The nightmare before Christmas

The heart of our defence
In the aftermath of our defeat to Chelsea, and with a little help from the referee Newcastle United were left feeling deflated.

It wasn’t the loss of the game that brought this feeling about for me, it was more the loss of our two solid central defenders to injury.

I think every fan knew that if anything was to happen to either Steven Taylor or Fabricio Coloccini then cover would be pretty much non-existent for them. Now we’ve lost both of them, and with the busy Christmas period of games coming up, Alan Pardew must be scratching his head uncontrollably with what to do in the heart of defence.

We all know that Mike Williamson can’t be thrown straight back into the mix after a lengthy period on the injury table and that’s where the options for recognised centre-backs ends. James Perch gave a good account of himself against Didier Drogba but as we all know he is prone to a little mistake or rash decision when tackling.

What astonishes me is that we failed to get any sort of cover in the summer for our defenders and again I fear that we might just fail again in January if our previous transfer dealings are anything to go by. We now have to rely on the likes of James Perch, Danny Simpson and Tamas Kadar whose whereabouts are some what of a mystery.

If the injury to Coloccini isn’t serious and he only misses one game then I think it would be a small price to pay with two inexperienced centre-backs for that game. However you have to think that if captain Colo misses more time then the lack of cover is simply down to the people in charge failing to get transfers over the line and shooting themselves in the foot by doing so.

The Christmas fixtures aren’t going to be easy, as no Premier League game is, however we need those that are fit to come together and show that they are willing to show their worth and not let the team down.

Then come January we need to hope that targets are lined up and brought in ASAP.

Thanks to ethitoon for sending this in. I’m sure we all agree it’s not a great situation to be in and hope for the best possible outcome from it.

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.

37 thoughts on “The nightmare before Christmas

  1. Alreet worr kids?

    I’ve been away at the weekend as me computer is scuppered and I don’t like reading blogs on me phone… too small!

    So.. back at work and I have a computer to my hands. Since I’ve been away we’ve lost to chelsea, lost Colo, lost Saylor and it looks like Tiote could be on his way out.

    We’ve put up with a lot of **** in the past (as toon fans) so all of this screams ‘I told you so’. Now we’ve had our weekend of complaining and I think we’re going to have to come positive now.

    Pardew is not daft and I’m sure he’ll be able to work something out. I believe he made a mistake in the first half the Chelsea game playing a 4-3-3 (when do we ever play that?). That’s his first mistake since the QPR game so that to me proves his weight in Gold with the rest of the backroom staff so I’m putting my faith in them to come good.

    I know our main concern is defense at the minute but our attacking was only ok on the weekend. I know we hit the woodwork thrice but i think we should have made them sweat a lot more. I defend Obertan all the time but a few prawn sandwhich eaters had to cover there ears whilst i was sat in the west stand on Saturday, the lad was unbelievably frustrating and his lack of confidence is getting on my tits, 50 000 people screaming ‘shoot’ was a big hint.

    If he doesn’t come good in the next couple of games Pardew is going to have to bite the bullet, tell HBA to wind his neck in and get him to play on the right. One positive I will give Obertan is when guthrie an cabaye pinged long balls to him he had some mint control.

    Defensively – If the situation we’re in now isn’t a huge, fat wakeup call to Ashley then we’re donald ducked.

    I’d be happier for Graham Carr to go out there and unearth some rough diamonds then for us to go and get a ‘big-name’ defender in but it always helps to have some financial backing.

    On a funny note, the match was brightened up by som fella behind me screaming every 2 minutes ‘HOO TERRY — YOU COCKEND’ 😆

    HWTL 😈


  2. Unless players are brought in, our good start will be wasted. This team has potential, but I doubt that Ashley will reverse his transfer policy.


  3. BTW – as a side note – We all know how big Drogba is, I mean, the blokes an effing tank! But when Perch came on he handled him so so well I was really Impressed. The only real positive thing to come out of injuries is that fringe players tend to work their cotton socks off to try and earn their place – this was a shining example so hopefully this can happen with the rest of our fringers (if that’s a noun) 😆 .


  4. Witters –

    I’d be surprised if Krul went – not many temas sell a number 1 keeper (especially in the winter). If Rob elliot can get up to scratch and learn from the dutch master and Harps then it’d be no big loss if we sold him in a couple of seasons time. If we get a good price and our next number 1 is up to scratch… why not?

    On Colo – hmmmm 😕 This one for me is 50/50 I think there was a good chance of him being sold but now with Saylor injured – it’d be suicide and even Ashley can’t be blind enough to see that. He’s a fan favourite but with good business sense you have to sell players at the right time – look at Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry, that was perfect timing, still good enough to go for big money but it was right at the end of the good part of his career. If Colo went in a year and we had a relacement – again – I wouldn’t have any complaints.

    Chin up fellas.


  5. Sad times two huge players for us and no cover , perch has looked ok and with those three games out of the way and some lesser opposition hopefully he can steady the boat . But as always our fate lies in the hands of fatty fingers crossed everybody….. 🙁


  6. Also – you know you’re not enjoying the game too much when the crowd are singing ‘Timmy – Timmy Krul’

    Class goal keeping but I prefer the games when I have to sing ‘Demba Demba Ba’ 😉 😆


  7. Playing devils advocate here for a bit, but was it so wrong to have only three first-choice central defenders bearing in mind the official club stance on what we’re aiming for this season?

    Do any other teams in the same bracket as us have loads of defensive cover?

    Not really.

    It’s just bad luck that all the injuries seem to be to one position 👿


  8. Toonsy – for all the injuries being in one position that just goes to show how hard they’ve been working.


  9. Yep, cos we only went with 2 as Willo was injured while the window was still open and as we needed a full back 2 Pieters would have solved both……that said, 3 being out is feckin unlucky like 😕


  10. Too much negativity about although I can understand the worries. Let’s look at the reasons for our high position though. IMO we have the obvious team spirit and Pardew to thank. That hasn’t and I believe will not change. The other is our defence and that for sure is going to be tested in the next few weeks. However Pardew has proved that he can make players better and certainly get those players to be even more effective as a cohesive unit. Pardew will be spending most of his time bonding what he has available. Colo is not one of those players that spends weeks on the table. He’ll be back soon, possibly even this weekend, just watch. Perch, despite those who decided after his early performances he was useless, played very well on Saturday and I think will be able to do an effective job. Pards obviously believes in him – that’s good enough for me. I don’t foresee Simmo or Raylor being dropped. They know their jobs and having lost both CBs Pards will be unwilling, I believe, to start with a completely new and unproved defensive unit.
    There also seems to be an inevitability among some that Krul, Colo, Tiote will be sold because some newspaper has said that the “big” clubs are going to make an offer. Personally I don’t see any of them moving on, and certainly not in January. Please don’t ask me why, I just think that Ashley has enjoyed what has happened so far and will be in no hurry to see his club lose out on the improved media coverage which in turn sees an improved revenue.


  11. Let’s face it, we were on a fantastic run which was always due to come to a halt .. when injuries started on that first 11 which was picked for the majority of the opening games of season..

    Most the TV pundits have been saying it, and we could all see it.. once injuries kick in our squad looks thin..

    Possibly this is the time for someone on the fringe to shine. Maybe Perch will become a better defender having guidance from Pardew.. maybe a youngster will claim his place. (ala Krul).. or maybe Graham Carr will pull a rabbit out the hat.. maybe Alan Smith will give us his last swansong..

    Either way.. I still think with a mish mash side (and no outgoings, hopefully!!) we can maintain a top half postition until some fitness returns to the squad..


  12. Will guti be back this weekend? It is only a one match ban after 2 yellows isn’t it? If so I’ve got no problem with raylor playing LB so Santon could come in at CB to plug the hole with bubblegum.


  13. Nobby – re your Colo being sold comment, the problem is mate that Ashley doesn’t think like a football manager, he thinks like a business man.
    Forget covering the defence while Taylor is injured, Colos contract is running down and while Colo hasnt sign a new un, Ashley will sell if the price is right regardless of the time.
    He proved that last Jan, selling Carroll with no time to replace him… but the price was right regardless of timing.

    Does anyone know when Tiote is back?
    I’d feel happier if our new CBs had his protection in front of them. I think Krul is a good communicator and I’ll talk to Perch and whoever throughout the game and having played at CB I know that is a big help. I hope Pardew made the decision yday who would partner Perch and works all we with those 2. Whatever all of us think, Pardew knows the players best and whatever he goes with we have to get behind coz Ryan Taylor has proven that, with hard work, players can player better than ok when out of their favoured position.
    As for Jan, got to look at Gary Cahill for me like.
    He’s out of contract in the summer so could be got for 5-7m I’d think and could fit straight in. I know he’d probs get bigger wages elsewhere but hes more likely to play for us (especially if Colo goes) and I see him as an England regular as long as he plays week in week out.
    Thereafter, Ridgewell for a couple of mill would be good cover and again is used to EPL so would take less time to settle in.
    Pieters is out with a broken foot so he’s nee good just yet and don’t know enough about the French lad we’ve been linked with but would expect he’d need time to settle in.

    The next 3 games are winnable, but your right Nobby, the forwards have to start scoring. I’d get Best back in, he can hold the ball up better and the longer our forwards have it the better for our defence.

    The bubble hasn’t burst just yet.


  14. I agree with Sharpey

    Any player has his price and the fact Colo has not committed with only a short time left on his contract makes him even more vulnerable to be sold.


  15. I was utterly gutted when we lost both defenders. Apart from anything else, that scoreline was much more to do with those losses and the ref’s awful decision in the 1st half than the balance of playing ability.

    What’s happened is exactly what most of us said would, and is normal for a team in our bracket; i.e. good prem but not with a squad big enough that it can absorb big injuries. That’s just where we are, and we all knew it, so let’s not spit any dummies over it.

    Instead, here’s the up-side:

    1. It happened early enough to inform Mr Carr’s activities in January and to give AP enough time to talk Ashley’s wallet open. Ashley must be smelling European money now, so if the case is there, he’ll go with it.
    2. Colo will be back soon.
    3. So will Willo.
    4. We have Santon
    5. Kadar is in a store room somewhere, and he was mint when I saw him play.
    6. We’re up against weaker (no offence to ’em) teams for the next few games, and we’ll score shedloads against them. We can ship a few and win.
    8. We’re still EIGHT points clear of 8th.

    We’ll still be in the top 7 come the new year, and able to kick on from there. Possibly with some new players soon after. This is just the inevitable blip; we’ll be pushing the big boys again by February. :mrgreen:


  16. By the way – Shola looked pretty good, and confirmed his natural function as an impact sub. But how many fekking pies has he been eating?? 😯


  17. @nobby

    You say Perch 😯 handled Drogba so well. 😯

    He was 2 yards off him for the first goal. 😯

    Were you watching the game on your phone and missed it as well? 😛


  18. 1st team for me at the minute


    Notice I’ve took Obertan off. I defended this lad to the hilt but Chelsea was the final straw for me. I know Ashley Cole is a **** but let’s face it, he’s a class LB but this doesn’t excuse the hesitation Obertan had on Saturday. We’re coming up to half way through the season now and any fears should be long gone. Good ball control but hesitation and passing behind players when on the run are ‘week-one-day-one’ sort of things.

    If HBA has a problem playing on the right then he should wind his neck in. he gets paid enough to do what he’s told and he’s brilliant on the right.

    I’ve just been on Ed’s site and everyone moans about HBA coming off for Shola, I beg to differ, Shola had more shots than Benny and shots make goals at the end of the day.

    HBA should be a winger all day. End of. (I’ll take my arrogance back a bit here and say ‘IMO’) 😆


  19. Troy,

    to be fair he had just come on and position comes with time and has to be learnt. His challenges were bang on!! 😛


  20. Perch definitely failed to deal with that cross for the first goal, but otherwise he did very well indeed.

    What I don’t get is how Saylor even kept walking with a ruptured achilles. I’ve had that injury and it’s unbelievaly painful; you sure as hell can’t trot about the field with it. The guy’s not plugged in right! We’re gonna miss him hugely; I think his guts-and-glory attitude balanced Colo’s calm authority perfectly.

    And yes, Shola made a lot more problems for Chelski than HBA did; although you have to allow for the tired legs factor a bit.


  21. @Nobby

    Sorry. He’s a centre half. He’s declared fit enough to play. He failed miserably with the cross. Not even a challenge. 🙄


  22. Whumpie – I thought that about Saylor – I think he might have one of these sado masachistic tendency things. y’know – electrodes on nipples n’all that.

    I don’t think he’s correct in the head that lad. I love him, I know he has his doubters on here but you’ve got to love his commitment.


  23. Troy – Aye… i agree with you, all i’m saying though – its one mistake (bit **** it led to a goal) but after that he was canny. My point is – if he was on Drogba for that ball in I have no doubt he would have made the challenge.

    If ifs and buts were candy and nuts etc etc. 🙄


  24. Cabaye’s been quoted in hoping Tiote is back soon, that’s a small whiff of expectation that he’ll stay or am i getting my itty bitty hopes up. ❓


  25. Ben Arfa.

    He has never said he will not play on the wing.

    His position is down to Pardew and Pardew alone.

    At the very beginning Pardew has insisted (also said on Radio Newcastle talk in) that he only sees Ben as playing behind a striker.

    So even if Ben did not play well on Saturday please lay off him about his unfounded arrogance.


  26. One saving grace I think of this transfer window is that were actually in a pretty decent position and if (and its a big if) the board do offer some (once again this is vague) we will have a little bit more pulling power, what about throwing in a bid for Samba? or Cahill at Bolton? Also can we sign one of those replacement transfers, emergency are they called? can we not do that and just get someone in to play with Williamson when he is back.

    Im pretty worried at the moment, perch is a horrible player.


  27. Very worried after the weekend. Obertan is garbage, perch is garbage, raylor has had three terrible games, tiote injured????? They’re keeping him for the transfer window. January will be the next phase of destruction whilst fatty pockets a fortune. Apologies for the doom and gloom lads but the writing is on the wall. Also…. Am I the only one who is yet to see anything in Ben Arfa bar his everton goal?


  28. deana,pleased to see someone else,apart from me hasnt seen much in him,to read some comments on here and other blogs,people are going way over the top about him,Ive read about him, being compared to beardsly,being world class, and being first name on team sheet,but apart from a couple of good runs and a couple of good passes,hes looked pretty average to me.I hope everybody else is right, and i’m proved wrong.Only time will tell


  29. Obertan is not garbage. He’s very inconsistent and has fragile confidence…. but he is definitely not garbage.

    Perch is not garbage. He’s certainly not as good a CB as Saylor or Colo but he’s done perfectly well coming off the bench in the last few games, dealing with Drogba competently in the 2nd half of Saturday’s game.

    Ben Arfa is a concern. He looked great at City a few weeks ago, but in the last 2 games was ineffective. He’s the kind of player who if he’s not on top form is a liability to the team. Kudos to Pardew for taking him off at HT


  30. M….
    Maybe ‘garbage’ is a little harsh and I’m a bit over ambitious…. Early days on Obertan but from what I’ve seen he looks like a sprinter who is not a natural footballer. I can’t understand why he would be short of confidence. Coming from man u he should feel like he rules the roost at NUFC. I’ll try and hold judgement a little longer. Oh… On perch….. Garbage!


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