Settled Back Five Is No-Brainer
With Newcastle stuck in mid-table there are many comparisons/contrasts you can make to last season.
While many of you will play the likes of Football Manager, maybe it is a case of the reality being stranger than fiction.
This season Newcastle are currently anchored in mid-table on 14 points after 10 matches, having scored 12 and conceded 14.
At the same stage last year, after 10 games, Newcastle had 22 points having scored 15 and conceded 7.
Those statistics put Newcastle smack bang in the Champions League placings and would do the same this time around, 22 points would put us level with Manchester City in joint third, two points off the top.
While Newcastle have scored 3 goals less than they had at this stage last season, surely the stand out statistic is the goals against – the defence conceding 14 already, twice the 7 they’d leaked after 10 matches last time around.
The return of Tim Krul has reminded us just how brilliant he is and certainly he has added at least 3 points to our total from just the West Brom match. No disrespect but if Steve Harper had been in nets then we’d have been sunk by half-time. It makes me wonder what difference Krul would have made in the matches he missed.
Leaving aside individual ability, a back five works as a unit and generally gets better the more they play with each other and know the others strengths/weaknesses, thus having the chance to predict what another player will do and be ready to cover for them.
Last season the first 10 matches saw Newcastle start with Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor in every match, a massive factor in only conceding the 7 goals.
This time we’ve used countless permutations due mainly to injuries and the odd bit of tinkering by Alan Pardew.
One of the manager’s biggest priorities must surely be to get Krul, Santon, Coloccini and Steven Taylor out there on the pitch together match after match, alongside whoever he sees as the first choice right-back to go with.
Without a settled defence we can count on, I have a feeling we’ll have a season of struggle.
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