Do Newcastle Need Two New Centre-Backs Or Is it More Than That?
Saturday afternoon was always going to be the first proper test for Newcastle United and….they failed miserably, nowhere more so than with the centre-backs.
The defence had rode their luck at times against a pretty low level of opposition in Sydney FC, Wellington Phoenix and Sheffield Wednesday, but against Malaga it was simply embarrassing.
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The Spanish side went in three goals up at the interval and it could and should have been at least five or six.
While you could claim that only Cabella and Sissoko, plus possibly Colback, of the starting eleven could feature against Manchester City on the opening day, the back four that played the first half today could very well be who line up at St.James’ Park on August 17.
Unless Daryl Janmaat, who will get pitch time at the very earliest on Tuesday at Huddersfield, is deemed ready to face City, it is only really Williamson who has a chance of starting instead of the back four we watched in this dismal first 45 minutes.
To be honest Malaga put their feet up after sewing the game up in the opening half, so while you can claim Newcastle were a bit better, it has to be seen to a backdrop of the Spanish team sitting back and seeing the game out after half-time.
While Williamson is an ‘honest tries his best pro’, you have to accept the defence was woeful last season AND Newcastle have lost their best defender in Mathieu Debuchy.
Last campaign, only two clubs who weren’t relegated conceded more goals than United.
Some fans and the local press in particular, have been guilty of massively confusing quality with quantity, especially when it comes to Newcastle’s defence. Talking of four centre-backs being enough is all very well IF they are good enough!
Coloccini was really poor for much of last season and Steven Taylor ended up fourth of four, which took some doing when you looked at how abysmal United were defending last season.
It is very likely that Pardew was planning on those two being his first choice pairing, with Mapou totally demoralised and his lack of effort to try and prevent the third goal this afternoon was of the kind that should have wages docked.
As so often with Newcastle United under Alan Pardew, when even the basics are appalling you really have to worry.
No surprise to see Newcastle so lacking threat at corners, especially when it comes to our centre-backs attacking the ball.
However, the clueless nature of this afternoon’s defending of corners and other set-pieces was amateur hour stuff. To be honest it has been a similar story throughout pre-season but the opposition generally not good enough to take advantage.
Coloccini in particular didn’t appear to know where either the ball OR his man was, not very inspiring when this is your captain! On at least two occasions he ended up facing his own goal as the bloke he was (very loosely!) marking got a free header.
Ironically, decent centre-backs are one position where a lot of clubs find they can pick up decent quality for very little, but I just get the feeling that Ashley and Pardew kid themselves they can get away without spending any money there, even though the lack of quality we have is transparent.
You may laugh, but I’m not, when I say that Hangeland would have been a great short-term signing, but Crystal Palace have picked him up for nothing on a one year deal.
If you kid yourself that any of our centre-backs (unless Colo magically transforms himself into the player he was in 2011/12, before he tried to jump ship when we were fighting relegation, despite being captain and best paid player at the club…) are better than the ex-Fulham stopper, then you are as deluded as Alan Pardew.
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