Lots of good things came out of yesterday’s game against an in-form West Ham United team to please Sam Allardcye, the Newcastle manager.
Newcastle’s defense, by West Ham manager Alan Curbishley’s own admission, was much stronger than West Ham’s and that was the difference in the teams according to Alan. It’s not often you hear a statement like that about our defense – certainly not in the past. It’s certainly true that apart from a couple of scares the home defense looked particularly solid yesterday and they should only get better as they get more familiar with the Premiership.
Here are some of our observations on the game.
- The first thing that was noticeable is not one player had a let down yesterday and every player, including the subs, played well and up to standard. While the team never hit the heights it was a good, well organized and professional performance. An excellent team display from the lads. One that was sorely needed after Monday night â€“ but we need to give credit where it is due. Well done Sam and well done the players.
- Beye had a solid game at right back. Although he seemed to run out of gas late in the game after making several runs down the right he looked what he is â€“ a good and experienced player well suited to the Premier League. He made one great run in the first half when he went around two defenders but his cross was floated just too high. Sam made a point of saying Habib was short of breath near the end and needed some oxygen on the touchline. We certainly wouldn’t want to be Habib at Sam’s next training session
- When Jose Enrique came on with 20 minutes to go the reshuffled Newcastle team seemed to click well. Even Sam noticed how the team immediately clicked and played more smoothly. They certainly picked it up a notch to ensure the victory. N’Zogbia is just too dangerous to play left back and he had two assists and his 3rd goal yesterday in another tremendous performance from the young Frenchman. N’Zogbia and Milner on the wings, will scare lots of defenses with their penetration, skill and energy
- The back four of Beye Cacapa Rozehnal and Enrique finally got to play together. We think this combination may turn out to be our best back four but of course we have young Steven Taylor, who will push for a place in any position across the back line. It was good to Steven smiling a lot in the dug-out to allay the fears that he is unhappy at the club â€“ which we think is all paper talk. Newcastle is going places under Big Sam and Steven knows that â€“ and wants to be part of it.
- It’s only one game â€“ just like the Derby game â€“ and we have to aim for consistency this season. Our next test is a big one at the Emirates tomorrow night. While Arsene Wenger will play his youngsters, it will still be a massive test for us. Looks like we’ll be without Cacapa and Owen but Sam has plenty of cover to bring in and we expect Beye, Enrique, Given and Faye to get full games tomorrow night.
- Finally, it was good to see Alan Smith have a solid game. He is a player’s player and he certainly got stuck in yesterday and had a good game and no yellow card. Alan looked particularly good when he joined Martins up front during the last 20 minutes. He held the ball up superbly for Newcastle’s 3rd goal, which was brilliantly worked.