As Newcastle United fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Swansea City, their second Premier League defeat at St James’ Park in the space of a week, there was one avenue you knew the Magpies weren’t going to score from – corners.
There are a number of problems that Newcastle face right now, but something that Alan Pardew needs to put right are attacking set plays.
After failing to score from five attempts yesterday, Newcastle have scored just once in the last 234 corners, which leaves their conversion rate at a very disappointing 0.43%.
This is even worse when you consider some of the big men that Newcastle have at their disposal, from Demba Ba and Shola Ameobi to Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson.
While the Magpies may be without their set piece specialist Ryan Taylor for the season, the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa should still have more than enough quality to put balls into the box.
A quick search on Google for: ‘when did Newcastle last score from a corner?’ and the answer that comes up is against Wolves at Molineux on October 1st 2011, which is more than a full season ago!
Newcastle seem to struggle to defend corners as well, with Manchester United scoring two against us in one game just a few weeks ago, which is pretty embarrassing when the Magpies can’t even manage one.
So what’s the solution? Bring back Kevin Nolan so that he can stand in front of the goalkeeper again? Maybe just spend a bit of time on the training pitch perfecting different runs.
After all, set pieces are incredibly important, as across the Premier League a significant number of goals come from them, it’s just that Newcastle aren’t one of those teams.