One player who appears very lucky to have escaped criticism for Sunday, so far, is Rob Elliot.
Leaving aside the referee for a moment, I thought Elliot was almost as much to blame as Coloccini.
Whether the referee was right or wrong with his award of the penalty and/or red card, the Newcastle Captain gave Robert Madley the decision to make.
The procession of events saw Defoe play the ball through and Steven Fletcher ran across the line to try and connect with it, Coloccini was slow of mind and body, he delay in tracking Fletcher meant he was always going to arrive late at the party.
Coloccini cut across Fletcher’s path and made contact, giving the referee that decision on what to do.
However, another important element was the part Rob Elliot played, or rather didn’t play…
As that Defoe ball was played through, Elliot ended up stood there motionless, a rabbit in the headlights.
In his words he says he was ‘…sort of waiting for the ball to get past Colo and Fletcher’.
The truth is that there should have been three players converging on that ball from different angles and Rob Elliot should have been the one to claim it.
Any decent goalkeeper would have taken charge of the situation and there wouldn’t have been any Coloccini decision to make.
The keeper has the benefit of always having the best view in these kind of situations and the onus is almost always on them to be the dominant player in such an incident, the goalkeeper of course has the massive advantage of extra reach and being able to use his hands.
As usual though Rob Elliot was sluggish to react and gave Coloccini no help at all.
Yet again you have to question just how fit Rob Elliot is, you don’t expect him to be able to run like Moussa Sissoko, but if you lined Elliot up in a profile shot with Freddie Woodman, Tim Krul and Karl Darlow, you wouldn’t exactly struggle to identify his body shape alongside the other three keepers.
Rob Elliot is the kind of footballer/bloke who my grannie would describe as ‘a lump’.
I am still astounded that the club secretly gave Rob Elliot a new long-term contract last season, every match I expect him to concede at least a couple of goals.
At times people defend him and say he doesn’t drop that many clangers but it isn’t always as obvious as throwing the ball in your own net every other week.
Elliot is immobile and often gets nowhere near shots that end up as goals, whereas more agile keepers would save X% of the ones that Rob Elliot lets in, where he makes it look like he stood no chance.
On Sunday, I would argue that if Tim Krul had been in goal, or possibly Darlow or Woodman, Newcastle might not have conceded one, two or all three of Sunderland’s goals. The penalty was easily preventable by the goalkeeper taking charge, whilst Sunderland scored their only other two chances on target with Elliot nowhere close to them.
He might only be 18 years old but I would play Freddie Woodman against Stoke, I would be amazed if he could do worse than Rob Elliot and I’m pretty confident he would do a lot better.
“The ball got played through and I was sort of waiting for the ball to get past Colo and Fletcher…
“It went straight through to me. I jumped on it and Fletcher’s gone over, the ref has decided to give a foul and I couldn’t believe it really.”
“In my understanding it has to be a clear goalscoring opportunity and I didn’t think it was at all – for a decision like that to lead to a sending off and goal, it doesn’t see fair.”
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