Writer: Mehzeb Chowdhury
Date:Saturday January 30 2010
Newcastle United evidently showed why the club would be relegation contenders come the new year if they climb into the Premier League this term, as a depressing and quite shocking away performance at Leicester City exposed Chris Hughton's failings and proved many a fan's assessment that the Magpies are a poor footballing side.
Newcastle United gave full debuts to Wayne Routledge and Patrick van Aanholt, as Nicky Butt replaced Jonas Gutierrez in midfield, and Ryan Taylor came in place of Tamas Kadar.
Leicester City started off brightly stretching the Toon defence as if it were made of elastic, until Richie Wellens was shown a second yellow for bringing down Routledge in the 29th minute.
The home-side pushed on, and could have scored a splendid goal with Matty Fryatt displaying an incredible ability to sprint, dribble, and shoot, a quality none of the Unite forwards could display.
60 minutes later, the scores remained the same, as United produced a shamefully inadequate performance against the 10-men of Leicester.
Hughton's brilliant plan to bench Nile Ranger, and Peter Lovenkrands backfired in the worst possible way, and Newcastle United, despite getting a point, looked like a Sunday League side who did not know how to attack the opponent.
United played a narrow formation with one striker up top, and if it were not for some inspired defending from van Aanholt, and Mike Williamson, they could have easily lost the game.
Ryan Taylor must have been the designated headless-chicken of the day as he wasted chance after chance of stretching play, or making a decent run into the box. All he did was stand at a safe distance away from the defence and dole out worthless cross-after-cross which no one could get on the end of (including the Leicester City players).
Danny Guthrie on the left-wing? The only word that comes into mind is 'why'. On top of that, three defensive minded players in the centre who have no pace, no creativity, and no idea of what is going around on the pitch. Butt, Smith and Nolan. They must be the three most single-track players in the history of football - they can only pass it short, in one direction, and have no idea what wingers are, and where the flanks are located.
Guthrie looked uninterested, and in the end tired, and lacking concentration. He does not know where the wings are either, but at least he switched play a few times. Although, to be fair, his first touch is diabolical to say the least, and must be first thing Hughton will address on Monday morning.
Can anyone answer why Andy Carroll acts like he is Wayne Rooney? Seriously, does the lad really think he can take on four defenders, emerge victorious, and then slot home a cool finish? If he does, then he should really visit a mental institutue.
Two out and out wingers available, and what does Hughton do? He employs the services of the world's most serene player - Nicky Butt to form a triangle with Alan Smith and Kevin Nolan in the centre of the field, and remain there in the hope that an Olympic choreographer would see them and hire them for the Opening Ceremony of the next big sporting event.
The football is too narrow, ladies and gentlemen. Someone please use the fullbacks. Wingers are not central midfielders. Everyone knows that, one may feel. But the concept has not sunk into the Toon yet.
It would be unfair to single Butt out today, but Kevin Nolan was off his game for sure, and Smith looked like he needed a tropical vacation somewhere exotic - like the Caribbean.
Some of the fans were crying for Joey Barton to return. Creativity, anyone? Hughton should take off his thinking cap and make a pledge to the fans to never ever reunite the central midfield quartet of Guthrie, Smith, Nolan, and Butt on the same pitch ever again. They would just confuse quantum physicists who would find it impossible to ascertain how they could seemingly stop time as we know it, and make 90 minutes seem like a week.
The most depressing, and ugly exhibition of football ever to have graced a Toon set-up by far. People complained about the football Sam Allardyce infused into the club. Oh god, how I would love Big Sam to come back now. The current lot and their 'football' are equivalent to watching paint dry at an architects convention.
Date:Saturday January 30 2010
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