Sam Up-Beat on Owen and Martins Up-Front

SAM Allardyce is confident Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins can make a productive partnership together and he is preparing the team to adjust Newcastle’s tactics to help play to the two exciting players’ undoubted strengths.

The two have started just two games together – against Reading and Blackburn –and have never started under Big Sam.


Oba Martins – the likable lad looked great for Nigeria last weekend

Newcastle lost both of those games last season, but that was down to the season having already fallen apart by then, and hardly because of Owen and Martins. Sam is confident a change in tactics can bring the best out of the two strikers:

“I like to think that a partnership between Michael and Obafemi could work – I hope so,” “Both are talented players, both are good individuals. What we need, what we’re trying to find is a partnership.”

“People have said that they’re too similar, but I don’t agree. I don’t think they’re similar players. For me, there’s just one thing that’s similar about them and that’s their size. As similarities go, that’s it. It’s about their stature rather than their footballing style.”

“The pair have different games. Obafemi’s game is nothing like Michael’s. Michael likes to drop in the hole and work off the shoulder, whereas Obafemi likes to run with the ball, to get at players, to run in behind and use his power and pace.”

“I think the partnership is one that could work. If it’s the case (that Owen and Martins start against Tottenham), we will have go about things in a different manner.”

Newcastle’s change in tactics for the two small strikers up front may well mean we’ll play more good football on the ground – which should be good to watch. There’s got to be a way to play both these stars together – since they can both be deadly near goal.

Sam went on:

“We’ve got to make sure that we play to their major, major strengths,”

“We can’t be playing aerial balls down the middle and allowing Tottenham to keep heading them out. We need to be playing it to feet.”

“When you’re playing with two lads like these two, you have to go through midfield – you have to use the wide areas rather than trying to challenge the central defenders in the air because we just don’t have anyone to challenge and compete in those areas.

If we do use them together, we will have to use different tactics.”

We should be clear that Allardyce has not confirmed that Owen and Martins will start together, but Sam will not have much chance now that Alan Smith, who played great up front in our last game, is out with a one match ban after picking up his 5th yellow card of the season against Everton. Mark Viduka was last night unfortunately described as ‘doubtful’ as he continues to struggle with the fitness problems that have dogged his career.

Sam continued:

“It has been difficult this season – we’ve had to change it (the forward line) around quite often,”

“I’m grateful that the lads have suffered no problems while they have been away “Everyone has reported back fine. It’s good to have everyone back.”

Looks like Cacapa is struggling a bit to recover from a groin injury still. But is Claudio doesn’t make it David Rozehnal can slot in at center-back with no problem. David we think has been outstanding for Newcastle this season, and was unlucky to lose his place against Everton.

One last note and some kudos for Big Sam. Have you noticed how sensible and down to earth and Sam’s comments are when he makes these statements. He’s just a great communicator and you could write a book on his comments and it would be make very interesting reading. As most of our readers know we support Big Sam big time here. We’re just sure – no certain – that he will take Newcastle back to the top – so there, we’ve got carried away again 😀

Comments welcome.

5 comments so far

  • Doctapaul

    Oct 20, 2007 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #1

    2 height challenged strikers can be a great success. For those of you with grey hairs – remember Keegan and Beardsley?

    It does mean completely different tactics – with due respect to BSA.

    Speed, wing play, and a connecting attacking midfielder – an alchemist who can create a pass out of nothing. A “Waddlesque” Barton or Emre maybe.

    Huge emphasis on wing play (as Sam says). The future looks bright for NZogbia to come into his own.

    If Sam makes a success of combining Owen and Martins into a formidable force then Newcastle will end up having the two league’s top scorers.


  • Bill f

    Oct 20, 2007 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #2

    Doctapaul. spot on, couldnt have put it any better.

  • Brisbane Mag

    Oct 20, 2007 at 1:55 PM

    Comment #3

    Two very good players who we need to feed to their feet if we’re going to score…….

    Saying that, Martins can jump as high as his peers, so if he’s up to the challenge, he’ll score a few more like he did at Spurs last season!

  • leo

    Oct 20, 2007 at 10:01 PM

    Comment #4

    aye aye doctapaul. itll be a good game, maybe in summer we can get berbatov and we will have yet another top stiker

  • Greg B

    Oct 21, 2007 at 12:50 AM

    Comment #5

    Many pundits will say Martins and Owen are very similar (due to their height and obvious pace) but i would disagree, I think they are 2 very different types of player. Let me elaborate….
    Owen for instance, not as quick as Martins but a far better finisher inside the box, a real predator and reads the game as well as anyone. Owen has the instinct to get in the position where the ball is likely to end up, a natural goal poacher. He links play very well and can hold the ball up on occasion.
    Martins on the other hand has lightening pace but isnt, in my opinion, a natural goal scorer in the box. He dosent read the game as well as Owen and I dont think he has the same instinct Owen has (and the likes of Beardsley, Shearer, Cole etc had) whereby he can find the space in the box where the ball is most likley to end up. However what Oba has in abundance is flair, he has electric pace, great control (although sometimes rather unauthadox) and a thunderous shot. When he gets it right he is outstanding but he can be just as frustrating when he gets it wrong. Also for a ‘small’ man he is very, very good in the air.
    I honestly think these two could make a formidable partnership for years to come.


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