Saturday’s game against Swansea City saw Davide Santon keep his left-back slot after he was awarded his full Premier League debut at Carrow Road in the 4-2 defeat the previous week.
In the game against the Canaries, the Italian U21 international showed the Newcastle faithful that he had ounces of pace and looked very comfortable when in possession of the ball. This was a game where the back four were all fullbacks by nature. Santon was thrown in the deep end and acquitted himself very well. He showed that he enjoyed joining in the attacks that the team started and also was looking to overlap with the left-midfielder in front of him.
The game against the Swans saw Santon retain his place in the side and he continued to make strides from the display that he had against the Canaries. His full league debut seemed to give him even more confidence and he looked very solid in his natural position. He headed the ball away numerous times and again was comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Santon’s pace was an asset that he used effectively when joining in on Newcastle’s attacks. He contributed many crosses into the box for the team to attack but they did not find there way to the strikers. It was nice to see that he was confident enough to take on the Swansea defenders and then fire a low cross into the box and he showed that he is a capable threat as an attacking full-back. That bodes very well for the future as this was one of our strong points during last season with Gutierrez and Jose Enrique down the left-hand side of the pitch.
There were links beginning to be formed between Gutierrez and Santon during this game too. Bear in mind that this was the first time that they had played a competitive game with each other, they had no previous playing time together and they had to get used to each others style of play. They seemed to be a perfect match for each other, Gutierrez must have been relieved that he no longer had to cover and help out Ryan Taylor.
This freed him up to be a part of the attacks that the team made and he did not need to worry that he had to come back and help Raylor out. He knew Santon would be able to deal with that effectively as that is his natural position. No doubt this is going to be a partnership that becomes better and better as the season progresses and the two of them will now become a very strong element in Alan Pardew’s side and add another dimension to our attacking threat.
Credit must go to Alan Pardew as he has taken his time to integrate the Italian into the side. He had previously made a substitute appearance against Tottenham Hotspur in the 2-2 draw but since then he found himself kept out of the side by Ryan Taylor. Although many did call for him to be put in the side, Ryan Taylor’s form was instrumental in keeping him out.
Taking the time to integrate him into the side would have allowed him to settle into his new club and get to know his team-mates. Injuries forced Alan Pardew to reshuffle his sides defensive back four and this then allowed Santon to come into the side and there is no doubt that he will keep his place after his two impressive displays in his last two matches.
Do you think Santon should keep his place?