With Newcastle United having won four Premier League matches on the trot, manager Alan Pardew has been keen to stick with a winning team. However, that means high quality players are being left on the bench, so which of this Newcastle quintet should feel most hard done by.
The first and most obvious answer is Hatem Ben Arfa. He is arguably Newcastle’s most skilful player, but right now the Magpies are a better team without him. Fellow Frenchmen Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko work harder and are a better fit for the current system, so now Hatem has to make his presence felt from cameo sub appearances.
Next up is Vurnon Anita, who many felt was one of Newcastle’s leading performers earlier in the season. The Dutchman is a very tidy player, but the return to form of Cheick Tiote has seen the diminutive midfielder benched. Anita has done nothing wrong, so arguably he should be the most hard done by.
Someone who shouldn’t have that feeling is Papiss Cisse. The Senegalese striker just isn’t able to find the back of the net and Pardew couldn’t afford to persist with Papiss forever. The fact is that Shola Ameobi is playing well and while he’s not scoring either, the veteran brings a lot more to the team and works well with strike partner Loic Remy.
That leaves two players who have come back from injury: Steven Taylor and Jonas Gutierrez. Taylor is unable to oust Mike Williamson, who has been Mr Solid in the last few games. While Newcastle’s midfield quartet is gelling well, so Gutierrez will have to be content with being the squad player that his ability demands.
It’s nice that Newcastle have a strong squad and some proper competition for places. Who do you think should feel most hard done by to be on the bench?