Dwight Gayle was the name on the lips of many Newcastle fans on Saturday night but for all the wrong reasons.

The Newcastle number nine could have had a hat-trick if he’d put all of his chances away but it is far too simplistic to suggest that it is simply down to this, why United didn’t win against Swansea.

The bottom line as well is that none of the chances were total sitters, yes he could have done better but I think it was only the second headed chance from a Perez cross where the odds should have been in his favour, in terms of scoring from that position.

The other chances that came the way of Dwight Gayle were half-chances for me.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be expecting more from the former Palace player but I do think Newcastle fans allow themselves to be carried along with the modern era media trend, where you focus on one thing and do it to death.

Ian Wright went on at length about Gayle’s missed chances, whilst I then saw comments from Newcastle fans on social media, who had clearly only seen brief highlights.

Bottom line is that other players (Perez and Atsu etc) actually missed even better chances in my opinion on Saturday but more than that, if you watched the whole game then Newcastle’s problems are far deeper than missing a few chances.

The last seven PL home games have seen Newcastle not win a single one and fail to score in five of them.

Yes we had a flurry of chances in a period in the first half against Swansea but even against a really poor bottom of the table side, Newcastle created next to nothing after the break.

Once again the lack of creativity is crippling, Ritchie contributes next to nothing going forward in open play, whilst on the other side it was one of those games where Atsu was totally anonymous.

Diame put a shift in but can’t create anything, whilst Perez runs around to little effect as usual.

As for Jonjo Shelvey…with Newcastle not having a style of play of players to suit, and/or the quality to take advantage, when Shelvey is needed to do anything other than long passes, he is so limited. His lack of mobility is crippling and he struggles to run past any opposing player – we have nobody who can carry the ball in the middle of the pitch, a major problem with Perez as well.

Going back to Dwight Gayle, he has missed some chances this season but to be fair, overall he hasn’t exactly had very many to miss, it’s not like he is Morata at Chelsea who has been regularly put in behind the opposition and fails to convert.

What Newcastle are really desperate for is a quality number 10 in my opinion, which sadly we look to have no chance of getting this month and will have to struggle on.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Swansea 1

Goals:

Newcastle: Joselu 68

Swansea: Ayew 60

Possession was Swansea 58% Newcastle 42%

Total shots were  Swansea 8 Newcastle 12

Shots on target were Swansea 5 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Swansea 5 Newcastle 4

Referee: Graham Scott

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey (Merino 82), Atsu, Gayle (Joselu 64), Perez

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Haidara, Manquillo, Hayden, Murphy

Crowd: 51,444 (Swansea 1,100)

(Alan Shearer spells it out after watching Newcastle 1 Swansea 1 – Read it HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Swansea draw HERE)

(Swansea boss says Newcastle lucky to avoid red card, penalty and defeat – Read it HERE)

(Read what Rafa Benitez had to say after the game HERE)

To feature like Jack Watt submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • steveS100

    Ah, it’s mostly Perez’s fault as usual…

    • anyobrien

      Perez is playing well at the moment he’s been left to just roam and do his thing to single him out is very poor the lads come on a ton the last few games.

      • steveS100

        I agree. I thought he played okay on Saturday and actually gave their right back a tough time in the first half. He had a chance, one on one with the goalie but at least he hit the target (and the keeper made a decent save) which is better than not. He even got an assist (albeit via deflection) for the Newcastle goal. For some on here though he’ll never be able to do enough…

        • Charlie Dickens

          Perez was probably our best player on Saturday, along with Shelvey, though he was far from outstanding. Without Lejeune, our distribution from the back is a huge problem. Dummett put in a decent cross in the first half but can’t pass to midfield, Clark can defend competently but on the ball he’s Sunday League, and Lascelles no longer steps up to find an angle. All these little things contribute to our style of play, lack of possession and how little we create, but the main thing is our conservative mindset. We attack against poor sides for half an hour then drop off into counter mode.
          Last couple of weeks we’ve seen struggling teams in this league having a go in games they’re not expected to win and reaping rewards. We’re a self-fulfilling prophecy. Only hope that once the transfer window shuts, Rafa’s pride will see him try different things, perhaps be the bigger man with players he’s frozen out all season.
          At the moment I can only hope he subs ineffective players earlier and doesn’t do silly things like put Haidara on the bench at the expense of Aarons (who can possibly change a game) when Manquillo as sub can cover both full back positions if one is injured or having a shocker.

  • anyobrien

    Bottom line is his job is to score and he did not.. He scores he wins..you only get a couple of chances in this league and you have to take them look at joss he’s pony but he took his chance . Yes there are other problems but at the end of the day.. Ba, Martins, cisse, best, Carroll, loven, Bellamy, owen(when fit) shearer, Ferguson, kitson, Cole, Sir les, Ferguson (when fit) and dare I even say shola would of scored… Or at least gave the keeper something to do you get a goal scorer in that team and it was game over by half time on Saturday.

  • Mitros gotta start

    If only we had a big strong young hungry striker that scores 1 goal in 2 starts and has scores for his national team for fun…..benitez must be p155ed off ashley wont splash the cash so he could bring one in as we so desperately need one.

    • anyobrien

      Aye the mitro thing is annoying to say the least… He should be given a run in the team to see what happens.

    • Damon Horner

      I agree mate. If only we had one.

    • Jezza

      Were you at the FA Cup tie against Oxford last season?

  • Paul Patterson

    He’s not a striker who can play up front on his own, he’s a second striker. He’s a bit like Craig Bellamy (who also used to miss a fair few chances) in the sense that he needs a Shearer along side him.
    Playing one up front is all well and good if you have a Didier Drogba, Thierry Henry or a Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

    • anyobrien

      He had two free headers he should of scored with one also against Brighton he was through but then decided to dive having a striker next to him ain’t going to help him out there it’s basic stuff hit the target no matter what.

    • 1957

      Your right about Gayle, he’ll never be able to play the lone striker role at PL level, even the worst defenders are quicker and better than championship ones. It’s why he never was a regular at Palace.

      Gayle would have been effective alongside Sheared or in days gone by Wyn or John Tudor

  • Peaky Magpie

    RIP Cyril Regis,great striker in his day.

    • anyobrien

      Aye a sad loss and to young to go rip

    • Leazes

      59 what’s going on!

      • Peaky Magpie

        It’s crazy and to think what he went through in the late 70’s from the terraces along with Cunningham,Batson,Viv Anderson etc……

        • Jezza

          Yes they used to be affectionately known as “The Three Degrees”. Trail blazing footballers who deserve some kind of official recognition from the game. I remember Laurie Cunningham putting in a cameo appearance for Wimbledon in a cup tie at St James’s Park a year or so before his death.

          • Peaky Magpie

            The landlord of the pub in a village nearby me is a huge WBA fan and idolised Regis in the same light as Jeff Astle.However he always tells me the greatest striker he ever saw was Supermac in his pomp at NUFC especially the cup run of ‘74 when Supermac was almost unplayable in the 3-0 win at The Hawthorns.Makes the hairs on the back of my neck every time he tells me the story.

          • grantham mag

            And then on to Wembley he didn’t turn up, I was there.

          • Peaky Magpie

            Yes his arrogance & over confidence just fired Liverpool up unfortunately.There’s a good piece in Terry Mac’s autobiography about that final.

          • Tomb

            Heard a late change of formation unsettled the players

          • Peaky Magpie

            Bloody hell its a good job they’re not playing now 😁

    • Jezza

      Very sad news. He was exactly the kind of good old fashioned centre forward this current Newcastle team is crying out for. He certainly caused us plenty problems in his day too. One of those opposition players you couldn’t help but admire and would have loved to have seen in a black and white shirt.

      • Peaky Magpie

        He had the three P’s Jezza.Pace,Power & Precision.

    • Leicester Mag

      Terribly sad, a super player in the age of believable heros. Still remember his goal of the season.

  • goggsy

    If Perez and Joselu can outscore you,unfortunately you arnt offering enough at this level,when you best attribute is that you’re a goalscorer. You may think otherwise,fair enough. How many points have Gayles goals got us this season? Of course there’s other issues but bottom line is,like any other team down there,if we had a decent goalscorer we wouldn’t be down there,but we haven’t and we are down there.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Perez and Dummett were our two best players but at least we are creating chances.
    In the Premier League we are not going to get as many as we did on Saturday
    so who just have yo take one of the ones we missed and we win. Perez had a great chance but the keeper did well. Swansea created very little but scored with their first real chance that was the difference.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    None of them are good enough at this level it`s as simple as that, the main culprits are SloMo, Perez, Joselu & Gayle.
    not 1 of those should be in the starting line up

    • 1957

      Quite honestly I’d rather stick Barlaser in the team rather than SloMo, the kid is more composed on the ball and is more mobile.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    i see comments that Perez was our best player on Saturday & there lies the fundamental problem. he falls over in a breeze, his assists are nil, he cant beat a keeper 1 on 1.
    what he can do is run around busy doing nothing with no end product whatsoever
    so in conclusion if he`s one of our best, then now you know why we are only 3 points clear of the relegation places

  • FatParosite

    I think everyone knows we have a lack of quality all over the pitch. Everyone evidently does not include slack-jawed morons who take a swipe at Benitez trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I dare say even Wrighty only watched the highlights.

    If I were Rafa I would go at Citeh gung ho to lay bare to the hard of thinking our lack of quality & then look surprised during the interview after we are mauled & say I thought that is what Gary Neville wanted.

    • Tomb

      Bristol city palace and huddersfield went at them didnt get hammered

  • hetonmag

    As the author says we haven’t got a No 10 as I keep saying Shelvey is not the answer, he gives the ball away too cheaply unfortunately at this moment he’s all we’ve got in that position.

    • 1957

      I thought Ritchie might be the answer after a good start to the season but he has been abysmal recently and looked completely out of his depth. Never recovered from his ill fated run out as a wing back

      • hetonmag

        That’s a possibility and play Murphy in his position, he hasn’t been playing well but he’s much more mobile than Shelvey.

        • 1957

          Murphy has improved in his last few games it’s time to give him regular starts

      • Gandalf Greyhame

        Ritchie does not have EPL caliber speed, that’s why he was great in the Championship and not so good in the EPL. He can barely hold his own against the bottom teams. Rafa is starting him only against the slower bottom level clubs. Against the top six, with their speedy wide midfielders, he is so slow that he is a major defensive liability. Murphy is getting starts against the top teams now.

  • Leazes

    We shouldn’t be singling individuals out, if anyone watched the Liverpool vs Manchester City game yesterday, you’ll see the gulf we have to overcome….

    …. We should be part of that league! it isn’t down to individual players.

    People were saying last season it was right to stock up with championship players…. well we seem to be having trouble now don’t we…. no buyers! Compound that with a disaster of Lee Charnley’s summer signings and Rafa’s desperation last minute buys…..

    …The press and media always single out individuals and Ryder and MOTD are the worst culprits, but it isn’t one failure…. it’s a policy failure.

    • 1957

      The quantity over quality approach to last season is coming back to bite us…too many Championship standard players that we were never likely to be able to replace in the summer under Big Mike’s stewardship. 3 or 4 PL ready players should have been bought before the Championship campaign, prices were much more reasonable 18 months ago.

      • hetonmag

        Once again can I just remind both you and Leazes Rafa was under strict guidelines on both the wages and the amount of money he could spend. I fail to see how we were going to get the type of player we all wanted to come and play in the Championship with all the money that’s available in the premier.

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          so therefore it`s all bull about him being in charge of transfers then

          • hetonmag

            How’s that then as I’ve said before he had shop at Aldi instead of shopping at Harrods.

          • mactoon

            I seem to remember he was promised all the money raised from getting rid of players, I also seem to remember him reducing the wage bill late in the summer window only to be denied the funds raised. It’s a disgrace.

          • Mrkgw

            Agreed! We need rid of this odious regime and sharpish. They are disasterous and they are rapidly bringing the club to its knees. Rafa will walk soon as who in their right mind would put up with the contempt that he seems to be shown right now.

          • Tomb

            Hes getting paid 5 million a year doubt he’ll walk

          • 1957

            A scout I know for a Championship team, said they looked at Sels and thought he wasn’t good enough.

            They were surprised to see him turn up at Newcastle, their understanding was Benitez insisted he wanted him despite Carr having doubts

          • hetonmag

            Sorry but I don’t believe that for one minute I personally think it was under Carr’s recommendation we signed him because it wasn’t long after that he left the club.

          • Jezza

            I don’t believe Rafa has ever been in charge of transfers.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            Neither do i, it`s the usual smoke & mirrors

          • hetonmag

            Disagree with you there mate he has scout’s and contacts all over Europe, now as far as the money is concerned well that’s a different ball game.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            he should sack the scouts then

          • hetonmag

            Why, instead of putting one liners in your posts as usual give reasons as to why he should sack the scouts.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            just look at the players they`ve brought in. it doesn`t take a genius to figure out 90% of them are useless

          • hetonmag

            I’m no genius but I’m bright enough to realise you are not going to get the player’s you want with the money you have in your budget, you come on this forum and 90% of your posts are negative rubbish calling player’s useless that about sums up your intelligence.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      the gulf is insurmountable

  • mactoon

    I’m not saying we DON’T need a no. 10 but more important is we need a goalscorer. We are creating more than enough chances to win matches but the forwards can’t score, Ian Wright just about sums it up on MOTD.

    Gayle jumps for his first header and produces a weak shot on target when he should be planting his feet and attacking the ball. He does the same with the second with the same tame effect and off target. Perez gets his chance and stabs at it with his right foot instead of putting his left boot through it.

    We survived a definite penalty call when Diame lifts his arm to deflect the ball away, if that had been a penalty and red card we would have been in all kinds of trouble.

    I think Shelvey had a fair game but the defending was abysmal too for their goal, two centre halfs out jumped twice by their lad. The problem is, individuals make mistakes and there are far too many being made all over the pitch. To me this is because we haven’t replaced players who struggled to win the Championship and are now proving they are out of their depth in the Premiership. If Ashley doesn’t address this he deserves to be relegated. We need quality and quickly.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Don`t hold your breath

      • mactoon

        I’m not :)

        a loan deal if we’re lucky

        • Jezza

          Mark my words, we won’t even get that.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            to expensive for Fatso
            😂😂

  • Peaky Magpie

    The Drunk,The Failed Jockey,Harold Shipman etc are going to have a bloody field day predicting this weekends score……

    • anyobrien

      😂… The drunk

  • anyobrien

    Remember when we went up with kk and he ditch David Kelly?.. There was hell on but he knew he just would not cut it in the epl… Same as Rafa knew half of this lot would not… But kk had the luxury of a owner who let him buy and trade in the transfer market rafa does not have this luxury, tbh its not a luxury its common bloody sense. We the fans rafa and the club have been stitched by one man and we all know who he is.

  • Yes, those chances were definitely not sitters, but he should have had the keeper work on at least one. Problem remains that our midfield doesn’t contribute enough goals. Shelvey and Ritchie were supposed to be 5-6 goals per season and nothing. Lately, Ritchie’s corners are just plain bad. He needs some competition and we need a decent FK taker (wasted 2 good chances against the Swans)

    • Toonrobbybobson

      His set pieces and corners been shocking. He never crosses a good ball in from out wide now. He delays on ball too much as well. Great character though and hopefully he pulls through.

  • Mrkgw

    We have an international striker not even making the bench – Mitrovic. Stick him in the side and give him some games to prove himself.

  • TheFatController

    Your point highlights that after games specific things will be highlighted as a potential fix.

    I’ve given up on specifics. You are right that one specific can’t be identified as causing all the problems. Sadly there are too many specifics causing the club problems.

    So it’s no surprise that most discussion is on a few specifics relating to why having the 15th-ish position in the PL with the 15th-ish spend on squad.

    Less specific therefore is the general problem of paying £0-10m for players in the modern game. Until that is rectified, the specifics will be about players playing like they cost less than £10m…

  • Rich Lawson

    To much is asked of Gayle now with so much expectation after last season,either his confidence is shot or he is worried about picking up another injury.Thought Wright’s comment about him playing on his heels was insightful .

    • anyobrien

      Exactly this is why rafa wanted to shift him out and get a new striker in.
      Same as kk shipping out David Kelly he knew.

      • Rich Lawson

        Kelly and Peacock were great in the 2nd division and I was stunned by KK’s ruthlessness in moving them on.He proved to be absolutely right tho’

        • anyobrien

          Exactly he knew a player just like raf does… He got championship players in to do a job and he did that job he then said I need these… Nothing happened… The eleven staring on Saturday were a full championship eleven from last season, disgraceful imo. We need some epl quality and we still do.

          • Toonrobbybobson

            Im actually amazed how few we concede. Its best weve been as a defense in a long time. We created chances we just need some more quality up top in door opening + finishing and a dominating goalkeeper.

            Id say only 2-3 players Insay are no sells rest id listen to offers for if can move on to improve first 11.

            Might come right at death of window the movement as we end up losing Colback, Mbemba and Mitrovic. Fulham would take Gayle but its who can you get in. The quality has been asset stripper to the bone over the years of mismanagement.

        • mactoon

          The thing with Keegan was he continually reshaped the team to improve it. Ned Kelly was superb but we moved on to players like Cole, Ferdinand, Asprilla and Shearer all of whom progressed the team but he had the money to do so, Rafa has no funds, players who need moving on (but nobody wants them) and replacing with better to improve the team and an owner who refuses to provide funds. What chance does he have.

          • Rich Lawson

            With this owner,none at all,that’s part of what makes the whole takeover scenario so frustrating.

          • Jezza

            Under Keegan we were moving out good players and replacing them with great ones for the purposes of improving the team. Fat Ashley moves out good players and replaces them with poor ones for the of purposes of personal profit.

    • mactoon

      He’s expected to score goals that’s not too much to ask. He currently has 3 goals in 23 which is nowhere near good enough.

      • Rich Lawson

        He’s pretty much asked to do it on his own,that’s the problem.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Hes not going into natural positions. Hes going into positions of a player lacking confidence. Hes still getting some chances though. Just needs to find one sooner than later.

    • thewildchimp

      Or the fact that they forced him to play while seriously injured last season. Hope it isn’t that, but he seems awfully less mobile than before.

  • Mxpx

    Of course we do have the mitrovic fellow to try

    • Rich Lawson

      Nah ! He’s injured you know !!

      • Peaky Magpie

        Back broken in three places ! 😁😁

        • Mxpx

          I don’t care if he’s paralysed he’s still likely to be better than joselu

      • Toonrobbybobson

        Hes not being allowed to play because of clauses it will trigger in payments.

        • Mitros gotta start

          Horse5h1t

  • ghostrider

    You’re right it is much more than just Gayle missing a few opportunities.
    I’ll tell you exactly what it all is in a nutshell.
    It’s the inability of Rafa to actually instill a proper balanced method of play into the players.

    He sets the team up not to lose and not a team up to win.
    Any manager that sets this mentality is a defensive manager, naturally and as obvious as it looks in what I’ve just said, it becomes a crux of the major problem, because the attacking talent we do possess is spent doing the opposite of what their business end product is supposed to be by percentage.

    Lost?
    Simply put…Rafa is turning forward thinking players into grafters in the defensive mindset as a rule or thumb and by percentage of the game with the small percentage left in trying to do something at the attacking end.

    It means their game is being trained out of them in favour of a game they do not relish playing but are willing to do by Rafa protocol.

    The issue is, many of the players are getting fed up of the negative ways of Rafa, I think…..no matter what clap trap gets spewed out in papers and such about how together they all are and what a superb manager Rafa is. I don’t buy into it at all.

    It looks like it’s borne out of fear more than legit talk.
    Rafa has literally taken away the talents of most of the attacking players by not allowing them any freedom to express.
    Yes we know they’re not world beaters but we also know that most of them are not championship players either.
    That’s just an excuse that’s rolled out to cover his stinking negativity in 80% of games.

    If they are championship players then so is every team in the bottom 10.

    Take away the confidence of players and you take away most of their ability to take risks offensively and also take responsibility of their offensive actions.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      While I can understand ypur reasoned point I disagree.

      Let me explain myself. We had a better team with more quality the past 2 relegations. There was no structure as a team and we conceded by the bucket load utlimately destroying morale confidence and goal difference which spirals and you easily end up relegated… even with that extra quality. All wrapped up as a packaged under inept managers.

      Now Rafa while at times aint pretty has a squad with way way way less quality thats young and newly promoted with no financial backing. Well why have we got worse? Jump from Championship to Prem is huge. No investment. Momentum and morale eroded though its balanced as we remain tight. That tightness and risk averssiveness is giving us a chance at staying up even though its unlikely I feel. We actually create chances in games but lack quality finishing guile and composure. We had chances against Swansea for example and should have been out of sight. Thats nothing to donwith negatives and we did same against west ham and stoke.

      Rafa is just using what hes got and an organised battleplan to keep us in it. Our Goal difference could be huge as well. He would expect keeping us in it until now some reenforcement but sadly again it probably wont come. Teams down the bottom will give you chances and make mistakes and that can be enough to win the game if you dont make mistakes yourself. Unfortunately due to ownership or lack of it thats the plan this season and it wont change.

      Our hope of takeover extinguishes each day more and if we dont get a bit more quality up top we are likely to be relegated no matter what the plan. The quality in west ham and palace squads is telling now. Even brighton and huddersfield are starting to tire. Keeping us in it with chance towards end to take off shackles when nothing to lose will be enough. But thats what Mike Ashley has brought it to. Giving yourself a ‘chance’ over the marathon.

      Only thing can hope for is some chances start getting taken as Ritchie, Shelvey and Gayle cant get much worse to be fair in terms of what they showing. Thats not all down to Rafa. They havent stepped up over whole season like weight of world on their shoulders. If we can stay in it until final game though… its a chance and one id take considering we havent gotten players in we need.

      • ghostrider

        The players are being destroyed by the minute, in my honest opinion.
        They’re grafting but they are doing it like robots.
        All this harmony talk is all well and good but none of it shows on the pitch in terms of confidence…and let’s face it, if Rafa was that respected as this world class manager then those players should be playing with confidence…but no players like to go into games having to be sitting ducks for half to sometimes three quarters of it.

        Rafa isn’t doing anything spectacular and if he is then can someone tell me where?
        He keeps putting this team down by calling them championship players. Think about it.

        Look at the players.
        Very few are championship.
        They are no worse than the 10 teams we are around in that league.
        We’ve had many games by the scruff of the neck in the first 30 minutes and then all of a sudden the tactics change to defensive.
        Why?

        Rafa is riding on his name and fansw are buying into it mainly because they have their arch villain is Ashley.

        I think Ashley even knows Rafa is taking the pee.

        • Angelswithdirtyfaces

          but they are Championship players. How many would be regular starters in a top 8 side ? At our best we have a 12-17 side, and with very little depth either. We had this with Pardew – that he was negative and set up not to lose – but then the defence was like a sieve. Well Rafa is conceding far fewer goals with more journeymen players. I give you that he is playing a % game – but as he lacks the bite up front to play off the front foot all the time that’s unsurprising. And we have looked good on the counter at times. The guys heads don’t always go down when they concede either – unlike P45. Agree its not pretty all the time – but then neither is the self styled “Special One”. (Aah its almost nostalgic to recall the times Pardew claimed he played off the front foot.. :( ).

          • ghostrider

            In a top 8 side not many but then again that’s not the argument.
            The argument is in them being called championship players just because we came back up from the championship.

            Lascelles is no championship player.
            Clark is not.
            Yedlin certainly is not.
            Dummett isn’t.
            Ritchie isn’t.
            Shelvey isn’t.
            Mitrovic isn’t.
            Mbemba isn’t.
            Merino isn’t.
            Atsu isn’t.

            I could go on a bit further and then place a few question marks but the reality is there.
            We do not have a championship squad, at all.

            It’s being used because we came back up from the championship.
            If the squad was championship standard then we would be still in it. We aren’t because it isn’t.

          • Angelswithdirtyfaces

            Yes, it is the argument. Your opinion of Rafa as ‘a dinosaur’ is colouring your judgement of the skill levels and overall capabilities of the side.
            Players may be top Championship players, but then struggle as lower mid to relegation standard table Premiership players – okay on a good day but then more frequently perform like Championship players as they are not consistently up to Prem standard, and over a season that is the level required. That is moreorless where our squad is at.
            We also have major gaps in quality in key positions and possibly most of your list of ten players who, on their day, can compete against maybe half the other Prem sides. That does not make an adequate Prem squad. There is an obvious step up between Champ and Prem in standards – just look at Gayle as an example for us – and then check a pretty decent player like Knockaert as a comparison – 23 goals+ assists last season, 3 so far this season.

          • ghostrider

            If we are a championship side then the entire bottom 10 of the premier league are also.
            So we’re either a premier league side along with the rest or we are all championship from half of the league.

            What’s it to be?

          • Angelswithdirtyfaces

            Yoiu are right. There are really only about 10 teams competitive for European places in the Prem – the rest are there to make up the numbers and give some illusion of 20 teams able to compete at that elite standard. Most around us are struggling to retain their place at the top table with journeymen squads, and the top sides in the Champ. would be able to compete with any of the bottom ten in the Prem. on most occasions.

            We do not have a good enough side to compete on an even footing in the Prem. with other than maybe half a dozen sides. We’re in the strugglers group, for sure.

            If we had a genuinely Prem standard side (or club) we wouldn’t constantly be dodging relegation would we ?

            Anyone thinking this squad is top eight, even top ten and our positon is just down to managerial shortcomings – lack of tactical nous and motivational ability is fooling themselves. Without strengthening we will continue to struggle. End of.

            The person responsible for the status of the club is the owner, and it his custodianship – or lack of it – that has created the present mess.

          • thewildchimp

            They are good enough to demolish the likes of Swansea, C. Palace, Hudd, etc., at home, with proper tactics. We have a 10-15 team, could go up to the 8th in a good season. Look how Hodgson, of all people, is doing well, even with lazy Benteke in his squad.

        • thewildchimp

          Exactly. Not even Lascelles looks as optimistic as he used to be, let alone offensive-minded players like Ritchie, Shelvey, Mitro, etc. The fact that Shelvey refused to shake hands with the man his playtime depends on says it all. This sort of thing happens in every club Benitez manages, so it can’t be anyone else responsible but him.

          • ghostrider

            Yep. I’d say that it won’t be too long before a revolt rears its ugly head of which Lascelles will be powerless to stop.

            Charnley or Ashley need to step in right now to get shot of Benitez while they still have time to replace him and give the players a massive gee up.

            Rafa will take this team down if allowed to carry on.

          • Mitros gotta start

            Again….

          • thewildchimp

            Mitro and Shelvey are probably the ones to walk away but the rest won’t. Until the summer, that is.

            But who to appoint? It would be best if Rafa sorted his own mind, however, I think not.

          • ghostrider

            I find it mental that Rafa seems to address positions that we don’t need to address whilst totally avoiding those positions that we need to.
            I think the players are seeing it all and are basically biting their lips, apart from (like you mention) people like Mitro and Shelvey who may be asking questions and paying the price for it.

            I think the players are going through the motions with Rafa because they are fearful of him, because they know the fans are right behind him for some strange reason…and they don’t want to rock the boat and fear teh wrath….so they graft for him.

            The body language should be clear enough to see too many are unhappy.
            Rafa needs to coach their natural talent out and no suppress it with those who are clearly better than what we are seeing.

          • thewildchimp

            Yes, and if they split now – it’s season over. That’s why I think they are storming the weather silently. Especially if they complain and the takeover happens – they’d be kicked out or, even worse, sidelined. Gerrard explained it already.

    • hetonmag

      What a plonker we beat wet spam 3-2 did you see how many players we had in there box when we scored, yes certainly set up there not to get beat really boring wasn’t it were you posting your drivel after that game. Oh and by the way the manager’s you mentioned to take over from Rafa, Silva, Dyche off the top of my head I think they have both won 1 in 8.

      • ghostrider

        By all means use the odd game to sugar coat dire football on the whole.
        West Ham were abysmal and there for the taking.
        Luckily we caught them at the right time.
        Huddersfield didn’t.

        Oh and I never mentioned Dyche and Silva.
        Rafa is no good for this club but some fans won’t accept this while Ashley is here.

  • thewildchimp

    It’s the same problem we had in the Championship.
    Unfortunately, we fans can see it watching from the stands, in front of the tellies, hell, we can even picture it while listening to the radio broadcast, but our gaffa pretends not to see it. Or, rather, he pretends while selecting the players and the tactics but not while giving interviews. Awful.
    He persistently tries to mold the players into something they are not and saps the enthusiasm out of them. Some can adapt a bit and get playtime (Perez, Diame) others cannot and are getting dropped more and more often, if not already completely marginalized (Mbemba, Mitro, Shelvey). I hate it.
    Just from the fact that he has such a motley crew at his disposal, he could pull something unexpected when needed. Nope, it’s stifling, defensive, ever the same plan A. At home, against weaker sides. I can’t watch it any longer…

    I’m not going to rant as I usually do, I don’t have anything to say that others don’t already know or pretend that they don’t. I don’t expect him to beat Man City, Pool and the likes with this squad. I expect him to keep us up, improve the players and present us somewhat decent football. I know every other top manager would want to change our entire squad if given job but it will not be done and I’m sick of him acting like a spoiled kid. If it’s hard for me to adapt to my working environment – guess who doesn’t give a sh’t – my boss. It’s like that for everyone. I loathe how most of the managers are acting up like they shoulder the weight of an entire nation when they are being paid millions to tell player X when to run into the zone A on weekends. Just effin’ set the team to play to it’s strengths and cover for where it’s lacking and be done with.

  • Down Under Mag

    The biggest problem I have with Gayle wasn’t his missed chances, because as you rightly point out there were plenty of other players who contributed, but I cannot stomach Gayle’s head dropping and him “picking up a knock” so he can slink off out of the spotlight.