John Carver pointed to set-pieces as both a positive and a minus when reviewing the West Brom match.

The Newcastle Head Coach though that for the first time in a ‘long long time’ United were a threat from set-pieces, due to Ryan Taylor’s deliveries from free-kicks and corners.

He also talked about having the ‘desire’ to get on the end of them, though I wasn’t sure whether he felt that was what his players had showed, or was bemoaning the fact that this end product was missing. I know what I think…

Rather bizarrely, when comparing the relative heights o the two teams, Carver referred to Newcastle having all ‘five foot seven’ jockeys and that this needed to be addressed. Did Graham Carr never meet Vurnon Anita before he bought him…?!!!!

“For the first time in a long long time I actually felt we were a threat from set-pieces.

“Which is good beacuse when Ryan Taylor puts that ball in with pace, if you have the desire to get on the end of it…”

Five foot seven jockeys:

“I looked at the two sides in the tunnel and it was like land of the giants, they were all six foot four centre-halves at the back.

“We had all five foot seven jockeys – that is something we have got to look at because set-pieces are important.”

The reality of course is that set-pieces are a massive problem and in the last five matches, every game Newcastle have conceded at least one goal from a corner or free-kick. In the Leicester match all three goals came from set-pieces.

Liverpool 2 Newcastle 0

Second goal conceded from a corner

Newcastle 1 Spurs 3

Second goal conceded from free-kick

Newcastle 2 Swansea 3

First goal conceded from a corner

Leicester 3 Newcastle 0

First goal conceded from corner

Second goal conceded from a free-kick

Third goal conceded from penalty after challenge on a corner

Newcastle 1 West Brom 1

Goal scored from a free-kick

When it comes to these last two weeks of the relegation battle, it is a massive disadvantage if there is this kind of resignation that from John Carver and his team that they are vulnerable to set-pieces and almost expect to concede from them.

For John Carver to have been involved in coaching and as assistant manager, to now talk of the height of the team as suddenly a problem that has crept up on Newcastle United is just bizarre.

Wonder whatever happened to those 6ft+ ‘jockeys’ Davide Santon and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa…?



  • Munich Mag

    Willo is 12 foot and can’t head a ball to save his life. Mbiwa and Sissoko both get shorter when they jump, both cowards and pretty useless in the air.

    So honest John plays the hump ball to the massively framed Ayoze Perez….

    Giveowerman

  • He promised he was going to keep his gob shut.
    That didn’t last long……..

  • amacdee

    It’s not about the height its all about the organisation. We’ve got neither !

  • LeazesEnder

    amacdee Yes it is!

  • Nicolaus Copernicus

    “Something we’ve got to look at”. The mind boggles. Carver has been with this group of players for years and he only now realises they are all shorty pants …

  • PeterRobson

    We may have a team full of  “jockeys”, but the real problem is the donkey in the dugout !!!!

  • ILEYLISLEY

    mick57 The key phrase is” world class” Mick. For once I agree with Carver. He has been left with too many lightweight players who lose out on physical challenges all over the park. I am not advocating buying “big lads” and lumping it downfield but look at Chelsea- defend for their lives and super competitive in all areas [they do have a few world class players too]    Will this issue be addressed in the summer ? probably not.  I am not a statto but I reckon yesterday’s team must have been one of the lightest ever fielded in the premier league.

  • mentalman

    Ryan Taylor didn’t take a good set piece yesterday and he doesn’t deliver then with pace.
    If we are so poor at defending set pieces why do we often not have anyone on the posts

  • RitchieForster

    Messi, Silva, Suarez, Pirlo, Iniesta, Xavi, Maradona , Roberto Carlos, Fabio Cannavaro, George Best (5’8″) Juninho, Zola, Arshavin, Rooney, Del Piero, Scholes, Peter Beardsley …. now I would have any of those or even all of them in my squad.

  • jimblag

    It’s not about height it’s about tactics, awareness and timing. In his prime Owen scored plenty of headers.

  • DownUnderMag

    Gary Speed wasn’t an imposing figure, yet he was amazing in the air.  It’s about awareness and timing…

    BUT, out lack of goals from out own set pieces while conceding all the time to other teams’ is just not good enough.  Oh for a pre-injury Ryan Taylor in the side now…and perhaps a couple of players who could at least pose a threat or nullify one (people gave Shola stick, but he was a huge presence at the back while defending set pieces – again, a player sold/jettisoned and the influence he brought not replaced with better).

  • Prateek Thammineni

    You know what? He’s right.

  • frankie w

    We’ve had 5 foot seven jockeys up front all season but the penny hasn’t dropped yet with “The best coach in the Premier League” that because they are so small,compared to the relatively giant defenders they face, they should stop passing to them at head height or above. Every free kick, corner or pass from an overlapping full back or forward is always a high cross. Can anyone remember the last time we didn’t have a corner that was just a lob into the middle ?. The goal we scored on Saturday was from a Ryan Taylor mis kick when his intended high ball into the middle was scuffed. The ball went low and we scored from it.
    Any decent coach should have identified this early on and tried a variation with corners and free kicks and get overlapping payers to play low crosses into the middle which can be harder to defend and which can give our jockeys a chance.