Accidental damnation from Jonjo Shelvey?
No doubt you will have all seen the frankly absurd claims from the pedestrian midfielder, Jonjo Shelvey, that he somehow thinks Newcastle’s threadbare squad is better than Champions League chasing West Ham’s.
There are several issues with that claim…
Along with the fact that if it was true, he’s completely thrown his manager under the bus, usually it’s the other way round with Steve Bruce.
No one is going to claim that West Ham have a Champions League ready squad, but just by performances alone, they are miles ahead of us.
Having seen a fair few of their matches this season, they always run themselves into the ground and never let a ball go uncontested, something we are known to be terrible at. I can guarantee that West Ham wouldn’t be getting battered 3-0 from goal shy Brighton twice in a season.
They also have great replacements in every position for when first choices are unavailable. One of the main worries for them was their lack of striking options, but even with Haller sold and Antonio injured, they still have been racking up the goals and staying competitive. Again, compare that with us, and Bruce continually bemoaning that his job is basically impossible when only two or three players are out injured. Not really comparable is it?
Obviously there’s nothing wrong with having a first choice in positions, but if it means you’re going to fall apart every time someone is out injured, it’s not a very sustainable way to plan going forward.
The West Ham game plan and tactics have also been miles ahead of ours, and the squad they have has allowed them to do that. Direct counter attacking isn’t something often seen in top four contenders, but Moyes has it working for them, and why not? Again, this is compared with Steve “not a tactics man” Bruce, who seems to defy logic with some of his line ups and team choices. That’s nothing to do with the squads, rather the manager, which leads me to my final point.
Surely, if Jonjo Shelvey is right (which he isn’t), that means that the main difference between two similar squads this season is that one has a very good manager who is getting the best out of his team, and the other has a very bad manager that is hamstringing his team at every turn.
In my opinion, even though the Hammers clearly are better than us at the moment, there isn’t an entire table’s worth of difference between the West Ham and Newcastle squads, but the main difference is the manager and tactics.
Looks like Jonjo Shelvey hit the nail on the head, even if it was by accident. Oops.
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