One of the good things about the game yesterday was the form of both Vurnon Anita and 18 year-old Gael Bigirimana, with Anita looking good both in central midfield and at right back, and Gael having a very solid game in the middle of the park in the biggest test of his career so far on Tyneside.
Vurnon Anita – looked good at right back
Both are featuring in our Man of the Match poll with Gael on 24% of the vote, behind Ben Arfa (who else?) at 51%, and for the third league game in a row the mercurial (I love that word!) Frenchman was Newcastle’s best player.
And Vurnon Anita is in 4th place in the vote on 7%, and he gave a great display at right back after replacing the injured Danny Simpson, and the truth is that Vurnon is probably the best full back we have on the books.
The Dutch International can play on either side, and when Danny Simpson and Cheick Tiote both return, we would expect Vurnon Anita to be a starter in some position on the field.
Vurnon’s looking an excellent player for Newcastle, and he saved us a few times yesterday.
When asked about the full back positions – with both Ryan Taylor and Danny Simpson now injured – this is what Alan Pardew told the local press:
“I don’t think we’ve got a massive problem there,” countered Pardew. “We lost Ryan one day before the transfer window closed and so the opportunity to get a player good enough for us was very, very slim.”
“We’ve got great replacements. Anita went back in there and probably saved a point with two great headers at the far post – and his quality going forward helped us.”
And David Santon is looking good this season too, and seems to getting the hang of the Premier League, and there’s no doubt this lad is a good player on the ball, and tried to get forward as much as possible yesterday.
Vurnon said he wanted to play a lot of games for Newcastle this season, and he has already made four appearances for the side, and with Danny Simpson injured he will probably continue at right back, and if Cheick isn’t available for the Everton game we expect Alan Pardew to keep playing Gael Bigiirmana in central midfield.
Gael was given his biggest test so far in his very short career at Newcastle, and he got a warm reception from the home crowd and didn’t look out of place, and he’s an intelligent lad too, because he plays the easy ball all the time, and that’s always the sign of a very good player – he makes it look easy.
In the second half he was slightly to the right of midfield and then put a wonderful cross-filed ball out to Coloccini on the left wing, and we had to look twice to see it was Gael who did that.
This lad looks very good, and if he continues with this kind of form he will be pushing for a first team position later this season, , even though he is only 18 years old.
We didn’t sign enough players in the summer, but yesterday Gael and Vurnon showed they already look two excellent acquisitions for Newcastle, and if it was a disappointing result yesterday (it was), the form of these two players gives us some real optimism for the future – we just need more players signed.
Note to Graham Carr and the scouting staff – we need two unknown players to sign in January.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org