Please Mike – Don’t Leave It Too Late
Another game gone and still no win on the board, what must Mike Ashley be thinking….
The pressure mounts even more on the manager as he oversaw a 1-0 defeat to a Stoke side who are at best an average to poor Premiership team, with only (one) goal difference keeping us from the very bottom of the league table.
What is more worrying though than just a defeat, is that once again there was no one troubling the scoreboard. No plan B. Surely something needs to change and change quickly.
There is no doubting the origin of many of the clubs problems at the moment come from the top. Lack of proper investment in the team has left us far too reliant on too few individuals and far too vulnerable to injuries or suspensions. We would likely be seeing a different side had we De Jong, Cisse and Aarons fully fit. But there again is a big question mark over the running of the club – how is it that many, including the manager, see an 18 year old who has only played in one senior game, as our main creative threat?
However you look at it, more investment from the top is a must in January if we are to escape this mess we are in. We need to find some creativity in someone capable of crossing the ball and we must strengthen our defence.
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That being said, right now a rather large Geordie finger is being pointed at Alan Pardew, the man in charge of orchestrating the current players available to him, and in this writer’s eyes the harsh criticism is fully justified, last night’s debacle reinforcing that feeling.
Once again we headed into an almost ‘must win’ game playing a defensive formation with a lone striker up top. It hasn’t worked so far this season so how it is going to suddenly start to, is anyone’s guess. But this seems to be the mindset of Pardew right now, ignoring the facts staring him firmly in the eye that Riviere is not a lone striker and cannot play on his own, instead keeping to the same formation and tactics that have failed us so many times before, in the blind hope that somehow it will suddenly start working.
If Cisse wasn’t fit to start, fair enough, play one up top until he is ready to come on and look to keep things tight. But surely you bring him on and play two up front when he does make an appearance, especially when the team is already trailing 1-0?
And so on to the second failing, the substitutions. Armstrong played brilliantly in the cup game, what is his reward? Yes, stuck on the bench watching Obertan come on ahead of him – that same player Pardew was trying to offload in the summer and has done nothing to warrant getting his place in the side back – further amplifying Pardew’s unwillingness to promote youth unless his hand is forced by injuries.
Even Pardew’s biggest fans must be starting to question the lack of a Plan B, the constant backing of certain players over and above rewarding youngsters eager to impress, the lack of ambition to go out and win games rather than set out the stall to not lose (which isn’t working anyway).
Some have perhaps gone too far in their views of Pardew, saying they hate the man is possibly going too far – loss of respect and questioning his tactical ability is one thing, claiming to hate the man and wish harm on him is going too far – but football is an emotional game, fans love their club and simply do not want to see what is currently happening.
One thing is for sure, Pardew has shown he is thick skinned enough to not walk away, certainly not when there is a huge payout coming his way if he gets sacked. Certainly this seems to be the case now, he looks bereft of any ideas to turn it around and it looks for all the world like he is just going through the motions, waiting for his last big pay day.
While the water is murky and no one can see what is coming next, the sooner Ashley bites the bullet and has a clear out of manager and coaches alike to inject some fresh ideas and better coaching methods to develop players, the better the club’s chances will be.
Please Mike, from all of the fans, do not leave it too late….
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