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News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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This Could Be Newcastle’s Back Four For First Few Games

9:39 pm, Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 20 Comments

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 west ham

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?

Comments welcome.

Tags: Chancel Mbemba · Coaching · Daryl Janmaat · Newcastle News · Pre-season · Premier League

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 toon kk // Aug 2, 2015 at 9:45 PM

    Its usually the Newcastle way to have players play out of their own position, its the club’s way of saving money.

  • 2 Graeme // Aug 2, 2015 at 9:47 PM

    Penfold has known of this chronic problem for at least TWO YEARS.
    It isn’t a new problem at all. Our first 4 targets should all have been CB’s and priority given to getting at least 2 in as soon as the window opened.

    Why do we seem incapable of working on more than one incoming player at a time? Its not like they are doing heart surgery, they could manage 3 or 4 at a time one would imagine.

    One could have been done last summer and one last January, if it really is that difficult, obviously NUFC chose to do neither.

    Ashley out!!! HWTF

  • 3 Big Steve // Aug 2, 2015 at 9:47 PM

    We shouldn’t be in this situation with a week to go. Yet again we leave it to late. Ashley out.

  • 4 lewisnufc // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    Haidara looking good at left back? He was shocking saturday. So clumsy defensively and didnt really offer anything going forward. After centre half i’d say left back is our weakest position.

  • 5 Belfast // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    We’re probably going to be starting with the same relegation fodder defence. Which is a farce on it’s own.

  • 6 Unplugged toon // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    I reckon top 6 this season defo

  • 7 colwell // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:04 PM

    Until we sell 1 CB at least there’s no way we’ll sign another. We have 5 1st team CB’s right now we’ll never have 6.

    We’ll start this season like we did last shite at the back and no one to supply the forwards.

  • 8 Belfast // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:04 PM

    Lewis not convinced about the left back myself. I see Enrique is surplus to requirements at Liverpool. It will never happen, but I’d re-sign him no problem.

  • 9 Average_Contents // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    Years of mismanagement under the guise of we can’t compete.

    Having the same FOUR centre backs as the championship season should be enough for any football fan to understand.

    Ashley out


  • 10 sing in the corner // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    Its interesting many people have been dismissing reports of Vuckic / rave reviews he got for his performances for Rangers last season – because its a poor league etc.
    Yet there’s a growing clamour to get Van Dijk in for us. He’s a defender in the only half decent side in Scotland – a dross league in which he doesn’t exactly pit his wits against top players week in week out.

  • 11 Jack // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    Where did I say that vuckic was premier league standard because he scored that goal? Smh!

    Like I said, he has the physicality, the confidence, the technicality and the goal scoring touch that our club needs. I don’t care if he played in the Scottish championship, it’s not his fault he got loaned there and he did his job excellently, like sing in the corner said, you’re all raving about Van Dijk yet he is playing in Scotland? Double standards…

    Give him a run in the first team, then judge him.

  • 12 Tsunki // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:19 PM

    Ashley Out!

  • 13 toon kk // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:19 PM

    It all boils down to penny pinching and poor scouting, the result is a squad not capable of premier league football.
    There’s been to much of a gamble been going on with big resale value the first priority. Or basically not spending too boost profits, its gone on for years and will take years to recover from.

  • 14 Tsunki // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:21 PM

    Vuckic will never make it. Just accept and move along to more serious things.

    In other news, time to suck it up and brace for impact same back four as last 10 pl games.

  • 15 geordie157 // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:21 PM

    Off subject but could we do a loan with a view to make it permanent for chelsea’s Salah.
    And sign a centre back of course.

  • 16 Jack // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:23 PM


    Glad that you can see into the future.

  • 17 Tsunki // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:26 PM

    Because I learn from the past Jack. Learn from the past.

  • 18 banjax // Aug 2, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    The fans observing the players are very rarely wrong and by that I mean the verdict on Saylor and Williamson. It’s plain to see that Williamson is punching above his weight in the Premiership and with the new opposition strikers who will be attacking him, Williamson will be torn to pieces. As far as Taylor is concerned, I’m sad to say that injury and lack of playing time have caught up with him at his age and it is time to thank him for his service and move on. Colo is another former great player who has served the club well but again it is time to call it a day. If these three are not replaced ASAP then we will be shipping goals and losing games because of the defence. Johnny Evans comes to mind as one defender who at 26 has a few years and is decent player who McClaren should know well.

  • 19 Brummie // Aug 2, 2015 at 11:39 PM

    How long is dummet out for ?

  • 20 Gallowgate_99 // Aug 3, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    Biggest mistake we’ve ever made is letting Santon go to Inter, had a very solid first season at the club but even with his poor performances recently he still had his best years ahead of him so could of recaptured his form. Now we’ve got an unreliable crock as first choice and a lad who is simply not good enough to play first team. Left back is a closed market at the moment with the only quality players coming from Barcelona, Bayern and Chelsea. We should seriously look at Alex Telles from Galatasary, he is a good young player and will only cost us around £6-£8m

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