Watching Brighton against Newcastle, I held no grudges in our loss, but I just can’t understand why Ayoze Perez keeps being placed on the starting line up.
All the game he was awful, both in attack and defence, he didn’t add any kind of value.
Six games on, Ayoze has kept his place (hopefully just this far) in the starting line-up. In four of those games, he played full minutes and being substituted just in the last ten and four minutes against Huddersfield and Stoke. In those games, the only real contribution he has given is a single assist. And truthfully he almost loses the ball before making that assist.
The style of play instilled by Benitez is mostly holding back and quickly launch a counter-attack if the opportunity arises. Therefore, I don’t see the benefit in choosing to play Ayoze as the Number 10. This position requires technical aspect and ability that I believe Ayoze will never possess.
The fact is regarding Ayoze Perez, is that he is and will always be, slow (I hate seeing him give chase when the opponent has the ball, he just seem to run halfheartedly), he doesn’t have enough strength to hold the ball for even just a moment against Premier League calibre defenders, he doesn’t have a killer ball vision to release teammates, his awareness of his surroundings is low (which mostly prevent him bringing others into play) and even though many have said that Ayoze is quite skilled since he is born and bred at Spain’s Primera Liga, I rarely see him try to do one on one battle against any opposition players, let alone seeing him do it. And his dribble is not special at all.
In my opinion, the only technical skill he is good at is his first touch, which he has demonstrated many times. But playing as number 10 requires more than just a good first touch. He needs to be able to invite the other teammates to play and unleash a dangerous assist if the opportunity arises.
I think, rather than trying to put Shelvey in Ayoze’s position (just don’t let it ever cross your mind that Diame is also an option there), a wild thought crossed my mind, that it is better to change the formation a little bit. This season and most of last season’s games, the formation we used was 4-2-3-1 with two holding midfielders protecting the defence. What if we try to replace Ayoze Perez with Jonjo Shelvey but also with a tweaked formation?
Seeing all those six games, I think there is more from Hayden if we try to give him licence to roam forward. Seeing that he prefers to roam forward to the right flank, and thinking that it would have been great to release Merino a little bit from his defensive duties (and also there is a plus being there with his natural left foot), and with Shelvey’s long ball accuracy comes to mind, what if we play with 4-3-3 formation? And with Hayden able to roam to the right flank, it gives Ritchie more opportunity to come inside and influence play.
This is my preferred starting eleven, at least until the winter transfer window is open.
Rob Elliot (GK)
Yedlin (RB) Lejeune (CB) Clark (CB) Mbemba (LB)
Hayden (CM) Shelvey (CM) Merino (CM)
Ritchie (RW) Joselu (ST) Atsu (LW)
I know most of you would disagree with me but I prefer Lejeune back in the starting eleven rather than Lascelles. No personal issues, just that in those 30-plus minutes when he played against Spurs, Lejeune bring with him assurance, composed performance, calming presence and better ball distribution.
Plus, I feel a lot more safer with Mbemba operating as our left-back rather than seeing Dummett there. Just me, I guess.
I will stick with Joselu (even though I’m very disappointed with his shot wide in that first half against Brighton and those three sitters against Stoke) because he can hold up the ball better than Gayle and his link-up play is better than Mitro.
Really wish that Rafa Benitez reads this post so he at least can think about it, fingers crossed.
Howay the lads.
(I am one of the biggest fans of the Magpies here in Indonesia (a country in South East Asia, fyi), if only one of a few.)