Southampton are a good side and they have done well in their friendly games drawing 1-1 with Spanish side RCD Espanyol today in their final friendly.
In the Europa League they are in the third qualifying round and in the first leg at St. Mary’s last Thursday, they beat Vitesse 3-0 and look set to qualify for the group round.
They will play their second leg this Thursday night, so that could even help Newcastle.
Daryl Janmaat – could he be used at center-back for a few games?
From the Newcastle pre-season games which were not planned too well and the schedule was far too hectic, Newcastle’s big weakness is still the back four – and in particular central defense.
The only good thing is after our final pre-season friendly yesterday, the lads now have eight days to prepare for the Southampton game, which is likely to be played in front of a full house at St. James’ Park on August 9th – and that should help.
New signing Chancel Mbemba must have been a little surprised when he was put in at right back in place of Player of the Season Daryl Janmaat in yesterday’s game, and Chancel has admitted he has only played in that position once before for Anderlecht.
But given the weakness of the back four and especially in central defense, maybe for the first few games of the season we could play Janmaat at center-back and Mbemba at right back – until he gets used to things and the two players can then switch positions.
Any mistakes made at right back are usually a lot less costly than a mistake at center-back, as we saw only too well yesterday as Steven Taylor lost the ball and within a couple of seconds the ball was in the back of our net.
The other center-back would be either Taylor or Williamson and Massadio Haidara is looking good at left back – and he almost scored yesterday with a great left foot shot.
From what we saw of Janmaat at center-back last season he’s better than either Steven Taylor or Mike Williamson and doesn’t make many mistakes.
There again given how solid Mbemba looked yesterday maybe Steve McClaren after a full week’s training and maybe a practice game this week, will think Chancel is ready to start at center-back.
The DR Congo International is certainly better than either Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson.
We are assuming Fabricio Coloccini will not be fit enough to start against Southampton.
What would your back four be for the Southampton game?