Here is the Newcastle substitutes bench for this afternoon’s game against Stoke City at home.
Steve Harper, Claudio Cacapa, Xisco, David Edgar, Mark Viduka, Andy Carroll, Steven Taylor
The fact we didn’t have a central midfielder on the substitutes bench, turned out to cost us dearly this afternoon.
Danny Guthrie – injured and withdrawn at half time – cost us the win?
We had 3 strikers on the bench in Viduka, Carroll and Xisco, because it was obvious we were going to go all out on the attack against Stoke City, who had just 2 away points all season.
But what would happen if we had one of our central midfield players injured?
We really have only Joey Barton and Ignacio Gonzalez, in the squad as the other central midfielders, but Joey’s out injured until at least mid-January, and Ignacio is out until March with an Achilles injury.
As we said in September, the squad is just not big enough for the Premier league.
Well we found out at half time what we would do if we had Danny Guthrie or Geremi injured, because 21 year-old Danny Guthrie had to go off with an ankle injury at the break. Some would say that if he could have played the second half we would have walked this game, as it looked like we were doing at the break.
But we had to bring on Steven Taylor at right back (out of position), move Beye to right midfield (out of position), and Gutierrez moved to central midfield (out of position).
We had an option to move young Charles N’Zogbia into the middle, since he’s played there a few times for the Magpies, and he’s got a great engine. We could have moved Oba to the left and brought in Viduka (or Xisco or Carroll) in the middle.
That would have seemed to be a better move, since at least it would have left the back four unchanged, and the defense only had to keep a clean sheet in the last 45 minutes to get all 3 points. They had also played great in the last 2.5 matches by half time today, and kept a clean sheet too.
So there’s an argument to be made that our small squad cost us this game, and it makes it even more important to get another central midfielder into the squad in January.
Mike Ashley, Derek Llambias and Dennis Wise, are you listening?
It also questions why Kinnear had three players play out of position in the second half, when it seemed there were more logical choices that could have left our defense unchanged, which we think would have been important.
Of course this is all being a Monday morning quarter back – we understand that.
Today’s result is like a hard low blow to the stomach. 🙁