Saturday seemed to be the day where the luck ran out as both of our centre-backs succumbed to injury.
This was one of the sore points for Alan Pardew in his post-match musings as he, quite rightly, bemoaned the loss of his first-choice centre-backs through injury.
In the 28th minute of the match against Chelsea, Fabricio Coloccini was replaced by James Perch due to the Argentinan suffering a thigh injury. The wind was knocked out of our sails in defence as we truly missed the qualities of our captain, but credit must go to James Perch who became more settled as the game went on. Perch impressed many with his display on Saturday and Pardew gave a clear indication after the game that Perch will find himself involved against Norwich City at Carrow Road this coming weekend.
What was more devastating was the way in which Steven Taylor flopped straight to the ground in the 89th minute of the match. Immediately it was obvious to all those in the stadium that Steven Taylor had suffered a bad injury, he eventually did get back up and carried on running but it was obvious he was in huge discomfort.
The news came through on Sunday that Steven Taylor had suffered a serious achilles injury and that he is set to miss the rest of the season. This must be devastating for the Geordie as he has put in some very strong and solid performances over the course of the season so far.
There is now a dilemma for who Alan Pardew includes alongside James Perch in the game against Norwich. For me the obvious option would be the Hungarian international Tamas Kadar, although the messages coming out of Pardew seem to suggest that the lad needs to do more in training and focus on a career at Newcastle.
In our Championship winning season, Kadar found himself involved in several games for the Magpies and he put in several performances that showed he is capable of playing for us. Making the step up to Premier League level from Championship will be a big one for the young Magyar but to me he seems the obvious option out of those available at this current time. You never know, if he puts in performances that shows Pardew that he truly wants to play for this club then he could find himself alongside Fabricio Coloccini in the near future once he has returned from the sidelines.
Mike Williamson could find himself involved again in the near future for Alan Pardew, although he is not fully fit yet. Pardew said last week that Williamson had just begun running again and that suggests to me that he is nowhere near match fitness. If Williamson regains his fitness in the next couple of weeks, he may find himself back into the fold after having his place taken by Steven Taylor when he suffered a freak training ground incident.
I think Williamson could do a good job for us but he will have to stop holding on to attackers as that may prove costly at one point, if he works on that then perhaps he will make a claim for a place in Alan Pardew’s defence. I suspect he won’t be risked until he is fully fit and perhaps by then our captain, Coloccini may have recovered from his injury and we may see him alongside our Argentine captain.
Ryan Taylor had a game to forget on Saturday and perhaps now is the time to introduce Davide Santon into the fold. Sturridge had the run around of Raylor all day and he has been outdone by the opposition in the last three games. With Pardew having to make changes to the side in central defence, I think it would be worth a try introducing Santon in the next few games against Norwich, Swansea and West Brom. Up until now, the Liverpudlian has kept out the Italian U21 International but based on his last few performances I would like so see Santon given a chance, he was signed as a LB so surely we should start to use him?
The priority for Pardew in the January transfer window must now be a centre-back due to the injuries that we unfortunately suffered at the weekend. Liam Ridgewell looked set to make his way to the club only for the deal to break down in the last few hours of the summer window. I would like to see us go for him again as he proved at Birmingham that he is an accomplished centre-back who can chip in with his fair share of goals.
I’m sure Ridgewell would jump at the chance to come to a club that is doing very well at the moment and with Birmingham seemingly looking like they are out of Europe then we can offer him a return to the Premier League. Ridgewell can also offer cover for left-back as well so if anything does indeed happen to Santon then we have someone who can offer cover at that position.
Now this is just wishful thinking and only a suggestion but this could be a potential lineup if we do indeed sign Ridgewell: Santon, Williamson, Coloccini, Ridgewell. Santon could be operated at right-back as he is capable of playing there and then that would allow Ridgewell to fill in at left-back. I can only dream but to me that would be a very strong back four if we did manage to sign Liam Ridgewell.
It will be interesting to see who will play alongside Perch this weekend and to see who Pardew is after in the window in order to strengthen his backline.
Who do you think will partner Perch? Who would you buy in order to strengthen our backline?