Sam’s Assessment of the Wigan Game

Sam spoke to the official Newcastle United web site after the game and gave his assessment of the win over Wigan that gives Newcastle 8 points from their first 4 games and a positive goal difference of 3.

Sam thinks the game should have been over before half time – which most fans will agree with.

But he had some interesting assessments of what was happening during the game.


Sam Allardyce – game should have been won by half time

Sam said after the game:

“For long periods it didn’t help us them being down to ten men.“They weren’t going to attack, and that put more pressure on us. But a bit of quality in the end won it.”

“More and more chances went begging, but it was a bit of outstanding quality in the end – Steven Taylor’s pass, Oba’s cross, 1-0, fantastic.”

In the first half Wigan had been willing to attack but once they were reduced to 10 men they brought off Antoine Sibierski and brought on Boyce, a defender, which made their strategy fairly obvious. But there again what else can you do but defend when reduced to 10 men at St. James’ Park.

Allardyce added:

“It should have been more. Overall we were very comfortable in a good performance.”

“We should have had the game all buried against 11 men in the first half, never mind ten men in the second.”“We completely dominated the game but found it a little bit hard – there were blocks and a couple of good saves by the keeper.

“Some poor finishing meant we were frustrated at half-time that we weren’t a couple of goals up.”

Michael Owen of course scored his second goal in three days for the club with a really great goal when set up well by the exciting Oba Martins. It was interesting that Newcastle’s players also mobbed Oba after the goal as well as Michael – they knew who had almost laid it on a plate for Michael.

“Michael Owen got that many chances that he was the one that was going to get the goal.”

“He had the one he flicked over the bar in the first half, he had one in the bottom corner but Kirkland saved it – he always looked the most likely, so that’s why I kept him on.”

Mark Viduka was taken off at half-time and replaced by Shola Ameobi. Turns out Mark has been troubled yet again with hamstring problems which have affected him throughout his career. We were hoping he would be able to get over that with Sam’s training and medical practices. We still hope for that, but at least his absence will give Shola a chance in the team.

“We were down to the bare bones today because of injuries. We had two young lads on the bench.

“It’s disappointing about Mark, but he’s got two weeks to get over it.”

This has been an excellent week for Newcastle. We’ve got our top two targets Habib Beye and Abdoulaye Faye in – albeit at the last moment. We also moved Paul Huntington (Leeds United), Nobby Solano (West Ham) and Albert Luque (Ajax) out. So Friday was very successful for the club and add to that a win and clean sheet yesterday and most Newcastle fans will be very happy this Sunday morning.

We are and we’re sure owner Mike Ashley, who was again at the game yesterday wearing that famous black and white striped shirt – will also be happy with the good start Newcastle have made this season under manager Sam Allardyce – who promises there’s more good things to come. That cannot be too bad coming from an admitted pessimist.

Comments welcome.

24 comments so far

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 2, 2007 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #1

    I reckon Michael Owen is one or two games away from another hat-trick for the toon – he’s finding himself in all the right positions again. Let’s hope he comes through the International break unscathed and Derby feel the full force of a fully fit Owen.

  • Bob

    Sep 2, 2007 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #2

    …with, hopefully, Obafemi Martins to accompany him up front.

    Their different players – Oba tends to come deep while Owen is a predator, pure and simple – and I don’t see why they can’t play together.

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 2, 2007 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #3

    Totally agree 100% Bob.

    I don’t subscribe to the ‘big man/little man’ theory.

  • Hadji

    Sep 2, 2007 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #4

    I just can’t wait till Emre is fit,you gotta admit we need his creativity on the pitch.I watched the game and frankly speaking I wasn’t impressed with Milner..I mean,if he wants to be Newcastle’s Cristiano Ronaldo he needs to work on his moves first.As soon as Enrique gets fit just put N’Zogbia on the Left side of the midfield.

  • Graeme

    Sep 2, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #5

    They are absolutely different players – Martins has the pace to burn that was once Owens’ hallmark; Owen is now a smarter, wiser player – they will both score goals, all season long.

    They will give defenders a rough time, not knowing which one to try and cover. When backed up by Milner, Barton and the Zog, we have goals available right through the team. Not forgetting the defence are also able to add a few to the total as well!!!!!

    Not sure about the claims being made re Champions League, probably a season or two too soon. A top 6 finish could certainly become a realistic proposition as the team settles in and the players gell.

    Happy days are here again!!!!!!!

  • michael

    Sep 2, 2007 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #6

    Wish folk would stiop touting Emre as a playmaker going to make 20 goals a season. Joey Barton had 8 assists last year, more than all of newcastle’s midfield put together! Check out the OPTA report on Sky Sports (Was in June I think).
    Truthfully Emre along with Stephen Carr is our worst player.

  • jenson button

    Sep 2, 2007 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #7

    cam someone tell me the age of habib beye. we should have won the wigan game 3-0,4-0 or even 5-0

  • Craig Allen

    Sep 2, 2007 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #8

    Hmm … not too sure about your Milner comment, as I’ve just watched a recording of the game and he was frankly, outstanding. Yes he tried a bit too much at times but that;s only because they tried shepherding him every time he had the ball. He resorted to variation to throw his two (yes two) markers off.

    What was also evident was that our left is stronger than our right and we need to have a bit a balance going forward to prevent other teams reading our play so easily. With Zog and Milner on the left, most of the play came from there as the creativity lied there.

    Ameobi seems to be lacking confidence and desperately needs to score before losing it completely.

    But with Cacapa and Roz holding it down with Taylor must say that was a solid defense and that I was beginning to believe for a moment in the curse of the right back when Steven fell awkwardly – hope every thing’s cool there.

    Interested to see the combination of Zog and Milner and how Sam decides to play them when Enrique plays at left and Barton gets back .. can’t wait!

    Oh … and was that Martins who crossed from the right … so he can cross ? lol must say I enjoyed his runs and as I’ve commented before, def looks like an option when played wide (again not saying he should always play there – he deserves to be upfront but does look exciting taking those runs)

    Derby next!

  • nightfall

    Sep 2, 2007 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #9

    beye is 29

  • Hadji

    Sep 2, 2007 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #10

    Michael..I never said or compared Barton with Emre,maybe it was my bad that i didn’t mention Barton on my previous comment.
    Just don’t put Emre in the same basket with that Irish clown please.
    Who else besides Martins,Sibierski and Milner performed well last season.Exactly….nobody!?

  • Ben Wheeler

    Sep 2, 2007 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #11

    Hadji. Taylor and both keepers played well last year when fit

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 2, 2007 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #12

    Hadji – think you’re being a bit harsh on young Jimmy Milner. I thought he contributed hugely to a pretty good team performance – along with Zog he’s been our best player so far this season.

  • Hadji

    Sep 2, 2007 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #13

    Ben..Given was ok but Harper last season..I mean c’mon
    Xabi Alonso…does that ring the bell to you
    Toon Chicken..I know that N’Zogbia can win the”Player of the month” but Milner should not keep the ball that long in possesion,have you noticed that yesterday.
    Overall,i’m really satisfied with both of them especially N’Zogbia but i have to be critical if i see something i don’t like or it could be done other way which refers to Milner.Once Emre,Barton and Duff are all fit and ready to play you think that Milner’s gonna be a starter?!Mark my words”It ain’t gonna happen”

  • Alex

    Sep 2, 2007 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #14

    Nicky Butt also played well last season.

  • Sinead

    Sep 2, 2007 at 2:14 PM

    Comment #15

    Given is alot better then Harper, can’t really make sense of why Harper was picked ahead of Given. Last season, Given was injured for more then half of it, and when he wasn’t injured he wasn’t fully fit for some of the games. Which wasn’t his fault like but the games he was there for he was very good. Harper though wasn’t exactly amazing, he wasn’t that good at all. Ya Harper made a good save against Wigan like but like honestly, anything Harper can do Given can do alot better.

  • Craig Allen

    Sep 2, 2007 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #16

    I think it’s a combination of reward for form (current form that is) – I think Harper’s been spot on this season so far and throwing Given into what was perceived to be a tougher clash immediately after recovering from the groin injury.

    PS: I prefer not to use Alonso + Harper in the same sentence – I still have a bad taste in my mouth over that incident and my liverpool friends are always quick to bring that one up.

  • ChrisL

    Sep 2, 2007 at 3:20 PM

    Comment #17

    If I was sat next to Ashley, I’d be hoping that he’s washed his shirt… but as I don’t, just keep on wearing it Mr Ashley… it seems lucky!!

  • Hadji

    Sep 2, 2007 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #18

    Craig Allen…
    Do you have any idea how i felt that day when all my Liverpool friends were making fun of me,that was the day i realized what is Harper made of.
    You see,now all of them are keeping their mouth shut cause they know that that was just a really bad day for Harper.What a performance by him yesterday,honestly he was the ”Man of the match”
    Derby County i hope you’re ready for demolition….Owen’s style

  • Sinead

    Sep 2, 2007 at 6:13 PM

    Comment #19

    He made one good save..ya man of the match material.

  • Obafan

    Sep 2, 2007 at 6:15 PM

    Comment #20

    Hadji I completely agree with you when you mention Millner. If he gets the ball he starts running and driblling with his head in the ground. Not colective enough and to be honnest he kicked lots of crosses and Martins kicked perhaps 2 crosses and what a difference in quality. Millner crosses flew everywhere but never landed where they should have been landed. Barton – Emre – Duff when they return Millner will go and sit on then bench. Sorry for those who really like him, but he isn’t an intelligent player IMO.

    But as long as the results are good with Millner in the team then no problem for me if he plays.

  • Greg B

    Sep 2, 2007 at 9:33 PM

    Comment #21

    Milner is still a very young lad playing in the team on merit. He isnt just getting a game (like last year) because no-one else is fit but because he has shown at the end of last season and the begining of this (also England u21’s) that he is a player with hugh potential who gives 100%.
    Granted Solano was possible the best crosser of the ball we had but in his defence Milner is still learning his trade and will continue to improve with every game.
    I would still like to see N’Zogbia and Milner on the wings once Enrique is fit. N’Zogbia has show how far a bit of confidence goes, I can honestly see Milner going from strenght to strength and having a great season for us. Granted the likes of Duff will put huge pressure on for a start when he returns to fitness but its up to Milner and N’Zogbia to take their chance and show Allardyce what they can do while he recovers.

    We have a good bit of depth to our squad now, and once the injured players (particularly Duff nad Barton) return we will be awesome. Maybe its too early to be thinking of Champions League just yet but if Allardyce keeps this squad together, happy and fit then I would imagin we will be playing the likes of Real Madrid and Inter Milan again in the not too distant future.

  • Dave

    Sep 3, 2007 at 6:45 AM

    Comment #22

    How fickle we magpies are Milner has put in some fabulous crosses that have led to inept strikers last season missing chances. He is a willing horse and yes he did have two men marking him all afternoon, that tells you something about how the opposition view his contribution to the game. When will we stop cirticising for the sake of it. It was a good overall performance yesterday the Zog certainly was a contender for man of the match. harper made a brilliant save and to say he only made one save is just plain daft. A goal keeper can only make a save when the ball comes towards him on goal, and that did not happen many times on Saturday. Why don’t you moaning lot look for the positives instead of nick picking I would rather watch the game on Saturday than the trip we had served up for the last couple of seasons.

  • aaron d

    Sep 3, 2007 at 8:23 AM

    Comment #23

    Who else have we got on the right hand side of midfield though? We sold Dyer, Solano and Luque late in the transfer window and didn’t sign any replacements. I know we have fair few midfielders in the squad (N’Zogbia, Milner, Duff, Emre, Butt, Geremi, Smith and Barton) but only Milner is a out and out right sided player, Geremi can also play there too. Emre and Duff are so injury prone and yet to find any real type of form since signing for NUFC. I still think we need another midfielder to the squad.

    Also think that against Derby should play 4-4-2.

    Beye Cacapa Roz Enrique
    Milner Geremi Smith N’Zogbia
    Owen Martins

    Subs: Harper Viduka Butt Taylor Faye.

  • Rich

    Sep 3, 2007 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #24

    Aaron d – I titally agree with what you hav just said, although i do think emre when fit can be class. A nother midfilder is top of my wishlist for january and we really might regret not buying one when it comes to november, xmas i hope im wrong tho. Your team is exactly what id go with for Derby as well


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