Final Reflections on the Newcastle Man City Game


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Let’s not be too doom and gloom about the game yesterday against an excellent Man City side. That Elano goal is still engrained in my mind – what a strike!

At half time the game was nicely balanced and it was anybody’s game at that point. But just like at Arsenal we became ragged in the second half and City started to come at us. The defense wasn’t as good as on Tuesday night, and certainly Sam wasn’t happy with our defensive performance.

But we have to be patient, we’re not as good as we think – at least not yet 😀

We’ll get there – keep the faith. Now let’s take a look at what we learned yesterday and the good news is we learned a lot about our faults – which we can now start fixing.

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Sam Allardyce – lots of problems but we now know what they are

  • The headline yesterday after the game that Allardyce is under pressure didn’t really say what we were thinking. We don’t at all think he’s under pressure for the job. Only that we’ve now been beaten 2 times in a row and the pressure is one for a good result. There is absolutely no way we mean he should be sacked or we have lost faith in him. No way – we just wanted to make that clear – we are still very upbeat about our chances this season and the improvements we have seen under the Big man.
  • We are not as good as we think we are – at east not yet. I’m probably as bad as anybody in that regard – but it’s only because I’ve lost some independence about Newcastle over the last 60 years because we want Newcastle two win so much. We’re in a big building job at Newcastle and we have seen phase 1 only with Sam’s 9 platers coming in. We have tremendous faith not only in Sam but as most people know on this site we have as much faith in Chris Mort and of course Mike Ashley.
  • We do not like the 4-3-3 formation Sam plays and seems to like. Maybe we don’t yet have the players for this but we seem to concede the central midfield – such an important part of the game. At some time we’d like to see a regular 4-4-2 with our young outstanding talent of Milner and N’Zogbia back on the wings together. They both look good and give us that little bit of menace and creativity – at least out wide. Milner was great yesterday in the first half and it shows his character after his off game on Tuesday night – which happens to everybody on occasion – hey we’re all human and have faults
  • Mark Viduka showed how good he is yesterday in the first half but we feel we need another big striker because Mark will not be able to play every game this year. We would hope that Shola will wake up and give us some good performances which he is definitely capable of. Can’t do anything until January unless there is skillful free agent somewhere, which we doubt.
  • Geremi and Butt together in midfield are too similar and we need more class, skill and creativity in midfield. The only player fit that can give us that right now is Emre – so maybe we should either start him against Everton – or at least bring in off the bench – but not with just a few minutes to play like yesterday. Come January – as we had discussed in August – we need to bring in a world-class midfielder. We don’t know who but Ashley has said he’ll make money available. Maybe then we can get away with playing 4-3-3 but not right now.
  • Our defense is still not there. Whether that’s because they haven’ yet gelled is not clear although Sam thinks that. We were surprised that Caçapa almost played but hopefully he’ll be OK for next Sunday and we expect him to start. We’d love to see the back line of Beye Rozehnal Caçapa and Enrique but Sam is still holding Jose back. Once he’s ready we’ll see Charles push forward and his skill, energy and threatening play can have more payback for us.
  • We can’t complain about Shay in his first league game back. How he turned over the shot to his top left hand corner we still don’t know but he’s so athletic and even got very close to Elano’s wonder strike after 87 minutes – what a player. We really feel sorry for Steve Harper – he’s too good to sit on the bench at Newcastle. He should be playing regular Premier League and if he does that how would he not be in the England squad – well that’s what we think.
  • We had no problem with our small striker yesterday and Oba produced a great goal and worked his tail off in the second half and was meaning and you could see every time he got the ball he was ready at any moment to hit a bullet at goals. There’s no way we should be staring Owen next Sunday – maybe on the bench – but it would not be class to leave Martins out – but there’ll be pressure to play Owen for practice for the England game. Forget it.

Those are the major points we took from the game – what did we miss?

Comments and opinions are welcome – please keep the language decent because we have a lot of youngsters read this site – thanks 😀



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11 comments so far

  • Graeme

    Sep 30, 2007 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #1

    Well Ed, you’re right about “we’re not as good as we think we are” and Man City certainly showed up some defensive frailties – Taylor was left for dead at fullback for their second goal for example, but he wasnt the only one who got caught out!!

    Once Enrique starts playing LB, which frees up the Zog to play Left Mid, we will be a much more balanced team. Butt is past his “sell by date” and a more creative midfield would certainly help (Messi would be good!!) We are again linked with Baptista, who showed at Arse Nil, that he can play in the Premiership and would certainly add some bite for us as well as creativity and goal scoring – I think he would be a great signing for us.

    All in all, a great game of football, we played well in the first half, got outplayed in the second. Dissapointed, but not despondant – we are getting better and will continue to do so. Looking forward to the Everton match, as long as Oba is starting the game.

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  • Steve

    Sep 30, 2007 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #2

    I know people are saying we’ve done better at this stage than last season but thats because we havent played any of the big four teams yet , I reckon our defence / midfield will have huge problems with spurs and portsmouth as well, any team that can attack and move the ball quickly will show our lot up.
    In my opinion Sam should change to 4 4 2 and accommodate both Barton and Emre as soon as they are fit, we can always change to Sams favoured 4 3 3 once the players actually get to know each other a bit better – maybe we’re trying to change to much at once after all footballers can only use one brain cell at a time kick – run – shoot – thats why we love it it’s simplicity and beauty ( just like Martins goal yesterday and I suppose Elanos 🙁 )

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  • gordon

    Sep 30, 2007 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #3

    If sam keeps accomodating smith and geremi in midfield it will cost him his job.

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  • stjames

    Sep 30, 2007 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #4

    Is our team technically inferior???

    It certainly seemed to be on Saturday against Man City. But that’s to be expected when you emphasize on experience and toughness when you bring in players. Experience comes with age and games played. Age also tends to decrease speed and diminish enthusiasm. The proved formula is to mix experience and enthusiasm. So now we wait until our younger players get ready to play and have their say in the team.

    But 20% into the season, City is the surprise team in my books. I never expected Sven Göran to put together a team of such quality after following him with England.

    I totally agree with Ed. There is absolutely no talk of letting Sam go. He’s done every thing right but needs more time. The club building part of his job is fantastic. 🙂 🙂

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  • Adam

    Sep 30, 2007 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #5

    And so we SHOULD be patient with BS. That means to the extent of…say we finished 12th this season and didn’t win anything, then we have to bite the bullet and wait. I think we’ll do a lot better than that but with BS at least we know that there is future promise of better things, unlike with GR and GS.

    I feel though that we should start to be a little more adventurous with tactics very soon.

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  • latex

    Sep 30, 2007 at 5:32 PM

    Comment #6

    While we’re all staying faith with Big Sam and nobody’s asking for him to be fired we’ve got to keep in mind that we played a team yesterday that also has loads of new players and they definitely played us out of the pitch. Man City is doing the best they’ve done in a long time with an almost entirely new squad of players, there’s no reason in my mind why we should have played so badly against them. We’re the only team to have lost to Derby this season, we lost to Arsenal when we could easily have forced a replay @ home, we gave up the lead twice against Borough, we drew with Villa and yesterday we let 3 goals in. Kudos to Sam and all but this is getting frustrating and we can’t keep making excuses, I’m only hoping he’s learnt his midfield and leftback lesson FINALLY with yesterdays loss.

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  • Steve

    Sep 30, 2007 at 6:24 PM

    Comment #7

    @latex – imposible for us to force a replay – carling cup ties have to be decided on the night – although we should have got it to penalties 🙁

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  • american pie

    Sep 30, 2007 at 9:34 PM

    Comment #8

    Smith doesn’t have to play every game!! Our midfield certainly lacks creativity and pace. Either play Taylor at CB or don’t play him. Doesn’t look comfortable at RB. Nzogbia likes to attack and forward and is not a defender and therefore cannot defend. And that can cost us like at Man city. Feel so sorry for Harper hope Martins doesn’t lose his place just because Owen is an Englishman. But again I am not the manager. So there we go….

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  • lee

    Oct 1, 2007 at 5:29 AM

    Comment #9

    Our defence is a new set-up and will take time to gel… and definetely be one of the best defence in the Premiership. Our central midfield is not balanced with Butt and Geremi playing together. Milner is a natural right-sided player, not left… the lef wing is NZogbia’s. Smith is versatile but we need the best player for each position and keep Smith for insurance against injury to any of the specialist players. Shola is simply not good enough for us, and in January we should release him and take another tall striker of Viduka’s quality. Man City has some quality players like Elano especially that really made the difference in the match, plus this year they have a better coach than ast year.

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  • SingKing

    Oct 1, 2007 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #10

    Totally agree we are not as good as we think we are, right across the park. Main reason we dont “gel” at the back is because Zog is a stand in full back and Stevie Taylor lacks experience and as on Saturday really good players will exploit both of them. The Toon are a much better team than last year and provided we analyse the weaknesses and address them we will continue to improve. We need to be patient, Sam needs to be busy.

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  • Ray

    Oct 1, 2007 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #11

    I agree with the article.
    We’re not fully hatched at all, but there’s great potential!
    I wish Oba will play more than he does now, cause he is really skillfull.
    Viduka is good, but he gets plucked down by defenders too easy cause he’s “alone” up there… Why not push Smith further up?
    I believe we will see some changes when Barton is fit. Hopefully he is The One we miss in midfield. Another one that will bring hopes is Enruiqe, wich will give us the potential of enjoying N’Zogbias attacking skills 100%…

    Anyway, I do believe I see the light in the end of the tunnel, I just hope it’s not a train….

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