Tagged: Paul Lambert

Aston Villa 0-0 Newcastle United: Both sides need quality up top

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  • Aston Villa had no shots on target against Newcastle United
  • Gabriel Agbonlahor, Darren Bent and Andreas Weimann between them scored two fewer goals than Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak last season – in more than double the matches

  • Newcastle have a lot of strikers, but need a new one

When Gabriel Agbonlahor, Darren Bent and Emmanuel Riviere saw Siem de Jong have the game’s best chance on 88 minutes, they surely knew their time would soon be up.

As Aston Villa and Newcastle United played out a lacklustre 0-0 draw – that both Paul Lambert and Alan Pardew will secretly be quite happy with – the lack of attacking quality was striking.

That Villa had no shots on target from nine attempted, as well as the fact that Agbonlahor only had two of those shots and Darren Bent none, proves the Villans’ need for better strikers.

Thankfully for Villa manager Paul Lambert, Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak will soon be able to come in off the sidelines.

Kozak only scored four Premier League goals last season from 14 games, but that’s no worse than Agbonlahor who managed the same figure last term from 30 games.

And Benteke’s ‘disappointing’ campaign in 2013-14 saw him hit 10 goals from 26 league matches, well below his standard from the season before.

However, that’s still more than Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann – who operated in a more central forward role at times last season – combined, with the duo managing just nine between them in the top-flight.

As for Darren Bent, he managed just three in 24 games on-loan Fulham last season.

His haul last season took the collective total from him, Agbonlahor and Weimann to 12 goals in 91 matches in the 2013-14 Premier League campaign.

In comparison, Benteke and Kozak managed 14 goals in 40 matches.

If Paul Lambert is to stop disgruntled season-ticket holders in the Holte End calling for him to be sacked, he’ll need his Belgian and Czech duo to come back ASAP.

As for Newcastle United, while they threatened more than Villa with four shots on target from 11 in total, only one of these came from a striker.

Emmanuel Riviere didn’t have a bad game, but his tame shot on target in the first half was no threat for Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan yet was the most effective thing he did all match.

And the fact that was Newcastle’s only shot on target from a forward player shows the lack of quality up top for the Toon.

Siem de Jong’s chance late on provided Alan Pardew’s men with the quality in the final third they were lacking throughout the game, but considering de Jong is more of an attacking midfielder than a striker, the exigency for a proven goalscorer is apparent.

Of course, Newcastle already have a big squad full of forwards, and Facundo Ferreyra could be the man they need after he netted twice for the U21s on Monday.

But the Argentine only showed flashes of brilliance for Shakhtar Donetsk last season with six goals and two assists in 22 games.

And beyond Riviere and Ferreyra, there’s few other strikers Alan Pardew can look to for a goal.

Ayoze Perez clearly needs to adapt to the rhythm of English football and the Premier League before he can start firing on all cylinders, while Papiss Cisse still has a lengthy spell to go on the sidelines, and in any case has suffered a Fernando Torres-esque loss of ability.

However, Newcastle’s situation up-front begs the question as to who’s actually out there on the market to solve their goal crisis.

Danny Welbeck? Javier Hernandez? Louis van Gaal is certainly going to dump one striker from his Manchester United squad before the window ends.

Or Jordan Rhodes? The Blackburn Rovers striker has been a prolific marksman in the Football League for years, and has scored 94 goals from 143 games in the past three seasons.

Either way, Newcastle are in desperate need for a new forward. They may only be two games into the new season, but zero goals from a home match and a winnable away fixture is a problem that needs rectifying – before the end of the transfer window.