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Newcastle’s last line of defence!

Posted on October 26th, 2009 | 45 Comments |

Have we been nicking Premiership balls?
Have we been nicking Premiership balls?
Just how much can you discuss the same thing, day after day? Well to be fair, we’ve given it a good go but rather than rant on about the off-field stuff, I thought it might be time to reflect on the on-field matters at Newcastle United.

We’re almost a third of the way through our new season in The Championship and surely the players at our disposal must be half-decent seeing as we’re sitting pretty at the top of the table?

Clearly, some of us have different ideas about the quality in our squad and argue that our position is as much to do with luck and the lack of opposition. I’d probably agree with some of that but you can only beat what’s in front of you (to coin a well-worn cliche). Mind you, we could be here all night talking about the entire squad, so I’ll split it out a little.

For what it’s worth here’s my own term review of the the keepers and defenders. I’ve only included the lads who have played at least a couple of games so far –

Stevie Harper – Harps has waited long enough in the shadows of former custodians and particularly big pal Shay Given before we sold him to Moneybags City. Not many people have a bad word to say about him and his professional approach to the game and in the past, when called upon, just came in and did the job. I think he’s quite a calming influence on the defence and they look more organised this season so perhaps the communication is getting better. Pulled off some good saves already this season but I still think he looks a bit suspect on crosses and jeez those ones he ‘watches go wide’…….. rating so far – 7/10

Tim Krul – The young Dutch stopper waited patiently, or at least he was doing until he had a bit of a rant about Hughton and his lack of chances. Has looked fairly solid and confident and definitely looks like a good shot stopper but doesn’t look like the finished article yet and considering experience and everything else, probably needs to recognise Harper is the stronger of the two at the moment…….. rating so far – 6/10

Ryan Taylor – Considering his uncanny knack of scoring against us, I think we all looked forward to seeing Taylor delivering his famed final/dead balls and creating chance after chance and scoring freekick after freekick. It never really worked out that way initially, but in fairness, the quality is starting to come and even though he’s been invariably deployed in the right back role, in which he admits he’s happiest, he gets forward well to support. Lacks a little pace at times which can leave him exposed with nippier opposition…….. rating so far – 7/10

Danny Simpson – I guess, inevitably, the fact we got him on loan from Manchester United meant there was the hope that he’d have ability. Of course there was the old argument that he wasn’t being loaned out for nothing and Ferguson is no fool. Whether expectations were high, I’m not sure, but for me he’s been solid. And that’s probably about it. Solid and dependable, nothing spectacular, but then is spectacular what you’re looking for in a defender? Probably not……… rating so far – 6/10

Fabricio Coloccini – Who’dathunk that a few months into the season we’d be missing Coloccini? Not me. And yet it’s happened. He forged a fairly formidable partnership with Stevie Taylor before picking up an injury and with the drop in standard and the pace not quite so quick, I think it’s fair to say he can get away with more this term. However, I also think he’s gotten to grips with the English game a bit more and seems steadier and more determined. Long may it continue. When he gets fit again……… rating so far – 7/10

Steven Taylor – As mentioned, has developed a good understanding with Colo and is also a big miss. Lion-hearted, 100%er and local lad to boot, we can probably forgive him, his tendencies to overact when struck on the arm by a ball. His natural pace and strength are much more effective at this level where refined defending isn’t necessarily needed but has looked composed on the ball. We’ll look much better without a doubt when he’s back……… rating so far – 8/10

Jose Enrique – Jose has always been someone I rated highly despite some of his obvious flaws, particularly his tendency to overplay it in our third. His strength and pace are phenomenal really and he makes sheperding the ball out of play look so easy. I think I may nickname him Batfink, because his wings are like a shield of steel. Is a massive shining light in a squad that teeters around average. Never flustered and has carried the ball to great effect this season. If only Gutierrez would play the easy ball more often, we’d get much more joy down the left with Jose whipping them in……… rating so far – 9/10

Zurab Khizanishvili – Another loanee defender, this time from Blackburn Rovers and started well but then showed signs of getting caught for pace a little. Not convinced it’s helped having to chop and change his defensive partner though. Looks nice and tidy on the ball and carries it out of defence and moves it sharply which is a refreshing change. Evidently, he doesn’t mind a bit of argy bargy, so I’m sure he’ll fit in well around here……… rating so far – 7/10

Tamas Kadar – Saw a bit of him in pre-season, where despite all the inevitable changes throughout, he looked nice and steady. Played well the other day but had a couple of lapses which might have been more costly. Also gave the ball away for the Doncaster goal. Definitely one for the future though if he keeps progressing……… rating so far – 6/10

Ben Tozer – Just scrapes in because of my ‘games’ rule but to be honest I haven’t seen much of him though he’s clearly highly-rated. Difficult to say much more and I’ll give him a six for kicks but hard to rate him just yet……… rating so far – 6/10

Anyway, enough of my waffle.

What do you lot think?

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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45 Responses

  1. hmm i’d say simpsons been fairly good and deserves a 7 especially for willingness to play out of position. Zurab not so sure on that, hes looked dodgy in a few games recently, maybe he’ll be better alongside a proper experienced defender like colo or saylor rather than makeshift in simpson or rookie in kadar

  2. Good post BBM. Nice to talk about football for a change!

    With me not getting to home games like you do and less television coverage in the Championship, I often just have the press to go on in terms of rating players, which makes it more difficult.

    From what I’ve seen though, I’m not convinced about Harper. Why? I don’t know. We’ve let in fewer goals than most (possibly all?) Championship sides, so I should have nothing to complain about, but he just makes me nervous for some reason and I don’t know why.

    I didn’t rate Ryan Taylor at all last season but either he’s found his level in the fizzy pop or he’s improving (or both).

    Can’t disagree with your assessments of Steven Taylor, Coloccini and Enrique but I don’t think I’ve seen enough of the loanees and youngsters to judge them.

  3. I think you are rating Harper too high. Krul is about right on this seasons performances but we all know he is better than what we have seen. Anyway he won’t be around after january as he moves on to play more regular and get in the dutch world cup squad. Think you are miles out on khizanishvilis marks. He is woeful i have seen milk turn quicker. Where was he on saturday. he should have been nursing young kadar through the game instead he let the young un take all responsibility. His three game ban is a blessing

  4. Harper is well worth his mark & possibly a bit more. He’s never let the Toon down. Lowest goals against, hello?
    Kihz was doing just that, sticking up for Kadar, when he got sent off.

  5. Also, the lack of goals against reflects very favorably for the defense as a whole.
    I guess you can always argue black’s white like.

  6. Harry Tate says:
    October 26, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    “Ashley dicking people about again. Booooo!”

    It looked like the exact opposite to me, Harry. Moat’s been “dicking people about” for quite some time now, it’s about time the timewaster was told to do one.

  7. Good article BBM. I would score Danny Simpson a 7, as when played in his natural position I thought he played well, looked a solid player and was settling in well.

    Indeed it’s good to talk about football rather than the Stardust v the others show, the blog has turned into the past week or so.

  8. Great article BBM.

    For me Harper and Simpson a point higher – also I am not sure how you separate Collo and Taylor – each have performed well and deserve an 8 each.

  9. Stardust says:
    October 26, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    “also I am not sure how you separate Collo and Taylor – each have performed well and deserve an 8 each.”

    Stardust, maybe he’s knocked a mark off Colo for his questionable decisionmaking, especially in the hairstyle department?

  10. He has done OK this year Worky – pace is slower which helps Taylors positioning which in turn helps Collo and Taylor work as a unit. Oops shouldnt have replied. Soz Debs lol

  11. It’ll be good to get Colo & Taylor back, as they seemed to be gelling really well, It’s no surprise that we’ve lost a couple since they got injured. That’s created a bit of instability in the back four recently.

  12. Evening Stardust
    LOL – I find it very amusing actually especially the stuff between you and Batty. Not so keen on the personal attacks between people as that is too reminiscent of Ed’s blog. I think you were clearly the original Workticket as you’re a right contrary b*gger aren’t you?

  13. Sorry Debs – I never mean to offend (well Stuart I do ;)) but certainly not a lady!

    It would be boring if we all agreed though – nothing worse than a sterile world!

    I try to stay the right side of the line but I will fail from time to time – I liken it to friendly fire when I am windmilling at the masses lol – Feel free to slap me down if I am getting out of line – I do have manners and will acquiesce immediately – especially for Yourself and Miss Piggy.

  14. Thankyou Stardust.

    I agree it would be very boring if we all agreed – not much chance of that though!!

    I will certainly commend you on your manners, so does Miss Piggy – now she is one drama queen

  15. geordie deb says: “I agree it would be very boring if we all agreed – not much chance of that though!!”

    No, not much.

  16. Stardust says:
    October 26, 2009 at 9:45 pm
    Great article BBM.

    For me Harper and Simpson a point higher – also I am not sure how you separate Collo and Taylor – each have performed well and deserve an 8 each.
    <<< aye i agree with that but a think 9s for them

  17. To be fair Batty – with the amount of goals we have conceded nobody can argue with that. 7 for Collo is grossly unfair!

  18. aye stardust the defence conceded a lot less wen the pair were playing think we will be ok wen there back i sed at the beginning of the season the only thing that will stop us getting promoted is injurys

  19. Batty now you come to mention it I do remember reading that as you say somewhere around the start of the season

  20. Mmmm, well who knows, i’ve lost all sense of time about all this. & i’m getting pretty numb to it too.
    Could be a cool xmas box like. :)

  21. aye me too clint and aye we will wake up xmas morning and bill gates has brought the club and installed mourihno as manager :lol:

  22. Whey hey.
    & peace would break out all across Geordieland.
    Then someone would drop the bomb & fk it all up, but we’d die happy.
    :)

  23. Evenin!! Sorry for delay. I went straight out for a run and been busy since! Yeah, split it out into def, mid, strikers. And I’ll do it like each term, i.e. every three months!! So each player will get like a school report and I’ll work out player of the year from it!!

    Gotta love red wine!!!!

  24. It seems most agree with bowburn on ‘the case for the defense’, they’ve pretty much kept their part of the bargain & are generally doing a good job, even the ones who are not first choice. Maybe parts II & III aren’t gonna be such glowing reports. Not enough goals scored. Although you can’t aim that at Nolan with his 8 so far.

  25. Sure miss Bassong and Baye,anyone see Titus play lately,
    looks great, (guess he learned how to concentrate)
    N`Zogbia had a great game last week, really coming into his own.
    And of course Seamus is outstanding @ Citeh, (but still hoofing it up the pitch)not to forget that little Welshman Bellamy, who`s playing his ass off.
    Duff scored a pretty goal and fits well @ craven cottage
    (but still running around in circles in some peoples minds)
    Our defenders on the whole are decent for this division
    that is Simpson, Taylor,Colo and ElToro Nino.
    Khizanishvilis is an o`kay back up, but dont rate
    R.Taylor, which implies we need help.
    Eagerly awaiting BBM`s review of the mid field, so`s I can put my two cent`s in.

  26. Chuck, what I think is remarkable is that we’ve lost so many good players and yet we’re still performing the same. Despite having many of those players, last year we were a crap Premiership team who performed roughly the same as Middlesborough and WBA. Now we have lost most of the the top players that you’ve mentioned, our squad has been cut down to the same level as Middlesborough’s and WBA’s, yet despite the huge disruption and the loss of ‘quality’, at least we have managed to keep our heads above water and stay above them (just) on top of the Championship. This is progress of a sort.