Newcastle’s Dour Display Lacked Creativity

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 – 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 £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.”

“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.

Comments welcome.

29 comments so far

  • Graeme

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #1

    Not only didnt we deserve them, we seemed to have no idea how to go about getting them. There was virtualy no imagination; boy do we need a playmaker who can unlock a defence. Milner was good, Rozey was superb and could have had a great goal, Owen looked exactly what he is; lacking in match practice. All in all a very disapointing performance after Bolton, we were lucky to get the draw.

    Hopefully this will be the reality check and the team will get it together. With performances like that, we will be just above relegation zone, never mind fighting for a place in Europe!!!!

  • Mick G

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #2

    I agree it was a bad performance with only Milner ,Rozenthal and Harper looking the part.Geremi in particular had a bad game.Just because he is captain he shouldn’t think he has got to do everything ie take freekicks throw ins and corners (which were awful) I bet he even took the kit home to wash.We lacked creativity and a bit of pace down the right,but no need to panic 4pts from two games not bad,and the team are playing much better than the dross served up last year.This was just a reality check.

  • Hadji

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #3

    We need that playmaker,I always wanted Kallstrom in Newcastle.That would be a dream come true for me.I think that getting players from French league is always the best cause they can play in any other league:Epl,Calcio,Primera,Bundes.

  • Hadji

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #4

    He should give Luque a chance ahead of Viduka.

  • Stephen

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #5

    It was very frustrating to see i didnt think i would see performances like last season under Big Sam but the main thing is its only the secnd game of the season and its not a cup game or something which is very important now Big Sam can make sure that the players improve and make sure they earn there money.

    I thought they did ok defensivly at times but Villa if they took there chances it could of being a horrible score they had a free header from a corner and they got into loads of one one ones.

    Big Sam is an excellent manager and he wont taket that performance anymore because he be saying to himself.Whats the point on putting on a great display away when we looked class all over the park we worked our socks off and our clinical passing was there to see but Geremi and other couldnt string any passes together and there is no excuse really because we didnt play mid-week like a good few teams did we had a whole week on the training ground so yet again a bad performance costs us 2 big points.

    I know its only the start but we have 10 games like that are winable we dont have to play the so called top until the end of november like so its crucial that we get the points now or instead we got to get points against them team which any points are a bonous against the top 4.

    It shows me 2 things yesterday.

    No.1 We got to play 4-4-2 we aint a relagation team who have to play counter attack at home and just play it long we got quailty all over the park to take the game to the oppostion even the top 4 we are capable of beating them at home if we play that at home and 4-3-3 away we could be more balence because it looked like me the 3 forwards yeesterdayy didnt know what they were doing like.Get some wingers in the game and get Viduka to play with Owen and Martins up front and you will see the balance at home.

    No.2 We need a creative midfielder and i dont mean Deco deco is a risk if we do go for him i wouldnt want him he could easily be just looking for the money after leaving a big club like barcelona and he is 29 no point in paying big bucks for him we need an arteta type who can unlock doors anytime you need help instead at the moment we dont got one midfielder on the bench also we have butt and smith in the middle of the park that wont get you creativity it will just make you hard to beat but we need to get the balance we need a creative player next to one of them players maybe Barton is the man to do that who know but we still need a right midfielder Solano wasnt there yesterday so it looks like he is going and dyer is gone so we are in need of a shaun wright philips with maybe Milner playing on the left if Zogbia is playing left back.

  • craig chisholm

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #6

    i can not believe you lot. first of all, i disagree that villa played better in the first half, i think that anyone who was at the game would agree that we had it in the first and villa had it in the second. So, what is the problem lads – nothing, thats what! we have played two games and have taken 4 points out of six and have a goal diff of plus 2. the main thing yesterday was how much better our defence is now and i after seeing rozza up very close and see how the man handles himself think that we have a first class derender at last on our books. he is tough, no nonsense and gets up as soon as he goes down, no play acting, just an all round top geezer. this is the best start that i can remember for a while to a campaign for us. for christ sake, if we win our game in hand we would be top.
    something else which i could not believe, when the whistle went there were some f,ing boo’s from some dick heads in our own crowd. its sams first ever game at st james in the prem and what do we do – we boo the fella and his team. nice one lads!!
    you are also forgetting that villa are alot different under oneil too. liverpool were lucky to get the win last weekend, it took a sublime set piece goal from gerrad otherwise liverpool were aloso getting a draw. chill out lads and enjoy the sason, we are going well and will be fine.

  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #7

    Craig – we thought Villa were very good yesterday and I saw their game last week (TV) against Liverpool and they were unlucky to lose. Surprised how good they were but O’Neil is a very good manager and we said yesterday it would be a tough test for us. Don’t think there’s too much wrong with the team and we think Sam will be a little taken aback with all the criticism. We could have won it in the last 10 mins – we certainly went for it – but Villa were too good.

  • Barry Bumhead

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #8

    The one thing missing from the team as it was yesterday is a bit of “explosive pace” in midfield.

    With Zoggy doing a stint at left back, our midfield was strong, combative, very hard working but ultimately one paced and plodding, thats why we didn’t create much..

  • craig chisholm

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #9

    the reason we did not create much was simply cos both teams cancelled each other out. we expect too much sometimes, villa are a good side and we did not loose the game and took a clean sheet. maure got a draw with reading at home………….. there is no problem. we played tough football and appart from a taylor balls up late on we looked great in defence. viduka was not too good but he was also marked out of the game too. it was a tight game with two even teams, thats it, period.

  • Andy H

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #10

    Unless we are creating chances the team carries Owen because he cannot create opportunities for himself and isn’t too involved in build up. I hope we don’t start Owen at the expense of Martins, who looks much sharper and seems to have much improved control.

    Also Owen won’t fit into the 4-3-3 in the same way Oba can on the right or left wing. Milner was great again and I think N’Zogbia looks promising at left back because he will be such a bonus doubling up with the winger. But hopefully he gets a chance further forward soon becuase he seems to have rediscovered the spark and confidence he had a couple of seasons ago. He has a lttle too much confidence on the ball to be at left back where dwelling on the ball will be costly.

    Having not seen the Bolton game I was quite impressed by the performance last night as it was so much better than last year. Rozey looks quality. He reads the game really well and he is so calm. He is a great ball player as he showed with his volley in the first half – great technique. Also his aerial ability which has been questioned didn’t seem bad. Him and Taylor were comfortable with Carew who can be a handful. However I think Cacapa will be the main man and first choice in the centre of defence. I think Taylor will benefit from not having so much pressure and can develop more steadily.

    The three in the middle also, without creating anything, looked good. Three combatative midfielders who never give up and have great fitness. Smith dives into tackles but always seems to get the ball and gives his all in the same way that Parker did to become a favourite in his first season. He should also give us something in the final third and if he arrives late in the box he should be able to finish because of his experience as a striker.

    I think when Barton is fit again we will have one of the best midfield outside the top four and Geremi can slot in a right back – Carr just cannot deal with the pace of wingers in the premiership ( or any other league for that matter).
    I think Emre would benefit from playing in a midfield 3 and could have freedom to create opportunities. Emre Barton Smith is a trio which I think has the right balance even without an anchor of Butt, who will of course be difficult to drop because he has been our top performance for a while now.

    If we sign Faye and Belletti we should be sorted. I’m looking forward to seeing Enrique at left back and N’Zogbia further up the pitch where his mazy dribbling can really hurt the opposition.

  • gordon

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #11

    people should also remeber that the most creative midfield players emre,barton and duff are out and zog is filling in at left back,and i dont think villa were that much better.

  • bro

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #12

    we need to play 442 at home, using viduka as a lone striker just doesnt help us score, it only helps us defend better. very flat in midfield, we need to replace dyer, i.e someone who can run at defenders, unless we put Nzog in midfield. Aston Villa we certainly the better team througout. We only had a Rozher shot and a Smith miss-hit, not exactly riviting stuff..

    My reason for Solano leaving ( he was in love with the toon just 4 weeks ago & he hasnt lived with his wife for yrs) is that BS likes tall men at the back and obviously favours Carr at the mo + Geremi has been given ALL of the set-pieces which must upset solano a little, he’s in a huff!!

    Rozhanal looks assured along with Taylor but our midlfield isnt adventureous enough, very sideways. But i must admit I have been very please with everything BS has done outside of the 90mins. I just hope our football lives up to the expectations.

  • Steeley

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #13

    I thought we def lacked creativity yesterday and I dont think I want to see Geremi and Butt play together again in midfield! Our team was screaming out for a Dyer type player yesterday. After massively impressing me against Bolton, I thought that Geremi was woeful yesterday; his ball control and distribution were terrible and I’m yet to understand why he was taking free kicks and corners when we have Milner available to do so.
    Watching the game yesterday it really frustrated me to see Villa getting all the balls from corners and from general play – they were also given far too much time on the ball whereas when we had possession they were staight on us.
    I loved the passion shown by Smith, but I dont understand why he was played in LM when Milner was playing further upfield! When Milner got on that left wing I thought he was amazing, however, play down the right wing was terrible.
    I thought that Rozehnal and Taylor looked a great pairing at the back, but Carr looked too slow again…a new RB methinks. A clean sheet was good to see but we need a playmaker in midfield – we need Enrique in at LB so Zog can move upfield asap.
    NUFC MOTM for me was definitelly Milner (God knows who declared Butt!!), but I thought their CB (Laursen) was by far the best player on the field.
    Overall a pretty poor show, but we have 4 points from our first 2 games…not a luxury we have been granted in quite a while!!

  • Bob

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #14

    I can’t believe the negativity of our fans.

  • craig chisholm

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #15

    i agree bob, we have done really well in all areas of the club since sam came in. i was stunned yesterday when the whistle went and there were some boo’s, they aint fans mate. fair weather supporters that only want to support the team as long as they win every game. life just is not like that. i like the new steel to the team’s back bone. it was plain to see yesterday that the team are very together and are committed. all these moaning c##ts need to get off his back as all they are doing is creating a problem out of nothing. we have a game in hand, are in 6th spot and have a plus goal difference………………when was the last time we saw a newcastle team with a plus goal diff do you think??

  • JimD

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #16

    I think anyone booing at the final whistle was a disgrace.. maybe they should give up their tickets to real fans. One average result and performance and the fickle fans get booing… Wake up call – we are not a top 4 team yet. 4 new players on the pitch need time to gel and old players need time to get used to a change in formation and tactics. The noise at the start was fanastic. Lets continue to get behind Sam and the boys!!

  • brian

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #17

    craig – i couldn’t agree more – one pratt above wanted owen to get a van basten injury and finish his career!!!!!

    Last season we would have lost this game – no bottle and no organisation. SA has got 4 points and we are not happy!!! New ownership, new management, completely different coaching techniques and a set of new players, as well as existing players coming back from injury, and hey presto they are expected to perform to their maximum or risk the wrath of the boo boys who would be better off watching the cartoon channel. The whole set up needs time to bed in, give the man a chance and get behind the players – if not go and support newcastle south (west ham) or the mackems – they deserve you

  • Tom_Toon

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #18

    As for new players, dont you think we should be looking at Russian and Ukrainian leagues as they have alot of good players, mainly defenders.

  • Tom

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #19

    We had 1 good string of passes that created the chance that Smith fluffed. While watching it I really thought he would score, just not to be.

  • Cockney Magpie

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #20

    Lets be honest ere lads, we missed Dyer and he needs to be replaced quickly, with somebody with all his talent but someone who can use it every week and not just when he feels like it.

  • Cockney Magpie

    Aug 19, 2007 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #21

    im hoping BS can go out and bring back a little gem just like robben or ronaldo or something, GO AND FIND HIM SAM!!

  • iain

    Aug 19, 2007 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #22

    there was plenty of valid reasons why we wernt good yesterday.

    but no matter how much and how long it takes too improve i wont ever be happy watching every throw in launched into the box ala bolton under sam.

    and i reckon the majority of people will agree. when you have bad performances like that it just adds to the frustration of people who dont believe sam can produce anything approaching half decent football, even more so when hes promised we will play good football.

    long throws + 433 with cf played out of position when he have players (luque/troisi who could of played in that formation better than martins out wide) wont change the opinions of those that were heard booing yesterday. as much as i dont agree with it (even though i myself have booed certain dire performance in the past- babayaro vs reading), i can understand the views of those who booed.

    tomtoon – i agree look how corluka has settled at citeh straight away, there used to the physical side of the game. gavrenic(serbia), kovac(czech), ujfalusi (czech) are a few defenders that have drawn interest from europes top clubs, you only hvae to look at how succesfull the likes of juve were with kovac/tudor in there squads. funnily rozehnal seems to lack the physical nature or aggression most e.european defenders have, but ithink that will come, he makes up for it however by being an excellent footballer with great technique and staying on his feet even if he does loose the majority of 50/50 tackles as he did yesterday once nearly let in villa for a goal.

  • Shaun Dean

    Aug 19, 2007 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #23

    No creativity in midfeild as we had no Barton,Emre or Dyer and there was also a lack of width in the team and the only times we looked dangerous was when Milner went out wide. I dont rate Butt we should replace him with Diop and Carr with Belletti then get either Giles Barnes or Diouf to replace Solano and Dyer.

  • Lamesley Mag

    Aug 19, 2007 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #24

    Villa are a very good side, so a draw is not such a bad result.

    We lacked creativity in the middle of the park and the sooner we have Milner and Zog playing on either flank the better.

    Hopefully, we’ll see Enrique next week and maybe a new RB?, just not sure who BSA will buy as we need some one with Premier League experience…..

  • Adam

    Aug 19, 2007 at 1:31 PM

    Comment #25

    We have craetivity on the wings (which will improve when Zog is released to play forward) but we didn’t have any0ne in the centre who could do anything special, yesterday anyway. Hopefully Barton will help.
    Ironically Dyer might have made a difference.
    Ar any rate, one more creative mf (plus, yes, a right-back) would make us more solid and give our game more flow.

  • snake

    Aug 19, 2007 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #26

    we need to play at home 4-4-2 end of! enrique left back, roz and capacca centre and taylor right back or ramage, at least they wont get mugged off for pace. zog left wing milner right, alternate the two, smith and geremi midfield. owen/martins with ameobi up-front. viduka is far to slow and won nothing yesterday in comparisson ameobi is quicker and can take on players and is difficult to deposess, viduka should be our 20 minute sub at home, but play longer away.

  • ChrisL

    Aug 19, 2007 at 5:16 PM

    Comment #27

    Just the reality check some of us needed. I’ll put my hand up as someone who was starting to wonder how we could fail to get in the top 4 (after just one match), despite my earlier mindset of just hoping for a top 8 finish.

  • valle

    Aug 19, 2007 at 7:08 PM

    Comment #28

    Saying that Villa deserved to win is wrong, it was a game of two sets of well played bullish defenses and crappy give away midfields. All villa’s chances came from shots from outside the box or from set pieces, they didnt have one single chance where they just played their way trough our defense… I agree that neither did we and that we need a creative player in the middle, i didnt help our case that both Butt and Geremi gave the ball away with lousy passes and long balls that didnt come to anything. Carr was once again screaming bad and gave the ball to villa everytime he got it, either by holding on to it for to long or by making a bad long pass, Zog was quite good tho…

  • Obafan

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:37 PM

    Comment #29

    I hope that we play with Cacapa and Enrique next week.

    – Cacapa is our best CB, together with Roz; let Taylor play RB.

    – Enrique at LB and Zog can be the creative midfielder we need.


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