It has been one of our Achilles heels for a long time. Newcastle United have rarely had a very stable defence. However, in recent seasons, when we have looked assured at the back, it has usually been down to the exploits of one man – Fabricio Coloccini. While I may slate many players in our squad as not being good enough, this man escapes all criticisms as far as I am concerned. He is a man mountain. He may be losing his pace a little, and has made some uncharacteristic errors this season, he is far and away our most assured defender. When Coloccini is playing, our defensive unit looks more solid. When he isn’t, well, you get the picture.
Colo was withdrawn from international duty with Argentina, with the Argentinians claiming he was suffering from a calf strain. Reports stating that it may only have been a precautionary measure is the only solace Newcastle United fans can take. We will probably not know the full extent of Coloccini’s injury until later on today when he gets assessed by our own physios, but I don’t even want to consider the possibility of lining up on Saturday without our man main marshalling the defence.
I know I harp on about it from time to time, but this patently shows that we have a serious lack of depth in the squad. If Coloccini is injured, we have 3 other centre halves to choose from. On first inspection, that seems pretty decent. M’biwa should be a nailed on starter so it is a matter of who we decide to partner him with. Steven Taylor has only recently recovered from his own injury and is not up to match speed. Throwing him in at the deep end could be disastrous given the speed and sharpness of the Liverpool attack. Which would only leave Mike Williamson as our other recognised centre half. Some people think he steadied the ship against Everton, and while there may be some truth in that, he also shown his lack of ability when he was largely at fault for Cardiff’s goal in our last game.
The sad fact is, a situation has developed where Mike Williamson isn’t the best option, but is the only option. Not so long ago, Pardew was referring to Williamson as “the other guy” and now he is seemingly relying on him? Only at Newcastle United. With better investment we would have more options to choose from and while he was unspectacular, James Perch was an excellent utility player who gave us an added option at centre half – once more exposing the lack of foresight from our illustrious Director of Football Joe Kinnear.
To tie up the article by pulling it back to the question – do we stand a chance without Colo? I’d have said we were in for a tough time with Coloccini. Without him we are facing a mammoth task. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.
What do you think? How important is Coloccini to our defence? Are you content with Taylor or Williamson stepping in for him? Maybe you’d play them both and drop M’biwa? I’d love to hear your views.