In the process of winning on Sunday (fortunate though it was) I happened to notice a strange and unusual occurrence – it involved the Alan Pardew team selection v Villa.
Looking at the starting line-up, the inclusion of Coloccini, Tiote and Remy were no brainers, if they are fit – they start. However, it was the inclusion of Mike Williamson and Paul Dummett that came as a bit of a shock.
This is not to say I disagree with either, far from it.
I don’t think Steven Taylor has done anything to merit his position in the side (and I don’t just mean this season). I don’t think he has sufficiently improved since he got into the side in 2004. That’s ten years. A bit like Shola Ameobi (14 years) he has learnt very little in that time. The only reason I can see for this is it being cheaper to offer (both Taylor and Shola) new contracts, rather than fork out transfer fees to get somebody better on board.
Preferred ahead of Taylor against Villa, the very impressive Mike Williamson, has come in for stick in the past that Taylor seems to be bulletproof from. Taylor being a Geordie perhaps? It’s no excuse. Right now Mike Williamson is in the side on merit and finally Pardew has done the decent thing and demoted Taylor to the bench. I’m not trying to say Williamson is a world beater but he’s been our centre back of the season since coming on in the second half against Everton in September.
There are two problems with Davide Santon at left-back.
Firstly, he isn’t left footed and…
Secondly, he isn’t very good.
Defensively he’s all over the place. If he can’t defend then there’s no point in having him in at left-back. He’d be better suited playing at right-back (not going to displace Debuchy though) or maybe right wing as he’s good going forward, but for heaven’s sake Pardew, keep him away from left-back.
I still don’t get this logic some managers have of playing a right footer on the left (and left on right). It defies logic. Yes I know it’s so that when going forward, the player can cut in on his stronger foot and whip a ball in for strikers to attack. The problem is, it’s not a full backs PRIMARY job, it’s defending. Which he can do better on his better foot.
Next thing, what’s wrong with a left footed player getting forward and whipping a ball in on his left foot, it makes sense, it’s not rocket science. Remember Keith Gillespie scampering down the right wing and supplying crosses for Asprilla? Which foot did he use?
In the summer it’s quite feasible that we will see the end of Coloccini, Cisse, Ben Arfa, Debuchy, Marveaux, Remy, De Jong, Obertan and Shola Ameobi (I’d personally throw Taylor in there as well), leaving a major headache for Pardew and Ashley.
The replacements won’t come cheap. Or they will, but they won’t be very good.
You reap what you sow though. Live by the finances, die by the finances.
However, whoever we do sign, at least get them in their correct positions.