Newcastle United’s run of three straight victories came to an end on Saturday afternoon as West Ham United provided a lesson in chance conversion at St James’ Park.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side were not quite at their clinical best but they were significantly more ruthless than a wasteful Newcastle side in their 3-0 victory.
Felipe Anderson was in electric form for the visitors and his direct style of dribbling caused DeAndre Yedlin and the rest of Newcastle’s defensive until all kinds of problems throughout the game.
But it was not only Anderson’s brilliance which caught the eye of Guardian journalist Louise Taylor, as she highlighted Robert Snodgrass’ showing as one worth noting, albeit in part due to the incompetency of his opposite number, Javier Manquillo.
‘With Dummett hamstrung – again – his inadequate replacement, Javier Manquillo, operated out of position on Saturday and came up against Robert Snodgrass. It proved an unequal duel.’
Perhaps Taylor’s verdict is verging on the harsh side somewhat. On another day one of Manquillo’s telling crosses could have been converted and the post-match narrative would read with a starkly contrasting tone.
However, she is right to suggest that he looked out of place on the day, as is so often the case when right-footed full-backs are asked to play on the left; somehow the success left-wingers enjoy cutting onto their favoured right-foot just isn’t mirrored in left-backs who also favour their right-foot.
Manquillo has become a fringe figure at the club since he lost his place in the first-team after just a few months on Tyneside, and it seems unlikely that his position is likely to change anytime soon.
The likes of Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez both arrived at Newcastle in the summer in bargain deals, but Mike Ashley’s tight-fisted approach to the transfer market is certainly not lacking major flaws.
As Taylor concludes: ‘Criticising Benítez for scrapping a back five or not playing Ciaran Clark at left-back misses the bigger picture; sometimes you really do get what you pay for. ‘
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