Ryan Taylor attracted a bit of stick yesterday for his performance at Manchester City.
Put simply, it wasn’t his finest hour and he was responsible for two of the three goals Manchester City scored.
The first error was one that led to the first penalty. If you put your arm that high in the penalty box then you are asking for trouble. Trouble duly arrived. The second one was a misjudgement on his part as he attempted to intercept the ball from Micah Richards. His attempted clearance never got past Richards and the Manchester City full-back went on to score from it.
Naturally this had led to questions being asked about his role in the team. Should the makeshift left-back carry on in his role as makeshift left-back? Or should the man who was originally signed for that role, Davide Santon, be given his long-awaited chance?
I’m not so sure. I’ve been one of Ryan Taylor’s harshest critics at times but I’ve had to cool my pipes on him recently. You just have to look at his role in one of the meanest defences in the league and admit that he’s played a part in it.
Then there are his offensive qualities. He’s won us six points with his goals so far this season which is more than Jose Enrique managed in his three years at Newcastle. For that he should be commended and his contribution should not be ignored.
It’s the defensive side of his game that I worry about more than anything else though. Yes he has been a part of a rock solid unit, but how much of it has been down to him? And has it cost us in other ways?
I think so. You see I feel Jonas Gutierrez is being compromised to accommodate Ryan Taylor. We are all aware just how hard the Argentinian will work for the team. He’ll track back and help out defensively which is great, but it doesn’t help us out in attack. We’re losing an attacking outlet due to having Ryan Taylor in the team.
Did you know that 37% of attacks this season have come from our left? Did you know that last season that number was 65% so you can see that there has been some effect.
However is that enough to warrant dropping Taylor? I’m not so sure. Surely we can’t expect all players not to make any mistakes? And do we know enough about Davide Santon to include him?
Sure he has this highly-rated tag and comes with a wealth of commendations from some of the games greatest names, plus he’s been scouted by Graham Carr and Co so you’d assume they can see something in him.
The debate will rage on and I don’t really know an answer. On one hand it would be tough to drop Taylor as he’s done well. On the other hand is there a point in having competition for places if there is no comeback from a bad performance?
Personally I’d persevere with Taylor against Manchester United next week. If he makes more mistakes then perhaps his role in the team should start to come into question. Not on one performance though, no matter how emotional we get about the game.
Stay calm and think of Newcastle!