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Pardew’s defensive quandary – What’s the solution?

Posted on December 8th, 2011 | 46 Comments |

Perch and Kadar: Stepping out from the shadows.
James Perch and Tamas Kadar: Stepping out from the shadows.
As someone once said: “Defence is just another way to attack.“ You can just start to imagine (go on, imagine it) how important our stable defence has been for our attacking play this season.

Take the two central defenders out of the equation and what happens? Well, we may find out next weekend if Coloccini doesn’t make it as he hopes for our next game against Norwich. Alan Pardew and Newcastle United have managed to keep the same defence throughout the season, but could now be forced to make a big change with Steven Taylor out for the season and Coloccini possibly missing with a thigh strain. The aim of this piece is to shed light on the different defensive options for the team, and then argue which would be the strongest.

Natural Defenders Available:

Danny Simpson, Ryan Taylor, James Perch, Tamas Kadar, Shola Ameobi and Davide Santon.

Possible Defenders:

Alan Smith, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye and Jonas Gutierrez.

From our natural defenders these line-ups seem obviously the best:

Simpson, Perch, Kadar, Raylor or:

Simpson, Perch, Santon, Raylor.

The likelyhood Pardew chooses one of those lineups if he chooses only natural defenders is strong. He has maintained throughout the season the importance of an unchanged defence, and this lineup will keep the fullbacks in the same positions and keep rotation to a minimum. I would agree in most situations, but Raylor has been an obvious weakness throughout this season and therefore this would be my lineup of choice:

Simpson, Perch, Kadar, Santon.

Going on to less orthodox defenders I think there might be stronger lineups. I´m not a fan of Tiote´s “holding the ball very long“ capabilities therefore I’d think it would be a risk to use him in defence. He definitely is no Yaya Toure in my view when it comes to changing position.

Gutierrez definitely did not impress me at RB with Argentina so I would not risk him in defence, especially when we have full backs in abundance.

That leaves Cabaye or Smith. Cabaye doesn´t seem to have played in defence before but I´d think he´d function well there. He spreads the ball and has good ball control abilities. His weakness of course being the aggressiveness as shown so clearly in the last game. That finally leaves Smith. Unlike the others I seem to recall him playing for Man United in central defence when they were hit hard with injuries. Regardless, he seems to have central defenders attributes. His movement these days clearly ain’t good but he always keeps it simple. Likes to make a tackle but seems to me more level headed then he´s given credit for. He can adapt to positions so I´d think he´d be more sensible in defense. Not to forget he´s a fantastic header of the ball remembering him for his Leeds days. He´s a presence, something that the Newcastle defense now lacks. Especially with Perch a certainty in CB next weekend.

In light of this our preferred defence, in my view, should be the following:

Simpson, Smith, Kadar, Santon.

The likelyhood? Zero.

This will probably be the defence played:

Simpson, Perch, Santon, Raylor.

You can´t really say it´s bad as it might see us through the Norwich game if Coloccini is not available. The most important thing will be the match up between Pilkington and Raylor. Thankfully, we have players who can score goals to cover up for the defensce and hopefully see us off for a victory.

PS: Notice the really funny natural defenders joke. This just comes naturally for me guys.

NUFCBlog Author: Johann

I´m born and raised in Iceland untill my early twenties and I´m currently residing in Sweden.
A Father of Two Beautiful Girls and a Master Student in Law
Big and Enthusiastic Football Fan and have supported Newcastle United since I was five where they showed when game a week in Iceland on the television! Ruel Fox, Andy Cole and Peter Beardslay are names I fondly remember from my young years!

Johann has written 1 articles on this blog.

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46 Responses

  1. Will be down at carrow road on saturday and just a bit nervous about who will be playing in defence for us.If anyone was at the friendly against norwich pre-season last year a young kid called simeon jackson tortured our back four perch looked well off the pace just hope lambert keeps jackson on the bench.Anyway at least chris martin wont be scoring having gone on loan to crystal palace.Settle for 2-2 saturday a few pints of adnams broadside and a tikka phall at the prince of india.

  2. Shola Ameobi is a defender?!! didn’t know that!
    No to Perch

    Simpson – Kadar – Santon – Taylor

    If Santon apparently plays like Maldini, he should have no problem fitting in the centre of defence, and I quite liked Kadar when he played, inexperienced but I think he could cope

  3. nufc19 says:
    December 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    “Shola Ameobi is a defender?!! didn’t know that!”

    Of course, he was joking there nufc19. ;-)

    sandybaz says:
    December 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    “Settle for 2-2 saturday a few pints of adnams broadside and a tikka phall at the prince of india.”

    Quite a few people think it’ll be a Desmond 2-2 if the bookies are anything to go by sandy.

    Make sure there’s a fire extinguisher and an arse doctor on hand if you’re having a phall at the weekend.

  4. Norwich away will be a test for whomever comes in. But it’s a better game than some we could be facing. They will attack from the off at home against a depleted defense & want to make up for their kicking v manc.
    Expect fast paced attacks & ariel balls, but norwich do try to play the ball on the deck, & are not a bad team.
    Difficult game with a new defense.

    Welcome Johann, good first post mate.
    ;)

  5. CLiNT FLiCK says:

    December 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    “Difficult game with a new defense.”

    DEFENCE Clint! DEFENCE!

    You’re not a Sherman! ;-)

    (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a Sherman per se Chuck, Tripp et al)

  6. workyticket

    yeah i guessed, useless in attack might as well throw him somewhere!

    N’Zuzi’s quite good isn’t he? from the news that I read, he’s always getting good reviews, what you guys think?

  7. nufc19 says:
    December 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    “N’Zuzi’s quite good isn’t he? from the news that I read, he’s always getting good reviews, what you guys think?”

    I used to read his ‘blog nufc19. From the very little I’ve seen of him and read about him, he seems to play as a right back, and possibly a winger or left back too. Divven’t knaa about in the middle.

  8. worky,

    i may have mentioned before that i’m on a personal mission to rationalize the english language.

    Defense/defence, nowt to do with ‘fences’ & if it’s good enough for defensive, it’s good enough for defense.
    BTW, i’m have to teach 2 bairns, living in the big bad, how to talk properly & spell.
    Not an easy task, wiv savverners ouw ararnd.
    ;)

  9. CLiNT FLiCK says:

    December 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    “BTW, i’m have to teach 2 bairns, living in the big bad, how to talk properly & spell.”

    I think I’d leave that one with Mrs.Flick if I were you Clint and teach them music instead. ;-)

  10. worky,

    she is my ‘go to guy’ for spelling like.

    But i’m the etymologist rarnd ‘ere.

    Mrs. FLiCK can play a mean bass & some guitar too.
    She’s a canny lass!
    ;)

  11. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    December 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    “worky,

    she is my ‘go to guy’ for spelling like.”

    My parents hardly went to school Clint as they were travelling showmen, so me mutha sent uz aal to propa posh public schools like. I was their “go to guy” for spelling as I used to win cups for it.

  12. I’d bet anything, literally anything, that we will not see Santon at CB. It would make no sense to start him for the first time in the PL out of position when we’ve used Simpson there in the past. Just because a guy’s tall doesn’t mean he’s the best choice for CB. We can get him in position to help out with FKs and corners as long as he’s on the field. People are taking an offhand, metaphorical comparison to Maldini way too seriously.

    Can Tavernier not be recalled? Is he injured? He actually has played CB before and did pretty well from what I hear.

  13. worky,

    family of showmen, cool, what did they do?

    When you say ‘public’ school, d’y’mean private school (pay to learn)?
    Public school’s where us regular (public) kids gan.

    tunyc,
    Tavernier is on loan mate.

  14. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    December 8, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    “worky,

    family of showmen, cool, what did they do?”

    I’ll tell you my family history one day Clint, but it far too long to put on a football blog, and people would think I was making it all up too. ;-)

    “When you say ‘public’ school, d’y’mean private school (pay to learn)?
    Public school’s where us regular (public) kids gan.”

    That’s American again Clint. In the UK, “Public” Schools are independent schools which are supported by fees and endowments rather than public subsidy. To make things confusing though, it only tends to be the very posh ones of the highest repute which are referred to as “Public” schools whilst the less renowned ones tend to be known as “private” as in the ‘States. To make things even more confusing, when I wimped out of boarding at Durham (which was a very tough school in my day), I went to an Indepedent school which was known as a “Grammar” school like the State schools for bairns who did well in their 11+ exams.

  15. Defence.

    Or should it be “offense” too?

    This is American English, where defense is both a noun and a verb. In England we use a “c”.

  16. Not a big fan of forcing square pegs into round holes therefore we should go with Kadar at CB. In the same vein we shouldn’t be playing a right midfielder at left back. I’m sure Raylor is a nice guy but he has been found out recently. We can’t keep him in the side just in case we get a free kick outside the opposition box. Every attack will now be focused down Raylors flank and he just can’t defend. Santon has got to play at LB.

  17. worky,

    aye, i knaa the craic mate.
    If you pay for hospital treatment, it’s ‘going private’, therefore in my little world, all payed learning is done in ‘private schools’, this is the kinda thing i’m talking about in my never ending, one man, quest to rationalize the semantics of the invaders of yore & their dumb rules of grammar, spelling & most of all, pronunciation.
    It’s the root of a lot of problems.

    It’s also indicative of my facetiousness.

    Matthew,
    i know mate, down with it.
    They class me as english, an accident of birth.
    To me ‘the english’ are the detestable, ‘so called’ ruling class (not clarss, or clarssiz, as they might say). The sooner we obliterate the hangover of their past oppression, the better.
    Y’get me?
    ;)

    BTW,
    i’d love to hear that story one day mate.

  18. custard,
    it’s all well & good saying that Raylor has been found out recently when:
    We were beaten by manc away by 2 pens, drew with manure away & lost in a dodgy game v chelsea. If that’s found out, it ain’t bad for an out of position LB.
    Not saying you don’t have points, just that most ‘real’ LB’s ‘get found out’ in those kinda games.
    So, overall, not a good basis for criticism?

  19. Simpson Kadar Perch Raylor

    While I’d play Santon in Perch’s place, I have a sneaking suspicion Santon will be on the bench again.

  20. The solution to the quandary is to keep the squad players that we have, come January, and buy a few more defenders. No two ways about it. In the meantime, call upon the players we have available to play out of their skins like the first team have been doing all season. End of.

  21. I think Raylor will be alright if we have Gutti back and if has firm instructions not to venture so far forward. Your could see against Chelsea we got found out down his side a lot early on but then Pardew was yelling his head off for him to stay back and too his credit he did and we did a lot better.

    I’d leave him be and get Gosling protecting the back for.

    Keep Smith out of the team. I dont care how few people we have he should never be called on again. He is like a dark cloud of ineptitude.

  22. I know it’s a little harsh on Perch, having little prem footy this season, but he wasn’t strong enough against Drog for the goal…..but then, if Pards didnt play Perch – what kind of signal would that be to the player, AND his confidence.

    Simmo is not a CB, end of. Raylor will prob be chosen at LB just to try and consistency.

    So the question is: (imo) Santon or Kadar at CB?

  23. I’d like to see Santon start a game, but then we’d have no spare full backs on the sub bench – so I’d say lets see how Kadar fares….(if he’s shiiite, get him off and Santon on, feeling less pressure than starting).

    Simmo-Perch-Kadar-Raylor

  24. DefenSe sorted, what about the midfield (minus Tiote and Guth)They need to be able to defend (NB – NOT Obertan):

    Simmo-Perch-Kadar-Raylor

    Gosling-Cabaye-Smith-Jonas
    ——-HBA—————
    ————Ba———–

  25. workyticket says:

    Kadar has never been the same since that incident with the herd of wild boar.

    Wild Boar and what now?

  26. Once found myself in a late-model Honda Civic inching through about 40 head of cattle in the middle of a rural road. A harrowing experience when the animals weigh nearly as much as your car…

  27. tunyc says:

    December 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    “A harrowing experience when the animals weigh nearly as much as your car…”

    tunyc, I can say from my experiences with two bulls in the past that’s it’s even more harrowing when you’re not in a car!

  28. Whats the solution ?
    Obvious dont begin the season with three starting defenders a makeshift LB a second tier defender (Perch) and a new signing who for whatever reason cant get a game.
    It’s the old story no quality in depth, why ?
    Cause they might add to the payroll.
    Ashley is still trying to run this business on the cheap, we had the whole summer to get it to-gether, but his brinksmanship dealmaking is responsible for not getting the defensive cover needed, apart from poor old David santon, which was an obvious last minute screwup.
    Hey we couldda got a decent LB for what we paid for him.
    Ah well, it’s a slow learning process !

  29. Workey
    Did they work The Hoppins or The Quayside, hey it’s all showbiz !
    How are your fingers these days, tough work on those mailbags in Durham, right ?

  30. chuck says:
    December 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    “Workey
    Did they work The Hoppins or The Quayside, hey it’s all showbiz !
    How are your fingers these days, tough work on those mailbags in Durham, right ?”

    Definitely the hoppings, lots of times. That and Hull fair were the two biggest ones.

    We used to pass Durham Jail most days on our way to play Rugby when I was at school. I hated Rugby but we were the Barcelona of the school Rugby world, so we played every day, froze our little knackas off and worked on our studies late into the evening. It was worse than being in Durham jail!

  31. Worky-that’s a farm, not a zoo!

    *waggles index finger*

    Good call, Chuck. It’s kinda pathetic hearing AP blame the injuries on poor reffing. I mean, a ruptured achilles? That’s the ref’s fault-really? No, he SHOULD aim his ire squarely at the front office that didn’t reinforce the squad (as AP claims he wanted, which I believe).

  32. Yeah understand some of the so called public schools, were in fact good training grounds for doing time.
    Same bullies, sexual preditors and lousy food.
    No was just jerking your chain about the quayside and hoppins, actually i vuagely remember both places and found them quite fascinating as a child.
    Of course Durham is a wonderfull old city, i do remember being there as a child while the Miners Gala was taking place and being rowed on the river.
    With the advent of virtually all of the north east mines closing, does the avent still take place ?
    Great show of trade union solidarity, with bands and banners.
    Saw you mentioned Clement Atlee, recently in regard to personality, he really did’nt need any, as Bevan and others had enough to go around.
    What a great time the late 40’s and early 50’s and a truely great social experiment, all of the nationalizing of industry etc.
    I always recall how the Labor Party explained how they managed to create the National Health Service, by stuffing their mouths with gold.
    In reference to the BMA of course.
    Ah well , getting close to Amstel time. Later.

  33. chuck says:

    December 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    “Yeah understand some of the so called public schools, were in fact good training grounds for doing time.”

    Chuck, in my case, they were a good way to avoid doing time. ;-)

    “Miners Gala was taking place and being rowed on the river.
    With the advent of virtually all of the north east mines closing, does the avent still take place ?”

    Aye, it does Chuck, and Durham is a wonderful old city. Besides having the finest early Norman cathedral in Europe along with all the other great architecture, it is was also highly unusual for a small city like that to be both a working class mining town, and Britain’s third city of academia (after Oxford and Cambridge). To me it is this strange and unusual confluence, along with all the history and architecture and such that makes it such a wonderful little city.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/video/2009/jul/13/durham-miners-gala

    “Saw you mentioned Clement Atlee, recently in regard to personality, he really did’nt need any, as Bevan and others had enough to go around.
    What a great time the late 40′s and early 50′s and a truely great social experiment, all of the nationalizing of industry etc.
    I always recall how the Labor Party explained how they managed to create the National Health Service, by stuffing their mouths with gold.”

    It’s hard to figure that one out as there was no gold to be had after the war, and if there was, it usually went over to your side of the pond. The country was flattened and on the verge of bankruptcy, so it was something of a miracle really.