Did the Everton game show Newcastle United’s strengths, or weaknesses?

Posted on November 8th, 2011 | 25 Comments |

Newcastle United's dugout last Saturday.
Newcastle United's dugout last Saturday.
After a gutsy win over Everton this weekend I picked myself up from the floor after a nervous last 20 minutes or so and began to wonder, “Did the performance display Newcastle United’s squad depth and quality, or did it highlight our lack of it?”

Let me explain. Most so called “pundits” have attributed the main factor of our success to the ability to put out the same team each week without injuries, now with Gabriel Obertan, Yohan Cabaye and Sylvain Marveaux picking up little injury niggles as highlighted in a previous blog, I think a few fans are beginning to wonder how this will affect the team in the coming weeks against the big boys of the Premier League.

In the first 35 minutes or so at St James Park we dominated Everton in my opinion. They had a couple of chances with Seamus Coleman and Louis Saha but no real sustained pressure. Then the injuries began to appear. Cheik Tiote, having already been sidelined previously, was then joined by our midfield maestro, Cabaye. For me that turned the game on its head, something that Pardew agreed with. The lads that were brought on to plug the gaps so to speak (Dan Gosling, Hatem Ben Arfa etc) did the job and brought the 3 points home. However I can’t decide if it was a quality defensive display, or just Newcastle struggling with our 2nd string.

I suppose on one hand you can argue that any team than can keep Ben Arfa on the bench until late on must have a reasonable depth of squad; however I wouldn’t like to go the rest of the season with Gosling and Danny Guthrie in the centre of the park. When Tiote goes on holiday to the African Cup of Nations we will lose one of our key men, and if Cabaye is laid off through a nasty injury then we may be without our main heartbeat of the team for quite some time.

Couple that with the “ticking time bomb” knee owned by Demba Ba, and we could be back to Best (who’s been fantastic so far to be fair) and Shola Ameobi (injury prone)

I suppose what I’m saying is for me personally, in January we need another strong midfielder, a centre forward and a central defender, as otherwise we could be caught short.

NUFCBlog Author: Mick toons Mick toons is a proud nufc fan hailing from Durham. He now lives in Yorkshire with another group of hard done by fans... Leeds United Mick toons has written 13 articles on this blog.

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25 Responses

  1. Seems wor lads were weaker, as one would expect. What matters most is that MA & DL see the side as too weak to secure the 15 points needed for survival and therefore do not decide to pick up the 50 or 60 million they could in January selling off Krul, Tiote, Cabaye, HBA and Colo.

  2. Well the last couple of games has highlighted Danny Guthrie really is a quality player…for me he had out performed Cabaye and really started to show again the promise he had when he first arrived here.

    Also we have players on the bench who can come on and do a job, sammy ameobi was decent, HBA was very influencial and we have a 20 yr old italian international sitting on the bench.

    Pretty decent to be fair.

  3. Dont like the internationals, but is seems they are proving useful for our lads because they need the rest.
    players like Gutierrez, who normally dont stop running, looked really tired against Everton, so hopefully we come back after the break with Cabaye and Tiote ready to take their places in the team again and we can get strait into Man City.

    I am not expecting much from our next 3 games, but I think we could really get something from Manure and Chelsea, neither are playing very well and dont like it when people actually try and play football against them.

  4. BeeGuy – surely we’re past that sort of comment! How come you forgot the other 12 or so names in our first team squad?

  5. I still want to know how we managed to pick up three “Gilmore’s Groins” in the same afternoon?

    Could it be that our Mackem fitness guru, Richard Akenhead, is an enemy agent who has finally received his orders from the dark side to push the lads to the point of destruction as we prepare to face the big guns?

  6. Only caught second half we where awful,think if we play 2 half’s of a game well we will win the world cup…or some other cup :lol:

  7. Newcastle’s position belies the lack of ability they truly have. As an out of form Everton proved chances were carved out of the Newcastle defence far too easily. As soon as they face a team who can actually score goals they will be taken to pieces. Last season I watched Newcastle take Everton apart at Goodison with Barton and Nolan bossing the midfield. I’m sorry Geordie lads but the midlfield pair you have now ain’t a patch on those two (much as it pains me to say it – Barton and Nolan must be two of the most dispised footballers in Britain).

  8. I for one don’t think Gosling suits our style of play. He’s more of a box to box type without actually being too skillful while I think AP prefer midfielders who actually are good on the ball and always look to control the game.

  9. Byrnester Blue Tiote made his debut against Everton in the game you are talking about and was head and shoulders above both Barton and Nolan. Nolan was in his shadow all season. Give me Tiote and Cabaya ahead of any other pair thankyou very much. As far as until we play a team with goals in them we are not doing too bad so far, but then we haven’t played anyone Arsenal Spurs villa have all got fairly decent centre forwards ??

  10. Your wrong Danny. Villa are an average side,you were lucky against Villa,and you played Arsenal at the right time,because I very much doubt you’d beat them now.

  11. On the Everton game I agreed on “Leazes” on Monday that we were fortunate to have won the game but Everton are suffering from a major lack of confidence and it showed – mainly in their finishing but also in their lack of ambition.

    I took Pardwho’s point about the disruption, losing two players just over the halfway mark, but I questioned the decision to replace Marv with Sammy when HBA was raring to go and ready for more game time than he usually gets.

    If HBA had swapped wings with Jonas instead of playing his usual cameo “No. 10” role, he could have caused Hibbert some major problems down their right side just as he did at Goodison last season.

    However give the defence its due it does keep a solid line nowadays and the midfield four almost always back them up in times of crisis. I just wish we had a little more up front in terms of creativity and I wonder how long HBA will put up with bouts of inactivity especially when playing second fiddle to the paradoxiacally named Best ?

  12. Looks like we’ve had 11 lucky games in a row then Dickie, which is – er – lucky.

    When we get beat though, I expect that’ll be because we’re crap rather than ‘bad luck’.

  13. Andy Mac says:

    November 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    “If HBA had swapped wings with Jonas instead of playing his usual cameo “No. 10″ role, he could have caused Hibbert some major problems down their right side just as he did at Goodison last season.”

    But Ben Arfa isn’t a winger according to the Silver Supremo Andy, and he has no intention of playing him in that position.

    Thanks toffaz, we know that most bluenoses are alright really. ;-)

    No doubt things will pick up for you as they usually do, and you’ll be challenging for Europe again by the end of the season.

  14. How were we lucky v everton if we lost some of our best players during the game, had to rejig a makeshift second half team & still win then?
    Sounds just like luck that like, not!

    Toffaz, good lad, great attitude mate & showing a bit of class that i’d expect from a proper toffees fan.

  15. Sad to see the passing of Ashington lad Jimmy Adamson and Smoking Joe Frazier, great memories!

  16. Mick

    re ‘…in January we need another strong midfielder, a centre forward and a central defender..’

    Given that all the ‘neutral’ pundits acknowledge that we have two of the finest midfielders in the premiership in Cabaye and Tiote I wouldn’t have thought that a strong midfielder would want to come to Newcastle as he would never get a game especially as Guthrie has shown that he is more than capable of covering for an absent Tiote or Cabaye.

    Isn’t Mehdi Abeid the type of strong midfielder you were thinking of?

    Agree about central defence and centre forward.

  17. There are a few negs raising their heads again, encouraged no doubt by the dismissive posts by some frustrated Everton fans. Mick is right when he says we were in control (apart from the odd opportunity which Everton couldn’t take advantage of – you’re not going to keep a quality team like Everton totally quiet throughout) until Cabaye went off. That is what is worrying to me and underlines how important the Frenchman has become to us. On the plus side Guthrie is showing what a good player he is. I couldn’t believe what some were saying a few weeks ago that Guthrie was rubbish and should be sold, putting him in the same category as Smith and Xisco. At the same time I’m afraid Gosling is not yet up to standard really and needs more time. I would have preferred to see Gosling rather than Abeid go out on loan. I am still looking to see the team keep the ball better when we are under pressure. Did people see Fulham against Spurs 2nd half – Spurs just couldn’t get the ball back. If they can play possession like that we can too.
    Finally – to you Everton fans. I was very impressed with your team and once your strikers regain their composure then you will fly back up the league I’m sure.

  18. ByrnsterBlue says:

    November 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Newcastle’s position belies the lack of ability they truly have. As an out of form Everton proved chances were carved out of the Newcastle defence far too easily. As soon as they face a team who can actually score goals they will be taken to pieces.

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with the above statement.
    We are constantly looking weak with set pieces launched into the box from the wings. Just look at evertons goal. So simple. Not just simpsons fault either. Raylor left his post, Saylor and Colo were static ball watching.
    Krul had no chance.
    This is our achillies heel in defence and we have got away with it up to now.

  19. Come on – every team concedes this type of goal occasionally, that’s why corner kicks are considered dangerous. Defenders have to react instantly to a rapidly moving situation. They can’t be everywhere. It doesn’t mean we have a poor defence. Give a little credit to the attacking player.

  20. ‘Little’ Simpson up against ‘big’ rodwell was always gonna end that way.
    Saylor had the chance to head it clear, as the corner was a low one. But like Tony says, give the other team some credit.
    You can hardly pick on the best defence in the league for letting in 8 in 11. Arse, spuds, everton, villa, 3 goals between them. Not quite the end of the world.