Should Gouffran play a more central role for Newcastle United?

The January signing has mostly played on the flank for Newcastle United, and despite his fine start in that position it could be worth moving him inside next to Cisse to ease the goal-scoring pressure on the Senegalese player.

Whilst they would be unwise to say so themselves, Newcastle United's last gasp 1-0 victory over Fulham at the weekend has put them very close to guaranteeing their Premier League status next season, with this weekend now offering them a mouth-watering opportunity to climb the table further whilst edging rivals Sunderland to the brink of relegation.

Despite playing some excellent football since reinforcing their squad in the winter transfer window, they have perhaps not kicked on in the league as well as they might have expected after recording back to back wins over Aston Villa and Chelsea at the end of January.

One reason for this is that they have not carried a consistent goal threat, relying heavily on Papiss Cisse in a season where he has not been able to repeat his heroic goal-scoring run from last year. The Senegalese player has been able to find some crucial late strikes in recent weeks, but perhaps moving Yoann Gouffran off the flank to play a more central role alongside Cisse might make Newcastle more dangerous going forward.

Gouffran has done well in general since his move to St James' Park, but has only scored once, in the 2-1 away loss to Tottenham Hotspur. Having spent most of the year playing through the middle for Bordeaux, Alan Pardew has almost exclusively used him on the left flank.

Gouffran was not prolific for Bordeaux, but a return of eight goals in 20 league appearances this year suggests he would offer Newcastle something more if moved inside. This seemed to be how Alan Pardew started against Fulham, but an early injury to Davide Santon meant the full back was not able to provide the width on the left, and Gouffran moved back wide.

Pardew should try this system again in the Tyne-Wear derby this weekend, and if Gouffran can add a little more threat to the Newcastle attacks, the Magpies should be able to plunge their rivals into the deepest of trouble whilst ensuring they will enjoy Premier League football themselves next season.

image: © machernucha

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