Given Given Chance Tonight at Arsenal

Shay Given will get a rare outing this season when he lines up against Arsenal at the Emirates tonight. Ireland international Given is getting frustrated about his lack of games since proving his fitness a couple of weeks back.

He had a couple of excellent games for Ireland during the International break so it’s not a case of Given having falling off in his form.

It’s the fact that perennial stand-in Steve Harper has come in and given almost faultless performances for Newcastle – making the great save when it has been needed. Steve continued that form against West Ham on Sunday.


Shay GivenNewcastle’s experienced goalkeeper gets a rare outing tonight

Sam Allardyce says he cannot think of a reason why Harper should be dropped to make way for his long-time rival and pal.

Allardyce told the Shields Gazette this morning:

“Obviously the performance of Steve Harper leaves me in a position where I say to myself, ‘For what reason can I leave this player out?’, and there isn’t one.”

“Steve Harper’s form has been absolutely top drawer, and when needed, he made another couple of crucial saves that were very, very good against West Ham.”

“That leaves Shay in a very difficult position because of his past at this football club.” “He’s one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League, and you’ve got Steve Harper matching him.”

“What more could a manager want than that headache?”

Given’s only other first team appearance this season was in the previous round of the Carling Cup, when he kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory for Newcastle at St. James’ Park. The 31-year-old has been getting close to keeper Jimmy Lawrence’s all-time Newcastle appearance record of 496, made between 1904 and 1922. Given has made 414 appearances for Newcastle so far and it remains to be seen what transpires in the future in our goalkeeping situation.

Maybe a slip by Harper and Sam will replace him. But Steve seems to have a lot more confidence playing under Big Sam and his form has been absolutely first rate. From a Newcastle fan’s perspective we want to keep both keepers at the club but that may not be possible if Tim Krul continues to make his mark.

As we reported this morning Tim seems to be doing extremely well on his loan stint at Falkirk, where he had an outstanding game on Saturday against Motherwell. By next season Tim could be ready to challenge for the keeper’s spot on Tyneside, so Big Sam may have a decision to make. Which one of his top two keepers will he let go?

It’s a delicately balanced situation right now – and we’ll just have to see how it resolves itself – if it does. We don’t think Shay will be ready to sit on the sidelines for any length of time, and other top clubs in the Premiership will be only too pleased to take him off Newcastle’s hands.

Interestingly, one of those clubs are Newcastle’s opponents tonight, Arsenal.

What do you think. Let us know – comments welcome on this situation.

24 comments so far

  • Craig Allen

    Sep 25, 2007 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #1

    wb Shay!

    If it comes down to it and one of the keepers is unhappy then I’d rather it be Steve. No offense to Steve, he’s been outstanding so far especially since he’s always under a microscope whenever he stands in for Given.

    I’d hate to see either one go as in Steve we’ve always had an able replacement (bar a lapse or two) and in Given we’ve had years of quality service.

  • Benoz

    Sep 25, 2007 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #2

    Harper rarely puts a foot wrong, several managers have rated him the best reserve keeper in the league and one of the best keepers in the league outright. He has bided his time and deserves his chance, Shay will get his spot back when Harpers form begins to slip (everyones does eventually!) But that is what playing in a big, title chasing team is about and any player who can’t hack that should sod off!

  • Tom_toon

    Sep 25, 2007 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #3

    Off the topic but expect Darijo Srna to be one of our signings in january, any thoughts?

  • Rob kirton

    Sep 25, 2007 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #4

    One half of me says, that I hope Given plays tonight and plays an absolute blinder, giving Sam one hell of a problem. Hell that’s what managers are paid for.

    The other half of me says that whoever plays tonight, doesn’t have a single shot to save. For more obvious reasons :0)

  • yemozone

    Sep 25, 2007 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #5

    We have to start using shay ASAP because he is one of the best keepers,if not the best in the premiership.We dont have to wait for harper to make mistakes b/4 BSA replaces him.
    Look at the situation with liverpool.They had to keep their best goalkeeper and let kirkland,carson & dudek move elsewhere.
    Once again shay is the better GK.

  • col

    Sep 25, 2007 at 3:14 PM

    Comment #6

    let given be the one to play second fiddle for a while. harps has done it for years and rarely complains, now its up to given to win his place back. in my opinion, harper should be in goals for england….and im an irish man saying that.

  • Dave Atkinson

    Sep 25, 2007 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #7

    Let Given sweat it out for while. He’s always the first the whinge when he’s put on the bench with thinly-veiled threats of leaving. Too much ego methinks.
    Harps deserves a good run. It Given can’t accept that, let him go. Despite being a good shot-stopper, he’ll always been useless on coming for the high ball and he’s never dominated his area. In other words, he’s overrated. Ouch! I said it!

  • Jóhann

    Sep 25, 2007 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #8

    Dave is right, Given is very overrated and I feel like is going to exploit that and sell Given for a high prize. It would be a very astute business because we have got Harper and Krul. And Foster is also coming on so there is no worries in the goalkeeping department. And I will once again declare my admiration for Steve Harper. I have been waiting for years for him getting regular runout(Yes I´ve been waiting for given to get injured) and finally he got it and he is so able that it must be frightning Given. Some say is kicking isn´t the best but really come on. After a few games you won´t even notice or remember when it wasn´t spotless!

  • david bulman

    Sep 25, 2007 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #9

    i think shay should be patient but would hate to lose him,hes one of the best keepers in premiership if not the best.sam has to be careful he doesnt push players to leave club,at derby for example when viduka was injuried he played amoebi instead of martins,which was a disgrac,martins has played well for newcastle and not being given a fair chance under allardyce.

  • Hadji

    Sep 25, 2007 at 5:07 PM

    Comment #10

    TomToon…Is that some rumour you read somewhere or….
    Srna is fantastic player Tom i guarantee you that
    Hes like a combination of Parker & Fabregas in one
    Fighter,technitian,world class free kick taker,huge stamina,and has a huge goal scoring sense.
    The most perfect replacement for Butt.

  • Tom_toon

    Sep 25, 2007 at 5:53 PM

    Comment #11

    Thought he was the Croatian David Beckham who can also play RB and CM. We have been lnked with him a fair bit and cosidering we need someone in those positions expect BSA to take a look at him again. He wanted him in the summer but couldnt get him. Rather have Eremenko Jnr, pretty much as effective, alot of flair.

  • Tom_toon

    Sep 25, 2007 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #12

    Seen him play quite alot he is a good player, Rb or RW but i want some more entertaining football he also goes down very easily.

  • Hadji

    Sep 25, 2007 at 6:02 PM

    Comment #13

    TomToon…Why not both.We can afford them,but then we’ll have a confusion with who to play in our rich midfield for sure.
    But if i have to choose between those 2,i think i would go for Srna.But Eremenko is great option too.They’re very similar,but Srna is more experienced in the Champions league and Uefa cup.

  • Sinead

    Sep 25, 2007 at 6:36 PM

    Comment #14

    Good to see Given starting tonight (eventually) still brilliance preformance tonight or not Harper’s still expected to start on the weekend. It’s one thing to give other players a chance but Sams got to be carefull because players like Given and Martins love playing, love the game and well infairness unlike Harper they both will get offers. If they’re pushed away more then he has other clubs like Arsenal will swoop.
    Ye’re all saying oh well done to Harper he stayed for years never complained (which ye don’t know is true) but he’d zero offers. He more then likely would have left at a drop of a hat. Team loyalty only goes so fars as much as ye’d like to believe otherwise.

    “He’s always the first the whinge when he’s put on the bench with thinly-veiled threats of leaving. Too much ego methinks.”

    Given threatened leaving about 6 years ago, ONCE. He love making a mountain out of a mole hill don’t ye. Given whigne, Given, Shay Given?? When when have you ever heard him whigne beside that once which wasn’t really once it was him handing in a trasnfer request. When, when all those years behind that “defense” when have you ever heard him complain once??

    I hope he plays really well tonight cause I want him back in goals, personally I don’t think he’ll get back in even if he plays a blinder. If you look at the way Sam talks about Harper and then how he talks about Given he uses alot more affection or whatever the word is when he’s talking about Harper. I just don’t think that he likes Given. Which will probally lead to Given leaving.

    As for Arsenal..
    Arsenal are flying, Fabregas has come on leaps and bounds allready this season, he’s scored more goals this season then he did in the entire last season. Ya he mightn’t be plauong tonight. The side’s really maturing especially since Henry left. This young side that he’s starting shouldn’t be underestimated.

  • nightfall

    Sep 25, 2007 at 6:44 PM

    Comment #15

    srna can play all over the pitch (LB, RB, ML, MR) and i agree…he is good…

  • Hammy

    Sep 25, 2007 at 6:46 PM

    Comment #16

    Ed…can’t we ban Sinead???? anybody else shite sick about him/her rambling on about who plays in goal????? I’M GONNA EXPLODE!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hammy

    Sep 25, 2007 at 6:47 PM

    Comment #17

    must be an elf or a pixie or something…….

  • Sinead

    Sep 25, 2007 at 6:56 PM

    Comment #18

    Hammy God forbid someoe talks about who plays in goals instead of up front, oh God ya that’s it I deserve a ban on the spot. How dare I.

  • Hammy

    Sep 25, 2007 at 7:01 PM

    Comment #19

    You’ve wrote about it about 20 times…yawn

  • Hammy

    Sep 25, 2007 at 7:02 PM

    Comment #20

    Game MIGHT be on
    check nearer kick-off…..

  • Jonny

    Sep 25, 2007 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #21

    Given is not overated if any one is overated its Harper.

  • Sinead

    Sep 25, 2007 at 7:51 PM

    Comment #22

    Exactly. The fact you actually said it kind of gives a bad name to Newcastle fans. That’s loyalty for ya.

  • Lawman

    Sep 26, 2007 at 2:01 AM

    Comment #23

    Both Given and Harper are excellent keepers. However, I think Harper deserves a chance. If Given thinks he can just waltz back into the 1st team just cos he’s back to full fitness now, his ego is too big.

    Harper’s been waiting on the sidelines playing second fiddle to Given for years without a single word of complaint and just got on with his job and doing it to the best of his ability when he has been needed.

    With both keepers having similarly good goalkeeping abilities, I think Harpers attitude wins it for me so IF any one of them had to leave, I’d rather it be Given. I say that because Tim Krul looks very promising indeed (not just in Falkirk’s last game against Motherwell but also in their game against Hibs) and if Given’s not there, he’ll be challenging Harper. At least if Krul becomes 1st choice keeper, we’ll have the excellent Harper as reserve without moaning like Given.

  • Sinead

    Sep 26, 2007 at 8:17 AM

    Comment #24

    Lawman you’ve absolutley no idea what Given’s attitude has been, And ye don’t know what Harper’s has been like either.
    Given hasn’t moaned he hasn’t complained. What evidence are you exactly stating this on like, all he said about 4 weeks ago that he’ll have to talk to Sam to see where he’s at. Given doesn’t moan, he didn’t even moan when he was behind that “defense”, your attitude really annoys me. You’ve absolutley nothing to base it on so just get your facts right first.


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