Sam Allardyce – Really Tough Picking Front Men

Sam Allardyce preferred Michael Owen as the starter on Saturday in preference to Oba Martins, who is Newcastle’s top goal-scorer with 3 goals.

Sam talked today to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and said something most Newcastle fans will welcome and agree with – that both Michael and Oba will get lots of starts and lots of playing time this season.


Oba Martins – played role of super sub on Saturday

This is what Sam had ton say today to the Evening Chronicle:

“Choosing the front men, for me, is a difficult job.”“It was a big decision leaving Oba on the bench against Wigan. He didn’t really deserve it, but I felt that was better for us.”

“He came on and made a massive contribution to our win, and he’ll get enough games, like Michael will.”

“The only disappointment was the injury to Mark Viduka, but we don’t think that’ll be too serious. There’s two weeks now to clear that up.”

“Shola Ameobi also came on and did a terrific job. He was very unlucky not to score with his presence in the box.”

Wigan went on the defensive once they were harshly reduced to 10 men by referee Steve Bennett. They immediately replaced one of their strikers Antoine Sibierski, who as expected got a warm reception, and replaced him with defender Emmerson Boyce. This didn’t make it any easier for Newcastle to break Wigan down with lots of Wigan players getting behind the ball.

Allardyce added:

“Because Wigan sat back and made life extremely difficult for us, we had to be very patient.”

“We had to break a very difficult back nine down – two banks of four that weren’t going anywhere.”

“In the end we needed a bit of quality. We showed a lot of quality in creating the chances, but didn’t show enough in finishing.”

“Finally we got a great cross and a great finish. It was a really good ball from Steven Taylor, and first-time cross from Oba.”

“Not only did we show a bit of poor finishing, we also had a lot of hard luck.”

“We believe we had at least one goal that shouldn’t have been disallowed, and many more chances that went begging.”

We were pleased to see the positive attitude of the players in that they kept going even though they had atrocious luck and some dubious calls by referee Steve Bennett, who didn’t particularly have one of his better games.

United now have 3 clean sheets in their first 5 games – all at home as it happens. The more clean sheets we can get this season the higher we will be in the league. We must say the way the defense performed on Saturday we’re sure there’s a lot more clean sheets on the way.

Rozehnal and Cacapa looked very solid in the middle of the defense and once Beye and Enrique come in as full-backs we should be in very good shape. Just how Steven Taylor forces his way into the back line will also be interesting, but he’ll still get lots of playing time. Steven had an excellent game on Saturday and seemed to be enjoying the game and could have had 2 goals with any luck.

Allardyce summed up:

“Overall it was another three points and a very, very good clean sheet.

“Our defenders concentrated for 90 minutes, and basically snuffed out any threat from Wigan from start to finish.”

Certainly there are probably a lot of league points for Newcastle at St. James’ Park this year. The home games against the top 4 will be real crackers. We just have to show the same patience, guts and fortitude we did on Saturday and success will surely be ours.

Comments welcome.

15 comments so far

  • Lin

    Sep 3, 2007 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #1

    Martins is in great condition, and Owen is approach his best. Given more chances, Owen can score nearly 20 goals a season. Martins can get even better and compete with the best forward in the EPL. Hard to choose who as the starter. Well, I don’t think they can not partner with each other. Why not try to put them as starter at the same time?

  • evil dick

    Sep 3, 2007 at 2:39 PM

    Comment #2

    I’d play martins and owen up front at home in a classic -4-4-2, with milner and zog on the wings, we would be very dangerous!

  • Midjew

    Sep 3, 2007 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #3

    i agree martins and owen up front would be BRILLIANT. Martins plays more deep and owen is alwasy up there ready to pounce!

  • Soren

    Sep 3, 2007 at 4:08 PM

    Comment #4

    Agree with all of you, Owen and Martins could be a devastating attack. I’m really glad to see Owen back again because he is worldclass. Martins as last season will also be amazing this year.

  • Gallacher the Horse

    Sep 3, 2007 at 4:09 PM

    Comment #5

    Ed, if Faye, Beye and Stevie Harper were added to your banner, that’d be our starting sixteen week in, week out, injuries not withstanding? Where’s BSA’s selection problem? : – )

  • big pea ov the weab

    Sep 3, 2007 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #6

    martins has got that littleextra for me owens still pure class but my votes with oba femi

  • Craig Allen

    Sep 3, 2007 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #7

    Yeah that would be a deadly combo evildick with Barton and Butt/Emre in the midfield

  • Arthur Prince

    Sep 3, 2007 at 4:45 PM

    Comment #8

    I think BSA will analyse the opposition for their strengths and weaknesses and put out a team to exploit the weaknesses and snuff out the threats . That is why I think with top class players in his squad he will succeed with his scientific approach witht the DVDS and 0ne to one coaching etc . Sometimes we will see Owen and Martins start other times not just depends on how BSA works it out . I think he is a clever Manager and I would nt be surprised at a top 4 finish if he gets the team really motoring . Its a long season and he will need a top class squad some of whom will come in when others are tired or who need a break and of course the Africans Cup in the winter time when many will be away so everyone will get loads of starts but thats also good so we dont get complacent either .

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 3, 2007 at 4:58 PM

    Comment #9

    BSA does seem to favour the big man-little man combo ie; Viduka and Martins or Ameobi and Owen.
    But maybe Vidukas injury will be a blessing in disguise and Oba and Owen will get the chance to prove what a potent force they can be together.
    Imagine being a Premiership defender and seeing them two on the teamsheet of the opposition – you would crap yourself!

  • Jamie Stanton

    Sep 3, 2007 at 5:37 PM

    Comment #10

    This is a problem wev’e been wating for since i can remember. Not only has Sam put a squad in place IMO it’s got the potential to be a squad without any weakness.

    Iv’e been trying to work out what our strongest team is and it’s like smashing my head against a wall……. He’s playing well, can’t leave him out……..but then he’s on the bench….. nightmare but a very pleasing nightmare.

    Only my opinion but when all fully fit this is how i’d play it……


    Beye Rohzenal Capaca Enrique

    Geremi Faye Barton Duff

    Owen Martins



    I think Martins can play the “Viduka” role. Really difficult leave The Zog out and Milner it’s just my pref and many players can swap around. Man i wish we had this problem in the Keegan days.

    Playing away from home I think it would be more like this


    Beye Rohzenal Capaca Enrique

    Geremi Barton Faye

    Owen Viduka Martins

    So many options so little time before the pub lol. Comments welcome

    Toon Toon

  • billygee

    Sep 3, 2007 at 7:17 PM

    Comment #11

    I would like to see how Martins and Owen play together up front with Zog and Milner on the wings, defence would be Enrique, Cacapa, Rozenthal and Beye. I also think we shouls stop talking about top four finishes. from what ive seen this season and they purchases we have made, why shouldn’t we be talking about winning the premiership. WE CAN DO IT.

  • The Big P

    Sep 3, 2007 at 7:47 PM

    Comment #12

    If Sam is determined on playing Owen then play both owen and Martins. Owen has not played well enough to force Martins out, and neither has anyone else. Martins playing along side Owen would seriously worry a defence. Saying that I am confident Sam will play the best partnership eventually.

  • Arthur Prince

    Sep 3, 2007 at 7:52 PM

    Comment #13

    I think on current form Jamie you couldnt leave out Nzogbia or indeed Milner . However think of the subs as well coming on– could terrify the life out of the opposition . Great !!! Its a great position to be in I think team building and working on thinfgs in the nest 2weeks is good for the squad to learn what Sam wants them to do and to work at getting really fit .

  • Melbourne Mag

    Sep 4, 2007 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #14

    what a great problem to have ..and it’s the same for almost every position – bring on the dancing girls!!

  • toongirl

    Sep 5, 2007 at 7:42 PM

    Comment #15


    beye rozenhal cacapa enrique

    milner geremi barton n’zogbia

    owen martins

    sub bench


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