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Opinion

‘Kenedy is the least of our problems’

8 months ago
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With the match being so absolutely rotten on Saturday, people have had to find something else to talk about.

Nobody on either side looked like a Premier League level player on the day, so no TV montages of dribbles/skills etc.

I saw the club promoting ‘extended match highlights’, which of course I didn’t bother with, I had more fun imagining just what they could have included in normal highlights – never mind extended ones.

With nothing else to debate/analyse, instead we have seen Kenedy getting an over the top amount of time spent on his performance.

He had a game to forget and the fact the Brazilian fluffed a last second penalty that would have given Newcastle a totally undeserved victory, ensured he would be the first thing talked about by the pundits when the final whistle blew.

It later turned out that the statisticians had come up with a stat that showed Kenedy had failed to complete a pass to a teammate in the entire first half, it being 2010 apparently since any PL player had done the same.

The icing on the cake was his stupid kicking out at a Cardiff player after he’d been fouled by another. Ridiculous as that was, it was no worse than a later Harry Arter one on Joselu that was far more likely to have caused a serious injury. The Cardiff midfielder only getting a yellow, which was what Kenedy deserved probably.

As for the Chelsea loan player’s overall performance, yes it was bad but in the context of the game it only really stood out because he never hid. He kept on going trying to create something with his trademark dribbles, only to run into trouble pretty much every time.

On the subject of not hiding, this was summed up when despite having a stinker he was willing to take the penalty. You want players like that in your team, as opposed to the rest of them who just stood there and let it happen. Not that I necessarily think that say Lascelles should have taken it, but he could have stepped in and had a word, saying to Kenedy that on this occasion why not let say Shelvey shoulder the responsibility, as he’d done relatively ok?

It’s a simple fact that if you are a flair player, then you will have matches where it all goes wrong, unless you are a Messi or Ronaldo.

The not making a first half pass to a teammate is a bit of a red herring anyway, with Newcastle having so little movement and creativity in the other attacking players on show on Saturday, unless Kenedy created something out of nothing with one of his runs, we weren’t going to be scoring.

The big problem for Newcastle isn’t that Kenedy didn’t pass enough, it is that we have/had too many players who are only capable of the most simple pass. The other teams obviously know that as well.

It was transparent against Cardiff that the opposition were worried about Kenedy but very comfortable dealing with Perez and Joselu, whilst Ritchie grafted all game as usual but is incapable of beating his man.

With Diame so far in these two games looking more like the one we watched in the first 18 months of his Newcastle career, the problems are stacking  up for Rafa Benitez.

In today’s game full-backs are a key part of any successful team but Newcastle’s were woeful on Saturday.

No surprise that Manquillo was hopeless, we had seen enough of him already to know that. Never in a million years would he get a game for another Premier League team and Murphy had the beating of him every time.

On the other side, Paul Dummett is steady as you go but being an average defender and zero contribution in an attacking sense, is nowhere near close to what we need.

No wonder Rafa was desperate to bring in another left-back option. He wasn’t even allowed to pay ¬£6m for Bristol City’s Joe Bryan and having watched highlights of him playing for Fulham against Spurs at Wembley, his performance just summed up how limited Dummett is.

Great as a squad player and arguably a far better centre-back than he is a left-back, Dummett not crossing the halfway line is a massive problem. Fulham did get beat but they created plenty going forward and a fair few times that was due to Joe Bryan getting down the left and putting in great crosses, including for the Mitrovic goal.

In fact, watching Match of The Day, pretty much every PL club relied on their full-backs for a decent proportion of their attacking moves. I can’t remember Manquillo and Dummett contributing anything in the attacking third.

Newcastle United are far too predictable and Jonjo Shelvey’s big strength was pointless on Saturday, his long-range passing is a waste of time when he looks up and sees Perez and Joselu in front of him.

Obviously we are all hoping Rondon and Muto can make a difference but already we are playing catch up, two poor results and new signings where Rafa hasn’t been in a position to even start them.

Social media and too many pundits fighting for airtime, lead to situations like Saturday’s, where far too much is made of a young inexperienced flair player such as Kenedy having a rubbish match.

Through the ages the likes of Jinky Smith, David Ginola, Laurent Robert and plenty others have given very up and down performances in their time at Newcastle, Kenedy’s has been little different so far, but with a largely mediocre team around him, far too much has been expected of the loan player.
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