Newcastle have 11 decent players – so what’s the problem?

Defoe

Ok so Defoe did go – and scored on his debut. Bit of a surprise this one, no more so than because Spurs have no replacement. Before condemming the club a rumoured 9m for a squad player out of contract in 18 months is good business.

Ramos is probably also rationalising that getting in to Europe now is pretty much solely down to beating Chelsea at Wembley and keeping Defoe for one game is of little benefit to anyone. It now opens the door for Darren Bent when he returns from injury. We may see the best of him yet with Ramos’ counter-attacking style suiting his game.

Benjani

Elsewhere there was some mild farce with Man City’s surprise move for Portsmouth’s Benjani scuppered by late paperwork. This leaves both sides in a bind as City needed a striker and Pompey needed the money to fund the Defoe move. City’s season continued its downward trend as I thought it might with a top 6 finish now being a challenge for the team that were mixing it with the top four at one point.

Newcastle

The relegation scrap looks interesting with anyone from Newcastle (in 12th) downwards likely to be looking over their shoulder for a bit. Now it’s unlikely that Newcastle will fail to get to the “magical” 40 points with 13 games to go but watching their ineptness recently it’s hard to see where a win is coming from. Keegan’s arrival has been underwhelming to say the least and a lot of observers say he has little to work with. But is that the case?

He has plenty of Premiership experience with the likes of Given, Carr, Duff, Butt, Owen, Smith, Viduka and Milner. There too is plenty of talent in Martins and Emre. Add in Steven Taylor with 119 club appearances at 22 years of age and you have 11 players that should be performing a lot better than they are. Of course looking over that list they are (in true Keegan style) missing defenders. Losing out on Jonathan Woodgate – especially when looking at his two top-notch performances for Tottenham so far – was a big blow. But was Keegan right not to draft in a panic replacment?

International football this week…will Ireland have a new manager in time for the home match with Brazil?

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2 comments

  1. Isn’t Martins in Africa at the moment?Isn’t it a bit too early in the day to judge whether it’s going to work? Am I asking too many questions?

  2. Yes, he is in Africa. But the point is that even with a full squad they were underperforming. And I’m not judging whether or not it’s going to work or not – I just said that it’s underwhelming with the reasonable first team at his disposal (even taking Martins – who hasn’t scored much – out of the equation).

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