A question we all must be asking surely? We destroyed Bournemouth and played some great football. We weren’t great against West Ham but twice came from behind and showed spirit and fight and then we arrived in Manchester!
I say arrived because we certainly didn’t turn up! In my day job I urge people to stop, take a deep breath and then consider your response. I’ve done that and still feel as angry two days later than I did straight after the game on Wednesday.
In my last piece I gave 5 winners and 5 losers that game out of the game. This time I reckon I could do 4 winners and 11 losers with three in particular in my firing line and thoughts. The winners are easy. Jamaal Lascelles, Isaac Hayden, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin.
I know they didn’t play but just how bad did we look without them? If they miss many or any more games their status could get raised to legendary or irreplaceable and we all know they are not but they were certainly missed on Wednesday.
There were others missing who might well have played as well but we did learn surely is that are squad is not deep enough or good enough if we want to progress and give our loyal supporters the success they deserve. I also say that and look at other factors like the positions people played.
Krafth has come in from the cold and produced two decent displays at right-back so he’s moved to centre-back where he just cannot play. Yedlin was constantly in no mans land and is either not interested or has forgotten how to play football during the break.
Shelvey had a superb game against Bournemouth and was also my man of the match against West Ham. His reward? Go and play attacking midfield/No. 10 where he just never got into the game. The man with the Golden Ticket, Joelinton. He did okay in his two games away from centre forward but then gets pushed back into that position.
He’s not a centre forward and quite frankly looks like he never will be. He might not even be a Premier League player and yet, he gets picked game after game after game. As if to say, “we spent £40m on him, he has to play.”
Rose was poor but probably still our best player but then he was playing well and got left out only to be asked to return against Man. City. In truth I felt a bit sorry for him. Lazaro is becoming the biggest conundrum of all. Supposedly bursting at the seams to show what he’s worth. I think not! He was brilliant at Bournemouth and has often looked sharp, but he played a big role in both of City’s opening goals.
Ritchie to me didn’t look fit and played like it and then eventually I come to the three that for me really need to have a good luck at themselves from Wednesday. Bentaleb so casual and losing the ball in awful areas, as he did for their 5th! He’s got quality but he was such a liability here, taking risks all the time.
Before Hayden was ruled out for the season, Bentaleb played well and looked like a player that wanted to be here and was worth a punt. He might still be, but on Wednesday he had the look of a player that suddenly isn’t under pressure for his place and had a shocker. Considering he should be busting a gut to earn a permanent deal, he was a total liability who was half asleep from start to finish.
Fernandez was truly, truly awful. But then he was left to play alongside a rarely used right-back in a 4-man defence! When he’s played alongside Lascelles in a 4, he’s looked class and as I said in a previous article has almost come from 5th choice to 2nd choice. He’s been really good recently so perhaps I can give him the off game but boy oh boy how bad was he.
Which brings me to Schar. What on earth has happened to him? He looked like an absolute star and a snip last season and I would even say at the start of this. Since the return he’s been truly, truly awful and he doesn’t look interested anymore. City constantly bypassed him.
He seems to be on a beach somewhere in flip-flops reading an Atlas and trying to decide where he’s going next. Here’s a big statement. I don’t care how many are injured or tired I would not pick him again. Not even for the squad. He’s no longer interested, clearly.
It’s time to find out if Matty Longstaff is worth £25,000 a week. It’s time to give the youngsters a chance. Why take Allan and Young down to Manchester and then not use them? At 3-0 both should have come on and definitely before Muto.
I have nothing against Muto. I don’t think he’s good enough but what are we going to learn giving him ten minutes here and there? Why bring Manquillo on and play him on the wing when that’s where Allan plays? What possible benefit did that do? Allan and Young should have been given valuable time. Perhaps thought they’re both pleased they weren’t.
Again, by not playing them but having them in the squad we could say it’s made them better players as we don’t know if they’re good enough. City brought on an 18-year old and Foden is only 20 and was different class. We need to know.
I read somewhere that as long as there’s big money for final placements in the table we will play our senior players. Now, I don’t necessarily disagree with that but the likes of Muto and Manquillo were not going to turn that game around. It was gone so blood the youngsters I say.
The sad thing for me when considering all this is that as a team it was just self-inflicted. We were so casual and sloppy; City didn’t even have to work hard for it. They were good but were they great? I don’t think they were that good or as good as those two idiots commentating thought they were.
What is not in dispute is that we were just shocking. We surrendered even before the first ball was kicked. It seemed as though everyone knew we’d lose and played to prove it. We need and deserve better.
Which brings me back to the title of this piece. If I were a betting man, I’d probably pile it on us to win whatever team is put out. That would be typical Newcastle and this season in truth we’ve bounced back well a few times after poor performances. Think Leicester twice and Man City in the cup.
What team will turn up then? Who knows but the one thing that’s guaranteed with Bruce’s Newcastle it’s probably not going to be predictable nor boring!