Newcastle Seem Slow and Lack Sufficient Skill

Sam Allardyce Newcastle side were torn apart for the second time in a week by their Manchester hosts in the second half on Saturday.

It’s getting to be a bit painful to watch as Newcastle’s midfield and defense don’t seem to have the pace or the skill to deal with fast-flowing technically good sides like Arsenal and Manchester City.


Habib Beye – you have to be able to win away to do well in the league

That’s something we trust Big Sam has already seen as a weakness we have in the team.. We think only possibly David Rozehnal of the back four played up to his potential on Saturday. The midfield just didn’t help out enough in defense and you can never accuse Nicky Butt or Geremi of being super fast. Of course, we still have Cacapa, Faye and Enrique we can bring into the defense and Sam may want to experiment if the defense continues to perform as it has in the last 3 successive away defeats.

Even after taking the lead at Manchester, like we did at Middlesbrough, we couldn’t hold onto the lead for very long. That’s what we need to do in the future because with players like Martins. Owen and Viduka we should always be able to score goals.

Habib Beye is one of Sam’s imports who seems to be able to hold down a regular spot at right back and he’s an experienced leader on the side. This is what Beye had to say this morning about the game:

“We are really disappointed because we were first to score, but after Oba had scored we made a lot of mistakes, which helped them to win the game.” “Manchester City are a good team, and they were at home, so it was difficult enough.” “It was difficult to come back after Mpenza’s goal, which put them 2-1 up.”

“To concede a goal (like that) makes life hard, and it gave them a lot of confidence. It made it difficult to come back.” “Psychologically, they scored at great times to win a game. It was good for them to score just after half-time.”

“Oba’s goal was a good finish. It was great pass from Geremi, but we were disappointing after that.” “Sometimes it’s difficult to win away, but that’s what you have to do finish in a good place.”

Habib’s right about needing to win away to do well in the league. We did everything right until we scored the goal and then just weren’t good enough to hold onto the lead. We still need to get a lot better but we need some time to gel. Then in a few months hopefully these games will end in a 1-0 away win – like Manchester United have been doing lately. That’s good enough, but we still need to get tougher and meaner in defense as one of our next steps.

Comments always very welcome.

10 comments so far

  • Donno

    Oct 1, 2007 at 2:10 PM

    Comment #1

    I wouldn’t neccessairily say that the defence played bad, more that they were made to look bad because of several factors.

    Playeing 4-3-3 against a team playing 4-4-2 always puts the fullbacks under pressure. They are drawn forward to mark the oncoming fullback if the play is switched. This leaves a gaping hole behind them for the pass to be played into, which, against City was exploited on both sides with goals coming from behind N’Zogbia and behind Beye.

    The size of the pitch helped the wing players that City have. With slow players in Midfield (Butt/ Geremi) we couldn’t cover the ground quick enough and intercept the passes as there was more space. Added to the fact that Smith is always behind the play when defending and behind the play when attacking means it was more the midfield formation than anything the defence did individually.

    Smith is a good player, but in my opinion no suited to midfield and is therefore more of a squad player than a vice captain.

    Great goal by Oba though. We’ll get better over the season and, realistically, should be happy with 7th/8th this season.

  • magpie_boy

    Oct 1, 2007 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #2

    The problem is we lack creativity in the midfield,i cant blame him for not playing emre in man city maybe he wants to make sure that his players are fully fit.we need creativity in the midfield and i think we have the right players emre,barton,N’zogbia

  • Ed Harrison

    Oct 1, 2007 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #3

    Donno – that’s a very good point you make. When you compare us to last season we’re still so much better in defense – better organized etc. But our standards are now higher than last season – and the criticism is based on that. Don’t want to be too hard – because the lads need time to gel together and there’s still plenty of games for us to win this season. 😀

  • valle

    Oct 1, 2007 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #4

    I think u r hard on our new defense… Taylor had a crappy game and Zog wasnt goalside of his marker when they scored the first, but Taylor to be fair is only back-up after Cacapa and Roz and Zog is a midfielder. both Roz, Cacapa and Beye (and from the little amount i have seen Enrique) seem to have more skill and speed than any other denfense we have ever had and given time those 4 could become the best of the league… In regards to our midfield however, u couldnt be more right, we are mundane and clueless and slow as hell, we seem to lose every chance of contras by lack of vision and all in all seem quite bad. I swear, sometimes i see players call for the ball in great positions and our midfielders seen to get stubborn and play someone else in worse positions. Im also going to slag Milner, since no one else seem to give him what he is due. The boy is guilty of the above more than any other, and im getting sick to my stomach with his dribles. When he beats a man, he always has to drible again… and again…. and again untill he lose the ball, play it when u have the chance ffs!!!, a drible should only be used to put u in a position to either shoot or play the ball not to show off, he really needs to get a word or two from Sam about wingers and why they need to be DIRECT. If he just learns then he can be great, putting in crosses when their defense is unsetled instead of giving them loads of time by showing off and end up getting tackled anyway. Only plus point in midfield has to be Smith for a change, he had a good game with the runs into the box but we still need Barton desperately.

  • Donno

    Oct 1, 2007 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #5

    The midfield is what it is due to injuries. for me, both Geremi and Smith would be squad players and not first team starters. I think the most dynamic midfield would be Emre and Barton in the middle with Milner and N’Zogbia on the wings.

    We lack creativity because we have injuries and also we were unfortunate to lose Dyer and Solano at the end of the transfer window and have yet to replace them.

    Milner looks tired to me. He’s a good player, but has performed below par for the last 3 games. I think he’s great how he never gives up attacking the fullback no matter how many times he fails as it only takes one beating of the fullback for a goal to be created. I think the U21 internationals are catching up to him now though.

    We have no competition on the wings unfortunately. N’Zogbia is performing well when pushed forward but there is nothing but Milner on the right.

    When Barton and Emre are fit we’ll have plenty of options. Man City away is going to be difficult for all teams this season so the result is not the end of the world.

  • dan

    Oct 1, 2007 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #6

    Here’s one to stir things up a bit…
    do you not think we miss Dyers pace and bursting running from midfield?

    nobody seems to be able to run with the ball very well in our team, i feel.

  • Macas

    Oct 1, 2007 at 3:15 PM

    Comment #7

    There’s only 1 problem with our midfield. The manager’s woeful selections.
    All those expecting things to magically change are living in cloud cuckoo land.
    This is BSA’s style so you better get used to it.

  • lee

    Oct 1, 2007 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #8

    You don’t need to be a whippet to play the holder/def. midfield role. You do however need to be tactically aware, physically strong, have the ability to snuff out danger and be able to pick a pass, simply and efficiently acting as the link between the defence and the attacking midfield. Nicky Butt was awesome at the 2002 world cup at doing all of the above, don’t know whats happened since then. Can’t blame his age, he’s a spring chicken compared to Makelele!

    That said, you do need attacking midfielders to pass to once you’ve broken down an oppositions attack. Milner is a one trick pony – can’t knock his enthusiasm but i fear he’s never going to be as good as we hoped. Geremi played a few decent games for chelsea at right back (which Beye seems to have taken to) but never performed in central (defensive) midfield. Smith is also keen, but never a midfielder in a million years, if he was going to be any good in that role Fergie wouldn’t have been so keen to offload him, Emre blows hot and cold and could just as easily cost us a game as win us one depending on his mood and if we’re looking to Joey Barton to be our creative saviour, i think we might be in a spot of bother.

    Sure we can blame injuries, but if everone was fit would we really be any better off?

    I know a lot of managers look upon the creative midfielder as a luxury, they can be moody and awkward if not handled correctlly and are reluctant to track back etc.. which makes a solid holding midfielder just as important.

    Look at the great central midfield partnerships … Veron was awesome at Lazio ‘cos he had Simeone doing all the donkey work, Scholes would rip teams apart with Keane destroying beside him. I’m not naive enough to believe we could attract those calibre of players YET but we need to strike a similar balance in terms of donkey/maestro ratio in the centre of the park.

    Shame our worldwided scouting network didn’t notice Elano before Man City did… Try telling Sven that an attacking midfielder is an expensive, un-necessary luxury!

  • Sinead

    Oct 1, 2007 at 5:29 PM

    Comment #9

    You can’t just buy midfield partnership though, you can buy as many mids as you like but it takes time to get it to fit. Midfield needs time, it needs a worker, a passer like, someone like (and it’s probally impossible that you’ll ever find someone like him again) Roy Keane, himself and Scholes, they both keep their heads down and they defended when they had to (maybe not the best tacklers in the world) supplied good ball up front and got in for goals aswell. They are world class. You can’t just buy that. THey formed a good playing relationship over the years they played together and it worked.

    Smith has the potential, but well, he’s not much of a midfielder like. Guys like Stevie Ireland we saw on Saturday there, he was good, he’s a good middle of the park player. But they don’t grow on trees you’d be lucky to find good mid players these days, but when you do, guys like Fabregas and such, they can be so influential.

    The problem isn’t just in mid though, it’s everywhere, especially our backs, they could look brilliant one day and the next it’s like watching a couple of headless chickens run around the place.

    I don’t know which paper that said it but it said something like only Oba and Shay could leave the pitch with their heads high. What does that say like.

    Newcastle have a serious problem, and fluke wins and things like that are like putting a plaster over a gapping wound. In the long term it’s not going to work. Like Martins isn’t going to be able to score wonder goals against the run of play for every game, keepers can save a team points but it can’t score them goals, it’s rare that he can keep keeping the balls out everytime there’s an atempt on goal for the entire match. (even though after seeing Given against Cyprus for the WC qualifiers there last year or so you never no.)

    It’s not going to work and it doesn’t. Something needs to be done and if it isn’t well lets just say that Sam will be gone alot faster then Grant.

  • Lamesley Mag

    Oct 2, 2007 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #10

    Defensively we were poor and gave away 3 shocking goals.

    In midfield we lacked creativity and Emre/Enrique should have been brought on earlier if we intended to chase the game. We didn’t and City won at a canter…….

    Hoping BSA will start with Enrique against Everton allowing Zog to play LW.


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