Well, where to start.
Having been encouraged by the Southampton game at St James Park last week, I was all set to be optimistic about the season ahead.
On Friday night I was looking into the next few games, including Man Utd (not firing on all cylinders) Arsenal (supposed title contenders fluffing their lines) and a visit of Northampton Town sandwiched in between to get a cup run underway.
Positivity I think it’s called.
Bang on cue, Saturday tea-time rolled around and we’re back to square one. Only at Newcastle can we knack ourselves in such a fashion.
I recall in 2005, the week that Alan Shearer signed a one year extension with the hope of breaking Jackie Milburn’s record, I was looking forward to the match that weekend (Aston Villa) with renewed enthusiasm.
Sure enough, the match arrived and three players were sent off and the team lost in spectacular fashion. That’ll teach me. How dare you get all positive!
This time, a decent performance and result against the Saints was followed up by one of those games that you struggle to believe the events of. The terms ‘professional’ and ‘organised’ doesn’t apply to this club.
The starting line up was the same, as I wanted and expected. The team was named with what I class as the best side we could possibly field, until departures and reinforcements take effect.
The result would take care of itself, we have no divine right to win and if we are beaten by the better side, so be it.
After the match I had more worries than I knew what to deal with.
Our defence (term used loosely) can’t deal with crosses and if this is a new and invigorated Coloccini then time to ship out. The full backs offer no form of protection, so every time a side presses forward there is little resistance to be had from the back four. It may be worthwhile playing a back five as Haidara and Janmaat’s abilities don’t lie defensively.
To top it all off, I now have little trust in Daryl Janmaat himself, the one player I had down as a nailed on starter, a reliable performer in a shoddy cobbled together defence. If he’s going to have this brainless, unprofessional attitude on a regular basis when the going gets tough gets going, he gets going off the pitch, then that’s another position to start scouting for a replacement.
Further up the field I have some positives, mixed with concerns, mixed with reservations.
Before kick-off we got what even seasoned Toon followers probably didn’t expect. Siem De Jong dropped from the squad because of another knock. I think it’s about time to write this lad off.
I remember not too long ago, Newcastle signed what I considered (and still do) the best centre half of my lifetime in Newcastle shirt. A player of commanding stature and genuine ability- Jonathan Woodgate. The trouble was, he was never fit, a perma-crock. Well in De Jong we have gone one step further. Nine minutes of Premier League action and he’s done in. When will he be back? Answers on a postcard.
I’m happy with Wijnaldum, who I see as a player who can get 10+ goals from midfield and really brighten the side up and get the fans excited. The trouble is, where’s the rest of them?
In Obertan we have a problem. The fans who slate him need to get off his back and remember that we as fans, used to be a bunch that applauded hard work and determination. We used to like players who got on with the job, even though they weren’t the best player in the world.
Obertan was decent against Southampton (cracking cross) providing an outlet time and again, something which he did against Swansea, even though once again he was played out of position. Fans need to understand this and direct some vitriol towards who decides that a right footed player would look his best on the left wing.
Colback, Anita and Sissoko are three good midfielders, but personally only one should be deployed defensively, Anita. Using Colback AND Anita to protect a rotten back four is simply counter-productive.
Colback should be getting 10 goals a season and should be our Paul Scholes.
Sissoko is powerful and should be able to hurt most Premier League sides, however against Swansea, Jonjo Shelvey, a player I like a lot, made him look poor before his withdrawl at half time.
Up front, I think we are pretty well catered for. Yes, I’d still like Austin, but unless we can ship Riviere out, I don’t see the sense in having another striker just for the sake of it.
We simply need to use the ones we have in better fashion. Playing Cisse on his own works to a point, but it limits our chances when we have a misfiring midfield and a porous defence.
And what the hell was Steve McClaren doing taking Papiss off and playing nobody up front yesterday? Tactical genius? Stupidity more like.
Papiss needs a partner, a foil, someone else for the opposing defence to worry about.
That man for me would be Ayoze Perez, for two good reasons-
I like him and he knows where the goal is and…
After two short appearances my trust in Mitrovic has worn thin.
What the hell was he thinking against Southampton and then again at Swansea? Utter lunacy.
I heard cries of ‘Start him next week’ from where I was. Really? Against Man Utd away? It just gives him more time to get sent off.
It all comes down to trust. At this moment there are only a handful of players at the club that I’d trust in the starting line up.
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