Rob Elliot believes that the ‘potential is there to be seen’ after Newcastle ‘dominated’ against Arsenal.
The Newcastle keeper saying that he had next to nothing to do whilst Petr Cech was arguably the Gunners’ best player.
Elliot thinks that United are ‘not far from cracking it’, with just fine margins being the difference between winning and losing.
I know what Rob Elliot is trying to say but it is a bit worrying to be talking about ‘potential’ when you are over halfway through the season and have played every other team in the Premier League at least once.
Potential is for pre-season when your new players are blending with the long-term ones, or maybe a handful of matches into the season, when your manager might be tweaking his team and tactics, not though after 20 matches and you are stuck in the relegation zone.
The other problem of course is that we have heard similar after playing well for an hour against Chelsea, for 45 minutes at the Etihad, after beating Norwich 6-2 in that crazy match, plus of course the consecutive wins over Liverpool and Tottenham.
Each time though the team have fallen away and no matter what Steve McClaren says, the performances against Villa, Everton and West Brom were not great.
I also worry that Newcastle have managed only 17 points out of 60 despite being really lucky with injuries.
Yes we have seen any number of fringe players missing for long periods but our better/important players (Wijnaldum, Perez, Sissoko, Janmaat, Mitrovic, Mbemba) have hardly missed a game between them. Even Tim Krul’s absence has seen Rob Elliot come in and play better than he was doing early this season.
Yes Newcastle created a decent handful of chances at The Emirates but that has to be the very bare minimum for every game if we are to climb out of this mess, not the nonsense of Tim Howard only having one save to make in 95 minutes, or two on target at Palace, two at West Brom or one at Bournemouth.
There has to be a more expansive game with Wijnaldum continuing in the middle and a desire to try and score the first goal, rather than trying to stop the opposition scoring it.
The team need to not only start taking their chances but creating a hell of a lot more, we don’t want to hear any more of Steve McClaren picking one moment in a game (a single shot, save, miss, non-penalty, penalty) that is the sole reason for not winning.
The potential needs to become reality now.
Rob Elliot talking to the official club website:
“It was harsh, I thought we played really well but we’ve got to start taking our chances.
“When you come to the Emirates, if they produce a bit of magic with the world class players they’ve got, then you hold your hands up…but the way we conceded and the chances we had, everyone is so disappointed.
“The potential is there to be seen. I thought we dominated the game from start to finish. They put us under a bit of pressure but not as much as we put them under.
“Petr Cech was probably their best player and I had the quietest game I have had in a while, which tells its own story.
“It’s a good start to the New Year in terms of performance but performances alone aren’t good enough. We have to start picking up points, quickly.
“We’re not far from cracking it. You can see we’re almost there but it’s fine margins and getting those things right. Those small things are the difference between winning and losing.
“Coming to Arsenal, nobody would have given us a chance, but we performed well and need to show that for the rest of the season.
“If we can keep showing that character and improve in a couple of areas, we should be alright.”