Newcastle Fall-Out Follow Up

In the wake of Joey Barton's being transfer listed by Newcastle United and Wayne Routledge signing for Swansea, I've been running the rule over the squad trying to piece together how they'll play in the upcoming season. This may get repeated in our season preview, but so be it. This is really more of a first draft documentation of my thought-process.

So it might be messy.

My first realization is that Newcastle are lopsided. They have too many players who can play on the left-side of the attack. Ba, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Lovenkrands, and Marveaux all favor that side of the pitch. On the right... well that's the issue after today's moves, isn't it? As best that I can figure out it's going to come down to Dan Gosling and Ryan Taylor. Gosling missed all of last season, and RTay isn't a more rugged figure having been in and out of the side for years.

Let's try to line this up. Here's who is available, as best as I can tell:

Striker: Ba, Ameobi, Vuckic, Lovenkrands, Best, Ranger
LM: Ben Arfa, Marveaux, Gutierrez
CM: Cabaye, Tiote, Guthrie
RM: Gosling, RTaylor
CB: Colocinni, STaylor, Williamson
RB: Simpson, Perch
LB: Enrique, Ferguson
GK: Harper, Krul

So a 4-4-2 to start the season might look like this:


Simpson STaylor Colocinni Enrique

Gosling Cabaye Tiote Gutierrez

Ameobi Ba

... with Ba playing a bit more withdrawn than Ameobi as he did against Leeds at the weekend.

When Ben Arfa gets healthy I presume he'll take the left-sided role from Gutierrez.  But he's a very different type of player and I could see him coming in-field into the space that Ba is going to want to operate in as well.  Will Newcastle be able to accommodate both players?  Can Ba play up-front alongside Ameobi?  Or in his place?

The other thing that Newcastle will surely have to deal with are injuries and suspensions.  Many of their players - we're looking at you Chieke - are card magnets or injury-prone - yes, pretty much the lot of you.  Guthrie is spare capacity in the middle of the park and there are enough bit pieces for the left side of attack and defense.  But if Simpson gets hurt that will have knock-on affect through the rest of the back line as Perch isn't cut out for this level of competition and they'll have to move a center back into that spot.  And the right side of midfield we've already discussed - Gosling and RTay are going to have to be injured and/or suspended at different times for this to work.

There's a half-decent core here, I'm convinced of it.  And I think Cabaye is going to be one to watch in real life and for fantasy purposes.  My fear is that there's not going to be any stability at the club - either in terms of players on the pitch from game to game or in the club's management and structure.  If this season is a side-show like the last relegation season was, well then I'm afraid for the club and the fans that the outcome might be the same.


  1. Anonymous4:43 PM

    How about Alan Smith!!! He can do it all.

  2. Anonymous2:03 PM

    Alan Smith is a blonde she-male

  3. Anonymous9:03 PM

    So is your mother.