The 0-0 draw with Aston Villa yesterday wasn’t what Newcastle fans were hoping for.
Aston Villa were probably the better side overall, and if any side deserved the win it was Villa, who were well drilled throughout and played surprisingly well.
Certainly Villa were better than Newcastle in the first half and while the Newcastle players all gave 100% effort – there was very little creativity in the side and it was a dour game.
Martin O’Neil - had his side well prepared for Newcastle
This is what Sam Allardyce had to say after the game:
“It was frustrating in the end that we failed to break down a very solid defense,”
“All we needed was to pull something out of the bag to win the game 1-0 and we haven’t quite managed that but it was very important to keep a clean sheet and that makes me very happy.”
We agree that a clean sheet was well deserved in that the defenders, especially Taylor and Rozehnal (what a great buy!) had outstanding games. Steven Carr was badly exposed for his lack of pace in the first half â€“ but to his credit he kept going and was much improved in the second half. But it does point to the fact we need a new right back and there is news today that we are still trying to do a Â£3M deal for Brazilian right full back Juliano Belletti. We must buy a new right back before the window closes.
Sam went on:
“Michael was not there today but he is not really back yet. It could be five or six games before you see the sharp end of Michael Owen,”
“If Steve (McClaren) gives him some part of the Germany match this week that will be a great help and obviously we hope there will be no injuries from that.”
As Sam says it may take Owen a few games to get sharp again but he’ll come through after his devastating time with injuries. Fans will need to be patient as Michael gets back in the swing of things.
Villa certainly got players behind the ball but they also had the much better chances during the game. Goalkeeper Steven Harper had another excellent game with two brilliant saves to keep Newcastle in the hunt. Harper saved brilliantly from Gabriel Agbonlahor and Nigel Reo-Coker as Villa started to hit Newcastle on the break. He looks extra confident under Allardyce but we know he’s a very good goalkeeper.
Defender David Rozehnal had Newcastle’s best chance in the first-half, but his well hit left-foot shot was brilliantly saved by young Scott Carson, on loan from Liverpool, and making his debut. Scott had a good game. James Milner was one of the few Newcastle players to impress as his trickery on the wing caused Villa trouble, especially in the second half.
Martin O’Neill had prepared his side well for the game and after the match said:
“We were playing away from home against a good side yet I thought we were the better side,”
“We defended very strongly and had a lot of possession. Deep down I’m disappointed not to have won.â€
“Our second half-performance was really good. I’m delighted with the effort and with the energy we showed.”
Next game is at Middlesbrough next Sunday – we have to start winning these games to keep up our good start to the season. But the bubble was burst a little yesterday when most fans expected 3 points. Not only did we not get them – we didn’t really deserve a win either.