Consecutive defeats and the ongoing smoke and mirrors of a possible Newcastle United takeover, was never going to add up to a couple of weeks relaxation for Newcastle fans.
It has already become apparent that a number of Newcastle players aren’t good enough for the Premier League.
No surprise there, a promoted team is never going to be the finished article and when you add a serious lack of investment in the squad by Ashley this summer, we are left with what we’ve got, for the time being anyway.
Whilst Joseu, Diame, Perez, and Manquillo, are struggling to give anything as short-term fillers in the top tier, I instead want to concentrate on the ones who ARE showing they are good enough.
Newcastle players good enough for Rafa to build a team around, regardless of whether or not we at last get rid of Mike Ashley.
A great piece on The Mag on Friday morning perfectly fitted in with what I thought so far this season.
In the article it gave the average ratings (see below) that fans had given Newcastle players this season.
For me, there are six places in the team where I am more than happy when current Newcastle players are named in them.
Defence – Clark, Lejeune, Lascelles, Yedlin
Midfield – Ritchie, Merino, Shelvey
I have named seven players but of course it is three into two for the three centre-backs I have chosen.
If you look below, and discount Gamez who has played only one match and Mbemba now back out of favour with Rafa Benitez, the seven highest rated ones this season, are the seven I named above.
Newcastle have got the foundations of a decent team but sadly we have been left with an unbalanced squad.
If the six positions I was satisfied with included the front two players in the team then we’d be laughing, in my opinion.
With the decent players spread throughout the team it would surely ensure a comfortable season.
The reality though is that with Perez and Joselu we have been honestly woeful up front this season. If we had the equivalent quality of say Lejeune, Lascelles and Clark in the forward positions, we’d be seeing a lot more goals.
Instead our strength is overwhelmingly at the back and the centre-backs have also weighed in with three of the 10 goals, the same as Joselu and Perez have managed between them all season so far!
Elliot has done ok in goal but if in these next two windows Rafa Benitez can bring in a new first choice keeper, left-back, number 10, centre-forward, and probably a left winger (unless Murphy pulls through), then you are looking at a very good team, rather than half a one.
These are the average ratings below relate only to those games where players have started, with the number of matches started by each player in brackets:
7.4 Mikel Merino (6)
7.4 Jesus Gamez (1)
7.0 Ciaran Clark (6)
7.0 Jonjo Shelvey (5)
6.9 Matt Ritchie (10)
6.9 Jamaal Lascelles (10)
6.8 Chancel Mbemba (4)
6.7 DeAndre Yedlin (7)
6.5 Florian Lejeune (4)
6.5 Rob Elliot (10)
6.0 Christian Atsu (9)
5.9 Isaac Hayden (8)
5.8 Javier Manquillo (8)
5.6 Jacob Murphy (1)
5.1 Joselu (9)
5.0 Ayoze Perez (9)
4.1 Dwight Gayle (2)
3.2 Mohamed Diame (1)