The good news is that we're getting through the depressing business of reviewing the Newcastle United defense. Of course, as we move forward we get to deal with fun things like strikers who can't score and midfielders that turn up a very low percentage of the time... all things in due time. It's not too late, though. You could still watch puffins on Seal Island. Thanks, Brian.
We're now over to the Alan Pardew Memorial Position. That's right.. from a position that could have nearly populated (seemingly) a complete starting XI not so long ago to a position that that saw Moussa Sissoko briefly pressed into service because Haïdara, Dummett and Jack Colback were injured or suspended, it was... probably not home of the worst defensive performances of the season. First we'll check out the man who started most of the matches this last season: Paul Dummett.
Eric (he gets to go first because he brought STATS): Paul is such a hard player to judge. He never fills me with confidence and don’t rate him that highly yet the team always seemed to perform better with him in the lineup. I was never able to articulate why this seemed to be the case until I stumbled upon a series of tweets from Ben Spratt (@bensprattjourn) the other day. He astutely pointed out that Dummet started 23 games last season and in the 21 where he played more than a half, Newcastle averaged 1.4 PPG (enough for 9th in the table). How did we fair without him? 7 points. SEVEN. From 17 games. Let that sink in the next time you’re doubting Paul, as I’m far too prone to do. Considering Newcastle’s revolving door policy at left back, Dummet at least offers adequate stability (assuming he stays healthy).
Brian: It was the January 12th match against Manchester United which stands out a Dummett's shining moment: At least from an offensive perspective. His late match goal gave NUFC a 3-3 draw in a match the team looked the better club, but as was typical of this season they suffered from defensive gaps and may failed offensive efforts. As I noted in our last player summary the defense under McClaren was woeful, and looking at Paul under Rafa you get a different player. Not getting called up for Wales is a disappointment, and it surely give voice to those who questions whether he has Premier League quality. I think Dummett displayed a nice chemistry alongside the likes of Anita, Mbemba and Lascelles, and at 24 years of age he deserves a run in the Championship under Benitez.
Logan: Easily the highlight of his season was the 90th minute equalizer that drew Newcastle against Manchester United. But let’s be real, it was a flash in the pan (sounds like the season as a whole, doesn’t it?). Much like Janmaat, his play on the wing should have been better in terms of generating offensive production, but I think the talent ceiling on the 24-year-old is still quite high. He did underachieve enough, however, to where his omission from the Wales Euro 16 roster didn’t exactly leave me scratching my head. He has a lot to work on, but he could be one of many players where some time in the Championship could help him gain some confidence and find himself. C-
Jim: The opinions about Paul Dummett (as you can see above) range about as far as they can. Some feel that he is garbage, and they're not wrong. Some feel that he is a serviceable left back at the Premier League level... they're not wrong either. I'm not going to lie, I was hoping prior to the season that Sadio Haïdara would overtake Paul for the starting nod. At the end of the day, however, it says something that more often than not teams would rather take it right at Daryl Janmaat all day long. Was this because Paul Dummett inspires fear and is a rock in defense? Likely not. He is good enough... and when the other side is populated by a player that is not good enough, it's pretty easy to figure out what to do.
Check out Paul's thoughts about Paul Dummett here.
Composite grade: 2.2/4.0 (That's like a C+-)