Final Reflections on the Newcastle Wigan Game




Michael Owen just after heading winning goal against Wigan

  • There is little doubt that Michael Owen is returning to form. While he did miss chances yesterday not many players would have been in the positions Michael got into and he was also unlucky and didn’t exactly have the rub of the green. But Michael looks confident again and he’ll get goals out of nothing for Newcastle – like his goal yesterday when everything looked lost. Michael is very like Shearer in that he just loves scoring goals – you could see that in his celebrations of yesterdays game winning goal when Oba Martins beautifully set it up for him. Martins and Owen are jewels in the crown for Allardyce and both have to be used to top advantage this season.
  • The defense looked as solid as a rock. While it was only the second game together for Cacapa and Rozehnal they looked like they played together for years. That’s what experience gives you and we’re sure the presence of these two will only accelerate young Steven Taylor’s development. Steven looked good at right back, seemed to enjoy himself and could have had two goals. We cannot see Cacapa and Rozehnal not being our top choice at center back – they take no chances, are good in the air, and read the game well.
  • It’s hard to see right now why we would need Edmilson in January from Barcelona – once he’s recovered from his knee surgery. But since he’s Brazil’s center-back and can be brought in for very little money we still expect Sam to get him. Hope Sam, can keep all these excellent defenders happy – because they cannot all play.
  • James Milner was his usual sprightly self on the left wing and must have impressed watching England manager Steve McClaren. It’s hard to believe it but James seems to be getting better and is now fulfilling the promise he showed when playing in Leeds United’s first team 5 years ago when he was only 16 years old. He can do a job for England on the let wing and as he gets more games he’s becoming very consistent – consistently good.
  • Stephen Harper had another good game and made a stunning save to his left from a free kick in the first half. Shouts of “Harper for England” went out from the crowd. Harper may be the most under-rated keeper around and we have to believe he would have played for England if he had been playing regularly for some other team in the Premiership these last several years – he’s that good. How long Shay Given will be willing to sit out as sub, is a topic of discussion however.
  • We think the team looks much more solid in a 4-4-2 formation because we seem to have the players for that formation. In 4-3-3 we don’t look as solid in central midfield – and there’s just too much room on the wings for the opposition to exploit.
  • It’s possible for Owen and Martins to play together. Not necessarily as the front two, because of their lack of height. But Martins looked really menacing on the right wing in the last 25 minutes and set up a great goal for Michael Owen. Martins scares the life out of defenders because of his lightning speed – plus they’re never sure what he’s going to do next. We think Sam used his subs superbly yesterday to win the game.
  • It’s still going to take Sam a little time to get things right – which he will – so fans will still need to be a little patient, as they were yesterday.

Comments very welcome.

20 comments so far

  • valle

    Sep 2, 2007 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #1

    Being a golfer myself im pretty sure its called “the rub of the green” 😉

  • Nick

    Sep 2, 2007 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #2

    Thanks for the coverage Ed. Well it seems that the team is coming together just fine Not too bad … things seems to be looking up!!!! The most important thing that has happened for this club since the take over – competition for places. Seems Viduka is injured any idea if it is serious?

  • valle

    Sep 2, 2007 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #3

    One thing about Milner… Tho i agree he is looking good, it should also be pointed out that he never seems to accept the simple option and far to often he takes a drible when none was needed and 2 where 1 whould have been enough.

  • graeme dev

    Sep 2, 2007 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #4

    thought zoggy was excellent again yesterday, we never looked like losing the game ,but i agree we look like a different team playing 442, shola was ………………………shola, but the rest of the team played well!!

  • Aussie geordie

    Sep 2, 2007 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #5

    I like Shola for his passion but he is not Newcastle standard any more. and will go in the next window though I cant imagine who would want him. Then again hearing Boumsong for Liverpool was a shock!

    So good to be them that gets a 87th minute winner too!Shows balls!

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 2, 2007 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #6

    Graeme – Shola should have scored – when the center back fell down – he just missed but still should have scored.

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 2, 2007 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #7

    N’Zogbia is so much better playing under Sam – what a player – out three 21 year olds Milner, Taylor and N’Zogbia look great.

  • Lamesley Mag

    Sep 2, 2007 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #8

    Ed, your comments hit the nail on the head; i.e.

    Owen should have scored more, but kept on getting on positions to score, and score he did…..

    Defence looks good, really good and looking forward to seeing Beye and Enrique as I doubt if Duff will get a starting position when he recovers from injury. We’ll have to wait see as he’s brilliant on his day; just never had a good day at Newcastle to date!

    Comments on Edmilson are relevant. I expect BSA to sell several current players in January as they’re simply not good enough. Their names can be subject to another debate, but expect BSA to sell our non performers and replace them with better players to improve the squad for the final push up the PL.

    Milner is playing well and Harper never let’s you down. BSA has a selection problem as he’s got 2 very good goalkeepers…..

    I prefer the 442 formation also. Looking forward to Barton’s return and Milner and Zog on either flank. The team looks good on paper with adequate strength in depth. The problem’s going to be, to keep them all happy!

    Good luck Sam……

  • Sinead

    Sep 2, 2007 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #9

    Harper may be a good keeper but like, realistacly Given is alot better, he might be the best English keeper around right now but Given’s better. Given’s been loyal, he stayed when he could have walked, when most people said that he should’ve, he came back fast from his horror injury faster then anyone thought and the first thing he did was make a save at the feet of an Arsenal player like the situation he got injured in the last time and he didn’t even flinch. He earned ye a point that day.

    He’s saved ye countless of times, over and over again and it’s gotten to a point where ye take that for granted, if Newcastle end up winning 1-0 or something and Martins scores a good goal, he’ll be the hero of the match, ignoring the fact that Given might of made aload of top class saves. Like against Spurs last year, Martins this, Martins that, yet ye seemed to forget how many world class saves he made. Now convienience wise is was good that Given didn’t play so he’ll be fit for the Irish games.

    But he’s showed so much loyalty, he’s better then Harper and he’s too good for the bench. There are rumours that Sam isn’t crazy about him, he prefers big physical presence in the box and Shay is the smallest keeper in the premiership. It doesn’t make sense that Harper was picked ahead of him because like Given’s better, maybe that’s why though, maybe Sam just doesn’t like him, and think’s he’s too small.

    Now if he continuies to not play Shay then I’d say he’ll leave, because he’s way to good to sit on the bench. But yet again Newcastle supporters are only concerned about the strikers.

  • Andreas

    Sep 2, 2007 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #10

    @Sinead…”But yet again Newcastle supporters are only concerned about the strikers.” – Öhhh? Don’t think so mate, Shay is clearly our no1 and I reckon nearly every fan agree with that. However, it’s damn nice to have a no2 like Harper. Moreover, I think it’s wise to let Shay get a few reserve/cup games before he’s considered for a starting berth again. In the past NUFC have rushed injured ppl back and that almost every time mean they’ll get injured again.

  • Sinead

    Sep 2, 2007 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #11

    Oh come on if a poll was taking right now and it said who would you rather see in the team Owen or Given, most of ye would say Owen even though he’s done absoloutley nothing really for ye. Sam is an offence man, the best defense is a good offense kinda thing and the fans are the same.

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 2, 2007 at 4:56 PM

    Comment #12

    valle – right – i knew it was something like that 😀

  • Daithí

    Sep 2, 2007 at 5:35 PM

    Comment #13

    @ sinead
    how can you say “sam is an offence man”.can you not see what he just did for newcastles defence. he is clearly defensivley orientated.

    p.s. i totally agree with your given comment. but i dont think sam dosnt like him. i wud say he is just being careful and not letting him rush into anything

  • Obafan

    Sep 2, 2007 at 6:01 PM

    Comment #14

    What a game, I was getting woried till the end that it wouldn’t be our day yesterday, but in the end Owen made a fantastic goal when he headed a fantastic cross from Oba in the back of the net.

    Millner can make me crazy, when he is always turning and dribbling with his head in the ground. He should cross more often or play in a more simple way. He always searches the most difficult thing. So for me when our midfield is complete again, he can sit on the bench.

    Viduka wasn’t good; so next game let’s play Oba and Owen together in front.

    Ameobi is a fighter but that’s it.

    Cacapa and Roz are world class together in the heart of our defence. What a defence we will have when Enrique and Beye come in the team.

    Great win although I think we were way to wastful with our chances.

  • valle

    Sep 2, 2007 at 8:10 PM

    Comment #15

    Np Ed, u do a fantastic job with this site =)

  • SS

    Sep 2, 2007 at 8:57 PM

    Comment #16

    Yet again Ameobi risked a great goal scoring opportunity with a meaningless push in the back on the last defender – imagine if he had put it in the net but the ref had chosen to act on the foul – it is entirely unnecessary and so frustrating – he is very naive regarding fouls handballs and even offsides.

  • Sinead

    Sep 2, 2007 at 9:20 PM

    Comment #17

    Daithí , ya he made the Newcastle defence stronger but you can’t deny that his first priority is the forwards, the likes of Owen, Martins..etc. He just has this weird look about him, I just don’t like him, I don’t know why. He just comes across as a guy who couldn’t care less how many goals Newcastle concede once they win the match and if Harper’s doing Ok then leave him there, he’s less a chance of getting injured, no one wants that headache..kinda thing. I don’t know why he just gives me that feeling about him.

    It’s the same with the fans, most of Newcastle fans are obbsesed with big names, big strikers like Owen, and when it comes down to it if a vote was taken right now on who they would prefer to be on the team Given or Owen the majority of ye would say Owen. Deny it ye might but when it comes down to it it’s true. Like countless of times ye’d win a match by like a goal or so and the other team could have all the possestion and they keep on shooting and Given would keep on stoping them, keep on pulling of world class saves and then someone like Martin’s scores a goal from no where, ye’d win by that goal and the hero would be Martin’s, no matter how many world class saves Given would pull off. It’s the way it’s always been with ye.

    So lets not go crazy here like, ya he made it stronger, brought in a few players but it’s obvious that his firts priority is and, unless there’s a major injury crisis..(God forbid), will remain to be the mids and the forwards.

  • Len Smith

    Sep 3, 2007 at 3:21 AM

    Comment #18

    Sinead, you are either having a laugh or dont realise Keegan left the club. BSA has bought six defenders and one forward this summer. Every time he opens his mouth he talks about the importance of clean sheets. Good defenders have been and still are terrace heroes same as forwards. I there is a point that the club owners liked to sign big name forwards to sell season tickets and ignored other needs. In one summer BSA has done what was needed and given us not one but two solid defences. Move on.

  • Gallacher the Horse

    Sep 3, 2007 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #19

    Not sure Sinead is a Mag; ‘He earned ye a point that day’ and other similar statements in the first post, plus an intimate knowledge of the game against the Arse suggests a Gooner on site stirring up trouble to get Wor Seamus transfered down south! 🙂

    Sinead, I reckon you’re right about the Owen vs Given poll if you talk to anyone under , say 20 (arbitary age). But with regard to those of us who’ve followed Newcastle for years, through some very, very lean defensive times, I know you’re wrong. And if you’ve followed this and other sites for the last few months, the reaction to Owen potentially leaving has been ‘go if you’re going’ whilst any though of Shay leaving was met with horror!

    At least you’re giving us a laugh.

  • Sinead

    Sep 3, 2007 at 5:19 PM

    Comment #20

    I hoenstly think that Sam cares more about the image of the front lads then he does about the defense, ya he’s strengthened it, wow. He makes such a fuss about the lads up front then he does with the backs, the backline being the major concern and where he should be putting all the emphasis on. I don’t like Sam, I don’t know why. There’s something about that man I just don’t like, he’s too squeaky clean. Something isn’t quite right about him. I’m not a Gooner. I’d be a Man U fan, an Irish United fan (which means in it’s small right a little bit of a Reading and dare I say it Sunderland fan..well Keane fan..don’t kill me, it’s all about Keane) But I’ve a soft spot for Newcastle, I love Given. He’s saved us countless of times and when he was out last year we really felt that. And it just makes my blood boil for ye and I mean some of ye (not really here like but in general), turn yere backs on him,cause he was injured, be happy enough with Harper and obbsesed with Owen and Martins, and goals, goals, goals. When ye would have been relegated a 100 times over had it not been for Given. If Given hadn’t come back last year, I’d be pretty confident in saying that ye would have been relegated.
    Now that Owen hasn’t left, everyones obbsesed with him, all the sites, all the forums, the fans, the managment..Owen will fill Shearer’s boots..etc. This same player who was litterally looking for a way out of his contract for half of the summer and couldn’t decide wheter to go or not. That’s not loyalty, that’s guilt, he stayed because, either a nobody wanted him and b cause he felt guilty, so the majority of his career at Newcastle he’s spent injured and then he’s barley back and has scored 2 goals, but ye think that the suns shines outta him like. It’s a joke. The fact that he took so long to decide should turn ye off him, but no, he’s yere new hero because he’s..Michael Owen and that’s about it. There was even talk about him being handed the captaincy at one point. Come on, and the fact that I’ve had to listen to Toon fans praise Owen all the time and when asked who they’d want in goals, they’d say, whoever, Given I supposed, or his he injured. I just think that somes it up. Ya some of ye mightn’t have the same oppinion. Ya it’s no understatment that ye talk him for granted, ye always have, but like that, hearing apparently, Toon addicts, say that just makes my blood boil.


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