Time For Midfield Shake-Up On Wednesday Night

It seems that a number of Newcastle players, especially in midfield, need a rest.

Kevin Nolan – needs a rest

It’s a long season, and it’s not going to get any easier with the 16 remaining league games having to be completed by May 2nd.

Maybe the time has come for Chris Hughton to rest some of the stalwarts of this season.

We haven’t looked strong in central midfield for some time now, getting over-run on Saturday, well-beaten at Derby County last Tuesday night, and at Leicester City we were second best – even though Leicester only had 10 men for most of the game.

One player who has looked really jaded these last few games is Kevin Nolan, and maybe Wednesday is a good time to give the lad a well earned rest.

Danny Guthrie has shown he is a much better player in central midfield, than out on the left wing, where Chris had him playing on Saturday. Chris – he’s not a winger and never will be.

Alan Smith and Danny Guthrie would make a decent central midfield pairing for the game against Coventry, and Danny would be given the freedom to attack, while Alan Smith helps to keep the back door closed.

And on first thoughts the following looks like a decent starting eleven for Wednesday’s game:

Simpson Coloccini  Williamson van Aanholt
Routledge Guthrie Smith Gutierrez
Carroll Best

The above team includes Williamson, Gutierrez and Best who didn’t start against Swansea.

We were surprised that Fitz  Hall got the starting nod ahead of Mike Williamson last Saturday, so perhaps Mike will get an opportunity against Coventry.

Up front we could hold Peter Lovenkrands back for the second half, but whatever team starts the game, we would expect the lads to come out fast and furious, since a win and all 3 points are paramount.

We think Kevin Nolan should not even be on the bench so he definitely gets a well earned rest – after all we do have a bigger squad these days.

And WBA and Nottingham Forest both have rather tough games tomorrow night – West Brom are at Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest host Sheffield United.

Hey, with any luck they could both suffer defeat – we hope so anyway. 😀

What would be your Newcastle team for the game on Wednesday night?

Let’s know your thoughts. Comments welcome.

34 comments so far

  • Toon_Factor

    Feb 15, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    Comment #1


    “We think Kevin Nolan should not even be in the squad so he definitely gets a well earned rest ”

    Rest from what? doing nothing like he normally does? He needs dropped!

    I cant wait for Barton to come back so we can have a midfield of


    Barton is what we have been missing lately in the centre of midfield. Guthrie is useless and Nolan is usually annonymous in every game he plays.

  • VanCanToonFan

    Feb 15, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    Comment #2

    Can’t argue with anything you said, Ed, except I would give Lovenkrands the start over Best, or at least give him a long 2nd half run-out (30+ min). One of my issues with Hughton is he tends to make his substitutions too late in the match.

    Simpson was dire in the middle against Swansea. He was completely undressed by Cotterill for the goal. He’s much more effective on the right.

  • Toon_Factor

    Feb 15, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    Comment #3

    “Simpson was dire in the middle against Swansea”

    He wasnt playing in the middle,VanCanToonFan.

  • MacToon

    Feb 15, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    Comment #4

    Routledge has to take some lessons fron Jonas on how to track back and help cover the full back, poor Simpson was left with no cover so many times, also noticed Colo having to cover Van Aanholt when he kept getting caught up field. Colo covered well btw.

    Our centre midfield is the poorest part of the team now, I find it difficult picking between Nolan, Smith, Butt and Guthrie…..

  • TheGallowgateEnd

    Feb 15, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    Comment #5

    For the Coventry match I’d have:


    Simpson Colo Williamson Aanholt

    Lovenkrands Nolan Smith Gutierrez

    Carroll Best

  • Lynxie

    Feb 15, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Comment #6

    VanCanToonfan, you noticed one thing correctly, Simpson gets dragged all over the shop. A decent defender would have passed Cotterill on to the waiting (or should have been) Hall. if taylor had been playing he would have covered all day. Simpson may not be the answer, but he is still a better full back than Ryan Taylor, who is an absolute liability at full back.

  • Lynxie

    Feb 15, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    Comment #7

    By the way, good call MacToon, routledge didnt even put a grafting shift in on saturday, if he had covered as you say, maybe Cotterill would not have had the freedom of South Wales all afternoon. A point that may be crucial, but we need to buck up.

  • laurent32

    Feb 15, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    Comment #8

    have to agree with you ed. nolan looks very poor at the moment. just like last season. tbh i think hughton needs to man up and drop him. nolan has only ever been effective in the 4-5-1 formation in behind the striker. if we are playing 4-4-2 i’d play guthrie in the middle every time. although hes hardly pacey, at least he can pick a pass and links the play with the strikers much better. people slated him in the last game but the only time he really looks bad is when he plays on the wings. whenever hes played in the middle from what ive seen hes looked decent enough. still i have a feeling nolan will definately still start on wed. shame.

  • Newutd

    Feb 15, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    Comment #9

    United.no ads on a Newcastle United blog…
    Awful, Ed, Awful.

  • F. U. Ashley

    Feb 15, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Comment #10

    You have to laugh don’t you?


  • The Entertainers

    Feb 15, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Comment #11

    Nolan does need a rest and has not looked right for a while. A rest / dropped may well be the kick up the backside he needs, because he was unstoppable early doors.

    Williamson / Hall (Both as average as each other)
    Guthrie( a chance to see him in his prefered role)

    Krul. Kadar, Taylor, Nolan, Pancrate, Hall, Ranger,

  • Captain Beefheart

    Feb 15, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Comment #12


    Simpson (just) – Williamson – Colo – VA

    Routledge – Guthrie – Lovenkrands – Jonas

    Best – Carroll

    With Guthrie anchoring the midfield diamond in the centre (Smudger’s usual job) and Lovenkrands free to push up from midfield to effectively create a 4-3-3 when attacking I’d also give Lovenkrands or Colo the captain’s armband for the night.

    It’s got to be worth a try?

  • Charlietoon

    Feb 15, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    Comment #13

    Just 1 up front



  • SGToon

    Feb 15, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    Comment #14

    Capt Beefheart, while your endeavour to mix things up and try to find the right formula for success is admirable, I very much worry if we try to chop and change our regular players and tactics.

    Our squad does give us the possibility to try out different formations, tactics and players, but at this stage in the season – the business end of our promotion-searching season, I personnally would be appalled if CH keeps mixing things up. The one thing this team has lacked so far is CONSISTENCY… which could explain the roller-coaster ride we’ve been experiencing the last couple games.

    I think its time CH mans up, picks his best 11 and a suitable system for the next 16 games remaining. No time to muck around!

  • wilson32

    Feb 15, 2010 at 9:16 PM

    Comment #15

    to be honest why is every 1 saying guthrie is been rubbish well yeh he as but he is not a winger if any 1 watched the cardiff game he was class and why because he was in his postion which is cm so would not drop him but nolan colo and best is a must the must be droped colo is not worth 10 mil plus he is not good enough for this league never mind the prem nolan has to be rested and best what the hell did we buy him for not good enough for the reserves never mind first team the only reason we are were we are in the leauge is because of luck and it is a rubbish leauge because lets face it chris has not got a clue when is comes to picking a team yeh we are top but we should be will clear at the top with the team we have but chris has not learned he picks the same team week in week out boreing taticts not to bad at home but has no belief when playing away games to scared to try and go out and win the game but he would rather play defenceive football so he should stick to what he nos best and that is being a coach because he is not learning from his mistakes so the team i would pick and the team he should play on wednesday and saturday have to be
    in goal harper
    back four simpson williams hall Aanholt steve taylor would have been instead of hall but injurd
    mid routledge smith guthrie gutierrez
    up front carrol ranger
    sub krul kadar pancrate colo lovenkrands nolan taylor

  • Roy Cropper

    Feb 15, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    Comment #16

    SGToon – worry not , CH doesn’t have any town hall’s so he wont be mixing to many things up.

    whether that gets us back with the big lads or not we’ll find out after the next 16 or so games.

  • Smithy

    Feb 15, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    Comment #17

    Toon factor I did say on other post that wingers had been not bad. Routledge has looked creative but only seen him twice. Jonas is attacking minded but usually comes to nothing. Ryan taylor cant control a ball but can cross.The centre mids like guthrie and nolan dont seem to know what to do with the ball need to much time or pass it back to defence in a panic. Maybe lovenkrands would be worth gamble in centre with smith.

  • Fozzy

    Feb 15, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    Comment #18

    Simpson has been poor recently without any protection, but he’s much better than Ryan Taylor. Guthrie and Nolan don’t deserve to start next game after the swansea performace, but who is going to replace one of them?
    Simpson Wilo/Hall Colo Van A
    Routledge Smith Lovenkrands (CAM) Guti
    Best Andy

  • tobes

    Feb 15, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    Comment #19

    I remember when Gutierrez first came to the club, Keegan said he was not only a good winger but a solid central midfielder aswell. I think he would be the creative spark in mid and he isn’t bad defensively either. Playing him in the centre would rid the team of his lacklustre crosses from out wide. Lovenkrands can cross and spent many years on the left flank at Rangers and Shalke.
    For me, it is a no brainer:
    Simpson/Colo/Williamson/Van A

  • Captain Beefheart

    Feb 15, 2010 at 11:05 PM

    Comment #20

    It’s interesting to see how many are looking at Lovenkrands as a genuine midfield option. I also like Tobes suggestion of moving Jonas into the middle of midfield and keeping Lovenkrands wide.

    SG Toon, I hear what you are saying about consistency but our current tactics have not only surrendered a 12 point lead but also only reaped 11 points from a possible 24 (we need to returning at least 2.1 points per game to ensure promotion – which means 17 points from 24 – so we are 6 points short, not good enough).

    Consequently we are free-falling and need to arrest the decline. If you extrapolate our recent from over the next 10 games we would be falling out of a play-off place by April – FACT! Central to this decline is our midfield, which has been found wanting over and over, so Chris needs to change the balance, inject some pace and use it as a goalscoring platform not just a static defensive line.

    I think everyone posting here shares these concerns and fully realises the importance of the next two games, but obviously we all have different views on how best to change things around! One thing is for sure, we cannot play the same way as we did at Leicester, Derby or Swansea.

  • Tom Mo.

    Feb 16, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    Comment #21

    entertainers thats the exact side i want to see

  • Uchiha_Itachi

    Feb 16, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    Comment #22

    Thanks to the captain for saving me some time here.


    Simpson Colo Williamson Van A

    Rout Smudge Guth Gutier

    Carroll Mcloven

  • Uchiha_Itachi

    Feb 16, 2010 at 4:50 AM

    Comment #23

    Nolan does need a ‘rest’….

  • DJG

    Feb 16, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    Comment #24


    This midfield would crush teams at home. Guthrie needs to play in the middle or not at all. He was again pathetic at LW against Swansea.

  • Darling27

    Feb 16, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    Comment #25

    Line Up Vs Coventry City

    Van Aanholt

    Toon 2 Coventry 0

    I agree Nolan needs a rest and that our best midfield line up when fit is:


    Howay The Lads!!!

  • DJG

    Feb 16, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    Comment #26

    Start Best to soften up their defense, plus he is due a good game.

    Lovenkrands is effective when brought on for the last 30mins. He comes on fresh and beats the defenders for pace. When he starts he rarely scores and they get the measure of him and batter him about. He needs to come on when their defense has tired legs.

  • Toon_Factor

    Feb 16, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    Comment #27

    Bad news Hughton has said he hasnt even considered dropping Nolan 🙁

  • Mark-o

    Feb 16, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #29

    i thought Van Aanholt went back to Chelsea?

  • Mexes

    Feb 16, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #30

    what about playing Smith on top with Carrol ???

    it would be crazy if i suddenly starts scoring goals like he’s got something to make up for 😉

  • Mexes

    Feb 16, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #31

    I think we can all remember his goal scoring records from Leeds

  • chuck

    Feb 16, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #32

    Guthrie ? you cant be serious, he`s awfull, almost as bad as R.Taylor.
    At best a bench player, certainly not good enough for the PL.
    C`mon Ed.!

  • chuck

    Feb 16, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #33

    Suggest we play Lovenkrands up front with Best instead of Carroll.
    They can feed off one another, think they can make a good pairing.
    Be nice to see a few goals from our forwards.


    Feb 16, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    Comment #34

    plenty of teams going up for tom night wonder if CH is reading?

    simpson colo williamson van a
    routs smith guth jonas
    carrol best


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