Pathetic display sees Newcastle United rooted in relegation trouble.
Coming off another well spent window where Newcastle were unprecedented big investors in Europe bringing in 4 quality players, there was a feel good factor. Despite the odd mood dampener in the fact that we didn’t get that proven goal scorer and a left back who can actually play in the 2nd half of the pitch – as a result team formation was affected for a disastrous result.
Here are some of my points from the Everton game and what will need to change.
Risky Playing Formation with Perez as centre forward
When the team was announced, with a significant change being Perez coming as a central forward instead of Mitrovic, although it looked attacking and given Mitro’s recent struggles in front of goal…it still took away some plus points that Mitro brings to the table that Perez doesn’t and that eventually showed.
Perez is not a centre-forward and is never going to be a number 9, he is at best a 10 or on the left side of 4-3-3. Even though he has significantly bulked up since he arrived last season he doesn’t win balls in the air or even has a back to goal game to bring others into play.
While Mitro’s presence at least makes the side tick as he provides the defence an outlet to source their build up play when they are pressed to go direct to him and he usually wins most if not all of his aerial duels, besides his back to goal game he gives someone like a Wijnaldum or Townsend that valuable extra few seconds to sprint and link up in attacking areas.
McClaren needs to show courage while dealing with his inconsistent players
If he doesn’t he won’t be managing this club in the Championship that’s for sure. He rightly said in his post presser that some players were not up to their expected levels. Shelvey was shocking to say the least. It was as if he was drained out of every ounce of fluids and testosterone going into the game. He was running scared not making himself available for the ball and a big reason as to why we didn’t have any attacking play in the opposition half.
McClaren has championed his signing and he showed us what he can do when he bossed the game against the Hammers so he needs to take Shelvey aside and maybe show him one of those famous 10 minutes vids of what he does best and what he doesn’t. And if it’s more of the latter then he will have no choice but to drop him. We need a hungry and focused Shelvey if we are ever going to get out of this mess.
Same goes for Sissoko who is clearly suffering the after effects of being schooled from the Pardiola’s Coaching Handbook. He seems to want to launch into a counter every time he gets the ball, which is fine when you have the space afforded to you by the opposition, but when you don’t have that then you have to be patient and value possession by bringing guys near you like Wijnaldum and Janmaat into play.
Even if we stay up this season, I feel we should sell him if we get anywhere in excess of 15m and buy a proper winger like Narsingh, who was Wijnaldum’s mate at PSV. He is physical, direct and scores goals. And if that doesn’t come through than give Thauvin his last chance, but a decent run of 6 to 8 games where he is starting, either he sinks or he swims and at least you have 12 million reasons to say you exhausted all avenues.
Youngsters – for all their shortcomings of Youth – need to wisen up and mature faster
Aarons and Lascelles got their opportunities in the game due to circumstances other than the Coach’s decision. Aarons with his contract situation, not to mention Townsend’s introduction and Thauvin’s pending return to the club, had a good chance to impress. All he needed was to play smart. Look to whip in crosses to Mitrovic at the first opportunity which I noticed on one occasion he tried to play to the gallery, attempting the extra pleasing dribble, losing possession.
Not to mention he was previously dominated by Lennon and gave up a free kick in a dangerous area. There is no harm if an opponent gets past you as long there is someone watching your back, so swallow your ego and don’t try taking dangerous risks committing fouls that are bound to go against you.
Same for Lascalles because ironically he was having his best game in a Black (Blue?) and White Shirt but that stupid decision to go chasing Barkley from behind as the last defender doesn’t speak of a high in-game IQ. Will he get a similar opportunity again..surely if we are playing in the championship but next season we are buying a new CB to play with Mhemba if we are up, so should have grabbed his chance.
For all the doom and gloom, there were still some decent pluses. Saviet for one impressed me. He made a critical sliding winning tackle when Everton broke on the counter, kept possession well and actually passed it forward in attacking areas, something which Shelvey backed off from doing. Townsend was someone you couldn’t fault for effort. He was running at defenders and trying to bring other players into play but was at the time severely handicapped by the immobility of Dummett. The hope is to get Haidara or Mbabu fit and backing him on the left if he is to continue playing there. Elliot was a one man show at the back and on current displays he is right up there with the best goal keepers. A 3-0 scoreline is unfair to him.
Priorities Going Forward
As frustrating at it seems, Re-install Mitro back at centre forward. He keeps opposition defences on their toes and restrains their pressing abilities to a good degree. I have already touched on his aerial and back to goal play.
Switch Townsend to the right as he has played his best games for Spurs and England there. With no goals from your forwards you might as well bet on him cutting from the right and taking a chance. Use Perez as an Impact Sub, he is at his best when the game is more open and he finds himself on the edge of the box going one on one against the fullback.
I have criticised Dummett’s inclusion but we are down on centre-backs to play wing-backs, so if there is a band aid solution than persevere with Aarons till Mbabu is fit but give him support, remind him not to indulge in risky tackles and maximise on what he is good for when going forward, to provide diagonal crosses to Mitrovic at first time of asking.
(Compare Bobby’s points to the Steve McClaren team just announced to play West Brom – see HERE)
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