Newcastle United fans head into this season with the fear of relegation in their mind amongst additional anguish caused by Mike Ashley.
The Magpies have yet to replace Andy Carroll who was sold in the winter transfer season and today is the day they open their Premier League campaign. Without Carroll and Kevin Nolan who was strangely sold on the cheap to West Ham this summer, it’s hard to see where the goals are going to come from the side that finished in a respectable 12th position last season.
New signing Demba Ba is both capable of scoring in an excellent game, and also being anonymous. I can see his inconsistencies and selfishness causing frustration to the home faithful throughout the season, especially when things aren’t going their way.
Where else the goals are coming from, I’m not so sure. For a decade, Shola Ameobi has shown he is incapable of playing the main striker role for a Premier League side. Yet to score double figures in single-season in the top flight, his 6 goals last season were quite impressive for Ameobi’s standards.
Peter Lovenkrands isn’t the best striker in the world to say the least. He’s lacking any real pace these days but credit to the Dane, he does get himself in goalscoring positions. However, there aren’t too many players around him to rely on getting him the ball.
Leon Best scored a hat trick against West Ham last season but done little else. Still adapting to top flight football? We’ll see how much action Alan Pardew allows him before we write him off.
Another player who certainly needs more time is Nile Ranger. An embarrassing 0 goals in 24 Premier League appearances last season (to go with his 2 in 25 in the Championship the season before), Ranger is young, but there can only be so much time a manager can give him forwards before he writes them off completely.
One player written off at Manchester United who makes his way to St James’ Park (is it still called that?) this summer is Gabriel Obertan. This transfer excites me. They’ve done the deal cheaply. When he arrived at Old Trafford there was plenty of excitement around the pacey French winger. However, he turned out to be another Diego Forlan in that nerves got the better of him. Whilst his new home stadium isn’t much smaller, they’ll be less attention on Obertan this season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him shine.
Overall, a tough season ahead for Newcastle. They need to find a goalscorer, whether that be a player currently in the squad, or in the transfer market.
You can currently back Newcastle at 6.0 with Betfair for relegation. I recommend this, not because they’re a favourite to go down, but because there should be great opportunities to trade throughout the season; expecting them to drop in or at least around the bottom 3.