Toon must build on Cabella ambition
Remy Cabella probably doesn't know any better as yet but his statement about wanting to win a cup at Newcastle United was a harsh reminder that the club's policy on domestic trophies requires a rethink.
Cabella's opening gambit -- "I hope to win a cup this season, we play to win a trophy," -- was of course a stark contrast to the board's policy last season that the cups are not a priority.
Actually, they went one step further at the end of the season and cited the cases of Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic, who have both suffered relegation since winning a trophy in recent years. There is a fear that relegation could harm the club's chances of picking up television money in the long run.
But the lowdown of Cabella's statement is that the French playmaker might not even be on the pitch when the club's League Cup campaign begins at the end of this month in the second round. Although one thing is for certain with Cabella and Newcastle -- if he is in the team when these cup games come around, they have a better chance of success if they choose to take them seriously.
Cabella is a marquee signing for Newcastle these days. He comes in from Montpellier and he has quickly settled into life on Tyneside thanks to help from the club's French contingent.
But if Newcastle want to kick on and get him to gel with the likes of Moussa Sissoko and fellow new boy Emmanuel Riviere, another Ligue 1 addition from Monaco, they will need to use the player wisely. In recent seasons United and Alan Pardew appear to have struggled to deal properly with their own players who take defenders on and create problems in the final third.
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There have been times when out-of-favour Hatem Ben Arfa has simply been starved of the ball, and that worrying trend unfolded over the weekend, this time for Cabella, at the Schalke Cup against Malaga.
Fortunately the issue appeared to have been rectified against Schalke the next day and he enjoyed more possession and grabbed his first goal for the club.
If Ben Arfa is on his way out -- or even facing a season banished to the reserves -- Cabella is certainly the man to lead the way when it comes to creativity on the ball and slicing defences open. Newcastle have missed that type of player since Yohan Cabaye quit for Paris Saint-Germain.
Cabaye left claiming he did so because he wanted to win cups too, which leaves Cabella's opening statement looking a little bit muddled. Yet surely every player wants to win trophies? It can't be just about money or lifestyle. If Newcastle can keep on showing the promise they have in patches in preseason with Cabella a central figure, they can at least start kicking on again.
The nightmare of last season's dismal second half of the campaign is still hanging over the club. Remember they lost seven out of eight games in that final part of the season. Losing to Manchester City would make that eight out of nine for Pardew, and he knows better than anybody that the emphasis is on him to get off to a good start or fear a fan backlash. Newcastle could do with a bit of a mission statement of their own before the season kicks off as well. A refresh on where they stand with cups is needed for a start. Then an idea of where the club aims to finish for the campaign would also be beneficial. Last season it was the top 10, which earned everybody at Newcastle a bonus.
With nine new signings, surely that goal has increased. Cabella is right to target winning a cup, though -- even if his board have already gone public to say otherwise.