be beaten before they have even gone onto the pitch. That is because the players are simply not good, or some cases just not consistent enough performers.

They have too many players who blow hot and cold. January signings Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey have always been the sort of players who are highly-inconsistent and always will be.

The pair does have talent, but are not consistent enough and that is why they were sold by their old clubs. French international midfielder Moussa Sissoko, Dutch star Georginio Wijnaldum and Serbian Aleksandar Mitrovic are players who fall into the same bracket, although arguably the latter two are still regarded as players of immense potential.

Individually those players may be able to get away with being inconsistent for other teams, but a team full of players with similar sorts of attributes is asking for trouble, especially when they are playing with players who do not belong in the Premier League.

Woeful in defence

Quite frankly the north east side have been woeful in defence for a good while. Captain calamity Fabricio Coloccini has masqueraded as a Premier League defender for too long now. The Argentinian was missing from the defeat against Southampton and his replacements did not do much better.

Centre-back Chancel Mbemba arrived from Anderlecht in the summer with a pretty solid reputation, but he had only plied his trade in the Belgian top-flight. His inexperience at the top level has shown at times, but to be fair to the centre-back he has been one of the team’s better players this season.

His partner at the heart of the Magpies defence Steven Taylor has been more of a problem than a solution for much of his career.

He is wholehearted, but that is not good enough for a Premier League defender. The fact that Newcastle bosses where wary about putting him in the starting line-up after he recovered from a number of injury set-backs says it all about the centre-back.

Only the hapless Aston Villa has a worse defensive record than Newcastle this season. However that is not a surprise considering their efforts at the back in recent years.

Heading to the second tier

Everything seems to be wrong at Newcastle at the moment. No doubt boss Rafa Benitez is planning his exit strategy already, having probably given up on a group of players that have not shown enough heart or quality to remain in the Premier League.

Newcastle were lucky that there were three teams worse than themselves last season. This season it does not look like they will get that lucky. The Magpies are currently odds of 1/16 to be relegated and those odds are very fair at the moment.

Newcastle would need to improve immensely in their next few games and hope that Norwich fail to pick-up points as well. It seems that the Canaries are the only team above any of the bottom three that they can realistically catch-up to this season.

The plight of Newcastle is a sad but inevitable one this season. Last season the Magpies were atrocious in the second half of the campaign following the departure. They have been slightly better this season, but not by much and ultimately it looks like the side from the north east will pay for their lack of quality with relegation.

Even if they do by some miracle manage to stay in the Premier League this season, then not much is likely to change at the club. Newcastle Football Club has become a circus in recent years and until ringmaster Mike Ashley sells the club that is unlikely to change.

Does Newcastle have any hope of staying up this season?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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