This Newcastle Player Will Benefit The Most As Others Improve
Another enforced break without proper football, as international matches take centre stage, we have asked a few writers to give their assessment of the fourteen players on show at White Hart Lane, followed by what they think of each of them overall.
Philip Burn is next up, giving his player by player verdict.
Krul – Had the kind of game that a keeper must dream about on the eve of a big match! This was quite possibly his best game yet for Newcastle due to the range of saves that were demanded from him, including several incredible reflex saves at close range. A couple of handling errors but I’m willing to overlook them in this instance. Krul was due a game like this and it was as if he’d banked all of his saves this season and cashed them all in against Spurs.
Tim’s had a shaky start to the start of the season by his own high standards. This may in part be due to the inconsistency of the back four in selection and form. His performances are key to our success for the rest of the season. Good form from your keeper inspires confidence through the entire side.
Debuchy – Another very solid performance. He rarely loses a header or challenge and was 100% committed to the cause on Sunday. Threw his body into blocks and challenges and I’m starting to believe that Debuchy now bleeds black (and blue) and white!
Debuchy is my kind of full back! His performances have steadily improved as the season has progressed and I like what he offers both defensively and going forward. Will struggle against the quickest of wingers unless he can clatter them early!
Williamson – The Spurs formation, with only one forward, suited big Mike. He is looking more comfortable alongside Mapou and looked to be communicating well and organizing the back four. He should still be fined every time he passes the ball farther than 15 yards.
Has played very well when called upon. He’s still my fourth choice central defender when everyone is fit. I find it staggering that at 6 ft 4 he still hasn’t scored for Newcastle despite what feels like every free kick and corner being aimed at him for the last two years!
Mapou – Two words…….that clearance!! How he hooked the ball clear when the whole of White Hart Lane was already celebrating a goal was amazing! He marshaled Soldado very well and showed great courage and commitment under immense pressure from Spurs in the 2nd half.
Had a difficult start to the season but has shown a marked improvement in the last few games. I am hopeful that Mapou can develop an effective partnership with Coloccini moving forward. He’s quick, strong, passes the ball out of defense relatively well, and looks to be finally coming to terms with the physicality and tempo of the English game.
Santon – Gave the ball away cheaply and needlessly a couple of times which almost cost us. Steady enough game though but certainly not at his best yet.
Wins breed confidence which in my opinion is the one thing that Santon is missing. If Pardew ever commits to a formation and system, the role of the full backs will become clearer to the benefit of Santon.
Sissoko – did a fantastic job negating the attacking threat of Vertonghen who has been brilliant this season, while giving an attacking option down the right. His touch is improving and his pace was a constant threat to Spurs down the right. Loved Dawson having to scythe him down at the end!
I’d still like to see Sissoko part of a central midfield three. He’s been messed around by Pardew so far this season, playing mostly in wide areas and his performances have suffered. I want him to be a dominant player in the midfield engine room alongside Cabaye, in front of Tiote. Sissoko could play a major role in the 2nd half of the season.
Tiote – Another controlled performance in front of the back four. Kept things simple, mixed it when needed, and booking free!
Finally looks to be regaining his fitness and confidence. If he sticks to what he’s good at and keeps his football simple he’ll do well; win the ball, protect possession and ideally give it to Cabaye. Has looked the part as Captain in recent weeks.
Cabaye – Yohan worked his socks off on Sunday, particularly in the 2nd half after Shola went off. I was impressed to see him put the work in, closing Spurs players down and putting challenges in when needed. Played a couple of fantastic balls to Remy/Cisse.
For me, Cabaye is the player who stands to benefit the most as others’ form improves. He’s shown his quality this season so far but there is still room for improvement. Cabaye has a tendency to disappear in games and I’d like to see him take the game to opponents. He should get us 10-12 goals a season.
Gouffran – A great shift again from Gouffran. The man doesn’t stop running and doesn’t know the meaning of a lost cause. His constant harrying and pressure forced Walker to play sideways or backwards much to the chagrin of the Spurs faithful. I love seeing him slide to cut out a pass and he made a great challenge to win the ball for the goal. Who knew he could tackle too!?!
More of the same will do me just fine!
Shola – Worked hard, held the ball up well and made for an uncomfortable afternoon for Dawson and Chiriches.
Until we bring in another striker who can hold the ball up, Shola will still do a job and provide cover for the rest of the season. He can cause problems with his sheer size and presence in a 442 formation. I still would rather see us play an attacking system that accommodates Ben Arfa somewhere at the expense of Shola.
Remy – Tireless performance and great finish from Remy. He constantly stretches defences and linked well with our midfield when we were in possession. Looked threatening throughout the game on the counter.
His goals have been crucial so far this season and will continue to be very important moving forward. Let’s hope we can secure him on a permanent basis in January, although I’m not holding my breath.
Cisse – I thought for a second that Cisse was going to blast that right foot volley into the top corner past Friedel! He struck the ball too cleanly if anything but I was pleased to see him having a go. He worked hard for the time he was on the pitch.
Had a dreadful season so far. Things can only get better for Cisse and hopefully he’ll have the opportunities to play his way back into form, albeit from the bench.
Anita – Gave great protection to the back four when he came on, retained possession and made some important tackles.
Will never let anyone down. He retains possession well and has a great positional sense. For me, Anita is the first call to provide cover for the three central midfielders and can certainly compete for a starting place with Tiote and Sissoko.
Obertan – Didn’t have long in the game, although more than he deserves! Obertan should be able to provide the same kind of performance as Gouffran with his pace and size but he’s been very poor in his recent cameo appearances.
Has only come in from the cold the last few weeks. Obertan is still relatively young and so perhaps can still offer something moving forwards for Newcastle. He has looked poor when coming on as a late substitute. I’m not sure what Pardew is looking to achieve but I’d use Ben Arfa every time ahead of Obertan, even if it is only for the last few minutes.
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