Daryl Janmaat sums up a lot of what is wrong with Newcastle United – on the pitch at least.
The Dutchman has been United’s best defender but that hasn’t exactly been difficult considering he’s been playing alongside any two of three central defenders (Coloccini, Taylor, Williamson), who have been part of a weak defence for years. Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara have done OK but no more.
Despite yesterday’s clean sheet, the stats still tell us that only QPR and Burnley have let in more goals this season, so for (Dutch World Cup full-back) Janmaat to look better than those alongside him in the back four was almost guaranteed. A bit like Mathieu Debuchy before him, once he’d settled in.
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However, it is the fact that Daryl Janmaat is our most creative player, as well as the best crosser of the ball at the club, that really shows up the serious problems at the other end of the pitch.
As well as being the defensive star at the club, Janmaat has made six Premier league goals this season, with Jack Colback having a respectable four – as well as three goals to his name.
After that though it is depressing stuff, with the players given the task of creating the chances for Papiss Cisse and Ayoze Perez failing miserably.
Gouffran, Ameobi, Obertan, Sissoko and Cabella have all struggled, the negative formations this season hardly help but the final ball and crosses are repeatedly desperate.
These are the Newcastle players who have provided the Premier League assists this season (stats from respected Whoscored website):
The Villa match showed yet again that players such as Obertan and Ameobi are incapable of crossing the ball, with very rare exceptions.
It is a minor miracle that Cisse and Perez have 16 Premier League goals between them, considering the woeful service they get, just imagine what they could do with quality balls regularly going into the box.
In the last three matches, I think I can only recall four half decent crosses in over four and a half hours of football.
Cisse scored against Palace with the only decent ball of the game, from Janmaat. Against Manchester City an ok cross from Sissoko was almost turned into a brilliant goal but Cisse’s left foot volley from the edge of the box was well saved by Joe Hart.
Yesterday, Cisse puts Janmaat’s right wing cross in the back of the net, while Perez makes the very best of a long deep cross that Guzan gets a touch to, by putting it against the post from a very difficult angle.
The days of Sellars & Lee, Ginola & Gillespie and Robert & Solano seem a million miles away.
It would be great top have quality like those above once again but even if we can’t get that, there is an awful lot of players out there who are much much better than Ameobi and Obertan. I know standards have sunk pretty low and we grasp any positive like a drowning man, but you can’t think it is realistic to keep ‘relying’ on players like these next season?
Money needs to be spent elsewhere in the team/squad undoubtedly, but two attacking wingers/wide midfield men who can beat people and cross the ball, plus score a few goals, are an absolute necessity. They would go a long way to improving this team IF we can keep the likes of Perez and Cisse and bring in at least one top striker.