I am one of those people who feel massively inconvenienced by International breaks, I feel my one day of escapism is a Saturday afternoon when I don a black and white shirt and cheer on my Club. Weekends without this merely leaves me pondering Newcastle’s next fixture rather than taking too much of an interest in The National team.
This weekend has been no different, as England went 2-0 down to Chile I was more concerned about our forthcoming fixture in which Norwich visit St James’ Park. My immediate attention was turned to the vacant right back slot that has been made available due to in form Mathieu Debuchy’s suspension that will rule him out of the fixture. The French international saw yellow for the fifth time in last weekends victory at White Hart Lane.
The right back has been in outstanding form for his club in the last few games and will be a big miss for the visit of Norwich. I think realistically we will see Davide Santon switch to right back with Dummett or Haidara slotting into the left back role. We also have Vernon Anita who is indeed very versatile and could play either left or right back if required, Yanga-Mbiwa has also played at full back for Newcastle this season.
Davide Santon has been the subject of criticism from some Newcastle fans, largely as the Italian doesn’t appear to have much of a left foot despite playing down the left hand side. His defending has been under scrutiny at times too, with many believing the youngster is good at going forward but struggles with his defensive work. It could be that Debuchy’s absence could open the door for Santon to play down the right hand side, which he may find a little more comfortable.
Vernon Anita can play full back happily so he could be another option for Alan Pardew. I recall Anita playing at right back when he came on against Aston Villa last season and looked very comfortable there. With the Dutchman able to play in a number of positions it could be that he becomes the new James Perch within the squad, the now departed Perch was Mr Versatile for Newcastle and plugged gaps all over the field.
Steven Taylor, who has missed the majority of the season with various injuries as well as suspension is another player that has played right back on a number of occasions. I remember Taylor played there away to Everton in a 2-2 draw during relegation season, he had a good game and got himself on the score sheet to boot. Steven’s fitness always appears to be a bit of a hindrance and I’m not actually too sure if he is available for next weekend. Off topic, the defender has also found himself in a spot of bother this week following an incident on Twitter.
If Santon is switched to right back it will of course then leave the left back slot vacant and you would think that the position would be filled by youngster Paul Dummett if not Haidara. As mentioned earlier Mbiwa has also played at left back for Newcastle this season and he actually looked quite steady there. Dummett saw himself quickly rise to fame following his goal scoring cameo against Liverpool last month. Paul however endured a rather difficult afternoon the next week at The Stadium of shite- a game we shall not speak of!
Personally I would opt of a back line of Santon- Willo- Colo- Yanga-Mbiwa against a Norwich. It’s a game I’m looking forward to, it’s always a pleasure to see Chris Hughton again. In fact I usually like to see Norwich do well for the sake of our former boss, but Saturday will be an exception. Let’s hope we can keep this excellent run going and build on the last two results.
What do you think? Who would you start?