Newcastle United – Stoke Leaving Us Behind?
Failing to win matches is the effect but the cause should be staring you in the face.
You can go on as much as you like about tactics or formations but here is a simple exercise, write down the eleven names of who should play if everybody is fit.
Give or take the odd ‘tactical’ move, nearly everybody would go for;
Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Santon, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Jonas, Ba, Cisse
Now write down our next eleven players…
Harper, Ryan Taylor, Williamson, Perch, Ferguson, Obertan, Anita, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Shola
When that first eleven were achieving last season, you regularly had 8 or 9 of them every week performing at a very high level, while players such as Perch, Ryan Taylor and Williamson managed to lift their games and play at their very optimum to keep their end up.
The simple fact is that apart from possibly at right-back, we don’t have a player anywhere near the quality of who they are replacing, as and when somebody from the second eleven steps in.
Against Swansea on Saturday there was seven players from that second eleven involved in some or all of that match…and people wonder why we are struggling!
If you look at a club like Stoke you can see how well they have backed their manager’s judgement.
The players might not be your idea of ideal players for St.James’ Park but when you look at the profile of players’ who aren’t first choice it shows the massive gulf between how the Stoke owners have backed Tony Pulis, compared to the raw deal Alan Pardew has got.
He made clear in the summer that he needed players like Debuchy, Douglas and others to strengthen and we are now all paying the price.
Last night Stoke clashed (probably quite literally) with West Ham and on the Potters’ bench you had Sorensen (until international retirement he had been Denmark’s number one for countless years), Upson (England International), Kightly (Summer signing for undisclosed fee from Wolves in the summer), Palacios (£6m signing from Spurs), Jones (£8m from the mackems) and Jerome (£6m from Birmingham). Not forgetting the Stoke hierarchy agreed to pay a certain Michael Owen’s wages as well in the summer.
I would argue that most, if not all, of those players could go into the Stoke team and do the job of whoever they are replacing.
At the very least you need a first eighteen and then you can start talking about promising kids and versatile players.
I don’t want to be another Stoke in terms of playing style but they’ve backed their manager on his results, it’s about time Mike Ashley did the same with Alan Pardew.
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