Old Trafford is proof Coloccini can still do it but ratings suggest dubious he can keep it up
Fabricio Coloccini put in a very good performance at Old Trafford on Saturday, as did a decent number of his teammates.
The question is, can the Newcastle Captain repeat it on a regular basis?
Each game [intlink id=”3334″ type=”category”]we ask supporters to give their ratings[/intlink] for each player and with thousands voting each time, it usually gives a pretty accurate indication of how each player did.
On Saturday, Coloccini scored 8.8 out of 10 and was deservedly man of the match in The Mag ratings.
However, maybe worth looking to how the Newcastle Captain has done, going further back.
The fans overall rating for Coloccini is on the left, then the opposition and the score in brackets, with the number of Newcastle goals showing first:
2.0 Everton (0-2)
4.8 Tottenham (1-3)
2.2 Leicester (0-3)
6.3 West Brom (1-1)
3.0 QPR (1-2)
6.7 West Ham (2-0)
5.6 Southampton (2-2)
2.7 Swansea (0-2)
8.8 Man United (0-0)
This isn’t an exercise in undermining the Newcastle Captain but it is important I think to put this one performance in perspective.
In those previous eight matches, on only two occasions did Coloccini get 6.0 or better and in fact in four of the games he scored 3.0 or less.
I have to say that I was amazed when they gave the Argentine defender an extended contract that takes him beyond his 35th birthday. He was never the best in the air and now his pace has pretty much gone as well.
He is still a good footballer and an intelligent player but I think two major factors were in Coloccini’s favour against Manchester United.
Firstly, Newcastle defended deep and so there was no chance of pace in behind catching him out.
Secondly, with Wayne Rooney the main striker, the home side didn’t even bother crossing the ball in the air in open play.
The Captain showing he is still able to use his brain to make the interceptions and blocks, when the emphasis is away from competing in the air or players going at him with space to run at him.
In the opening two Premier League matches, Coloccini was really poor in the air against both Southampton and Swansea, with 5ft 9 winger Andre Ayew jumping above him for the second goal at the Liberty Stadium.
Whilst when the game opened up against Southampton in the closing stages, Sadio Mane easily skinned Coloccini and should have won all three points for the visitors.
Coloccini was superb in that 2011/12 season and made the PFA team of the season, such was his form.
However, ever since that following season when the Newcastle Captain tried to walk out during a relegation fight, he has never shown anything like the same form, except in very isolated cases.
Meanwhile the defending of the team overall has been a nightmare season after season, with only QPR conceding more last time.
With seemingly no chance of another centre-back coming in this summer, I really do worry that the much improved attacking options supplied by the likes of Wijnadlum, Mitrovic and Thauvin could be seriously unhinged by a defence that isn’t up to it.
If Coloccini can repeat that Old Trafford form week after week then nobody will be happier than me but if he doesn’t…Steve McClaren will have some very difficult choices to be made.
My feeling is that of the current bunch we are left with, the best pairing could well be putting Steven Taylor alongside Chancel Mbemba, even though Taylor has often been held up for ridicule by the fans.
With a quick, agile and footballing centre-back like Mbemba covering his back then Taylor could well prove a lot of people wrong.
In the meantime I really hope that I am proved wrong with my Coloccini worries, starting with Arsenal on Saturday.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]