I’ve found it curious/amusing to see headlines and comments talking about Alan Pardew’s ‘Newcastle squad rotation v Cardiff’ coming into effect for the FA Cup match.

I have to say that it sounds more to me like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted (knackered?!!).

newcastle squad rotation v cardiffAlan Pardew has referred to the fact that Newcastle had faced five match in fifteen days, stretching from Crystal Palace away via Stoke (H), Arsenal (H) and West Brom (A) right up to Cardiff this afternoon. He also has spoken at length about the demands that places on the team.

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The manager has in addition repeatedly stated that this is his strongest squad in all the time he has been at Newcastle, so the question is – why didn’t he mix and match during this run of matches to help keep the team/squad in the best possible shape?

The team that started against Palace on Dec 21 (Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Sissoko, Anita, Tiote, Cabaye, Gouffran, Remy) has seen only two changes during the four game run. Ben Arfa started against Stoke but only because Tiote was suspended, with the manager reverting straight back to the 11 who faced Palace when Arsenal visited, then against the Baggies there was one ‘tactical’ change as Shola replaced Anita.

I don’t think even Pardew would claim that Anita was rested to look after him fitness-wise, so the manager must really look at himself when he starts talking about all the stresses and strains demanded of his SQUAD when he has done absolutely nothing to look after them.

it is a bit rich talking about rotation today when the likes of Debuchy is suspended and Coloccini, Krul (almost certainly) and Cabaye are all knackered. Plus of course those are the only ones we know about, others also may be not in a position to play anywhere near their maximum today after playing every/most minute of that four game run.

It is unforgivable really when there were any number of players on the sidelines who could have arguably done equally as good a job, if not better, than those who started the matches.

Instead of changing one or two players each match and putting them in a team that is functioning well with all players knowing their jobs, we will have the opposite position where a minimum of half the team will be changed against Cardiff and have to click into gear.

As for how long Cabaye, Coloccini and others will be missing is anybody’s guess.

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The Mag Issue 285