Why Vurnon Anita Is Under Most Pressure for Newcastle Following Loss to Man City
Jack Colback, Daryl Janmaat, Emmanuel Riviere and Remy Cabella all enjoyed eye-catching debuts for the Magpies, while Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson looked solid at the back.
But for long spells against the champions, Anita was largely anonymous in his central midfield role and offered little before being substituted not long after the hour mark.
So with the new campaign underway, and the Toon’s second fixture coming up at Aston Villa on Saturday, Bleacher Report looks at five reasons why the Dutchman is under pressure at St. James’ Park.
Cheick Tiote Is Breathing Down His Neck
One name missing from the Newcastle United line up at the weekend was that of Cheick Tiote, with the holding midfielder suffering from a calf injury.
But the bad news for Vurnon Anita is that the Ivory Coast international is set to return to full fitness over the coming weeks, and is expected to go straight into Alan Pardew’s starting XI.
Whether that is at the expense of Anita remains to be seen, but given Jack Colback’s involvement across pre-season and his impressive debut versus Manchester City, he’s unlikely to be the fall guy.
Tiote has been a mainstay under Pardew over the past few seasons, and once his troubles clear up, it could spark a spell on the substitutes bench for the former Ajax man.
Jack Colback Looks a Certain Starter
Aside from the return of Cheick Tiote, Jack Colback’s summer transfer from local rivals Sunderland has cranked up the pressure on Vurnon Anita even further.
The all-action midfielder earned high praise from boss Alan Pardew following his bow on Sunday, with the Toon manager calling his performance “fantastic” in an interview with Sky Sports.
Quite where this leaves Anita will become clearer over the coming weeks and months, but it’s certainly an indication that the Dutchman needs to up his game, and quickly.
Colback showed drive, determination and vigour against Manchester City—three things that were sorely missing from Anita’s performance before Gabriel Obertan replaced him.
His International Career Has Seemingly Ground to a Halt
Following Vurnon Anita’s debut for the Netherlands in 2010, it was hoped the then-Ajax star would become a permanent fixture in the famous orange of the Dutch.
But since that first appearance against Mexico, the midfielder has made just two more appearances for the national side before disappearing from view altogether.
His last game for his country was almost four years ago in a European Championship qualifier against Finland, and though he was often used at full-back, his versatility failed to win him a regular spot.
It was hoped that a move to Newcastle United in 2012 would inject new life into his international career, but so far at least, he has not received a call from the KNVB.
Alan Pardew Could Strengthen Further Before the Transfer Deadline
Among the better displays against Manchester City, Moussa Sissoko put in a strong performance in Newcastle’s opening game of the season and looks set for a solid campaign.
And while that shouldn’t unduly worry Vurnon Anita at this early stage, another dabble in the transfer market by boss Alan Pardew could spell trouble for the Dutchman.
The latest name to be linked with a move to St. James’ Park is that of Scott Sinclair, with the young winger, who worked with Pardew at Charlton Athletic, made available by City.
And if the Toon are indeed offered the player, as suggested by the Evening Chronicle’s Lee Ryder, and manage to secure his signature, Sissoko could be moved in-field to accommodate the 25-year-old, spelling bad news for Anita.
Younger Talent Could Push Him Down the Pecking Order
As well as the threat of new players arriving before this month’s deadline, there is a growing band of youngsters desperate to prove their worth in Newcastle United’s first team.
One such player is Mehdi Abeid—a confident central midfielder who helped guide Panathinaikos to the Champions League during a loan spell last term before an impressive pre-season with the Toon.
At 22-years-old, the Algerian is keen to progress at St. James’ Park, and could get his chance in the upcoming Capital One Cup fixture away to Gillingham at the end of August.
And should he grab that opportunity with both hands, Vurnon Anita could find himself even further down the pecking order.