And I much as I want to like this guy, I can't trust him as a manager if he can't figure what should be a good problem for a manager to have. His problem is, he has too many midfielders, but doesn't know where they should fit, and in which formation.
Where do they fit?
We have learned an awful lot since things fell apart last October after a season start that had Newcastle on pace for an 8th place finish. A year ago, Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote were the core of what could be one of the best midfields in the English Premier League.
Flash forward to last month, and it clear to many armchair analysts like myself that Canaye and Tiote should not be on the pitch at the same time. Tiote is a defensive midfielder, and enforcer. He strikes me as someone you bring in to defend a second half lead (something Newcastler were terrible at last season). Cabaye is supposed to be one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe. But for reasons most pundits don't know, his passing simply disappeared last season. Couple that with Cisse's poor year, and the offense was effectivly disabled.
What can bring the triangular passes back? The simple passes that generate scoring chances?
If there are zero expectations for Jonas at left wing, why keep starting him? Surely Marveaux can take over?
And can Hatem Ben Arfa at right wing ever be trusted? Yes, he's a magician when he runs with the ball. But a rebuilt midfield would not include him, would it?
We fans and pundits have the correct questions. Alan Pardew does not know the answers.