If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a million times, football is a simple game, right?

Pick your best players in their best positions, simple.

Why is it then that I am often left completely baffled by team selections and tactics?

Take Saturday’s game against Watford as a prime example.

In the build up to the game we (NUFC supporters) were repeatedly made aware of the fact that we were struggling  for a left back due to injuries, particularly with Paul Dummett out.

To me, football being an easy game and all, this would imply that someone would have to be played out of position. This is undoubtedly one of the rare occasions I would have happily accepted a player playing out of position.  Unlike the numerous times I have witnessed players playing out of position for no apparent reason.

However, rather than play a defender out of position such as Jamaal Lascalles, or god forbid a give a young left back a chance, Steve McClaren opted to completely change the whole formation of the team – changing it from the team that had successfully brought us four points from the last two games.

Surely such form, coupled with the position we are in, would merit a somewhat more consistent approach from McClaren to build further confidence gained from those two games. Not only that, he also decided to drop Ayoze Perez. Why? Does anyone really know or understand this decision?

I’ve heard similar stories this last weekend from Sunderland fans, regarding Sam Allardyce, as well as reports of similar things at Norwich regarding their team selection.

Not only did we lose the game but we have now lost to Watford three times this season.  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but after the first loss at St James Park you’d think McClaren might have learnt something in order to ensure we got a result the next time. He didn’t and we lost the cup game. Surely he must have learnt something from two losses against a newly promoted side in order to ensure we got a result the third time we met. He didn’t and we lost again.

Question marks surely have to be raised having lost three times to the same team in one season. How much do managers get paid again?

These are the men supposedly working in a results based industry and paid fortunes to come up with ways to outdo the opposition. McClaren has been unable to do so in a trio of matches against Watford and I find that slightly concerning to say the least. Especially given his formation and selection decisions on Saturday.

If left-back is a problem area why are we not looking at a loan option as back up for the rest of the season, to ensure a similar situation does not occur again. As for the left-hand side of midfield/attack – don’t get me started, we’ve never had one all season and by all accounts that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

So Steve, we are playing well and giving 100% yet we concede too many goals and can’t score enough. Call me cynical but I’m highly doubtful as to whether we will sign any more players this window in order to make the difference needed.

I’m a fan of most of the players signed so far under the McClaren era but he doesn’t seem, at present, to be able to fathom a decisive style to ensure the results needed to guarantee premier league football next season.

Strange selections and formations don’t fill me with much confidence and I’ve been a strong advocate of McClaren  so far this season, remaining positive that the changes needing to be made would take time.

Well time is running out and football is a simple game…right?

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