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.)

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  • Mark Spark

    thanks for the article Chandra.While i agree with you Perez wasn’t particularly good against Brighton I thought he played quite well in the game before and I think is showing progress,admit idly slowly.If your comparing him to other top no 10`s he does come up short,but those other players cost £50m+ so maybe he is the best we can manage at the moment.About Shelvey changing position,I know a lot of fans think that moving a player from his natural position is a good idea just to find a place for them or to cover a position the team is weak in,but i think theres a reason managers don`t do it unless seriously forced by injury and only then with certain players who have a certain intelligence

  • Alex

    Rafa doesn’t play 2 up front; so, I think, talking about him putting 3 up top is a tad optimistic.

    But, well written post from someone so far away.

    • Mark Spark

      the 2 up front debate continues with a lot of fans,my thoughts are that your right Alex it wont happen,i wouldn’t be surprised to look at Rafa`s history and find hes never played 2 up front,ever. ever.
      Thinking that playing with 2 strikers means more chances and more goals is a bit simplistic for me and if it were that simple everybody would be doing it

      • Mark Spark

        And my first game was Ozzie Ardilies first game in charge,The manager well known for his fondness for 4 up front.And for our younger readers it wasn’t successful,or exciting.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    To play 4-2-3-1 you must have a good striker, we haven`t got one.
    drop Perez by all means but leaving Joselu in is a joke, the guy just isn`t up to it

  • mentalman

    You would probably find that Perez would perform better being part of the front 3 in your formation

  • Hughie

    Well said Chandra. Perez has a good engine and occasional good touches but his overall contribution is woefully short with barely a sniff at goal after 6 matches. Play Shelvey there or perhaps Merino who looks like he can play just about anywhere.

  • Steve Pearce

    Well said – we should sell him to the Makems in January and until then replace him with anybody else and relegate him to bathroom cleaning duties…..

    • Viru leckworth

      Is that supposed to be humour?

  • Andrew Cowley

    Agree with the article as well,Perez has been terrible.agree with the line up too.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Far too lightweight,easily shrugged off.

  • Wor Lass

    Ayoze is the new Dummett/Saylor/Iron Mike. Some people just have to have someone to slag off.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      That is true.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      he`s not playing well enough at the minute to start games

      • Wor Lass

        I agree – I just don`t know why a player has to be slagged off like it`s something personal when they`re inconsistent or just not good enough. Perez gives 110% on the pitch – he was outstanding against Stoke but poor v Brighton. He wasn`t the only one, though.

        • Mark Potter

          But that’s not just over a couple of games. He’s been like that for three seasons. He didn’t even impress in most of his Championship games.

          • Wor Lass

            Yes, he was poor most of the time in the Championship and he`s been inconsistent so far this season. However, he has shown signs at the end of last season and in one or two games this season of improvement. The PL suits him better. All I`m saying, really, is that there`s no need for people to start heaping abuse on him.

  • Mxpx

    This would suit our strikers alot more we’d start seeing goals from Ritchie and well mitrovic has done rather well for Serbia in this kind of setup Gayle could use the support too

  • Viru leckworth

    I agree about Le jejune He looks a quality player. Pity the captain is the obvious one to replace.