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):

6 Janmaat

4 Colback

2 Tiote

2 Ameobi

2 Sissoko

1 Haidara

1 Obertan

1 Gouffran

1 Cisse

1 Riviere

1 Armstrong

1 Williamson

1 Cabella

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.


  • A lex

    First it was a CB and CF we needed………then a LB………..then another CF……….now two decent wingers.

    Anyone notice we actually need ALL of these? That’s 3/4’s of a First XI just to stand still and not keep on this downward slide. And, this is before any cashed-in summer departures. Will it happen? Not going to hold my breath at all.

  • Munich Mag

    Ameobi and Obertan had a lot of the ball yesterday, unfortunately they re both coming back from injury, but still put in  a shift, and hopefully they will improve once their fitness improves. They need to get the ball into the box quicker, that’s for sure. Unfortunately they are both predominantly one footed, which makes them both somewhat predictable and hence easier to defend against

  • mentalman

    Our wide men have either been out of form or injured or in cabella’s case misused, hopefully these stats will improve in the remainder of the season.
    Under Pardew it was as if everyone was told to try and run the ball in to the box rather than cross it, again hopefully with a change of tactics this will hopefully change.
    Unlike other seasons we seem to be linked with buying wingers rather than central midfielders so hopefully Carr has identified that this area needs improving.

  • Tonytoon

    Obertan and Ameobi’s were in good form before their injuries. Now they are back it has been decided that they are rubbish because they are not immediately at the same level. The same goes for player after player. “Get rid, not good enough for the prem” is the cry immediately there is a dip in form. Collo is written off then suddenly yesterday he is almost back to his best ( which is very good by the way) and the opinion polls have him as in the best 3 players. I remember the criticism of James Milner and Wayne Routledge – headless chickens – unable to cross a ball. Whatever you may think these players have not suddenly become better players, they just play where they are appreciated and where fans have a realistic expectation of player’s capabilities and understanding of form fluctuation. As a result they don’t perform under the interminable pressure seen at SJP. We as fans are capable of being hugely effective in lifting the team. Unfortunately a great number choose instead to constantly criticise, effectively destroying any suggestion of improvement in form. I am constantly reading the reasons why players would not want to come to our club. I give you one – the fans!

  • Mancmag

    I think Obertan deserves a chance, he looks a different player these days. Unfortunately Ameobi continues to frustrate, the sooner we get Aarons back on the left wing the better. Shame about yet another negative contribution from the lead article, I think Janmaat has been excellent all season.

  • Munich Mag

    Tonytoon Milner was sold on as at a vast profit, against the managers wishes I recall. For Routledge, see Pardew…end of discussion. 
    Do you consider Ameobi and Obertan beyond criticism ? If you do then sorry mate, because you don’t have a clue.

  • Munich Mag

    Mancmag I would perservere with both of them. The issue is shoring up the midfield and central defence with good players who can withstand the counter-attack once our attacking wing play breaks down. That is the job of the head coach, JC may know the way he wants to play, but at the moment hasn’t got the balance right, nor the players to play his preferred system…

  • It just the same old players that get criticised all the time no matter what they do, its so boring.

    Thought Sammy and Obertan did pretty well yesterday on the whole.

    Overall this season I think Janmaat has been fantastic but bar his assist I thought he was shocking yesterday, was our worst defender by a mile certainly in the first half yet not seen a mention of that anywhere by anyone today because he is a favourite so people just gloss over any bad performance yet pick up on every negative of the scapegoat players…

  • GToon

    Munich Mag Tonytoon I think Obertan could be better if he was given less responsibility. He doesn’t play well when they have the ball but is pretty good at chasing after a through ball. Other teams have players like him who just use their pace (especially when they play us!!) so i think he is worth a chance and an extended run in the side. If he plays the last 11 games and cant earn a new contract then fair enough. Not sure about Sammy. He doesnt look like a footballer but again let him have 11 games and then decide. Especially now that Pardew has gone.

  • GToon

    Tonytoon Thats a fair comment if the players spent their time reading this forum but i doubt they do. The support from the crowd has always been great and the fans just want to see players giving their best and not giving up.

  • SGM

    Ameobi didn’t put a foot wrong yesterday with regards to corners and free kicks.

  • SGM

    If there are any complaints , they played too narrow, Charvers instructions no doubt.

  • Cornflake

    The game should have been 2-0, but again Obertan fails to pass the ball or shoot on that break…which he’s done already this year in another game.
    It’s all about being consistent, both players rarely give solid service in the box, which doesn’t help a striker getting ready to attack the ball.  If you know, as a striker, that 9/10 balls that will be put in the box will be nowhere near you, how is that going to affect attack?

  • The Vicar

    Agree that Janmaat is a very good player and an expert crosser of the ball. I was getting a bit worried a few games back as he seemed to make fewer forward runs. 

    I think yesterday to bracket Obertan and Sammy is wrong. Sammy’s crossing yesterday was superb, both dead ball from corners and on the move. Certainly in terms of the stats Sammy usually does very well, as he does with independent player scoring.

  • DownUnderMag

    Up until the Villa game, the idea of playing with wingers to cross balls in just wasn’t realistic since we only ever played 1 up front and there was always too much room between him and the midfield anyway.   Maybe now we seems to finally be giving 4-4-2 a go once more, we can look to produce more crosses…sadly the only two who look likely of being able to do that are Janmaat and Ryan Taylor, Sammy at a push.  Ferguson looked a good prospect to be able to cross a ball but doesn’t seem to have a) made it to the top level or b) be in the team plans for the future anyway.  No-one else seems to be able to send a good ball into the box, and we’ve lacked that for a long time now…I think the last ones were Nobby and Robert to be honest…even Cabaye couldn’t cross a ball to save himself (great through balls but set pieces were atrocious).

    I think the biggest problem is that we are still playing players out of position or out of form.  Defence, well we all know we have less choice than a Welsh fish n chip shop, but in midfield, all the fans realise that while Sissoko is capable of totally swaying a game in our favour on his own, he isn’t going to do that from a holding midfield role…given his lack of deep passing and inability to tackle.  

    Riviere looked rusty, which is understandable, but that was also the first game he’s played alongside another forward…so of course it will take time to gel…if they ever do (we all know how good Ba and Cisse were together).  What I would actually like to see if Riviere and Perez given a shot together, but given Cisse is our only hope of scoring right now that may have to wait.

  • alreet

    We can but dream of a new solano. Ginola. Robert hell even gillespie was better than the current crop who either run to the byline then do nob all (obertan) or those who dont “wing” i.e. dont actually run up and down or whap crosses in (ameobi). He did one dangerous cross yesterday to no one. While obertans headless chicken impression was bob on.
    Come on carvs or chronicle let us know where aarons is and get him and cabella on dem dar wings. Cannot wait to see wat we could do with a little bit of balance

  • DownUnderMag loads of people sat near near me were slating Riviere yesterday but I thought he did well and again I thought it was the wrong decision to sub him off like in the Burnley game.

    Obviously would be great to see him score a load of goals but he looks like he has the attributes to play as a 2nd striker in a 2 and I thought yesterday as he did in the Burnley game he held the ball up well and ran the channels giving good options to receive the ball.

    Think if he could get a run of games and get that illusive league goal then a few could follow. Like you say though its actually a tough call on who to play because Perez has been class and Cisse keeps finding the back of the net but I think either of them would actually benefit from playing alongside Riviere.

  • DownUnderMag

    Roberts Grey Pants DownUnderMag Riviere is a classic of NUFC, buy a player, play him in a position or a role that doesn’t suit him, then slate him for not being a good enough player at that role.    I think he actually looks hungry and is making the right moves on the pitch, just clearly needing that first goal to get him going.  Looks such a better player playing as that number 2 striker rather than a target man.  I thought Sissoko was a liability at times…and yet Riviere gets stick for running the lines and doing the hard graft for Cisse all day?  I would actually love to see Perez and Riviere play together, Perez’ pace and Riviere’s link up play should form an amazing partnership if it comes good.  Cisse is a goal scoring machien yes, but his team play isn’t as good as the other two…(but goals win matches so need him in the team right now).

  • DownUnderMag Roberts Grey Pants absolutely spot on for me that mate. Ball just seems to stick up top a lot better when Riviere plays. Think he has all the attributes to be an effective Premier League player given the chance.

    Its not like he is missing loads of chances etc, he isn’t really getting any clear cut chances to miss when he plays but I think he is creating space and chances for others.

    It was the same with De Jong – he came into a underperforming team last year, got shoved anywhere other than up front, didn’t really miss many chances etc but got slated.

    Look at him now banging in goals again for PSV. Yes I know people will say that is down to the Dutch league being rubbish but I don’t think that is necessarily the case – as with a lot of players like you say people are far too quick to judge or judge players with a massive agenda. Winds me up something chronic!

  • The Vicar

    Tonytoon Agree pretty much 100% except that I thought Ameobi was the best player on the park on Saturday, one good cross after another. Apparently Carver didn’t realise he could take corners. 

    We can spot talent, but we just don’t develop it. Most spectators at SJP understand that, but we do have a small and vocal minority who haven’t a clue. We need to develop and retain, not buy and sell.

  • Beardos Hips

    Newcastle Squad
    Good enough: Krul, Janmaat, Colo, Sissoko, Colback, Cabella, De Jong (if he ever plays for us), Aarons, Perez, Cisse

    Maybe good enough: Dummett (but as centre back), Haidara, Anita

    Not good enough: Rob Elliot, J.Alnwick, R Taylor, S Taylor, Williamson, Gutierrez, Obertan, Gouffran, Riviere

    Why sell and for zero profit? Mbiwa, Santon
    First team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Colo, Dummett ——- Colback, Anita ——— Cabella, Aarons, Sissoko ———- Cisse. 
    Either way you look at – it’s pretty bleak and next three out the door probaby Perez, Janmaat and Sissoko.

  • Philippines

    “The likes of Robert…”? What? I was glad to see the back of him, a lazy opinionated player who could play well sometimes but mostly was a waste of time.

    A few weeks back Cabella was getting panned and I opined that he would come good – and he has. I think Riviere ditto if he can get more time on the pitch.

  • Philippines

    GToon Your comments on Obertan remind me of Alan Foggon, a very average tubby forward, but very quick. Jack Charlton took him to Middlesborough, played the team to his strengths and made him a top scorer.

    As for Sammy, he just loves running into two or three defenders and loses the ball.

  • Tonytoon

    Agree entirely. Time lends enchantment it seems re Robert as he got a lot of stick from the usual suspects at the time – and that is what is wrong with a number of our “fans”. They are not happy unless they are moaning about one player or another. The very worst example – too old, lost the dressing room, can’t handle the personalities in the team, criticism of SBR.