Three points fresh out of the hot take oven to digest after Newcastle’s 3-3 draw with Burnley on New Year’s Day:
The lineup told you everything you wanted to interpret about how Carver would put his stamp on the Newcastle squad. Emmanuel “French Jozy” Rivière and Steven Taylor were brought into the starting lineup for suspended Papiss Cissé and Mike Williamson.
In the first half, it did look like Carver let the team attack with more recklessness than Pardew ever would. Two goals inside the first 30 minutes (or three, if you count Paul Dummett's lovely looping header into the wrong net) showed a spirit that Pardew’s over-conservative approach never would have allowed.
Alas, a very Pardew-esque halftime team-talk and some very familiar retreat tactics let Burnley dominate most of the second half. Carver’s substitutions were also no bueno. Adam Armstrong for French Jozy meant Newcastle had no outlet for its clearances. Bringing on Massadio Haïdara as a second left back writes its own punchlines. If Carver wants to demonstrate he is ready for the full-time managerial role, he has to prove that he is not just a glorified hype man, but a genuine tactician.
Burnley was quite unlucky to only come away with a point.
How many times did the visitors hit the post? Four? It would have been a totally different narrative had any of those attempts had gone in. Burnley showed no fear against the Magpies, and the forced substitutions were a blessing in disguise for the visitors. The fresh legs and added focus provided by those subs spurred three comebacks against Carver's over-cautious bunch.
One final note on Burnley: Danny Ings is the truth. He’s given the Toon fits in both fixtures this season. I am looking forward to Newcastle low-balling Burnley in January for his services.
Paul Dummett needs to be returned to center back in the wake of Steven Taylor’s injury.
Well, it happened again. For what feels like the 21st straight season of his NUFC career, Steven Taylor has been lost for the rest of the campaign with an injury. This time around, Taylor heard his Achilles tendon go snap in the 60th minute. Unsurprisingly, six minutes after Mike Williamson replaced Taylor, Burnley had leveled the contest at 2-2.
Williamson had a career year last season, replacing Twitter favorite Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in the heart of the defense, and never letting the Frenchman reclaim his spot. Since then, he has come back to earth and is no longer up to par for the Premier League, and his inclusion in the lineup adds to an already shaky back line.
There is a need for a center back after Williamson’s form-kamikaze, and to paraphrase Rick Pitino, Yanga-Mbiwa isn’t walking through that door, fans. Since buying a replacement in January is not the sort of thing Mike Ashley-owned clubs do, Newcastle will have to make do with the players on hand right now. In his four appearances at center back this season, whoscored.com gave Dummett an impressive 7.46 rating. Beyond the statistical measures, he's looked far more comfortable as a partner for Fabricio Coloccini than he ever has in his starts at left back. This reshuffle would also allow Haïdara back into the lineup for some additional pace and width. Clearly, sliding the Welsh international into the center is the sensible move. Then again, this is Newcastle United we're talking about.
We will find out what Carver thinks of the defensive situation this weekend, as Newcastle does its best to not advance in the FA Cup.