With injuries to Tim Krul and Karl Darlow, little wonder that Rob Elliot has become the topic of much conversation.
A lot of journalists seem perplexed as to why so many Newcastle fans are concerned at the prospect of the former Charlton keeper taking over in goal.
Indeed I have been surprised at how many supporters have said they’d rather take a chance on the totally untried 18 year old Freddie Woodman, rather than Rob Elliot.
So why do so many people appear to be so strongly opposed to the 29 year old third choice net minder?
There is a popular perception (whether it is fair or not) that Rob Elliot was only signed by Newcastle because he was good mates with both Andy Woodman and Alan Pardew through the Charlton connection.
Elliot himself in interviews comes across as somebody who still can’t believe how he got the gig at Newcastle from the relative anonymity of League One football at Charlton.
There is also a feeling from some supporters that he never looks fit and isn’t exactly agile. In fact Rob Elliot further fed this idea when a couple of seasons ago he bragged of how much weight he had lost and how he felt far fitter than the previous season, leaving you thinking….he has just admitted he wasn’t fit enough before!
What about measuring the stats when he has played?
Well altogether Rob Elliot has played 1240 minutes of Premier League football in the 4 years+ he has been at Newcastle United and conceded 30 goals, this equals a goal conceded every 41 minutes.
If you take that time period from the start of the 2011/12 season, there have been 160 Premier League matches altogether, which equates to 14,400 minutes, with 258 league goals conceded – this equates to a goal conceded every 56 minutes.
Tim Krul hasn’t been great this season, or indeed consistently since that stand out 2011/12 season. Defence has been a major problem for Newcastle year after year and only Chancel Mbemba was recruited this summer to try and help turn that around.
Rob Elliot’s stats suggest that he will concede on average two goals (and a little bit more) per game and I can see that easily been the case in the upcoming matches, especially with our defence looking weak when the ball goes in the air (another of Elliot’s weaknesses).
I think that you just have to hope that like a number of Newcastle’s other players who have failed to lift themselves this season, Rob Elliot has to raise his game compared to what we have seen so far.
Whilst with Steve McClaren, surely he has to approach every game now with an attacking intent and aim to get them on the back foot….and the ball as far away from Newcastle’s goal as possible – no matter who is in goal.
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