Final Reflections on the Newcastle Middlesbrough Game



We’ll have this piece after every game, as we look back and see what happened. We’ll make comments on the game and see what we learned – if anything.

  • This was the first game Mike Ashley attended in person and yet he wasn’t recognized by the match commentators. After N’Zogbia’s stunning first goal chairman Chris Mort and Mike were seen hugging each other – quite a site. Mike looked good in his Newcastle shirt and would go completely unnoticed in a Newcastle pub   😀
  • This is a game where the defense let Newcastle down after good previous performances. With 13 minutes left in the game we should have been able to hang on to the 2-1 win but we let in a weak goal for Middlesbrough’s equalizer.  We’re sure Sam will be looking at who was where for that Middlesbrough corner that led to the goal,. On the positive side we’ll only get better from analyzing these mistakes.
  • The Mido goal did look offside – but in these cases you can only look at how you performed and over a season these referee mistakes seem to even out. You win some you lose some – yesterday we lost this one.
  • Charles N’Zogbia again looked outstanding and is giving Sam a nice headache because this boy must play in the side – somewhere. We’d like him to be given a run-out on the left wing and maybe even in center-midfield. We’ll probably see how Jose Enrique does in the game against Barnsley on Wednesday but Charles is playing so well – he just cannot be dropped. Another great performance from Charles – and what a stunning goal – and with his RIGHT foot.
  • We don’t like the 4-3-3 formation because we never seem to dominate midfield and there’s just too much room on the wings which seems to expose our full-backs. Maybe we haven’t got the right players to play 4-3-3. We’d like to see James Milner and Charles N’Zogbia as the wingers in a 4-4-2 formation and we would be much more solid in the center of midfield and on the wings.
  • We have to watch being caught short after our corner kicks when we have so many of our defenders upfield. It’s happened in all 3 games and Bolton actually scored from one of these fast breakaways.
  • Claudio Cacapa looked what he is yesterday – a very experienced and good player and we just have to play him in central defense with Rozehnal – who had another solid game. We may have to play young Steven Taylor at right back but Claudio has to come in to add a no nonsense solidity to the defense. His tackle yesterday on Downing when the winger was breaking through was a perfect text book tackle. He stopped Downing in his tracks and came away with the ball.
  • Michael Owen still did not look sharp and he missed a good chance after 82 minutes that he normally would put away. We expect him to get sharper with more games – and the sooner the better.
  • Stephen Harper had another good game and it also looks like Shay Given is fit again and will probably get a game on Wednesday. We hope they fixed whatever was wrong with Shay’s groin.
  • While our injury situation was looking good before the game with only 3 still injured in Barton, Babayaro and Duff, we had 2 injuries yesterday which will lead us to buy a right-back before Friday. But overall, the injury situation is still much improved as players continue to come back.
  • It’s going to take Sam a little time to get things right – which he will – so fans will probably need to be a little patient. But with all the disappointments of seasons gone – we know that’s not easy.

Comments very welcome.

14 comments so far

  • shearyadi

    Aug 27, 2007 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #1

    Like it or not, 4-3-3 seems to have the weakness and strongest effect. The weakness is as you said, there will be more room for opponents to make pressures to the left/right back position, but it was just a matter of time, until Big Sam releasing Enrigue of the left and find a good right back.

    The good side is we will have the more attacking opportunity with 4-3-3, just like what Mourinho does with his team. Nicky Butt may be too old to cover the midield defensive role, but when Barton make his debut, we will have the first wall in midfield, N’Zogbia and Milner will operating the wing-attack, while Smith, Viduka/Martins or Owen/Martins will destroy the enemy lines 🙂

    Keep the Faith!

  • Gavin

    Aug 27, 2007 at 9:15 AM

    Comment #2

    My thoughts from the game are:

    1. N’Zogbia isn’t a defender. Once Jose Enrique slots in should be all sweet
    2. Ramage isn’t a premiership player, he looked pretty awful out there
    3. 4-4-2 looked so much better than the 4-3-3 we played for 70 mins. As soon as Owen came on we actually started making some passes. The defenders were linked with the midfielders and the midfielders were linked with the attackers. With this formation we looked so much more dangerous
    4. Taylor was at fault for the Mido goal. He should have played the offside line like the other defenders
    5. Cacapa needs to play. Looked like he had hours of time with the ball at his feet

  • Hammy

    Aug 27, 2007 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #3

    Not too disheartened….won one, drawn two…Barton due to return in a few weeks…Enrique still to make his debut…Zog looking s£$t hot…. a new right back due this week…it is still early days but we are sitting nicely in the table with a game in hand. Disappointing to concede the equalizer with 1o minutes to go but hopefully more clean sheets will be in the pipeline than not….
    Reasonably happy with the Toons’ start, hopefully we should pluck some wins out of our next few games.

  • Gavin

    Aug 27, 2007 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #4

    Oh and Milner is looking bloody awesome at the moment. So glad he didn’t go to Villa

  • Dan

    Aug 27, 2007 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #5

    Hi im from Singapore… and let me tell u.. lotsa Newcastle supporters are over here! Keep this in mind… Newcastle is a world supported club and there are many fans behind them!

    I am deeply disappointed with the draw… not just the result but also the performance… i agree that the 4-3-3 system cannot make it.. and will give much space for opponents on the wings…

    The defense is lipid and the midfield shorned of creativity… theres just too little pace and urgency in the side…

    4-4-2 is the way man…



  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 27, 2007 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #6

    Dan – good about the supporters in Singapore !
    Keep the faith – Sam will get it right – but we should have had all 3 points 😀

  • Tom

    Aug 27, 2007 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #7

    Peter Luccin?? any good?, probably not an ounce of truth in the story but does any one know anything about him?, is he creative?

  • rich

    Aug 27, 2007 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #8

    i laughed my ass off when the commentators said ‘Oh, and theirs Big Sam with his new…..Chairman…’ didnt realise the average bloke beside him was the multi-billionaire owner of the Toon :D. His reaction when Zog scored brought a smile to my face, was almost as if we had just scored the winning goal in the champions league final!

    im looking ath the upside to this 2-2 draw, as Mike Ashley was present i hope he realises the need not only to buy a new RB but to invest in a creative midfielder. People mention Diop but he is not what we need, we need a Deco or Riquelme, not neccesarily someone of that stature but someone who can can play CM and can orchestrate our attacks we dont have that at the moment imo. Geremi is really good but his strength is defensive imo.

    i hope Emre can tay fit and well get to see what BS can pull out of him.

    as i always say 4-3-3 will work if we sort out our attackers, the commentators ALWAYS say ‘you could throw a blanket over NUFC’s attackers’ Martins is being played in the wrong position, out wide he is useless he needs to be in the centre with Viduka. we need a Duff/Diouf/Gudjonsen sort of player to be out wide in the 4-3-3!!!!

    P.S – Regards Peter Luccin – If the Brummies have been trying to sign him i doubt hes the sort of calibre we are looking for.

  • Len Smith

    Aug 27, 2007 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #9

    Dan, Were you down the Lock Stock & Barrel Sunday then? For those of you who are do not live in Singapore the Smoggies came over to join us at our pub for the match and we greeted them by wearing masks to protect us from the chemical smog. Quite a sight.

  • Tom

    Aug 27, 2007 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #10
  • George

    Aug 27, 2007 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #11

    I may upset quite a number of you supporters, but that performance was horrendous.
    We were exposed at the back like days of old.
    We never fought for the fifty fifty ball just like last year.
    Ramage when he was on was beaten time and again when ran at by attackers.
    Too many balls were under hit by us and never reached our players, just like last year.
    And just like last year we could not hold a lead.
    Just like last year, after making changes things improved, going to 4 4 2. Suddenly Viduka came to life. Geremi started to reach his intended target. Alan Smith was mentioned in the comentary. Michael Owen had a half hearted effort. Opponents go just wide.
    Am i alone or are these the same things we complained about last season.
    We may have a change of personelle at SJP but unfortunately, the old habits are still there for all to see, and like most of you i have only black and white eyes.

  • Pete

    Aug 27, 2007 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #12

    As big Sam has said things are not going to change overnight. At least we are unbeaten at the moment.

  • Otter

    Aug 27, 2007 at 4:44 PM

    Comment #13

    “Mike looked good in his Newcastle shirt and would go completely unnoticed in a Newcastle pub.”

    The cherry on top of the new management, new sensibility of player acquisition, and new hope is a new owner who shows up in jeans and a home shirt and cheers along. Imagine the laughter if FFS or Sir John Hall had done that. I don’t know if it was calculated or not, but Ashley could not have made a better move. Even the slightly stiff-seeming new chairman in his suit jumped out of his seat when N’Zogbia scored.

    PS–Great to hear from Singapore, the land where jet lag and hotel satellite TV helped a traveller from the US fall in love with the Toon just after 9/11. I sat in stunned silence for quite a while after I saw this:
    In the morning I walked out past the ugly ManU store and found my own Newcastle shirt.

  • Markus

    Aug 28, 2007 at 12:20 AM

    Comment #14

    We were the away team, which makes the leaking of the 2 goals pretty significant but in the 2nd half there was only going to be 1 winner whether that be 4-3-3 or 4-4-2. The fact that both rb were injured left us very vulnerable at that position (over compensation in trying to cover it perhaps?). Yet we were still the team that was going to win it in the 2nd half. 4-3-3 still makes sense when youve got new players/manager. It stifles the oppo and the fans will take a 1-0 loss rather than a 4-0 thrashing. The unbeaten run is not an accident against the mid-table opposition. 1/3rd of our team is new, manager is new, owners are new. Everyone needs to bed in, even fan expectations.


You must log in to post a comment.