The new Premier League season was back with a bang over the weekend, but for Newcastle United the same old problems surfaced.
Steve Bruce’s lack of tactical awareness came back to bite Newcastle, who, for the most part looked impressive in the first half against West Ham. Allan Saint-Maximin, one of Newcastle’s jewels, caused all sorts of problems for West Ham in the first half. They couldn’t cope with the Frenchman.
For all of Newcastle’s threat on the break with Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, there were gaping holes in their midfield and defence. Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden looked off the pace, with the former looking less than match fit. Emil Krafth was deployed as a centre back, a position he has usually struggles with, it was no different against West Ham. There was no communication or organisation at the back, leaving them all at sea. Jamaal Lascelles, a player much criticised by some sections of the support was a huge miss. Newcastle were in desperate need of a voice, in need of a leader, Lascelles is that figure.
For many Newcastle supporters it was their first time back at St James’ Park for around 18 months. That coupled with the natural excitement of a new season, brought some hope. That hope was washed away after a dismal second half showing, which saw West Ham calve through Newcastle time and time again.
The signing of Joe Willock will improve this Newcastle side, however, they lack bite in midfield. It’s a side crying out for a midfield enforcer, someone who can take the game by the scruff of the neck, recycle the ball and add some much needed protection to that leaky defence.
Newcastle are in for a long season if no more signings arrive. The majority can see the side is desperately short and lacks depth, the worrying thing is, the minority are those who run the club. Newcastle‘s hierarchy will undoubtedly believe they have enough to survive this season after signing Willock. That statement is what’s wrong with this football club, Newcastle shouldn’t have to just survive every season. That’s not what football is about, every team needs to have an identity, a plan, and it needs to progress. Unfortunately for Newcastle supporters, their side haven’t progressed in 14 years, they’ve regressed and not just a little. They’ve fallen behind Premier League and Championship clubs, you could argue that even some League One clubs have better facilities.
From top to bottom, Newcastle are a mess. No communication with their loyal support, lack of investment, it all leads to apathy. A football club shouldn’t be this way, a generation of supporters have been completely lost due to an owner who has neglected the club for years.
This shell of a football club will continue to sleepwalk its way through seasons until somebody can rescue it. Whether they can rescue it in time is a question for another day.