Some Players Are More Purple Than Others
Derek Llambias talked of Newcastle United being in a position where we can only accommodate eleven purple (star) players, specifically naming Vurnon Anita as one of those eleven in our current squad.
By my mathematics that meant against Southampton we had eight purples (Krul, Steven Taylor, Santon, Anita, Tiote, Jonas, Ba, Cisse) on the pitch, with only Cabaye, Coloccini and Ben Arfa missing.
Unfortunately, I think we are finding out that maybe some players are a touch more purple than others.
The fact Fabricio Coloccini is our captain speaks for itself when it comes to what he gives the team, while sadly the absence of Cabaye and Ben Arfa reminds us how there is almost a total absence of real quality creativity in the rest of the squad.
I think when it comes down to the real top quality in the squad I would maybe say we have six (deep?) purples with the other three being Demba Ba who has fed off mainly scraps this season yet is still second top scorer in the Premier League, while when he’s on his game Cheick Tiote is real quality in terms of breaking up play but not creating, while Tim Krul is having one of those periods when he is drifting below his usual total reliability and getting punished for every mistake.
If we have these six on the pitch together then they give the team a real solid spine with Hatem Ben Arfa the enigmatic wildcard.
As we are now finding out, there is a big difference in missing a few first team players and a situation where your real quality is not available, especially when their replacements are way below the standard needed.
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