Welcome to Monday.
We here at Coming Home Newcastle began our player evaluations this weekend. Two players close to my heart, Daryl Janmaat and Jack Colback, received less than favorable reviews on the whole. In light of their 2014/15 season the hope was their presence would stand out, giving stability and leadership on the pitch. Sadly, that did not pan out. Colback was the king of the yellow card, looking completely overwhelmed at times. When not playing center mid his back line play demanded assistance from whoever was playing mid. Janmaat didn’t fare much better. While always a threat as an attacking back he was often exposed in the defensive third.
Jim astutely titled the article reviewing Janmaat within the context of our expectation that he would assume the role of captain. Nothing if more telling of how far he had to fall if he failed to live up to expectations.
Key in this conversation, and I noted it in our review of Colback, is the mitigating factor of Steve McClaren. It has been widely reported that Steve did not inspire confidence, and the back four were hurt by this. Making matters worse the failure to sign defenders left the club playing with as few as three true defenders for a handful of matches.
I recently began playing recreational soccer after years away from the sport. As in any team activity fitness and skill are critical, but maybe more important is consistency and chemistry. Working to get my body accustomed to the flow of the game finds me mistiming jumps, slipping on turns and whiffing on kicks. At a recreational level my team has afforded significant patience with me, and thankfully my hustle compensates for lesser areas. At a professional level it’s hard to fathom the demands on the players when the coach is asking them to institute a plan for which they have no confidence. Add to that players asked to play unnatural positions and one could easily see how performances would drop.
I am by no means laying all the blame on McClaren, but when looking back on 2015/16 in light of what some players did in 2014/15 it gives pause for thought.
Let’s kick the ball.
Alan Pardew insists on being a thorn in the side of the black and white.
If Adam Armstrong’s playing time depends on whether Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ayoze Perez and Papiss Cisse return it will be disappointing if Adam isn’t on the Newcastle roster this season. Why keep Cisse?
Aleksandar Mitrovic continues to shine playing for country.
Add Patrick Bamford to your striker list. While inconsistent as a Premier League player he earned his payday from Chelsea with 17 goals for Middlesbrough during the 2014/15 campaign.
Funny. I’m certain I saw a report that Jamie Vardy actually signed with Arsenal.
If you are not an Arsenal fan it’s going to be very easy to hate them if they pull off this double steal.
The first time I have ever paid attention to Euro play. How does anyone keep track of all these players and teams?
Thank goodness the players recognized it was the wrong anthem.
Your Monday musical motivation.