Strong Striker Competition at Newcastle

Newcastle now have a strong striker force with Viduka and Smith coming in during the summer and Owen and Ameobi recovered from their long term injuries.

Add to that our acquisition of Martins, to fill in for Owen a year ago, and we now have 5 strikers battling it out for say 2 striker positions.

Can Sam keep these players happy during the season – let’s see what Sam says about that.


Sam Allardyce – challenge to keep all our strikers happy this season

Sam writes a regular column for Zoo magazine and had this to say in his latest article for them:

“We’ve got five top-class strikers at Newcastle now in Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Obafemi Martins, Shola Ameobi and Alan Smith.”

“I’ve been asked how I can keep them all happy, but the truth is I don’t know yet.“I can tell you this – I’ll be playing the best two strikers in the best form at the time and the others will have to be patient.”

“I won’t be going in for rotation because I don’t have European competition to worry about.”

“Rafa Benitez (the Liverpool manager) needs to rotate because he will have 60 games to get through. All that will matter to me is who is on form.”

Benitez is well known for rotating his players, but hasn’t had too much success with that policy – at least not in the Premier league. Now that Michael Owen is ready to play it means competition for places will soon become far more fierce for the two or three striker positions.

Alan Smith’s performances in a withdrawn midfield role have proved he can hold a position there for Newcastle and doesn’t necessarily need to play as a striker. But Owen, Viduka, Martins and Ameobi all will need to fight for those striker positions.

This is probably why the club is looking to offload Luque because Albert is probably our 6th choice striker and the chances of him playing many games on Tyne-side is remote to say the least. Of course Albert can also play on the left wing but we also have Duff (when fit), N’Zogbia and Milner to play there – and also Alan Smith at a push.

To us this competition for places is not a problem but something that’s inevitable if we are to build up a squad ready to fight for honors.

Oba Martins has shown the right attitude when last week he insisted he knew there will be times when he doesn’t make the starting team. All the players will need this attitude if we are to be successful this season, as the team is the most important entity – not individual players.

One of Sam’s challenges is to be able to have a strong squad and keep the players happy. Because we don’t have European games this season, and will only play around 40 games, that will make it hard – at least in his first season.

Let us know what you think on this – comments welcome.

19 comments so far

  • big pea ov the weab

    Aug 22, 2007 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #1

    a think all the strikers r good but a think viduka should just be used as a squad player a was at the game on sat and he made no ipression on me wot doz any 1 else think ?

  • Bosck

    Aug 22, 2007 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #2

    I think Viduka has been too harshly criticised by a lot of people. he did not have the greatest game on saturday. but his style has always made him look a bit uninterested but he has always produced the goods. You have to remember that on saturday we had 4 new players this season playing as well as a strike partnership that had only played together once. Things will take time to gel together as the players get to know each others play better.

    My personal choice would be Viduka and Martins up front with Milner for the moment. If owen can re discover form he can come in possible for Milner who could drop to the midfield in place of butt maybe. If Smith is not in midfield then i would put him in in place of viduka, but if Smith is happy to play midfield then we can have both. Can only really see ameobi as back up/squad player.

  • gordon

    Aug 22, 2007 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #3

    ameobi will never be a good striker never mind a top class one.

  • Obafan

    Aug 22, 2007 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #4


  • Dee

    Aug 22, 2007 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #5

    4-3-3 would go some way to sorting out unhappy strikers. It means either viduka/shola up front as a target and owen and martins cutting in to any through balls.

    BUT 4-3-3 doesnt help us when you try and fit Geremi, Barton, Smith, Milner and Zog in the midfield (which looks a quality five man midfield). Not to mention Duff, Luque, Solano… No way is 4-5-1 the answer.

    Andy Carroll has more chance of breaking into the team than Luque unless injuries dictate our season again. I think Smith was bought primarily as a replcement for Dyer, to keep the midfield numbers high, so havn’t included him in the strikers list here. But LOVING the Newcastle trio in the England camp tonight. Hope they all start, especially Taylor. Legend.

  • Dee

    Aug 22, 2007 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #6

    I forgot Butt in the midfield. Sam is going to have to hope some players get injured to keep the others happy!!

  • Obafan

    Aug 22, 2007 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #7

    I also think that Viduka needs more time to settle in the team. If you see what he produced last year at Boro with Yakubu, then you can’t deny that he is a top class striker. Those 2 kept Boro in the EPL.

    Ameobi is good backup for injuries but indeed he is not world class; he is just a good striker, who we have to mention it has already scored a few goals in preseason, so perhaps he will have lots of confidence and he might surpirse us all.

  • Steely

    Aug 22, 2007 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #8

    Gordon – spot on! We have 3 top class strikers fighting for 2 places (Owen, Martins & Viduka) with Smith playing in Midfield. Ameobi will see very little action this season if the others stay fit – perhaps in Carling Cup but thats it.

  • Stami

    Aug 22, 2007 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #9

    Ameobi will shock you this season! he has been good pre-season, and will contest for a starting role against Viduka! simillar plating styles, hold up the ball for the quick striker to make a move into space! they are both very good at that

  • Edd Case

    Aug 22, 2007 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #10

    Never mind the strikers – they wont be scoring many at all unless we get some creative spark in midfield.

    Also, is Faye signing for the Toon or what?
    I don’t like these lengthy transfer deals.

    Bring on Riquelme.
    (Or Van Der Vaart)

  • Davey Z

    Aug 22, 2007 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #11

    Only fourty games,somebody somewhere forgetting there’s a couple of cups to play for.

  • Dingo

    Aug 22, 2007 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #12

    @ big pea of the weab (top name btw) … I was at the villa game as well mate… and you’re right MV did not shine so bringht BUT this was more because he was canceled out but the Villa back line. Not from a skill point of view, but from a fouling point of view. Mark is a big guy and does not dive around to gain free kicks….. but the amount of times I saw Mark get fouled on Sat was terrible i say … TERRIBLE… cant remember who the ref was (Webb i maybe) but he shouyld have given the big man more credit IMO.. MV will come good but I have to say I would like to see better hold up play from him than he has shown so far. just my 5 ml.. 😛

  • evil dick

    Aug 22, 2007 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #13

    hopefully we will play around 50 games not 38 and win a couple of cups!

  • Toon Chicken

    Aug 22, 2007 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #14

    I think we should be playing 442 at home with our 2 best strikers up front. Once fit, this will probably Owen and Viduka. Although I do think, with the right coaching, Martins could be proper world class. He just spends too much time and energy running around like a headless chicken who can’t pass a ball to save his life.

    So for now Owen and Viduka at home. Martins replacing Owen when he get’s injured again. And then once Martins know’s what he’s doing Owen and Martins up front together.

    I think 433 for away games is perfect and we can accommodate all 3 strikers and or Milner/Smith in midfield.

    To end with though… isn’t it brilliant to be actually talking about potential strike force partnerships and formations – instead of who’s fit enough to play.

    In the words of Samanda “I love it!”

  • Shaun Dean

    Aug 22, 2007 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #15

    Butt OUT Papa Bouba Diop IN

  • Lamesley Mag

    Aug 22, 2007 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #16

    We have a good set of forwards this season with Ameobi, Martins, Owen, Smith and Viduka all chomping at the bit.

    I prefer a 442 system with Milner and Zog (Duff) on either flank to support the 2 forwards.

    Central midfield once Barton returns from injury will be interesting as there’s so much strength in depth and I’m sure Gerami, Butt, Emre, Smith (plus Faye and Diop) will provide formidable opposition to even the top 4 sides in PL.

    BSA is sorting out the defence although we still need a RB before the end of the month……

  • ChrisL

    Aug 22, 2007 at 3:25 PM

    Comment #17

    Anyone that is happy not to be in the starting 11 each week, needs to leave now.
    Players that understand they will not be in the starting 11 every week are what we want.

  • David M.

    Aug 23, 2007 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #18

    We do not have 5 strikers IMO. Smith is a great attacking midfielder and Ameobi is never going to be premiership quality and should be sold. Bring on Andy Carrol, which would give us four strikers (2 little and larges!) and get some crosses in! The 4-3-3 is all very solid and it’s what Sam knows but I’m worried about how narrow we played against Villa and how easily our forwards were cancelled out.

  • Shaun Dean

    Aug 23, 2007 at 8:07 PM

    Comment #19

    Faye is crap.


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