After a summer of spending and a handful of new faces arriving at St James’s Park, Saturday brought back some painful memories as we all witnessed the return of Yoan Gouffran in a defensive midfield role.
As the clock struck 2pm a huge sigh echoed around Tyneside as the club issued the official team sheet, written upon it the starting XI that would face Manchester City.
All seemed normal until my eyes made it to the central midfield positions and right there alongside Vurnon Anita was Gouffran’s name. Surely a mistake had been made – there’s no way the Frenchman had secured such an important role in the middle of the field after failing on so many occasions prior.
But apparently not, Steve McClaren had obviously not taking the time out to read the “where not to play players” handbook, co-written by media darling Alan Pardew and his sidekick John Carver.
Now it’s certainly no secret that I’m not Gouffran’s biggest fan, far from it really. His once determined work-rate and grafter attitude which we all admired seems to be a mere distant memory, fading into the dark shadow covering St James Park as United still search for that crucial first win in the Premier League.
Don’t be fooled by this rant though – I don’t mean to single out Yoan Gouffran from the rest of the team, as let’s be honest, the majority were a complete no show.
It just fills me full of anger to see a professional footballer stroll around the field of play, as an opposition player simply walks around said player with such lack of effort and ease, and he certainly wasn’t the only one cowering away from his responsibilities as fellow Frenchman Moussa Sissoko almost broke into a sweat.
Positives from the weekend? Despite missing a couple of chances Alekandar Mitrovic finally got off the mark as he netted his first goal for United.
Gini Wijnaldun, Ayoze Perez and Kevin Mbabu also linked up well in the first half – but that’s probably about it.
McClaren has been quoted “Judge me after 10 games.”
Well Steve, what now?
Gallowgateshots.com is a South Tyneside-based Newcastle United fan website