Don’t be fooled by our defence

Is the Colo/Taylor partnership as good as the stats suggest?
A lot of people have been quick to congratulate our defence for the part that they’ve played in what has been a pretty damn good start to the new season.

On the surface of it some may feel that the compliments are warranted. I mean here we are, four games in, having only conceded one goal in the league. Can you really ask for more?

There is such a thing as being blinded by statistics. Many people will quickly point out to me that we have the join best defensive record in the Premier League. I will of course counter that by suggesting that an awful lot of luck has come into the equation, and that it’s that luck which has played more of a part than our supposedly rock solid defence.

Not that I’m complaining of course. To a certain extent you need a bit of luck on the football pitch, and God knows how many times we’ve had luck go against us in the past. In fact I remember at one time last season where we every shot against us seemed to end up being deflected past Tim Krul in goal.

I guess it all boils down how you define a decent defensive display. A clean sheet can cover up a whole host of issues, and to me that is what is happening right now. Even our players, namely Steven Taylor and Danny Simpson, are in the press lauding our defensive solidarity which some may say they are quite within their rights to do.

Not me.

Whilst keeping these clean sheets should be praised, it should also be recognised that we’ve been lucky, very lucky, at times. It’s not as if we’ve snuffed out the opposition attacks and limited their chances to perhaps one or two in each game.

In quite a lot of games we’ve had our backs against the wall. Against Arsenal we probably just about deserved a clean sheet, but against Sunderland we were lucky not concede from a succession of chances for the home side. Fulham was much the same and obviously we all know what happened at QPR the other night. Against any one of those teams it could have been so different.

To me a solid defensive display means that we restrict the chances created against us. The reality is that we just haven’t done that. We’ve made a decent fist of last ditch tackles and clearances off the line, but if we were really solid defensively then we wouldn’t have had to be doing those last ditch tackles and clearances so often.

In conclusion, and please don’t think that I’m looking to pick fault with things, I’m really happy that we’ve made the start we have, and that we’ve somehow ended up with a very very good defensive record to show for it. I just don’t think that our defence is playing as well as it’s being made out to be.

Does anyone else agree? Or am I just being a grumpy old Hector?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

157 thoughts on “Don’t be fooled by our defence

  1. There is always an element of luck in football, when you conced and when you score. I’ve been playing and watching the game long enough to know taht you make your own luck by working hard. You try to get back and try and get your foot in, then sometimes you do.

    All credit to the lads, lets face it they may not be pretty to watch, but every player has worked there balls off. Welll done.


  2. Aussie @ 61 : We are improving, but only because we are lucky and everybody plays ****e against. If other teams had a striker who scored every time he got within cooee of the penalty area we’d be in relegation trouble. But that’s just a matter of time.

    I can’t believe we’re even allowed on the field with people like Shola and Saylor in the team, and a bunch of other crocks and spineless foreign gits with no idea what team spirit is.

    I blame Ashley myself. The ****er is hopeless; he tries to make us into a mid-table team and can’t even get that right.

    There’s no hope. We should all catch a train to cloud cuckoo land.


  3. Big Baz – I think thats a fair comment.
    100% commitment makes a refreshing change.
    Plus good to see us playing 90+ mins. We went thru a phase pre relegation of giving up and switching off after 80 mins and we conceeded many goals in that final part of the game.
    So thats another positive 😆


  4. to all people who said that if opposing team had better striker we will be ****ed i say if we had messi xavi aguero on the team we will win the league…


  5. Stardy even if Saylor had of been droped ut wouldn’t has been his choice, as it would have been up to Nolan and it was well known that Saylor wasn’t well liked by Nolan and Co because he was too close to Shearer.


  6. Eamon from Northern Ireland, first of all i would like to say iam delighted with Newcastles results so far this season, but i think people should not get to carried away by the way the defence has performed so far, i do think we have had a lot of luck so far, i think we were quite lucky against arsenal, also we could have been 2 or 3 goals down against sunderland, before we scored, and also in the first half against fulham we could have been a few goals down, and i dont think any true fans can disagree we got out oj jail against QPR, also we havent played any of the big guns yet, i dont rate arsenal as a big gun at the moment, as a quality team would not get beat 8-2, so i thinks its better to keep out feet on the ground, and not get to carried away just yet, i also think that tiote is a pale shadow of the player he was last year, so perhaps he needs a few weeks on the bench, until he recovers his hunger and form, but over all iam very pleased by the way the the results are going, even though our form has not been great so far, ha way the lads.


  7. Hitman – He was injured but then couldn’t get in – has hardly played in the last 2 years – the last 2 years when we have looked best at the back. With an improving midfield. It should look even tighter.

    Even allowing for the vulnerability at FB – they don’t look like a partnership. Taylor has NEVER formed a partnership with anyone. His ego won’t allow him to play the game properly.


  8. According to HBA isn’t due back until 20th October 😯
    So he should just about be fit enough and raring to go when we go to man city away 😕
    Hmmmm !!!!


  9. Hitman you shouldn’t have even bothered keeping Stardy right as he was just proving how little he knows and how poisoned he is when it comes to Geordies or Geordie icons.
    The sooner I get his tattoo done the better then he wont have to explain his views to people.


  10. Hey Stardust, don’t forget that Carroll found Taylors face very punchable as well……..

    My thoughts on Taylor are…. He is a dumb defender that gives it his all…. He has talent and if he had a brain to suit he would be world class. I don’t know what it is, he just has a touch of reckless abandon around everything he does… No one could doubt his commitment to the cause though..


  11. Saylor’s a big fat ******** who gets lucky bounces off his foot and head that go in the right direction because … umm … because he’s so stupid he doesn’t know which way he is facing.


  12. @stardust

    But you never go to the matches and rarely watch them on TV and your only source of information us a ten minute slot on motd and the write up in the Sunday Sun.

    You hate the truth. 


  13. Some TOON fans are never satisfied. In my opinion S.Taylor & F.Collicini are the best centre back pairing I have seen at the Toon in a very long time maybe we have had some luck but it has been luck that is well deserved for throwing there bodies in the way at crucial moments and an awareness of what is going on around them especially from Colo. R.Taylor was found out against QPR the other night but this lad Santon looks to be the part and that will make a pretty good back 4 and with Krul in goal who is in excellent form it is definitely looking up for the TOON.


  14. don’t get me wrong, I am still a fan of Taylors…. he just makes me extremely nervous everytime he goes near the ball 🙂


  15. Speaking of Tim Krul, well , don’t get me started … The guy’s got no idea about positioning. Have you seen the way he has to throw himself across the goal line just to stop a ball sometimes?


  16. And that Capuccino guy with the curls. How can you play football with a name like that? And his argy mate who’s too stupid to remember his own surname and only gets a cross in by sheer chance cos he spends most of his time running into full backs.

    And Tiote, the spinning top, what’s with that? Has he got an invisible pole stuck through him that Pardew spins when the ball gets near him? It’s just pure luck that he stays on his feet.

    But that Cabaye is class, isn’t he? Absolute class!


  17. It’s incredible at the lack of quality cover for all defensive positions.
    It’s almost as bad as not getting a striker in.

    It seems to have been glossed over by Pardew who seemed only unhappy at not obtaining a striker.


  18. Who needs defensive cover, Troy. The imbeciles in the team at the moment are doing a good job of tricking the Fates. If they keep this up they might cause such an illusion of competence that all opposition forwards will miskick every ball for fear of being tackled.


  19. I’m not being fooled by our defence at all. There has been a lot of luck involved, against a better team we would’ve been 4 nil down at half time on Monday night. I don’t lay any blame on our centre backs, it’s the full back area that’s the problem for me. I see Ryan Taylor as a crap right winger, not a full back. Forget Barfa, I have high hopes for Santon. SWP made pretty much everything for QPR the other night, and despite being out of the game for a long time, he ran rings ’round Raylor. this is cold, hard evidence of our severe lack of depth in squad positions. as far as being a massive threat from set pieces, I can’t see that at all. He’s a half-decent free kick taker, but doesn’t offer much more than that. He’s no Beckham.

    Our midfield would get much more of a sniff with a couple of decent full backs. I must admit though, I haven’t really been impressed by any of our midfielders, yet. Obertan has pace to burn, but seems very low on confidence, or bottle. Spidey is as reliable as ever, but doesn’t seem able to cross with his left foot, as ever. Tiote seems comitted enough but makes too many Scholesesque tackles and will end up spending large chunks of the season suspended. Cabaye? Yeah OK, I guess the best is yet to come from him….

    Until we play with some decent full backs, the midfield will always be chasing shadows, and in turn our front two will get bugger all, and even when they do I’m not holding our many hopes for conversions. 4-5-1 for me, with a decent LB and RB, and preferably a striker who can score.


  20. Its an awful shame when we do well certain people still have to think negative. Clearing the ball off the line shows a defender is alert you cant doubt our defence its our men up front that we should look at. The reason we have our backs against the wall is because the boyos up front cant hold up the ball Besty does his fair share but thats about it, the ball just wont stay up there on its own you need alot of support from your over lapping full backs which none of them can do. the game plan at the moment is simple our full backs play as centres and our two centre mids fall back for extra support our wingers act as full backs and the lads up front just pull out wide and we hope we can nick a goal here and there.


  21. ….and I’m leaning towards the 5 man midfield, not through embracing the modern game, but because we don’t have 2 strikers who are capable of playing together.


  22. Colocinni has been WORLD CLASS!

    The rest, not so much.

    There has been a lot of last ditch defending from us which isn’t a good sign. And usually it is Colocinni cleaning up after someone elses mistake.

    Seriously, I SHUDDER to think of a Newcastle back 4 without Colocinni in it. We would get seriously found out and summarily destroyed.


  23. “We could’ve conceeded more – but we didn’t!
    We could’ve lost all our games – but we didn’t!”

    Sums it up nicely for me like.

    You make your own luck to be honest. If it’s one or two games then fair enough but when you are talking 4….you can’t put 360 minutes of football against some of quality players down to blind luck.


  24. I tend to take it how it comes.

    I am negative towards the board and will relay those frustrations when talking about them but I am dumbfounded by the amount of negativity towards the team at the minute.

    Now we are having a go at our defence calling them lucky when they have been (along with our keeper) by far the best unit in our team.

    Our strikers have been largely useless, the mighty Tiote has been ****e and the amazing Cabaye has been average for the most part but they are apparantly going to get better if you listen to everyone whilst our defence is lucky and going to get worse.


  25. Howay Moreno, who has said the defence will get worse like?
    I think we all see weaknesses and want them put right is all.
    I agree about making your own luck, and by christ we’ve been due some,
    but when luck runs out again, we want the defence to be even more solid.
    Looking forwards to seeing Santon in at LB and a 5 man midfield, which should ease the pressure somewhat.


  26. BB,

    Surely the headline “Don’t be fooled by our defence” suggests that…?

    As do the majority of comments I have just read. Maybe not in the direct phrase “our defence will get worse” granted, yet a lot I have heard implies just that?

    You say: but when luck runs out again, we want the defence to be even more solid

    Which is just a round about clever way of saying it without actually saying it…are you implying that our defence is solid with luck then? So when the luck runs out we ant it to be more solid? Sorry just don’t get it, maybe it’s just me though :S


  27. Yes I’d agree with big dave here , I thought the midfield was crap and didn’t create anything for the strikers , you could see we played much better when we went to a 5 man midfield ,

    Strikers do need to hold the ball up and interact with the midfield , that’s obvious

    But they also need to receive the ball in order to do so ,

    And also playing a 4/4/2, that wouldn’t be the main plan


  28. aye Moreno its just you nit picking 😀

    So you dont think we were a tad lucky against QPR on monday?


  29. BB,

    Yes of course we were.

    I am just sick of the team being berated when they are coming away with good results every week. Raylor’s Shite, Taylor’s ****e, Tiote is a shadow of his former self, Besty is ****e. everyone is ****e.

    Sat in fourth place in the best league in the world, undefeated and conceded one goal, we are just ****e.

    Fair enough if people want to be negative about the board, good reason to be but there is absolutely NO REASON to be slagging off our defence at the moment.

    Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

    If people want to live in an alternative reality where we got beat 4-0 on Monday due to defensive errors then fine, I just can’t be arsed with it.


  30. Er Hello Hello, everytime Shola received the ball he gave it away within 5 secs. He had a shocking game imo, the worst I’ve ever seen him infact.


  31. Toonsy,

    Sick of a lot of our fanbase slagging the team off. I stand by the lads when they are doing well and bringing results in and always will. If you lot want to slag them off then go for it, as I said, can’t be arsed listening to it.


  32. Moreno – Fair enough. Personally I feel that the results have papered over a lot of deficiencies personally. The defence being one of them


  33. ok mate, just bury your head in the sand and pretend we have the best defence in the league. Infact it is nigh on perfect. FACT
    And even tho everyone is happy with the points tally so far, and where we stand in the league, we are all bang out of order to come on a blog and DISCUSS where we see our strengths and weaknesses.
    Its not having a go, or slagging them off, ffs.
    There’s nowt wrong with saying there’s room for improvement, when there clearly is.


  34. I remember a few years ago, if we got lucky away from home in London when we should have really lost the game we’d laugh about it and celebrate.

    Now we whinge about it like little ****es and slag the boys off. Times are a-changing.


  35. @Moreno

    You’ve got the vision of a hawk in relation to the regime but you’ve clearly got your head in the sand like an ostrich when it comes to assessing the team.

    Are you blind to the absolute dross football you are watching?
    We were promised a different style of football this season. We re certainly getting that.

    If the alarm bells aren’t ringing then I suggest you visit the docs and get your ears tested. 😉


  36. “ok mate, just bury your head in the sand and pretend we have the best defence in the league. Infact it is nigh on perfect. FACT”

    A very mature comeback. Well done. That’s not the point I am making at all and you know it.

    “we are all bang out of order to come on a blog and DISCUSS where we see our strengths and weaknesses.”

    Show me all the comments discussing the strengths. Not many of them and the ones that are all seem to be brand new users to the blog…..funny that….


  37. Troy,

    I couldn’t care if we play crap football all season if it gets us points.

    Blackpool were very entertaining to watch last year and what happened to them?


  38. And Troy as for that comment…

    “We were promised a different style of football this season. We re certainly getting that.”

    Behave yourself man!


  39. @shanghaitoon
    Small world mate, I’m like 10 mins from the bulldog and watched the England rugby game last friday there! I watched the 5under1and and fulham games in the camel, I’m not here this friday or saturday and then can’t watch the CC game at like 3am with work at 7! But the Blackburn game I should be able to go to. Will u be at the Bulldog then?


  40. @Moreno

    I totally agree. I would sacrifice that anyday as long as we get the points but do you really believe the points are a true reflection of our ability?

    My only hope is that, like the championship, we played similar and we did get the results.

    But, I’m a realist and my heart is saying one thing and my head is saying we are going to get thumped shortly.


  41. I think, to a very large extent, you create your own luck. Not that I’m counting any chickens, but I think there’s a lot more to our having conceded only one goal than luck. Fortiter Defendit Triumphans…


  42. Troy,

    Whilst I understand your pessimism based on what you have seen. This has been building up for me.

    as Toonsy puts it ‘tetchy ********’ is maybe down to the fact that the only time I have commented recently is to defend Leon Best after his ability was crucified following his brace against Fulham which won us the game.

    I have then supported Ryan Taylor who was to be executed for his performance the other night by pointing out his previous games and will continue to support all the boys in defence if they keep clean sheets, regardless of how they do it.


  43. “I couldn’t care if we play crap football all season if it gets us points”

    Cant argue with that.

    I appologise for not wanting to watch crap football. my bad.


  44. 8 points from 4 games played and 3 goals scored. Surely the attack is more of a concern than the defense? I have to admit Raylor will never be good enough to be a left back but that’s what Santon is for. Hopefully we will see him against Aston Villa, not Raylor. Also think we must play 4-5-1 away using Best up front. Where is the great goal scorer Ba that we were told about? He looks like a ghost out there. Very little impact. Would have him drop a little further back to get the ball and run at defenses. That’s how he looked best for West Ham, on the run with the ball at his feet.


  45. No not in the slightest.
    You’re the one who spat the dummy oot.

    But while you’re on, answer me this pls.
    Are you fully supportive of the performance put in by Shola Ameobi on monday?
    I mean is it unreasonable to criticise any part of the team, just because we got an away draw? Because thats what you are implying.


  46. cheer up Moreno, I don’t think it’s so much as people slating the team, just pointing out deficiencies. I want to see us creating and scoring goals, and all I’ve seen so far is the odd free kick and a bit of poaching. Call me impatient and I’d agree. Most of my ‘moaning’, if it must be called that, has materialised through my disappointment of not seeing the 2 final pieces of the jigsaw installed by transfer D-Day (RB and a little tricky, pacey forward of the Bellamy/Defoe mould). For me such additions, although only making up about 10% of the side, would improve our performances by at least half.


  47. I totally agree Toonsy I think I have made this point a few times after games that the teams we are seeming to be playing at the moment are not converting chances they are creating.


  48. ….LuaLua, I agree, only difference with us being we aren’t creating any (or very few, I should say). I’m not doom-mongering, but I’m just waiting to be on the wrong end of a pasting.

    Saying that, our next 4 games are all winnable. Hopefully we’ll get our act together in due course.

    Onwards and upwards…….


  49. @Moreno

    I do believe BB is making decent points about the team.
    I understand your defence of Leon Best as he is our best striker IMO and gives his all.

    I don’t blame Raylor as he’s doing his best but to be fair, it’s clear he’s neither a right winger, left or right back. There is nothing wrong with people pointing those issues out.

    Everyone is entitled to air their opinions and if they wish to criticise the team then so be it.
    For me, it’s not the players to blame but the regime for buying these players.

    You have to remember you defended the anti Ashley crew when the dreamers were bashing them with their tickling sticks.


  50. Now we have strayed completely from the reason I posted in the first place.

    Agree about the creativity.

    Agree about the lack of goal threat.

    Agree the board are to blame for not rbringing in the players we need to compete at a higher level.

    Have never once said otherwise so why are these points being made to me?

    The reason I posted was due to this article saying our defence is lucky, Which I think is unfair on our players as I am a firm believer of credit where credit is due. The defences job is to keep out goals and that’s what they have done. Yet Saylor, Raylor and Simmo have been on the receiving end all season. It’s unfair on them.

    And to answer the random Shola question which was thrown at me, no, he didn’t play particularly well. Not that it is anything to do with the thread or the point I was making


  51. @Moreno

    Fair enough but I don’t believe you can sensibly argue against the defence being lucky.

    They have been due to poor finishing by the opposition.


  52. ok ok
    If we simply look at the results, then yes the lads have done a fantastic job so far. Cant be denied. Infact I’m flippin over the moon tbh. And I dont think that has been slagged off at all.
    But the point of the article was to recognise that we have had a bit of good luck for a change and yes the lads have deserved it, earned it even. But the results alone hide the deficencies that are there, whether you want to admit it or not.
    The last thing I want is for the lads to take a pasting in order to improve things. Hopefully that wont happen.

    To say shola didn’t play particularly well, is like saying the titanic is a tad damp. He was unbelievably crap imho. and deserves NO praise whatsoever, in what was a hard earned draw.


  53. I suppose it comes down to whether you think we got lucky or boo hoo to the opposition for being unable to score.

    Bottom line tho being the point in the bag.
    Much better than none 😀


  54. i think we’ve been solid at the back, for me saylor, collo and simo as been great. of course we’ve had plenty of luck, but nearly every team we’ve played have taken advantage of raylor at LB, and mainly played it down that side. this has to change, starting at villa. i was disappointed and worryed santon wasing on for raylor, but i’d expect he’ll be on next match, and then we’ll hopefully see a even better defence.


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