There were a lot of positives for Sam to take out of yesterday’s game against West Ham which Newcastle in the end won quite comfortably 3-1.
One of them was that at long last our best back four of Beye, Cacapa, Rozehnal and Enrique were actually on the field together for the first time. But it looks like that will not last long as Steven Taylor had to replace Cacapa near the end with Claudio suffering a groin injury.
Claudio Cacapa - solid in the center of Newcastle defense
We thought the new boys in Newcastle’s defense are getting better with each game as they come to terms with the Premier League. Cacapa looks a class act at the center of defense and David Rozehnal has settled into the Newcastle team very nicely â€“ and looks a solid and consistent player for Newcastle.
It was also good to see Enrique come in at left back. The introduction of Jose forced Sam to reorganize the team in the last 20 minutes so we had N’Zogbia and Milner out wide and Smith and Martins up front. With this formation the team looked a lot more mobile and smooth and we ran out the last 20 minutes rather easily, and looked like we could even have scored more goals. Indeed Martins unnerved Upton near the close only to round Green but then slice his shot wide. But that’s the potency of the Newcastle attack these days – they can score goals out of nothing.
Sam said today:
“Overall, we got a terrific result.”
“Some players played really, really well and some players who have not experienced the physical output and the pace of the game learned an awful lot about what they are going to expect in the Premier League,” “That, on top of getting a 3-1 win against one of the in-form teams in the Premier League at the moment, certainly for scoring goals, pleased me.â€
“Habib Beye got his first taste of the Premier League, and believe you me, he knows what it is all about now.â€ “He has just had oxygen on the stretcher out there to recover, but he has found out what the Premier League is like.”
It was a solid performance that Newcastle fans needed yesterday to get their confidence back that indeed this team can do really well this season and not be a let down â€“ like so many teams of the past. Sam is right when he says the team will get better as they get to know each other. We also have great experience in defense in Cacapa and Beye â€“ who of course were both captains of their French club sides, Lyon and Marseilles respectively.
But at the end of the day it’s just a single game and our next challenge is up very quickly, as we tackle the mighty Arsenal at the Emirates on Tuesday evening in the 3rd round of the Carling Cup. That should be a good challenge for our defense, when we expect Shay Given to get a run out in goal.Â After that game we’ll see how the team is progressing – but they looked extremely solid across the park yesterday against an in-form West Ham United side.