By Neil Langer
I won’t lose too much sleep over a draw away from home, but there were some worrying signs yesterday.
Once again it was disappointing to see none of the pre-season signings start. Does this say a lot about the standard of players we’ve bought or are they simply not ‘match fit’ yet?
Rafa mustn’t feel like Rondon is ready physically just yet, Ki is yet to feature and it will take time for Schar, Muto and Fernandez to settle before they find themselves a regular starting spot.
The first half was poor, but the second half was worse. There were no standout players, although Shelvey would be my pick, with Lascelles also putting in a solid display.
Diame on his first two outings looks well off the pace and lost the ball on so many occasions. Matt Richie has every right to feel disappointed when substituted – he’s one of few who always gives 110% and constantly tries to make things happen (even if he was given little support in Yedlin’s absence.
Manquillo – I don’t even know where to start with him. He has never impressed and was left wanting throughout the first period. He may have been subbed via an ‘injury’, but Rafa had every right to haul him off purely based on his performance.
Hayden’s sending off was reckless, but you could see that coming after he’s been left frustrated that the club haven’t allowed him to leave. It does make you wonder if this was the act of a player desperate to leave.
I like Kennedy a lot, but he often looks like a player who feels he has more ability than he actually has. He tries a little too hard with the skill and needs to focus on doing the simple things right.
The penalty miss came as no surprise, particularly on his overall performance. If his petulant kick-out in the first half had been spotted, referee Craig Pawson would have shown red – so perhaps it’s justice that he missed.
We watched two poor teams on this performance and as promising as the Spurs game was, this was so disappointing.
Muto came on for 30 minutes but showed very little, leaving us little to be positive about.
However, the Toon do seem to raise their game for the tastier fixtures and struggle for motivation against the so called easier opponents, which is just as well with Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal coming up.
On this showing, Cardiff looked every bit a bankers for relegation, which makes the Toons performance look even worse.
A missed opportunity to take all three, but we move on.