Saturday’s match against Blackburn Rovers saw the return of Hatem Ben Arfa after a lengthy lay off.
It was great to see him return on the St James’ Park turf. There was a great reception for the Frenchman and he got himself involved in the time that he was on the field by very nearly setting up Leon Best after some clever play.
The game also saw Sylvain Marveaux joining in on the action after a very impressive display in our Carling Cup win over Nottingham Forest. He too has had a long time off the pitch due to an injury that he sustained last season. However Marveaux has begun to show that he can indeed be a very talented and influential player for us.
With news coming that Davide Santon is set to play for the reserves against Swansea on Wednesday night. It makes me wonder whether this particular trio will make their way into our matchday line up or find themselves integrated into the game during the latter stages of the second half.
The current team that have played all six games in the Premier League are unbeaten. There have been performances from the players in our unbeaten side that have been top notch. So a question came to mind that made me wonder whether these players can get into the side with the way that they are playing at the moment.
Many earmark Hatem Ben Arfa to play a number ten role for us, perhaps behind one striker but with the combination of Leon Best and Demba Ba seemingly working so effectively would it be the right decision by our gaffer to disrupt this blossoming partnership?
In my eyes I think it would not be a good idea to change the way that these two are playing at the moment. Although Leon Best did not score against Blackburn he was provider for Ba and he knew exactly where his strike-partner was. If both of these players continue they way that they are and deliver the goods for us, I see that it will be tough for Ben Arfa to gain the number ten spot that he looks certain to play in.
Sylvain Marveaux has certainly been making moves to stake claim to the left-midfield slot. He performed very well in the Carling Cup and he is a natural left-footer who can cross the ball superbly. The Frenchman seems to be nipping at the heels of Jonas Gutierrez to make it into the starting eleven. However Jonas has showed that he is a player that we can rely on when we have a player who does not normally play at left-back playing there.
In all the games that Jonas has played with Ryan Taylor behind he has been a vital link in helping his fellow team-mate out. Now if Marveaux came into that position, would he be able to give him the same protection as Jonas does when he is playing at this position? Marveaux looks a very talented player for us and he will be knocking on Gutierrez’s door to lay claim to that left-midfield position.
Davide Santon makes his comeback for the reserves on Wednesday night after having his knee drained of fluid. When Jose Enrique left for Liverpool during the summer transfer window, Ryan Taylor was not the name on the lips of many Toon supporters to be the one to play in his absence. However I think he has shown to us that he is capable of putting in a decent shift for us during a whole match.
At times he has had his bad moments but there have been equally fantastic moments when he has played in that position. Hopefully Santon makes a successful comeback during the reserve game and is deemed fully fit, he will certainly looking to be competing with Raylor for the left-back slot. If Santon is fully fit would it be right to switch for a player who has been playing well at left-back for Santon who needs time to adjust to the English League. I’m not sure what would happen but for me Santon is an actual left-back whereas Ryan Taylor isn’t. Only the manager can decide what will happen.
In these three positions we have areas where players are pushing for a place in the team. However is right to break up the team that is so far unbeaten in the league?
The group of players who have played week in week out in those games have shown that they are able to gain points in the games that they play. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it is the phrase that comes to mind, this team has been playing so well in recent matches would it be right to disband these players? Perhaps the team should be left as it is for the foreseeable future and then allow how the next games go to allow Pardew to decide to make the wholesale changes to the side.
What do you think?