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The strange case of Newcastle United and the false winger

5 years ago

I had no idea that during pre-season there was a master plan that would take the Championship by storm…..that plan being to play Vurnon Anita as a winger.  Since I haven’t heard anyone else raise the question, it’s prompted me to put fingers to keyboard.

Let me begin by reaffirming my commitment and support of our manager.  Rafa is the best thing to happen to us in years, and his fresh direction and vision for our club was desperately needed; however it has been niggling away at me why he sees Anita as an option here.

He has also persisted with Vurnon Anita in this formation in both of our unsuccessful games this season, and it’s blatantly not doing the players any favours right now.  I initially thought the plan was to give more freedom to Janmaat, allowing Anita to cover and/or support.

Once Aarons switched over on Saturday and the former Ajax man went left, that put paid to that theory.  I was disappointed that Aarons underperformed after receiving his 5 year contract during the week, however, I still think he’s worth the time and investment.

We certainly looked so much better with Ritchie and Janmaat teaming up but that left us with Dummett and Anita clogging up our left side.  Anita’s natural game is to play centrally, so it makes sense that when he was showing for the ball he moved inside, this of course meant that the only width came from Paul Dummett and I think we would all recognise that this isn’t his main strength.

I thought Vurnon Anita finished last season really strongly, growing into the right-back position and actually looking like it could be a position he would play regularly.  The fact that Janmaat is still at the club is a little surprising; maybe Rafa feels that Anita deserves his place, come what may.

Benetiz doesn’t strike me as overly sentimental so I continue to struggle with his use of a guy I’m sure we all feel is a good member of our squad.  If he isn’t going to be used as one of our defensive or central midfielders, or at fullback, then surely he shouldn’t be in the team.

So where does that leave us?

Do we really need to have two holding midfielders sitting in front of our back four?  I thought we looked far more threatening during the second half with Hayden holding, allowing Diame and Shelvey to move forward.  It would make more sense giving us bodies further forward who could attack quicker before the bus is parked at home.

The jury is out on Gayle, and Sels for me.  It’s too early to write them off but they certainly haven’t earned my trust yet.  We were crying out for Mitrovic, or a figurehead of that type to give us a focal point and to hold things up.  I can’t wait to see Mitro excessively chesting the ball again!

I’d like to see us move the ball faster, and get in the faces of the opposition in the first 15-20 mins of each half.

So bring on Reading at St James Park on Wednesday night, the games are coming thick and fast which will hopefully help us get out of this early season hangover…

I wonder whether we’ll see a bit of Rafa’s stubborn streak as he persists with Vurnon Anita on one of our flanks.  You won’t catch me despairing just yet, Rafa will sort it out and we will turn this around.  Yes I’m concerned, but maybe this will be our sticky patch and we’ll go from strength to strength from here.

We still have to do our part as a supporters, I agree that the flags look pretty but it was rather flat on Saturday once we kicked off.

Maybe Vurnon Anita will give us something to cheer about; I’m waiting to be proved wrong.  Howay the lads!

PS  Just as a side note, why aren’t we doing the Icelandic hand clap whilst booming out Toon!  I propose it to the official chant committee since no one joined in with me on Saturday.



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