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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 Â£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 â€“ as he could have possibly opened up the Villa defense â€“ 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 Â£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 â€“ via better fitness and maybe some substitutions â€“ 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