Are our wings strong enough?

Good enough for the long haul?
First off, I would like to say I am not planning on writing loads of articles, but I have been thinking, and I just feel that the wingers that we have just are not good enough.

Some of you may agree some may disagree, but hey that’s the whole point of a website like this.

I am going to start by taking a look at the wingers we have, looking at what their game brings, and having a look at the stats, which some people say don’t really mean a lot but personally I believe that stats can tell a massive story.

Jonas Gutiérrez – Well a lot of Newcastle fans love this guy and I am exactly the same, but is he really good enough to play week in week out for Newcastle? Well I am not too sure. His work rate is second to none and he is probably the hardest working player in the squad, he will always work back to help out the full back but will also have a run at players.

However since the signing of Davide Santon I don’t feel that we need a player who is so willing to help out the full back position, although of course it is always an advantage. But this is where the next problem begins. He is more than willing to have a run at players but then once he gets into a position the cross the ball 80% of the time he either puts it into the keepers hands, out for a goal kick or nowhere near the keeper. Sometimes he does however produce that little bit of magic and either gets a goal or whips in a beautiful cross.

Since joining Newcastle Jonas has had 25 assists, personally from a winger I would expect better, but with Jonas he is very often the player who assists the assists. Also Jonas wins a lot of free kicks. Personally I think he has been slightly poor lately, but I believe if his play picks up to the standard and plays to the ability I have seen where he is not afraid to run at any full back then he is safe in the team.

Gabriel Obertan – Now he is a controversial one, I have been the centre of a lot of arguments due to Obertan, usually me saying how bad I thought he was. However I thought about him, what he brings to the team and his age and maybe I was being slightly harsh. He is still a very young player and has been sat behind the likes of Ryan Giggs and Nani at Manchester United, with a almost impossible chance of getting in the Manchester United team, it can’t have done his confidence any good and that is where I feel Obertan is struggling.

Since joining Newcastle, Obertan has had two assists, the low cross against Stoke and the magnificent outside of the foot cross against Nottingham Forest, and has scored one goal against Blackburn, which showed the quality that he can produce. I am still 50/50 with Obertan, but if he can add a final ball to his game which may only be a case of getting some confidence, I think Obertan can become a good player for Newcastle to have.

Hatem Ben Arfa – At the start of the season Alan Pardew was going on about how he would be the number 10 type player behind the striker. But as of recently this looks like it may not be the case with him playing on the wing. This worries me a bit. Not because I don’t think the wing suits him, but because I feel that he does not give Danny Simpson the help that he needs. Even when Ben Arfa is willing to get back his tackles are very week.

Recently Ben Arfa has shown his quality on the wings, with a great goal against Blackburn then another one against Bolton. Now these aren’t the two best teams in the world but never the less they are both in the Premier League. I personally prefer it when Ben Arfa plays out wide but I think he needs to improve his work rate which I think is what Pardew is working on and is the reason why we have not seen him play too often this season.

Sylvain Marveaux – I can’t make much of a comment on Sylvain Marveaux as I have not really seen him play. He does however look like he could be a very good player and I cant wait to see him come back from injury, which I believe will be in March/April time. I also believe that they have fixed the whole groin area and not just the injured part, so hopefully he will be able to push on next season.

Then we have a few other players who can play on the wing in Dan Gosling and Ryan Taylor, both of whom are very versatile players, but for me they are not wingers and I would much rather see someone else play there when the other lads are injured.

Then we also have the youth players with Sammy Ameobi who is currently injured and I personally don’t believe will be good enough, but that may be a bit harsh as he is only young, and Shane Ferguson who looks like he could be a good player and personally I believe that will be on the left wing not at left back.

I don’t believe that we should be to bothered about getting a winger this window, but I do think it should be a position we should look at strengthening in the summer. I am not going to throw names around of possibly players because I get fed up of hearing rumours. I do think however that Junior Hoilett of Blackburn is available on a free this summer and he could be a good signing, with Demba Ba already proving that you don’t need to pay big bucks for a good player.

Thanks for reading.


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.

53 thoughts on “Are our wings strong enough?

  1. Pardew and the Board have a lot of hard decisions to make come the summer.
    If they want the club to keep making progress, then an overhaul of the players we have is vital.
    If they are happy to keep aiming for top 10 then we will see little change.
    Its gonna be interesting to see ow things unfold.


  2. good article toonsy,i think the spine of our team, when fit, is as good as most teams in the league,but we must sort full backs and wingers out, to have any chance of mounting a serious challenge to the big boys.


  3. Deffo need some out and out wingers who can deliver. Seems these are short supply at the mo.

    Why not make a punt at Hoilett or even David Bentley, whom i feel could supply Demba+Demba with ammunition. Matt Jarvis has a great cross too.

    Jonas just hast got the end product i feel, although i love watching him play. Obertan is short of confidence, few more games and a few more assists and he’ll come good i think (hope). Ben Arfa is more of a ‘through-the-middle’ type player, use him as a winger when injuries dictate. Sammi is still young and is yet to find his natural position i think, another one i think will (hope) come good.



  4. Interesting debate.

    I agree why not sign barnetta and hoillett for free in the summer on the wings?

    Or pay out for sinclair of swansea and jarvis


  5. Before the window I was saying we should be bringing in another winger rather than a striker, because I felt if we were going to be buying a striker they’d not be much better than what we had-obviously apart from Ba-and I thought we should try and focus on supplying Ba because our lack of chances is quite woeful…..

    Not that I’m complaining at the signing of Cisse 😀
    But we’re still left with the same problem-more so now because its like we have two strikers we have to play….less creativity in what is probably the most defensive midfield in the premier league. I like Jonas, and his defensive work was vital in the early season, especially as we got ourselves some points from Raylors deadly boots but now we have a more efficient left back we need better wingers….. Maybe we should play Hatem on the left, he seems better there than the right, although then we leave Santon exposed and he’s still very new to all this….having Marveux back will be great as well….


  6. MG M,aye i agree its hard to judge the wingers as our f/b are not up to it,it will take santon a while to settle,didnt seem to have that much trouble when jose was there he worked quite well with jonas,but the weakness in f/bs is there for all to see,so we are missing out on two fronts f/b,wingers imo 😐


  7. personally i think our wingers are fine. I think Obertans gotten too much stick, yes he’s a frustrating player but he’s part of a midfield that has been fractured in recent weeks and at Blackburn I don’t think anyone can deny that it was a brilliant finish.
    Once the lad settles in and our midfield (bearing in mind one of our best passers Cabaye has been absent) returns I think we’ll see the returns from Obertan.
    Gutierrez, however needs someone challenging for his place, Shane Ferguson is nowhere near ready I feel, Jonas’ final ball is awful and while he works hard, hard work alone won’t take us to those lofty heights of a top 7 once more, we do need quality and for such few assists and goals Gutierrez does need to step it up.

    I’d still rather him than Stewart Downing, his assist & goal tally for the season is making me happier as the season goes on, and he cost £18m!


  8. Sell Obertan, Buy David Hoilett and put him at left wing and Ben Arfa at Right Wing! Jonas on the bench!


  9. Rate jonas and think he sacrifices part of his game to help his fullback he is also more often than not an out ball when were under the cosh, Obertan, Fergie and Sammy are all young and i would look to give them season long loans next season, Marveaux hasnt played much but he showed some bits of class when he did.

    Agree about Hoilet and also reckon Drenthe would be a good signing on a free at the end of the season…


  10. Great articles today, all bringing up good points about our squad!

    Getting Hoillet in would be massive over the summer, as well as seeing what Marveaux can do eventually. That would also give Sammy Ameobi the chance to go on loan next year and develop the way he should


  11. I think Jonas would get in a lot of prem teams and Obertoon most of the bottom half prem teams, the jury is still out on Marveux but he looks like he could be our best winger and Ferguson is a clever little player. I think we need a real international class winger to take us to the next level though, Jonas and Obertoon in particular are very hit and miss.


  12. Spence good article lad keep at it 😉 I agree Jonas hasn’t been the same over the last few games, could it be that he is slightly burn’t out, and needs a break ? He has only missed 1 game in the last 2 season.?
    I think its hard to judge our wings because we rely on them having to comeback and defend which isn’t really what they’re for.


  13. nice article
    It’s exactly what I mentionned in a comment 2 days before, I think it’s a big problem our wingers and especially when Cabaye and Tiote are not here because no one in the team can just control a ball, and make a simple pass under pressure, so all the players are just trying to threw the ball anywhere but don’t want to take the risk of losing it by making a pass, and against team like Tottenham no chances.
    I’m really very doubtful about Jonas, he seems to be unquestionnable in pardew’s mind, but I think that even if he had 3 or 4 good games since the start of the season, he doesn’t do enough offensively to deserve a start each game. If you look to his stats I think Benny (you forget the goal and assist against Fulham) has better stats with 3 times less minutes played.
    i think Pardew consider too much the defensive work, instead of saying if we have a winger who is very dangerous offensively the left or right back of the adverse team will stay behind, because he knows the danger, but with Obertan and Jonas it seems that other teams are not very affraid and we always are dominated. Maybe Pardew must buy a very good leftback, put Santon as right back and after can use more offensive wingers.
    But i wanna see to Benny and Santon in the left one or 2 games just to see what could happen even more with the comeback of Tiote and Cabaye.
    Benny is the only player who had good stats and don’t have a run more than 2 games in the team, if you compare with other players I think it is not correct and not honnest from Pardew, he really deserved a run of 5 or 6 games. I m a big fan of Benny, but honnestly he deserved it.


  14. Not good enough on current form that’s for sure.

    Max Gradel looked handy in ACN. But Old go for Hoilett if we can and play him on the right.
    Having said that we then need a better right side defender than Simspon.


  15. Would like to see fergie get more of a game on the wing…. I went to the stoke game when he played and although we lost 4-0 he was by far and large our best player that day.

    Quite skillful young lad pards was singing his praises not that long ago


  16. Nice one Spencer.

    I’ve wanted to see Gutierrez play right wing now for what seems like an eternity, and I think had Marveaux not crocked himself so soon, we may well’ve seen it. I wouldn’t say no to a couple more wingers, but they’d have to be better than what we’ve already got.

    I think Jonas would get a lot more assists from the right, with his better right foot. with Jonas, Raylor and Obertan (in that order) I think we’d ideally need back-up for Marveaux; from what I’ve seen of him he looks good enough, but obvioulsy I ain’t seen that much.

    Realistically, we need to sort out the defence as a priority I.E. decent competition for RB, CB and LB – the wings ain’t that much of a concern for me, well not with a fully fit squad anyway.


  17. I think Marveauxcelino might be our best winger and I have the feeling others may agree. And that’s part of the problem. He’s perma-crocked, and if a player who we’ve hardly ever seen play is thought to be our best, then that tells you how uninspiring the others have been.

    Gutierrez sometime puts in a useful shift helping out the fullback. Gets the occasional assist. Generally gets your hopes up by going on a promising run and then doesn’t do much with the ball.
    Wins a few free kicks. I’d rather he put in lots of good crosses to be honest.

    Obertan has had the odd decent performance without ever reaching the dizzying heights of being good. Shows defenders a lightening pair of heels but far too often seems to run out of ideas or takes too long to execute the ideas he has. It’s too early to judge him harshly though. But I am sick of hearing the youth and low confidence excuses. Give him till next season, if he hasn’t got the hang of it by then flog him or use him as an impact substitute.

    Ben Arfa gives glimpses of what he can do occasionally, and what he can do is special. He is wildly inconsistent though often over complicating things by trying to turn every touch into a mazy run at the entire defence.
    Floundering a bit at the minute in all honesty, but needs the same patience afforded to Obertan.

    Marveaux will hopefully live up to the billing. Who knows?

    We need to bring in at least one decent winger in the summer for me. Someone who can slot into the first team and someone who can provide clever passes and crosses.


  18. imo our wingers are average but jonas’s work rate is massive for the club ! obertan isnt good enough and ben arfa isnt a winger!! we need two wingers in and need to get marv fit!! obertan out hoillet in i say


  19. Rod I agree I have been wanting to see Jonas get a chance on the right, as I think a lot of people forget that the right is his prefered position, and I think it’s sad that he has only been judged in a position that is not his best.


  20. I question my own thought process on this one but… I would like to see Raylor come back into the left back position and move Santon over to the right to see how that works. I think that Raylor offers us something different in crosses from further back (and free kicks) and unfortunately Simpson doesn’t give us much going forward. Obviously he has some great connection with Tim Krul as Krul seems to know when he can come forward from his line since Simpson will be behind him. The goal line clearances come down to good communication, not luck!


  21. @BIg Dave
    Jonas is playing in the left since 2 years now no? I think we can judge him no when you play the same position since 2 years, its your best position. It’s more difficult to judge a player who change always position.
    The work rate of jonas is unquestionnable, what is questionnable is what brings offensively, the endproduct, we are 5th in the league, I think we must develop a style of play which goes with our position and try to dominate other teams and to do that we need more dangerous wingers for other teams to be affraid. Look at our discussion before Tottenham game, we all was affraid how to defend on bale, we never was discussing how to attack or to be dangerous, so we need a winger in the style of play wich is so dangerous that in his side the other teams will be affraid to attack and so he doesn’t need to track back all the time.
    But in my opinion before the wings our main problems is the pace of the right back and Willo.


  22. My view entirely Dave@21. In fact, I’d rather see him at right back than left midfield. The problem is, we’re always short in one position or the other, because we have a thin squad, as everyone knows. This just which means players get used all over the place as cover. Raylor has only just started playing RW again (for me this is his natural position) after starting off for us in his ‘natural role’ when we first signed him.

    His first game in defence for us, if I remember correctly, was when he got used as a right back as emergency cover in one game (for Beye I think it was) and was woeful.

    He then slipped into LB as cover for Enrique when he left. Now we have Santon, Raylor finally gets back to where he started.

    Jonas originally played in his natural position (IMO) at RW for us too, but was soon switched over to the left to help out with Enrique.

    Musical chairs, in which responsibility effectively lies with Ashley for scrimping and gambling on players not getting injured. Our first 11 is top class. Unfortunately no teams get to play a full season with their first 11, and more unfortunately for us, our backup isn’t strong enough to keep up the required performance levels, yet.


  23. Jonas on the right with Raylor on the right-it could be tried. There’s no way I’d play Raylor without Jonas though….


  24. Newkie@25, I think that’d probably be more productive for us, in terms of assists, but to be honest I’d rather just keep Raylor as valuable and versatile backup for RW, LW, RB & LB, and spend a bit of money on defenders.


  25. HBA if his prefered position is the right considering he is right footed. It doesn’t really matter how long he has played out of position, you can’t say thats his best position ? Just because he has played there 😯


  26. Rod I find it strange when people like HBA write Jonas of for having no end product while playing out of position. And then try to say its his best position Because he has played there for over 2 yrs 🙄


  27. Dave, I’m right-footed, and couldn’t kick a wall with mi left foot, never mind pinpoint a cross from 40 yards. The left foot/right foot thing has always been my issue with Jonas. I think our managers have always wanted him to cut inside and shoot with his right. I think he’s more of a traditional style winger, and I’d rather see him on the right.

    He can still cut inside from time to time, as wor Nobby used to, but primarily for me he needs to use his best foot for putting crosses in.


  28. Anyone think we should try out ben arfa/obertan with santon on the left? And Jonas with Simpson on the right? I think a bit more experience in the league and Santon can be more than capable of playing without the support of Jonas. Or maybe even look into a left back in summer and play Santon on the right with one of our less defensive wingers


  29. I’ve said it a few times now that young Nathan Redmond at Birmingham is a star in the making. He’d be a quality signing.

    I think our wingers are good enough to achieve Europe this year. I would like to see us buy at least one more in the summer, though. I hear Hoilett is high on our wanted list due to his contact expiring at the end of the season.


  30. Good article toonsy. Our midfield including the wingers was cruelly exposed against Spurs. Their midfield was absolutely outstanding and they dominated us from start to finish. I have been saying for a while we need at least 1 new winger. Jonas has big ups and downs with his play but to me he looks like he is losing some of his pace and he will never be a great crosser. Just not good enough. Obertan has that blazing pace but not much else. He would make decent cover for us but we really need a creative and productive winger (or 2 ideally). It would make us so much more dangerous with Ba and Cisse in the box waiting for crosses or killer passes.


  31. @BIg Dave
    It will be interesting to ask the question to Jonas where he prefered to play I’m quite sure it will say in the left.
    Because with his skills and way of eliminating an opponent it’s almost impossible for him to play in the right wing now , because he is to usual in the left, he played there to with Argentina. So i think yes we can say that’s his best position and I think that is Jonas preferred position to.


  32. JL, in an ideal world I’d just like to see us with 2 full backs who are good enough to defend, and 2 good wingers who don’t have to worry about mopping up behind them all the time. I remember the amount of **** Robert used to get for lounging about waiting for the ball, and not taking players on enough. He was never really expected to track back, neither was Solano. They just got on with their attacking roles. Admittedly the game has changed a bit over the last 10 years, but I’m a simple man. 😆


  33. HBA39@34

    Jonas always tries to get the ball onto his right foot. He usually shoots with his right foot. He came to us as a right winger, and often plays for Argentina at right back.

    Even his player profile on the official NUFC website refers to him as “The right-sided attacker”.,,10278~38404,00.html

    (read the second sentence)

    I’d like to see him on the right anyway. No big deal.


  34. Spending money and it has to be Jarvis LW and Redmond RW for me.
    Freebies – Barnetta LW and Hiollett RW, and as they are on free contracts I’d be looking to get these players in anyway.

    I think Marv looked as though he could be a winger that looks to whip a ball into the box but worry we may never get a full season out of him like.

    Certainly an area to focus on for the summer IMO, wingers, fullbacks and centre backs.

    If we can clear 7-8 out and the players available on free I really think, we could seriously improve our squad.


  35. @BigDave: Hatem is left footed

    I like this article aswell but à fundemental question is: Should the wingers always cover for the fullbacks? Does not that make our offensive play suffer?


  36. I’m in agreement with the idea of Jonas on the right it makes more sense . Marveaux needs to get fully healed and match fit befor we can really judge him .As for Hoilett ,i would love us to get him in the summer plus a cb and dare isay it a replacement for simpson who i’m not sold on .


  37. Jonas and Obertan protect their respective full backs.

    Obertan is either decent or crap though as an attacking force and Jonas isn’t much better.

    Jonas has looked lazy the last half a dozen games.


  38. HBA google him and you’ll find that he has allready stated that he would prefer in the right but his team needed him on the left, so he has no problem playing there . 😉


  39. Troy@40 I would have to agree Jonas has looked poor lately but i really think he’s knackerd ,he looks more burnt out than lazy. I don’t think any of the lads are lazy just not up to the standard of Spurs in some positions on the day.


  40. as i said earlier, to compete with the top teams,we need two new full backs and two new wingers,we need to start getting a supply to the two front men,the teams had a great season, and i’m not knocking the players we’ve got,but to really push on,we need to get a better class of player, to add to the excellent spine we already have


  41. I think it would be good if we moved Gutierrez to the right to help out Simpson and Hatem Ben Arfa to the left wing. Both players can then use there stronger foot to get balls into the box for Cisse and Ba with Ben Arfa still having the ability to come inside like he did vs Everton last season. I think Obertan actually looks better playing the number 10 role that Ben Arfa is supposed to play granted he hasn’t scored many goals but the best appearances so far for us that I have seen him play have been in the number 10 role. I really hope we keep a hold of Ben Arfa and start giving him games because he could become a really special player for us.


  42. Alex Mcleish singled Jonas out for his workrate and graft for the team. I certainly don’t think you can call Jonas lazy?!

    The problem I have with Jonas is that he’s a dribbler. When he gets the ball he just wants to run with it and by the time it comes to crossing the ball he’s either lost it or it’s too late.
    I dont have a problem with his workrate or covering his full back but as an attacking force his just not peppering the box with crosses.

    Obertan has shown signs he could be the winger we need on the right. The Stoke game was a great example of his ability to proved the danger crosses from the right. The problem with Obertan at the mo is consistency but he too offers good cover for his full back.

    Marveaux hasn’t been fit long enough to make a fair and balanced judgement as yet. From what little I have seen I’ve been impressed but again it is going to be consistency and fitness.

    HBA – I see more in the no. 10 role, a Peter Beardsley still player. Bennys decision making is poor at the moment. I think he’s trying too hard to prove how good he is as an individual and he just needs to focus on being a team player.

    Sammy – I would forget about him being a winger and look to develop him as a CF, a long term replacement for his brother.


  43. I dont know why perch was playing on saturday chris did play HBA on the left against Everton last season he was very effective
    So why cant we play away with three holding medfield dropping jonas to play along side check and cabay and get HBA play behind the strikers
    Jonas is not a great winger he is better playing in the centre of the park we have great team ecludes Dan gosling and perch champion ship standard


  44. I agree with this article. It just goes to show far we have come. However, when you look at the likes of Valencia / Nani / Young you realise how poor ours are … our best is Guttierez and i like him, but he does not create enough .. and it is not enough just to run – that is what wingers do! … i would keep him as a squad player but we need to improve .. think HBA could be sold … think you have a good case.


  45. good article Spencer

    I think we need another winger, and Barnetta has benn linked in the past. Playing 4-4-2 we need wingers who can whip a good cross in, and that ain’t happening. Having said that I think the ones we have are decent players and dont need selling.


  46. Good artcile Spencer, I emember Obertan got another assist against Blackburn early in the season when Krul did a long kick, which was flicked on by Best for Obertam to deliver a lovely weighted cross to Ba’s head.

    I think once we get Tiote and Cabaye firing on all cylinders again we will see more service to our wingers, who will be able to just get on with attacking – so I’m not inclined to panick just yet. The combo of Tiote, Cabaye, Guti, Obertan, Cisse & Ba have not had a game together yet. Once they have had a few I think we will be quite devastating! It’s early days yet 😀


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