There is an argument which suggests that every single position in the Newcastle United side has, at some time or another, been ‘the problem position’ but I doubt many of us would put the right side of midfield at the top of that list.
In fact, down the years we’ve been spoiled rotten by a glittering cavalcade of mackem sausage stuffers, gambling Northern Irishmen, bling-soaked gangsta wannabes who gave Sir Bobby a right old time of it and of course, last and by absolutely no means least, Peruvian trumpet maestros with a magic wand attached to their right leg (hallelujah!).
Whilst for every super Nobby there was also a Diego Gavilan, ‘el pampero’ – meaning the horse that runs like the wind, (who sadly turned out to be the little donkey with a heavy load, who was as wayward as the wind and was packed off after only 7 appearances), the problem was solved recently by everyone’s favourite panto villain from Huyton, who adapted superbly well to the position before opening his mouth, along with the Ashley exit door.
Sylvain Marveaux seemed to be the answer when he signed in June although, having previously failed a medical at Liverpool, it was no surprise that Pardew took out the insurance policy of Obertan a couple of months later. Unlike Wor Demba, concerns around Marveaux’s lack of fitness appear to have been well-founded and although there was a ripple of excitement around the East Stand at half time during the Everton game at the prospect of seeing him at close quarters in the second half, he lasted barely 9 minutes before succumbing to injury once again.
Enter Obertan. Pardew has talked about playing a high tempo / high energy game (which might sound like something from an 80s disco, but suits most of our current squad), however, no one seems to have told the unangelic Gabriel.
I’m assuming that ‘high-tempo’ means players running around very quickly and passing the ball in a brisk manner and, so far at least, Obertan has looked like a fish out of water in that respect. It is still though early days for the Gallic baldie so we have to give him time.
Against Swansea, he looked like a lapin in the headlights and his lack of movement suggested lack of effort. Let’s hope its simply a temporary loss of confidence and form because he showed against Stoke that he can be a supply line to the front men.
After all, what does that smelly old tramp from Old Trafford know about players? He signed Michael Owen didn’t he?