The Quick Fixes Newcastle United Can Make This Week
After playing out a 0-0 draw with West Ham last Saturday, Newcastle head into their third game of the season this weekend against Fulham, still looking for their first victory.
An opening day capitulation against Manchester City was followed by a disappointing result against the Hammers, as Newcastle failed to create any meaningful chances to see off Sam Allardyce's men.
The performance left a lot to be desired for Alan Pardew's side, so the following slides take a look at what the Newcastle boss can do in the week to be more effective against their next opponents, Fulham, on Saturday.
Be More Organised at Set Pieces
One particular area which caused Newcastle problems against West Ham this weekend was from set pieces. The physical style of the Hammers is enough to cause any team problems, but Newcastle's defensive plans hardly thwarted the threat posed by the likes of James Collins and Modibo Maiga.
With two relatively small centre-backs in Fabricio Coloccini and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, the marking needs to be man to man for defensive set plays. It may have been the plan against West Ham but it didn't have an effect, as Sam Allardyce's side went close on numerous occasions from hopeful balls into the box.
Winston Reid almost broke the deadlock in the first half after a 60-yard punt evaded everybody inside the Newcastle box and was inches away from reaching the New Zealand international. Alan Pardew would have been seething had his side fallen behind from such a simple plan, so he should be keen to implement a system that would stop this in future.
Work the Opposition Goalkeeper More
Here's a statistic for you: Newcastle have managed just ONE shot on target all season.
And believe it or not, that came in the 4-0 defeat to Manchester City on the opening day.
Against West Ham, Jussi Jaaskelainen didn't have a solitary save to make, despite watching Yoan Gouffran take aim from just four yards, only to lift the ball over the crossbar.
As the old saying goes: If you don't buy a ticket, you won't win the raffle.
Newcastle need to get more shots away and it should start from their key players. Papiss Cisse has barely been involved in any Newcastle attacks this season, while Hatem Ben Arfa regularly tries his luck, only to see his efforts fly over the bar.
It's no surprise that the Magpies still await their first Premier League goal of the season, but with a more adventurous approach that could change this weekend when Martin Jol's Fulham visit St James' Park
Forget About Yohan Cabaye
Yohan Cabaye is as good as gone.
Cabaye has played no part in either of Newcastle's games this season and is holding out for a move away from St James' Park, as his head has been turned by Arsenal's interest.
Once the two sides have agreed on a fee—believed to be in the region of £20 million (Daily Mirror)—Cabaye will be off and Newcastle will be able to move on without him.
Whether a new signing will come in to replace the Frenchman or Alan Pardew chooses a new system to accomodate the loss, there will be no more talk of "If we had Cabaye we'd have won that match" amongst fans.
The game against West Ham was indeed crying out for a player to take the match by the scruff of the neck and dictate, but Newcastle have certainly seen the last of their No. 4.
Cabaye is nothing more than a shirt number at Newcastle United now. Time for everyone to move on and forget about the man they used to adore.