All 14 players on duty have to of course to take responsibility for the defeat at Craven Cottage on Friday night.
However, three players in particular failed to repay Rafa Benitez’ faith in them and I would suggest should be squad players at the very best.
I have to admit that they would have been the three weakest links that I would have picked out before the match and I take no pleasure in them proving me right.
Step forward: Paul Dummett, Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita.
I think most fans would have anticipated that with the drop to the Championship this trio would surely look better…but on last night’s evidence I am even more convinced that all three will be a major handicap if they keep their places.
Obviously Rafa’s hand was forced partly through the players he had available but what does it say about Jonjo Shelvey if Rafa doesn’t rate him ahead of Colback and Anita?
The inexperienced Isaac Hayden was easily the best of the midfield three but he is clearly a player who will sit deep and protect the defence, his game not being getting into the opposing third very often.
Thankfully Mohamed Diame will come in for at least one of Anita or Colback but for me, surely against Huddersfield we need to have Shelvey also in there – with him and Diame pushing up the pitch ahead of Hayden then surely United would be far bigger threat.
Neither Colback or Anita score or create any/many goals and last night it was woeful to watch as they repeatedly lost the ball and showed zero creativity against some very limited opposing players.
I know Vurnon Anita has his own little fan club amongst Newcastle fans but I am still yet to see him as anything above poor to very average in central midfield – what does he ever actually do apart from playing simple 10 yard balls?
Yes he looked decent in a few games late last season at right-back but that doesn’t then equal handing him a place in midfield.
As for the third player I listed, Paul Dummett was shocking.
Painfully slow, he was all over the place and contributed nothing going forward and was a liability in defence. The Fulham right-back absolutely tortured him and when he used his back to flip the ball past the watching Dummett and then sped past him, it summed up the Welsh Geordie’s night overall.
Unless Rafa sees Ciaran Clark or Jesus Gamez as the answer at left-back once they are up to speed, then surely part of the Moussa Sissoko funds has to go on that left full-back spot.
No need to panic but plenty of room for improvement and I’m sure Rafa Benitez will be exploring his options ahead of team selection in seven days time.