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Opinion

The problem with Kenedy

8 months ago
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This isn’t a defence of Kenedy.

Well at least it isn’t a defence of his contribution to the game at Cardiff on Saturday.

He was terrible and nothing he did really came off, the only positive a free-kick that he won not far outside the Cardiff box.

Kenedy wasn’t the only Newcastle player to play poorly but he is one that stands out, which is part of his problem…and my explanation/defence.

The pundits predictably had a field day, the two stand out moments being when he should possibly ave been sent off in the first half only for the referee to seemingly totally miss something happening right in front of him, then of course that last gasp piece of action when the Brazilian’s feeble penalty was easily saved.

To put the icing on the cake, pundits and neutrals alike, gloried in the fact that Kenedy became the first Premier League player since 2010 not to manage a pass to a teammate in the entire first half of the game (see below).

A bit of a feeding frenzy taking place as for many the blame for Newcastle’s poor display was in a very over the top manner centred far too much only on the Brazilian.

I think there are any number of mitigating circumstances.

Chief amongst these is the ridiculous reliance that is put on Kenedy to create, due to a refusal by Mike Ashley to back Rafa Benitez with the cash needed to bring in creative players of quality this summer.

Jonjo Shelvey can of course hit killer passes but games like yesterday with Perez and Joselu up front, you can sense the former Liverpool player’s frustration. The pair totally lack any real pace and their movement is so poor, making it all but impossible for Shelvey to pick either of them out, Dwight Gayle may have his faults but he was the one who the midfielder was always trying to pick out. Here’s hoping that once Muto and Rondon are in the team, they will give Jonjo Shelvey what he needs.

In the meantime, the normal course of things usually sees the ball shuffled around the pitch until it reaches Kenedy, then he is the once expected to try and do something on his own.

I remember his very first game last season at home to Burnley, straight away he gave Newcastle an attacking/creative outlet that had been totally missing, somebody who could and would run with the ball – not another Newcastle player capable of this, apart from occasionally Yedlin with his full speed head down charges forward.

I found it a bit embarrassing that on that day of his debut against Burnley, the rest of the team were passing up all responsibility themselves and just giving the ball to Kenedy, expecting him then to do it all on his own. A bit like in the playground when one player is so much better than the rest. This really summed up the lack of quality and creativity in the Newcastle team/squad.

Remember, this is a player who even now has only started 19 top level (Premier League) matches in his careers, including yesterday at Cardiff.

I thought it was quite clear that Cardiff were targeting Kenedy all game, they knew he was the only real threat even though not on form on the day, they always made sure they had numbers to stop him. The left footer made it easy for them on this occasion but to his credit he never stopped trying, whilst most of his teammates failed to take responsibility themselves in trying to make something happen.

Last weekend it was a similar story with Tottenham knowing where the real/only threat lay, Kenedy was repeatedly fouled and two Spurs players booked for bringing him down.

Quite stunning really that we are so reliant on a 22 year old inexperienced loan player to make things happen, a direct effect of Mike Ashley refusing to allow Newcastle to compete for the players Rafa needed.

I have seen Newcastle fans question why Rafa kept Kenedy on the pitch and subbed Ritchie instead. Well Matt Ritchie has his strengths but the manager would have known if he brought Kenedy off then he was taking away the only player that really bothered Cardiff City.

Here’s hoping that the extra quality, movement and strength of Rondon and Muto can make Newcastle an all round more potent attacking force, then it will be a lot easier for Kenedy to be working his own magic.

Though maybe keep him off the penalties from this point on….(though even with that, Kenedy had the bottle to take it, I didn’t see anybody else fighting to get the ball).

BBC Sport:

The Brazilian, seemingly under the nose of referee Craig Pawson, inexplicably kicked out at Spanish midfielder Victor Camarasa. It happened quick as a flash, with TV replays showing the official was not looking in the direction of the incident.

The summer signing earned the ignominy of failing to complete a single pass – in fact he only attempted two – and became the first player not to find a team-mate with a single pass in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League match since Blackburn’s Nikola Kalinic against Birmingham City in March 2010.

Kenedy must have seen the stats at half-time because his passing accuracy improved to 57.1% from 14 passes.

Warnock, with a smile on his face, said it was “poetic justice”.

“My dad used to say ‘what goes around, comes around.

“Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. The lad Kenedy shouldn’t have been on the pitch.”
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