What Did Newcastle Learn From Villa Game?

It was a dour display and game from Newcastle yesterday. To be truthful it was a disappointment both in the way we played and the fact that Sam wasn’t able to secure a victory in his first competitive match at St. James’ Park.

But there were also some positives in the match so let’s review what went right and what went wrong yesterday.

Let’s also try to see what it means in terms of the players we still need at the club.


Sam Allardyce – still needs 2-3 players before August 31st

What did we learn from this game?

  • Newcastle are much stronger in defense than we’ve been for a long time. Taylor and Rozehnal looked good again and Rozehnal looks like he’s a super buy.
  • We need a new right back urgently. It was obvious after the first 5 minutes yesterday that Villa were targeting Carr as the weak link in the side, because of his lack of pace. Ashley Young continually had the beating of Stephen and it’s a weakness we must fix in the next 12 days. Juiano Belletti from Barcelona or Phil Neville from Everton would be good.
  • There will be no lack of effort this season from any player in Newcastle’s colors. While some players – like Geremi, did not have good games, they continually tried to get going. Lack of effort and guts is now a thing of the past.
  • We lack creativity. That should be improved with the fitness and return of Joey Barton – who could have made a big difference in yesterday’s game. Somebody like Deco would do the trick and there’s news today in the News of the World that we may try to swap Emre for Deco plus £8M. We hope that rumor’s true.
  • We need more flair players. One we like and who’s unhappy at Bolton is Al Hadji Diouf. His creativity would have worked yesterday – as he could have possibly opened up the Villa defense – which looked extremely solid. If we could get him for a good price we’re convinced he can be a key player at Newcastle as he’s showing the form that had Liverpool buy him for £10M in 2002, following the world cup that year.
  • The game plan for Newcastle this year will be to hang on until the last 10-15 minutes and then – via better fitness and maybe some substitutions – up the pace and try to get the winning goal. If we had done that yesterday the crowd would have gone home much happier. But Villa were not only good but also as fit as Newcastle.
  • We’ll have a lot more clean sheets this year than for a number seasons. That was the positive thing yesterday and we could so easily have lost this game. Harper, Taylor and Rozehnal we thought were outstanding and young N’Zogbia was good – but he’s wasted at left back. We also need to find a place for Claudio Cacapa somewhere. One way would be to play Taylor at right back – but we need to buy a right back soon because Steven’s best position is in central defense.

All things being equal we’d like to see Phil Neville, Deco and Diouf brought into the squad before August 31st and that will give us a more solid defense and extra creativity in the side.

These are the main points we noted from yesterday’s game but we certainly don’t need to panic – a good win at Middlesbrough next Sunday will be just fine – and there were positive things to take from yesterday’s game.

Let’s know what you think – and then we can get the message to Big Sam 😀

25 comments so far

  • Arthur Prince

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #1

    Ed does big Sam listen to our advice !!!!!???
    It would be fascinating to know if he read the blog . He could make the occaisional contribution to the Blog

  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #2

    Arthur – I really hope he doesn’t read them 😀
    Yes – i’ve thought about if he ever looks at some of the blogs for Newcastle fans.
    Hopefully he’s far too busy. But it would be nice to sign 2-3 players before Aug 31st – yesterday’s game will hopefully make that more likely.

  • doug

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #3

    Its obvious. Carr is slow, we need a right back. We lack a Gazza and Emre is not the answer. We have lots of good things, team ethic, hard work, solidity.


    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #4

    YES..2 main NEGATIVE points to note from yesterday game
    1- no creativity (long balls)
    2- a urgent need for a new right back

    No disrespect to milner… but i think he is just a average player..
    he has got no pace..his main asset is his determination…
    I will swap him for DIOUF anytime!

    We played too much direct football…which remind me of last season bolton!
    Butt is playing like a playmaker,spreading long audacious through balls..
    but the fact is that he is not a playmaker..he is a defensive midfielder..
    Most of those through balls went astray..
    I really hope barton is in the team ..We need him FAST!!
    Carr has got no pace..so no need to elaborate on that.. haha!

    Viduka is not shearer..i really hope he prove me wrong on that..
    He really struggle to get into our two previous games..to be honest..he looked lethargic…

    One last thing..owen or martins… i really hope one of them is not sacrificed for another..i think all of us want both of these talent to play TOGETHER!!

  • stuart

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #5


    Im a aston villa fan from (www.avillafan.com) and i just came across your comments and in terms of what you said i would fully agree with you. I made the 4 and half hour journey up to Newcastle yesterday and may i also give credit to the lads that sit next to the away fans – they can create a good amount of noise. Your stadium is one of the best around to may i add, if you could get the whole ground going it could be something special.

    In terms of the game, i thought both teams lacked that cutting edge in midfield. Both teams attacked but with both defence’s looking extremely solid, which is good from a villa point of view.

    As a villa fan i am happy with a point from St James Park, for a few reasons really. 1. being the fact we were thrashed last season 3-1 up there. and 2. Newcastle, hopefully like villa are on the up and i expect big things from both teams this season.

    Anyway, thanks for a great day lads. Best of luck with the rest of the season.

  • ToonKing

    Aug 19, 2007 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #6

    I don’t want Deco, he’s a risk and a 10M+ risk at that. Emre can do the job he’s got the premiership experience, he’s got the mind and talent, Sam will make him consistent. If Luque stays, Duff, Emre, Barton come back we will be more than ok creativity wise.

    I’d personally like a quality RB and maybe a young playmaker for the future who can gain some EPL experience this season, and call it a day till’ January.

  • SY

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #7

    Dont usually post comments on here but the guy who is saying Milner is average wants shooting. He was by far and away our best player yesterday and has looked oustanding ever since he came back from Villa. Get a grip

  • malaysian youngster

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #8

    please dont be disappointed. the draw is good.we have high expectation just becuz of the bolton game. and most of the goal is a lucky goal.im glad tat all of the newcastle player is hardworking and got battling spirit.rather than those player like dyer.when loose ball just jog only.i really hope we can have diouf.hmm milner can be a good AM. as he very good in creating a chance for himself to shoot.yesterday i personally think tat we lag of shots on target.
    we can be a big threat in the league.

  • richupindisbiatch

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #9

    new right bck is a must its time 4 carr ta leave wot the hell does sam see in dis guy he’s 2 slow the worst player in squad by far

  • Magjp

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #10

    Magpie From Japan here.
    -Great that it was a clean sheet.
    -Charles Nzogbia in defense is a WASTE OF TALENT.
    -Taylor and Rozenhal seems solid.
    – Agree with most of you that we need a new right back.

  • George

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #11

    My pub let me downagain, promised the drinkers that the game was on, then when Setanta is showing the warm up, off goes the signal. So like a lot of you i did not see the game live only the BBC highlights on MOTD. What was shown was nothing except what i did notice was, and i know we kept a clean sheet, but, one or two defensive weaknesses showing. In as much as not picking players up. Not going for a fifty fifty ball. Backing off. I know it is early but this is when SA should be stamping down and eliminating those errors, for i hate to say it, but had it been a better team than Aston Villa, we may have been sitting in the table with only 3 points. Like i say, it is still early and i hope these other new players soon get in to the team and become a defence to be reckoned with.

  • scotty

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #12

    agree with SY, whoever says milner is crap wants a pencil stuck up his A$$!!! Steven Carr is a waste of wages – his all round game is rubbish – not one good thing to say about him. Villa sent everything towards him as they knew he was the weak link. We were brought back down to earth with a bump yesterday – lets hope this can be rectified with a new RB. As for creative personal stick Zog in CM. Surely we have enough talent to be able to experiment? As for this “bring back the noise” campaign – too many women, kids and boo boys i’m afraid!!!

  • Tom_Toon

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #13

    Yes, we desperately need a RB.

    Id go looknig in the Ukrainian and Russian leagues, there are alot of quality, big built (as BSA wants) defenders and mainly fullbacks.

  • micky baston

    Aug 19, 2007 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #14

    dont think milner is crap, need duff fit again as soon as to get up and down the touch line, think big sam can make him spark again,and even if solano wants to leave its obvious the toon fans still love him and he could do a much better job than big fat carr, also think viduka could put him self about abit more martins needs to be on the last man and milner needs to get closer to vids when hes holding toball. the 3 midfielders looked to flat should have swapped smith with milner even tho it worked last week villa are a lot more organized than bolton

  • Edd Case

    Aug 19, 2007 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #15

    I keep banging on about it time and time again and finally people are agreeing with me.
    We have no creativity in the team at all.
    Barton is not a creative midfielder, but he will create the odd goal chance.
    Emre is our best, and he is inconsistant.
    Our problems in the creative department will not be solved by the return of Emre and Barton -we desperately need someone else with bags of flair and an eye for a slick pass – remember Asprilla, Ginola etc
    There are plenty of players out there, Ashley just has to put his hand in his fat wallet and sped some of the 2 BILLION (for christ sake) he has.
    Riquelme is by far the easiest option – back “training” with Villareal but does not want to be there, states he WANTS to play in the Prem…I mean, come on fella’s, we’ve already bought Enrique from them, so they know we are good for the dosh…
    Then there’s Deco…Could be a revelation, he too wants Prem move – but to Chelsea, if he comes to Toon, you know he’d be on massive wages.
    Smells too much like Kliuvert to me.

    Kim Kallstrom, sure, he’s got a girls name, but he is a class, attacking and creative midfielder and would be buyable for a little of 10 million.
    Same with Van der Vaart (Still at Hamburg?)

    Alberto Aquilani of Roma is another class, young midfielder – and Montolivio of Fiorentina is another Italian with a big future.

    There’s many Dutch and Belgian youngsters with tricks and pace out there, which Im sure BS knows about – i think we’ll have to take a chance on soemone soon.
    Real Madrid have on Sneijder and Drenthe, Liverpool on Babel.

    As fir right back – Carr is actually being visibly targetted by teams, very obvious against Villa.
    N’Zogbia is not a left back and as soon as Enrique plays, I expect Zog to be moved into midfield – which is very good as he is getting very good at attacking, though his decision making at times is very slow, he gives the ball away and runs out of ideas quickly still.

    Lahm? Class act, hard to pursuade though.
    Neville – getting older himself and, and, and – just NO.
    Alves – VERY expensive, but remember that “signing of intent” stuff?

    There’s loads more, but I actually think Geremi will end up at right back, with the midfield of Barton, Zog and (hopefully) Riquelme/Deco/Kallstrom/etc
    since BS loves the 433 system.
    Up top, Viduka, Owen and Martins/Milner.

  • Craig Allen

    Aug 19, 2007 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #16

    Milner was one of the players that threatened Villa the most. Pity there wasn’t another player to distract the two defenders Villa dispatched to try and suffocate Milner on the wing. Every time he had the ball, there were two defenders keeping him company. He shrugged them off and got in good crosses more often than not too. He even swapped wings after a while to get some sort of breakthrough.

    Harper showed us again he is more than able to cover for Shay.

    Zog is wasted at left back and his natural game caused some panic in our defence when he ventured forward in the 2nd half and we lost possession.

    Viduka looked like the Asian cup pre-season is beginning to take it;s toll and looked like he can’t play more than 40 mins per game … hope that improves tho’.

    Owen looked like he desperately needs match practice and looked off pace and lacking those touches.

    Oba looks menacing (strangely enough) when his on the wing – I personally liked it whenever he made those runs. Not saying he should always/only play there but he did look good.

    Roz never looked out of place and his stunner was kept out by Carson who’s still on a high from those stops he made against his club last week.

    With Emre & Barton injured and Dyer gone it was evident before this game that we’d lack that impetus in midfield.

    Our defense looked solid despite Carr who seriously should only be playing in bursts of 15-20 minutes per game (if any).

    We just needed some thru balls to get to our menacing attack and needed that player with vision to execute it. I have no doubt Sam has plans to address these and other pressing issues before the window closes.

    Clean sheet. Nuff said.

  • AB

    Aug 19, 2007 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #17

    I’ve only read a couple of comments but what game were you watching? Oba on the wing does not work. At all. He’s got bags of pace and a bit of trickery but he couldn’t cross his fingers. He should have been up playing off Viduka with Milner wide right and Zoggy wide left.

    All 3 central midfielders seemed to be holding and no-one was up supporting. I can’t wait until Barton gets back if we’re going to be sticking with the 4-3-3 as no-one seemed to know how to play it. We were overrun in midfield and those long ball punts just came straight back. We need to get it down and out to the wing.

    As for the guy who said Milner has no pace, I think most people will look slow playing against Ashley Young.

  • Michael

    Aug 19, 2007 at 1:05 PM

    Comment #18

    Taylor? Outstanding? What match were you watching? I thought Rozenhals defending and positioning were very good but Taylor got caught in position at crucial times, played some dodgy passes and dwelled too long with his clearances. In no way outstanding.

  • t-g-w

    Aug 19, 2007 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #19

    Don’t get me wrong, Taylor is a fantastic prospect and is already a very accomplished player. BUT, putting him at RB just to accommadate him in the team is a mistake and may mean he won’t progress as fast as he would deputising at CB. He is only 21 and has a very bright future. Surely when Cacapa is ready it will be him and Roz in defence, no matter how good Taylor is… I think we forget how young he is considering he has been our best defender in the last 2 seasons. A specialist RB would be a far better option.

  • Ross

    Aug 19, 2007 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #20

    we got stuck in, alan smith again fighting for just about everything..regardless of where it was on the field.
    i thought zogs looked good aswell, but his final ball lacked any kind of proper danger we needed to put the ball in the net.
    rozy looked decent at the back, again a mistake here and there but he’s only a few games in like already mentioned.
    im just desperate to see a goal at sjp. something like 560 minutes and well over 6 months since we’ve put the ball in the net at home, which for a team like us, is ridiculous to say the least.

  • Hadrian

    Aug 19, 2007 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #21

    i think everyone seems tobe on the same page .

    # need a new right back
    # zog is wasted at left back
    # martins needs tobe in the centre up front
    # need some flair in midfield
    # midfiled players are to similar .

    if half the geordie nation is saying this , then surely sams thinking it also.

    P.S rozy seems to have a yearning for goals ehh ? nearly two in two games for our new defencive centrepiece .

  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:16 PM

    Comment #22

    Hadrian – agree about Rozehnal in your PS – do you realize he only scored 1 goal in 75 appearances for PSG – obviously Sam has told him he wants his CBs to score some goals. He’s a great signing for us – and it was an excellent left foot cannon from him yesterday – Carson had no right to get anywhere near it.

  • AB

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:00 PM

    Comment #23

    Ed – Thats rubbish I’m afraid. It was a good volley, but it was at exactly the right height keepers like to take them at. If Carson HADN’T taken it, I’d have been surprised. Shame for Rozy though after going so close last week as well. Looks promising at set pieces, so thats one thing we can take I suppose.

  • Philip Boyle

    Aug 20, 2007 at 6:28 AM

    Comment #24

    I think we need an attacking player on both flanks to provide crosses. Viduka needs to get fitter – he always looks knackered! If he can get in shape we need crosses put in. We also need a Peter Beardsley style player to set up Martins or Owen.

  • Tom Cairns

    Aug 20, 2007 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #25

    I didn’t see the first half and heard he was pretty rubbish then but in second half carr looked really solid, yes still pretty slow, but was never caught out of position, put in some strong tackles and they never got round the other side of him.

    To be honest i dont know why every one is praising Taylor, Roz had a great game and we did look more solid but just in the second half i saw Taylor make at least half a dozen obvious mistakes like just being caught in possession, missing headers, hand balling and being out of position.

    Was annoying cos i live in Scotland and took my mates to the pub to see it and was praising him something rotten before but then when they saw him play they were laughing at some of his mistakes and asking how the hell he’s made the england squad. I know how good he’s played in the past so he’s got it in him but on sat he looked majorly inexperienced and that even some brambleisms had rubbed off onto him.


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