Lots of Positives For Sam From West Ham Game

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 – 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.”

“Habib Beye got his first taste of the Premier League, and believe you me, he knows what it is all about now.” “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 – 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 – 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.  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.

Comments welcome.

24 comments so far

  • milner fan

    Sep 24, 2007 at 8:52 AM

    Comment #1

    Ed, how come you’ve got Newcastle down as losing two? we have only lost to derby

  • Pete

    Sep 24, 2007 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #2

    The GF and GA look to be the wrong way round too. Anyway,

    When Zogs went LM and Milner went RM we just looked like a better team, surely Sam has got to play this in the future.

  • Dave

    Sep 24, 2007 at 8:57 AM

    Comment #3


    The team looked so solid and beautifully fluid after the second half changes. Those changes moved the creativity in to midfield, something I still think we lacked a bit of in the first half.

    It is really good to know that we have a team here that can do gritty, dirty football and yet still turn on the style given the need or a little team tweek.

    The gunners will be a hell of a test though!

  • geordie_jordan

    Sep 24, 2007 at 8:57 AM

    Comment #4

    when enrique is finished “adjusting” sam will put him in at lb and slide zog up to lm and milner over to rm. hopefully barton is back soon, can’t wait to see him line up in the middle of the park and create for the forwards

  • SelangorFC

    Sep 24, 2007 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #5

    As i predicted vs WHU, newcastle won 3-1
    now for the gooners, if AW send youngster add some senior then we can win
    One goal from Martin pls

  • Doctapaul

    Sep 24, 2007 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #6

    First, can I say that this is a great website – in fact methinks it’s the best NUFC blog site going….. thank you.

    Some interesting points raised and some pointers as to Sam’s best team.

    Despite going Newcastle going 2-1 up, I thought West Ham were the better side for most of the match. That doesn’t say we were as bad as we were against Derby (if that’s possible). Viduka’s 1st goal was sublime and his second was the sort of goal a natural finisher gets.

    Should Viduka stay fit, he will be up there in the Top 5 scorers list come end of season.

    Beye made a tremendous debut – defending and going forward. He looks strong, fit and is not going to be outdone for pace. As Sam says “A perfect specimen!”

    I exepected Owen to come off injured. Somehow I didn’t believe the phrase “he’s fine” end of, without qualification. He didn’t look fit and shouldn’t have started.

    N’Zogbia laid on two goals, during the worst 45 minutes defensively he’s had this season. He made schoolboy errors and his defending at times was sloppy. Atonement was to come however as the balance of energy changed, when Zog looked the best player on the park during the last 20 minutes, scoring a fine goal to boot.

    Many malign Smith on this blog. I thought he had a solid game and personally am delighted he’s at Newcastle – he gives 100%, he has quick feet and just as importantly a quick mind. He comes into his own when the game is quick. And there lies the rub.

    Like Derby, we looked off the pace for most of the game. West Ham had great chances denied by Harper – who, on this performance (apart from 1 wobbly moment right at the start), deserves a run in the team.

    And so to the transformation. Enrique comes on, N’Zogbia moves up to left midfield, Milner out wide on the right and zap the energy goes up about 30%+. Newcastle look confident, strong, pacey. We go 3-1 up and capable of scoring more.

    Sam now has a defence that picks itself. With two wide players we look a different class. Both Milner and especially N’Zogbia have the ability to scare defences. The Butt (great game) and Geremi combination doesn’t look so bland.

    With the extra width, pace and movement – the focus on who plays up front is less important. Because when Newcastle play like they did in the last 20 mins all our strikers will score – including Ameobi.

  • ToonArmy

    Sep 24, 2007 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #7

    Its amazing how quick we all are to get excited when we win and then when we lose its all doom and gloom. I’d make the following points about the team in general so far this year:
    1) We lack creativity in centre midfield. We need Barton fit asap. (Not sure what happens when he is as Butt doesnt deserve to get dropped but will BSA drop his captain?)
    2) Geremi is useless from deadballs. We miss Nobby Solano!
    3) Nzogbia isnt a full back. He needs to be playing left wing.
    4) Alan Smith is a top class player but he is not and never will be a right-sided midfielder. Once Nzogbia plays wide left Milner needs to come in wide right.
    5) Everyone is worried about keeping EMO fit but actually what we need to worry about is keeping Viduka fit. If EMO is injured we have a more than capable (better??) replacement in Martins. When Viduka is injured all we have is Shola and he simply cannot do what Vuduka can.

    My conclusion is that we are on the right path but there is a long way to go. Top 8 looks achievalbe this year, but no more. Be honest – who at half time thought we were going to hold on to the lead on the basis of the performance in the first 45 mins? And wasnt Curbishley right? Didnt the score flatter us???

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 24, 2007 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #8

    Doctapaul – I agree with virtually everything you’re saying. I wouldn’t have said the WHU were the better side for most of the match however. I thought they had the best of the first half, and probably felt slightly aggrieved to be losing at half-time. But I thought we bossed most of the second half, and as you said, once the changes were made we were totally dominant. Things look very promising going forwards now. However the squad does still look very light on numbers – which isn’t surprising considering the number of players BSA let go. Hopefully Owen won’t be out for too long, because if anything were to happen to Martins or Viduka, or even Milner or N’Zogbia, we will be screwed.

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 24, 2007 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #9

    ToonArmy – who is EMO?

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 24, 2007 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #10

    ToonArmy – we’ve noticed that about the fans and ourselves – it’s either all black – doom and gloom after last Monday’s performance or all great – like after yesterday’s performance. But it was solid yesterday and the second half display – especially the last 20 minutes was good. You’ve got to enjoy the good – because we get enough of the bad – or at least have had in the past 😀
    Anway – we just put up some reflections on the game. Tough game tomorrow night at Arsenal.

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 24, 2007 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #11

    BTW – the score could really have flattered us if Martins had hit that late goal ….

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 24, 2007 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #12

    England’s Michael Owen = EMO

  • Callum

    Sep 24, 2007 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #13

    I think whats needed in January is a right sided midfielder and, depending on how creative Barton will show to be in this team, a creative central midfield player. And sign a striker as Ameobi should leave the club (loan or sell) and Martins will be going to the ACN.

    Sell Carr, Babayaro and Emre, loan out Ameobi.

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 24, 2007 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #14

    Oh I get it.

    Hopefull NUFCBSA will give FEU21SA a DVD of AMV’s performance and tell him to go away for some R&R and not come back until he’s learnt how to hold the ball up.
    I just hope that EMO is out for too long, because much as I love NOF, he still doesn’t score as many as he should. I also think that if AMV does get injured then NUFCBSA should be looking to EAS as a replacement and not FEU21SA. EAS is much better at holding the ball up and has an eye for goal too.

  • Doctapaul

    Sep 24, 2007 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #15

    “WHU were the better side for most of the match however”

    TC I accept your point. I was referring to pace, mobility in midfield. WHU will have been very disppointed that they didn’t defend better.

    I did notice however Rozza’s reflex action was to swerve his body out of the way of Ashton’s “turn and shoot” goal. If he’d “stayed big” he would have blocked the shot. Rozza is still adjusting mebbe to the toughness required at this level.

  • Pete

    Sep 24, 2007 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #16

    Toon Chicken,

    NUFCBSA = Sam
    FEU21SA = ??
    AMV = Viduka
    NOF = ? (Nigeria ObaFemi ?)
    EAS = Shola

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 24, 2007 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #17

    Doctapaul – added to that about Roz. Cacapa has made a few errors also in the last 2 games – that air-kick yesterday was reminiscent of Bungle.
    All in all though they look a pretty impressive unit – Cacapa is calm and compossed and Rozzy has that “if in doubt, hoof it out attitude” – which is no bad thing in my book and something that could have saved Titus a hell of a lot of embarrassment.
    With Taylor and Faye as cover, and a couple of classy full-backs we’re in serious danger of getting a reputation for having a half-decent defence.

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 24, 2007 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #18


    FEU21SA = Former England Under21 Shola Ameobi
    AMV = Australia’s Mark Viduka
    NOF = Nigeria’s Obafemi Martins
    EAS = England’s Alan Smith

    It was my tongue-in-cheek response to the referral of Owen as EMO – which I’m hoping is an ironic dig at the media – and not because of any bad blood towards him from our own fans.

  • ChrisL

    Sep 24, 2007 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #19

    I don’t ever want to see EMO written again. In future, make sure it says NMO please.


  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 24, 2007 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #20

    PS – NOF should really be NOM – apologies for my dumbness on that one.

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 24, 2007 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #21

    ChrisL – I’m with you on that one. NMO or TMO all the way 😉

  • Pete

    Sep 24, 2007 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #22

    FEU21SA = Former England Under21 Shola Ameobi

    lol, nearly fell out my chair with that one

  • stjames

    Sep 24, 2007 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #23

    @ doctapaul and toon chicken:

    Refreshing to see people keep their cool. It is always difficult to criticize a winning team, but we didn’t play that well at all even if this was probably our best game. I’m particularly pleased that our goals came after some nice effective passing and not from long balls or random crossings. 😉

  • magpie_boy

    Sep 24, 2007 at 6:21 PM

    Comment #24

    guyz im glad we won the game but arsenal will be our biggest test this season,we lack creativity in the midfield to prove my point on this when charles and milner swapped did you see how our game changed.charles need to plays in the left winger and enrique left back and emre.martinS he needs to plays or what do you say guys??i prefer taylor than caccapa(i think he does not have much pace and agility than taylor) all in all Fantastic game especially in the 2nd half


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