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Time For Davide Santon To Go

6 years ago
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I read a lot of articles and comments about the Newcastle team and two points often come up; the selection at left back and the priority of who the club should sign next;  a striker, Clément Grenier, or a centre back.

However, one of the main problems with the Newcastle team is the lack of balance that it has had for several seasons now. Whether it be Davide Santon and Jonas, or Santon and Gouffran, there has generally been two right footed players occupying the left back and left wing positions.

This has left us with a chronic imbalance in the team that has affected the way that we play, both going forward and in defence.

Going forward, all too often our attacks have lost momentum as left sided players have cut back onto their right foot to cross the ball. This stifles any striker’s runs and allows opposition centre backs to hold a solid defensive line free from the movement and momentum of a striker moving towards an outswinging cross. I for one cannot remember the last time a Newcastle striker scored from a left wing cross.

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This is borne out by the stats, according to Sky’s analysis of Newcastle’s assists last season not a single one came from open play between the 18 yard line and goal line on the left .

Similarly, in defence, a right footed player tracking back towards his own goal will not be able to slide and clear the ball out with their left foot. Instead they prefer to show the attacking player inside onto their stronger right foot and more importantly towards the goal, the exact opposite of what textbook coaching suggests. This has been all too evident in Santon’s play since he joined us and has seen many wingers such as Aaron Lennon give him a torrid time with the mere drop of a shoulder to the outside and onto Santon’s weaker left foot.

I agree that a commanding centre back or another attacking midfielder of Grenier’s quality would be a great signing, but the more pressing matter is to give our team balance. It’s time for Santon to go and for a left footed left back to be given the role –Haïdara being the best of what we already have, in my humble opinion. It’s also time for us to sign a left footed winger to give us the much needed balance and creativity, to complement De Jong in the middle and Cabella on the right.

I’d like to think that with the almost unending stats and data available to Newcastle’s management team, that they too would see this problem and identify addressing it as the priority, but you never know…

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