Newcastle gave another terrible display of defensive play yesterday with center-back Cacapa, of all people, the chief culprit with two bad mistakes that led to goals.
- Thereâ€™s not much Sam and his staff can do this week but go back to basics with the defense. The back four to start next week against Sunderland will probably be the one that finished yesterday with Taylor, Rozehnal Faye and Enrique. Sam and his staff need to grind these four in the basics of simple defending – all week.
- We were just terrible yesterday â€“ let’s admit that first. At least in the first 15 minutes, but now is not the time to panic. Sam and his staff will need to work overtime this week with the defense. Itâ€™s time for some heroes to emerge to shore up our defense, but Sam has to get his team doing the basic things right, which they are plainly not doing right now.
- We need Mark Viduka back for the Sunderland game, because weâ€™ve missed the big man and he gives us so many more options up front. With Mark being injured so much we’ll have to bring in another big man in January to help Mark share the load of the big up front man. Ameobi looks like he’s missed his chance to shine. If he cannot get his place when Mark is out – things cannot look too good for Shola, who may be moved out in January.
- We assume Sam will have the players together for a real heart-to-heart talk about how these last two displays are just not good enough for this club. It’s so easy to criticize when things go wrong but Sam’s job is to correct it and one thing he has to do is keep the spirit in the side – that’s crucial.
Sam has a tough job to balance criticism with not destroying the confidence in the side – which cannot be too high right now. Confidence is everything in football â€“ so itâ€™s a delicate balancing act for the coaching staff this week.
- It will be a double whammy next Saturday because weâ€™re away and we usually donâ€™t play well away from St. Jamesâ€™ Park. Unfortunately, we proved yesterday that we can also play badly at home so itâ€™s going to be a crucial match for Newcastle at Sunderland. We think Sunderland will see a big chance to take Newcastle next Saturday, given our last two performances.
A Newcastle win will alleviate lots of concerns â€“ a defeat will further the gloom and doom descending on Tyneside.
- Newcastle will have to bring in new players in January. It would be nice if we could get defenders in who have experience in the Premiership because thatâ€™s whatâ€™s hurting us right now. Not sure whether Sam will give Carr and Babayaro a chance when they come back. We really donâ€™t think they are good enough, but after yesterdayâ€™s defending anything has to be on the table.
- We also need a mini clear-out of players we no longer need in January. Some of those that need to be removed from the wage list are Carr, Babayaro and Ameobi to make room for new players.
- The main thing is not to panic but go right back to basics. Heaven knows when weâ€™ll get our next clean sheet since itâ€™s now 8 games since our last one against Wigan Athletic on 1st September. Newcastleâ€™s Achilles heel has always been the defense and Sam is finding it much harder to fix than anyone first thought. But weâ€™ll get there â€“ we just need patience.
Unfortunately â€“ thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve been told for far too many seasons now – and it’s hard to blame the faithful Newcastle supporters for being so short on patience – but we’ll try – once again.
Comments very welcome.