A case for the defence?

Colo's been good, but he's also been bad.
In this article I’m going to focus on the United defence and some certain misconceptions that seem to have developed as a result of last season.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem to believe that our defence has become a lot more stable this season when compared to the shambles that it has been in the past. I agree, to a point, but I also feel that it is the defence that has let us down and stopped us from reaching a higher place in the league table. Not that I’m unhappy with 12th place, but it could and probably should have been just that little bit better.

A lot of people seem to point towards our attack as our weakness. Fine, I’ll even hold my hands up and say that I’ve done much the same myself. But as I was hammering down the motorway with a coach full of happy punters who were delighted with their cheap ticket price for inter-city travel πŸ˜‰ I suddenly realised that perhaps I’ve been a bit harsh on our attack. Maybe we’ve all been a bit harsh on our attack.

Now I know that our strikers need improving. It’s glaringly obvious to many of us and hopefully it will be something that is addressed over the summer months. At times we have struggled to score goals, even with Andy Carroll, but that is only one of the two fundamentals of football. Sure you can score one more than the other team to win a match, but by that token it’s also fair to say that you’ll not lose a match if you don’t allow the opponent to score a goal. George Graham built a title-winning team with that same mantra!

So with that in mind I’d like to pinpoint some of the blame for our topsy-turvy results firmly on our defenders. They’ve all played a part in costing us points, which will happen, but to me it’s happened far too regularly considering the praise that they have received.

Sunday was the prime example of what I am talking about. Only one defender can come out of the match with acclaim whilst the rest can reflect on the individual errors that they made which resulted in us letting slip a three goal lead.

It’s not the first time it’s happened either. Sloppy defending and a lack of concentration has plagued us throughout the season. Stoke, Liverpool, Sunderland and Bolton away with Tottenham and Manchester City at home immediately spring to mind. Now in certain games we got thumped, but we didn’t exactly help ourselves with our defending. Against Man City we were two goals down in five minutes which is never a good start to make to a Premier League match.

Then there are the games where it has cost us points. A mad few days which saw us concede injury time equalisers against Tottenham and Sunderland cost us four points in the end. A bit more luck and more concentration from our defence and we’d have ended up in 8th place!

Now I know it’s all what could have been, but it’s costing us points and needs to stop. The individual errors are part and parcel of the game – even the best make them. The best also keep them to a minimum and can focus until the final whistle, not just until the 90-minute mark is reached.

Am I being too hard on our defence? Possibly. I mean they have the ability as they have all demonstrated it at times throughout the season. Fabricio Coloccini has been outstanding this season, as has Jose Enrique while Steven Taylor looks rejuvenated judging by his last few performances. Mike Williamson has done better than many expected and Danny Simpson has been decent.

However, all of them have a habit of switching off, which is costing the team points. No matter how many goals a team score they will never win the amounts of games they could do if they are switching off at the back and conceding just as many.

That needs to stop!

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

72 thoughts on “A case for the defence?

  1. I dont think ur been harsh on the defense , but we need to defend as a team. I would like us to sign a new right back to improve the team during the summer, I do think Simpson has played well but we need to improve the team and that is one area i would strenghten

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  2. My head says our defense next season will be;

    Harper
    Simpson S.Taylor Coloccini M’bengue

    My heart says;

    Forster
    Clyne Samba Coloccini Enrique πŸ™„

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  3. I would argue that we need a better RB and CB. It is all well and good having good players but we all agree we want to push on and improve so why not get a better RB than we have, a better CB than Willo to push Collo all the way. LB has always been the focus but we could do with all round strenghtening. If I am right cant Gosling play RB? It would seemingly be the only easy way for him to get into the team should all these rumours pan out

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  4. Bigger. Got within two paragraphs of finishing a fresh article and my web voucher expired. Will finish it when I’m back home but this thread will have to keep you occupied for a bit. Sorry πŸ™

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  5. It is all about the squad evolving and getting stronger. In one transfer window you cannot address every postion in the team. You prioritise. Yes we need a better centre back than Taylor and Williamson and a better right back than Simpson but the attack is our focus this time round. The guys mentioned aren’t bad players but don’t have that quality of a top six premier league player. Be patient.

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  6. If we could sign a decent RB with Simpson as cover and teach Tiote to tackle a bit less aggressively we could have a pretty solid back four IMHO

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  7. Tis alright toonsy. We still have plenty to discuss with the gameiro and gervinho rumors.

    On topic of the thread, I have to agree. In the dying moments of many of our games the defense has seemed to let up their concentration that little bit

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  8. WTF “BREAKING NEWS: Newcastle will not offer Joey Barton a new contract once current deal expires in 2012”

    PR hardball or madness?

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  9. Or perhaps try and get someone like O’Shea who can play across the back 4?

    Of course we need to prioritise, but as the article points out perhaps we do need to strenghten the back 4

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  10. Too true Toby. Although left back has been prioritized regardless of Jose staying or not.
    I just hope that in January we aren’t saying that well need another left back cuz the one we got is crap for us

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  11. Gutted about barton like. Hopefully this will be just the club playing hardball like they did with Steven Taylor. Although Barton doesn’t strike me as a person to be bullied into anything.

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  12. Aye Stardust lets hope there isn’t an official quote…… But his agent seems to be pretty sure

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  13. Look man, Barton was offered a 2 year deal with an optional 3rd. He didnt want it so wont sign. His choice. Werent we on about not pandering to the needs of people like Judas not so long ago?

    If he doesnt get the deal he wants then sell him. Frankly with all the names linked would he get into the team ahead of Gervinho, HBA, Tiote, Nolan, Gosling, Jonas, Menez, Nzog? If he wants away then let him go now so we can get money and a replacement in a la Enrique. I want them both to stay but not if it means ripping up the books to do it

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  14. Raffo I agree, but its still sad to see one of the performers of the season leave. He doesn’t just offer his skills on the pitch imo, but a lot in the changing room and the overall team spirit.

    Can’t see Nolan and Enrique being happy about this and I don’t think I would be if I were in their shoes either.

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  15. I know, I cant stand all these comments on how its always the clubs and ashleys fault. I am not Ashley lover by any means but there are 2 sides to every story for christ sake.

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  16. Raffo – Didn’t say there wasn’t. I would defintely want to go into next season and beyond with Barton in the side than not have him.

    Just saying.

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  17. David, very good point about Nolan and Enrique. This could be the final straw for Jose. Adios el Toro

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  18. Im not going to jump the gun and be upset about something that hasnt happened yet so to speak but I think this would be very short sighted by the club , Barton was my player of the season for us , I always felt when he played well we played well. This of course could be a ploy from Bartons agent to get him a longer deal ( which I think he is worth ). We just have to wait and see.

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  19. MsiDouglas Mark Douglas

    Re: Barton. Similar game played over Steven Taylor. He ended up staying. Oldest trick in the book from Mr McKay #nufc

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  20. I dont think anyone will sign him for anywhere the wages he wants and he’ll end up sigining up. I know a club can use the transfer fee they havent paid for wages, but i doubt any clubs would give him the 50 grand a week we are probably offering. Cant think of any except maybe the scum or Villa. What other club would he get in the team/ be welcome at and could afford his wages?
    Man Utd/Chelsea/Arsenal/Man City/Tottenham all wouldnt sign him
    Liverpool — cant go because of Gerrard (though literally as i;ve typed this I think it may be likely to link up with Andy again)
    Everton/Fulham/Stoke/Bolton etc — Cant afford his wages

    Thoughts on my theory?

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  21. Balls to you Dantoon!! Was just doing that myself! Has my follow request worked as my comp seems to be playing up

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  22. Barton is a proven winner in my books. I can understand the front office not want to be having him around as deadwood when he loses his edge, but he should have 2 more good years in him. So offer him a contract that is heavily loaded with bonuses that he can earn either in the next two years or as icing on the cake if he soldiers on into his 30’s. I’d think Joey is the kind of guy that would bit the bullet and earn every penny of a deal.

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  23. As some of you are saying it might be playing hardball from either side. But I do believe that Willie McKay is a source of evil. Much like Paul Stretford. If Barton, god forbid, is leaving, it will be all down to McKay. Hope we sign Barton. He has so much passion for football and the club and the man knows his way around passing a ball.

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  24. Definately smells like a ploy from his agent to get him a better deal, didn’t get what “he” wanted for Joey so blabbed to the press πŸ‘Ώ πŸ‘Ώ hopefully he will sign just as Taylor did

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  25. The Barton-club stand off’s no more than that – who blinks first.

    My worry is that it may have an effect on Nolan’s thinking!

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  26. This cat and mouse game is what I hate most about this time of year….
    rawrcycle πŸ˜•

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  27. I think we need to keep faith in Krul and hope he can continue to improve. Linking up with the Holland team shouldn’t do him any harm. That would ba a progressive step IMO whereas going back to Harper would be a negitive/cautious step.

    Rumours are flying around all over the place and the one thing that worries me is the players I think we need to aquire. As a bare minimum I think we need 2 strikers (or one CF and one forward i.e Gervinho) and 2 fullbacks (LB if Enrique leaves and RB). These positions are like the hardest possible to buy for and we need 4. An extra midfielder and winger would be a priority but I will start to worry if we start buying loads of midfielders and nothing else. If we can keep the 3 CH’s and most of our midfielders and Best and Ameobi as back up then we should be okay in other areas IMO.

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  28. Barton: just wait and see; it’s obviously some posturing between arseholes – the agent and Lame Arse, specifically. If Joey has any sense he’ll ditch that leech and just do what’ll make him happy, i.e. sign for the Toon on a deal that makes sense. That means not too long and not too expensive.

    He can wait and see who wants a 29-year-old convict at 50k a week if he likes. He won’t like the answer. Here he’s generally loved and recognised for his passion and contribution. That simply won’t happen elsewhere.

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  29. Back on thread: I think you only have to realise that we scored more this season than in the previous 10, and yet finished bottom half, to realise we’ve let a lot in too.

    Toonsy’s spot on (dammit, man – that’s getting annoying!) with his analysis. The talent and performance is there; it’s the consistency and lapses in concentration we have to work on now.

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  30. lee_ryder Lee Ryder
    #nufc Barton WAS offered a new contract today and in January and turned them both down, both pretty lucrative too
    5 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

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  31. I gt a weird feeling/thinking about this whole situation.

    It does seems to me that some players have such thinking,”Well,i have done my part in helping to stablising the club,is time for me to leave”…. πŸ™„

    If is true,then we are gonna be prepared to see a whole New NUFC in the upcoming seasons. 😐

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  32. They should take that agent and stick him in a barrell with the boss of Ryanair and a pile of angry wasps, then push the lot off a cliff. Scum of the earth.

    (Can you BELIEVE what that Ryanair arsehole tried on yesterday?? What an utter cnut!)

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  33. Whumpie – how about a cheeky bid for someone like O’Shea, can play across the back 4 and is solid, probably better than Simo and Kadar? I know theres dozens of better examples but for arguments sake!

    Dan – now following. Not sure why it wouldnt let me before

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  34. Whumpie

    I think with a genaral increased quality in the team and more ball retention the results would start to improve; it’s not just the fault of the defense. Collo has been immense but if someone gets 20 runs on him in a game and he stops 18 or 19 of them, 1 or 2 times they are gonna get through and score. How many times do you see strikers getting a run on Vidic or Smalling usually in a game? 4 or 5 times?

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  35. To be fair when Tiote is playing we don’t appear to concede as many – shows the invaluable nature of a good DMF

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  36. lads do you’s not think that the Joey B saga is maybe more about playing hardball while waiting to see the ambition of the club.
    Yes he could have been told of the ambitions of the club, but knowing what the fat controller is like he is maybe waiting to see some proof.
    If the club is going in the right direction I will have no fear of Joey staying on.

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  37. I got a real feeling that Barton will leave on free. πŸ˜•

    It doesn’t seems like S.taylor saga.

    Maybe if they transfer listed Barton now. 😈

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  38. nufcfans NUFCfans

    Sources close to the club are confident Barton will sign deal offered because it is a very good deal. #NUFC #fb

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  39. What if this is pards trying to gut the team and make it his own? 😯
    With Joey and Nolan around they have a lot of power in the dressing room. I doubt this as not too long ago, Joey said he enjoys working with pards and there are also reports that pards is going to fight for Nolan.
    Right then… I’m arguing with myself now… πŸ˜•

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  40. DJG – very good point. That’s the value of having a Tiote in there; to reduce the frequency of the CBs having to even challenge.

    Anyone else think we should put Willo back in next to Colo and play Saylor as a striker? πŸ˜†

    (He does score twice as often per appearance as Judas…) 😈

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  41. AOD @ 55 – Of course we can. We just need to either clone him or buy a suitable backup πŸ™‚ Dont think his style needs too much tampering tbh.

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  42. I expect Joey to sign. It makes sense to nobody except that festering turd of an agent for him to do anything else.

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  43. Dan I hope that’s true, but then why the lies? πŸ‘Ώ
    I mean is he NOT going to be offered a deal or has he been offered a good one? 😐

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  44. AOD – that was my point – he didn’t play in 10 games so the article maybe misses that and blames the back line – which on the whole was decent this year

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  45. Whumpie – I think we should try S. Taylor out on right back. He charges up the field quite often which is not too good as a central defender. Maybe stick him on right back and let him loose up field??? He could be that goal scoring threat we are seeking πŸ˜€

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  46. I think our defense was miles better than our attack and if either side cost us points it was the attack. Even when we were scoring goals they were mostly from set pieces or long balls to Carroll. We are desperately needing some guile and creativity.
    Plus some of those injury time goals came while we were all out attacking looking to score the goal to end the game, thus leaving the back exposed

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  47. I think Barton will sign a new contract. I’d only get worried if the news was coming from NUFC and the official website instead of Barton’s agent. Both sides are trying to get the best deals and let’s hope he signs soon.

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  48. If Joey stays, his agent gets a few hundred grand for his trouble. If he moves, the agent’s fees can get into the millions. Naturally the agent tries to stir as much shite as possible between his clients and their employers, so they move on regardless of whether it’s a good idea.

    Judas for instance. That agent probably made about Β£4m from the deal – not bad for a few hours’ work. Meanwhile it’s hard to see how AC is better off, or Liverpool, or even us. Out of the three, we’re probably the winners – but the agent is laughing all the way to a catering pack of assorted whores on a private beach somewhere in the Indian ocean. The cnut.

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  49. Whumpie – Isnt there also rumours about judas not being happy in bindip city??? It just raises the question even further! Why are there agents in football??? Why cant player negotiate themselves like a normal person would do???

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  50. Amen to that. My brother doesnt even have an agent, may prove difficult next season but I dont think he has designs on getting one either.

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  51. Whumpie:
    “but the agent is laughing all the way to a catering pack of assorted whores on a private beach somewhere in the Indian ocean. The cnut.”

    …….Just read that and spat me morning tea al ower me works computer! …..fooookin pissin mesel m8 :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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