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Have Newcastle United forgotten the engine?

6 years ago

I saw the recent article on The Mag, where there was a list of the Premier League players who had run the furthest in the matches so far, our very own Jack Colback in second place.

I remember last season there were similar statistics/articles at least once or twice, featuring both Jack Colback and Daryl Janmaat from what I remember.

Generally your central midfielders are going to cover the most ground and most of these lists are populated with them, the latest showing two of Bournemouth’s players amongst them.

In Newcastle’s case, seen as we rarely control possession it is no wonder our midfielders are having to run around a lot chasing the ball, plus of course playing with 10 men for much of the Swansea and Arsenal matches hasn’t helped.

Much as I respect Jack Colback gives his all, is that really enough?

Controlling the middle of the pitch is where most matches are won and lost – I don’t think you’d need many fingers to count the number of times Newcastle have managed that in the last 20 or so months.

That of course coincides with the departure of Yohan Cabaye and he is a key (missing) ingredient in the problem, in my opinion.

I know they have their fans but I’m sorry, Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita just don’t do it for me.

It’s not that they don’t try their best and/or don’t do anything decent, it’s rather that they just don’t have enough in their games for me.

It’s the same really if you play Moussa Sissoko there, he has great natural speed but he’s pretty clueless in terms of dictating play and pulling the strings in the middle – far better suited to a more simplistic role out wide.

Cabaye and Tiote were a really top notch partnership at times, sadly Yohan has gone elsewhere and Cheick has….just gone!

Having two such limited players in that central midfield partnership puts far too much pressure on their teammates in the forward/midfield positions.

This is especially so when three of them (Mitrovic, Thauvin, Wijnaldum) are new to the country/Premier League as well as to Newcastle.

As squad players I don’t have a problem with either of Colback or Anita, up to a point.

However, if Newcastle are really to progress from last season’s relegation fighting level team, then Mike Ashley has to accept that he needs to spend big and/or wisely for a new central midfield pair, or possibly you could get away with just one of Wijnaldum can play alongside a potential new boy.

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