Sam Allardyce was very pleased with Newcastle’s professional performance today, as he got the response from the players he had asked for after Monday game at Derby County.
Newcastle leaped up to 5th in the table above Chelsea who were beaten 2-0 at Old Trafford. Mikel John Obi was sent off with a straight red card in the first half by referee Mike Dean. Aston Villa beat Everton 2-0 and Blackburn were surprisingly beaten at home 1-0, by Portsmouth. Tottenham Hotspur were held at Bolton 1-1.
So the results went Newcastle’s way today and now we are very nicely positioned in 5th place. A very good start to the season – which is exactly what Sam wanted.
Mark Viduka – after scoring his first of two this afternoon
This is what Sam said after the game:
“We got a great response with Mark Viduka’s goal and that got us off to a good start.”
“We faded a little bit midway through the first half, they scored, but then we sorted it out in terms of what responsibilities we should have, and West Ham faded and we got back into the game.”
The Newcastle manager was forced through injuries into making three second-half substitutions but the reshuffles didn’t seem to upset Newcastle’s flow in the least. In fact when Enrique came on we had N’Zogbia and Milner both out wide and Martins and Smith up front – they seemed to play very well together. Certainly the third goal was beautifully set up. Who said Sam’s sides don’t play good football?
Milner and N’Zogbia playing wide on either flank is something we can look forward to once Jose Enrique settles in at left back. Beye at right-back had a very solid game although he was short of breath when Taylor came on. We thought at first that Habib was the one Taylor was replacing – but it turned out to be Cacapa who sustained a groin strain.
Oba Martins replaced Michael Owen and later Mark Viduka came off with Alan Smith joining Martins up front, before Steven Taylor replaced Claudio Cacapa in defense. Since Cacapa came off after a groin strain, we wouldn’t expect him to play at Arsenal on Tuesday evening. Either Faye or Taylor will probably partner the consistent Rozehnal (who had another good game) in central defense.
Allardyce referred to the formation after Enrique came on as he continued:
“In many ways we looked just as comfortable, if not a little better.â€“Charles N’Zogbia looked comfortable wide left, and it gave Jose Enrique a little taste of the Premier League.”
“Habib Beye also got a little taste – though he needed oxygen on the stretcher after making a long run!”
“He had to stay on because Claudio Cacapa had a groin problem.”
We think Beye is in for some wind sprints in training tomorrow
While it’s true that Oba Martins missed an open goal late in the game, which would made the score look very impressive at 4-1, Oba did make the chance for himself and just was a little unlucky not to put the ball in the net. He should have steadied himself and just guided it in – but he still looked menacing when he was on the field.
“It’s a shame he didn’t score because he seized the opportunity himself. But it’s not a costly miss.”