As the 2013/2014 season is just around the corner, I thought I would share my thoughts on what it will take to succeed this season and be where we deserve to be. After one of the worst seasons in the premier league, Newcastle fans will have every expectation of finishing in a much higher position. No Geordie will want to endure the nightmares of the last couple of months last season. With Joe Kinnear causing a stir to say the least and Llambias resigning, what is it exactly that Newcastle are planning? Quite possibly the only person that knows right now is Mike Ashley and even that is questionable right? Injury Problems Ahh yes… Pardew’s go-to answer when everything started to fall apart. However, was it a factor? Absolutely. Consider the injuries for one moment and when they happened for us. No one can argue the fact that we didn’t have squad depth and with injuries thick and fast at times, we certainly lacked bite. When losing people like Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Saylor, Krul, and Colo, it’s safe to say we lost key players and some of these players we would call irreplaceable. Who is fit enough to fill Ben arfas shoes at Newcastle, let alone Cabayes? Do we have a keeper up to Krul’s standards and is anyone as commanding as Colo at the back for us? Certainly not. Our “Filler-inners” such as Haidara (a great future player), is exactly that, and Biwa had little Ell experience, no one should expect them to just come in and make wonders happen. Set pieces, Tactics Wow, when was the last time we scored from a corner (not including Demba Ba’s golden hand) OVER 200 CORNERS AGO. We are statistically the worst team in the premier league with set pieces. Why? First as much i’m a huge Saylor and Colo fan, they are not goal scorers and as a CB you need to have a few goals in you. We need a commanding centre back in their box to get a head in and get a goal and its just not happening. With word of releasing Williamson, Pardew will not have the option of lugging a ball into the box with Willo at the back post. When hearing about Ryan Taylor earlier this year, I was absolutely devastated, not only because im a huge fan but also because he is another goal scorer and definitely more of a threat with corners in my opinion. How many times did we see Yohan just not hit the right spot with corners this year and hear the Gallo gate end groan in frustration. 2 many… Long ball hoofing…. Oh my. Percentage of long passes: Stoke 16.2%, Reading 15.7%, Newcastle 15.6%, West Ham 15.1%, Sunderland 14.9%, Norwich 14.9%, Aston Villa 13.3%, QPR 13.2%, West Brom 13.2%, Everton 12.9%, Fulham 12.6%, Spurs 12.2%, Wigan 11.4%, Chelsea 10.9%, Southampton 10.9%, Liverpool 10.3%, Swansea 10.1%, Man Utd 10%, Arsenal 8.3%, Man City 8% Pretty disgusting when Pardew was stating some “champagne football’ not long ago in post match interviews. Joe Kinnear mentioned pacey wingers not long ago in a horrid interview which we will never forget, and I honestly think he was on the right track. With our current players this would be my set up. Krul, Santon , Colo , Saylor, Debuchy, Sissoko Cabaye Gouffran Benarfa Cisse ? Now, I would love to put Gouffran upfront. He is a proven goal scorer and has the record to show it, give him a chance Pardew for 90 minutes. Only once has he stayed on till the end. I also believe Sissoko should be played in a defensive (Tiote) role winning the ball back for us. I just feel his utilization has been picked up on and his strengths lie in winning the ball back for us. This is only hitting the surface of what we need to succeed this year, and as much as this article would suggest otherwise, I am indeed a Pardew supporter. Let’s give him 6-8 Weeks (because of favorable fixtures) and see where we are. We need 2-3 Players in before the season gets underway and they need to be settled so here is hoping we get a couple of players in before mid July. (Word of bony being bid for 12 mil) All in all, a change of tactics, mentality, new players who play with their heart (we miss Nolan don’t we…) and just some luck!