SAM Allardyce is confident Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins can make a productive partnership together and he is preparing the team to adjust Newcastleâ€™s tactics to help play to the two exciting playersâ€™ undoubted strengths.
The two have started just two games together â€“ against Reading and Blackburn â€“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:
â€œI like to think that a partnership between Michael and Obafemi could work â€“ I hope so,â€ â€œBoth are talented players, both are good individuals. What we need, what weâ€™re trying to find is a partnership.â€
â€œPeople have said that theyâ€™re too similar, but I donâ€™t agree. I donâ€™t think theyâ€™re similar players. For me, thereâ€™s just one thing thatâ€™s similar about them and thatâ€™s their size. As similarities go, thatâ€™s it. Itâ€™s about their stature rather than their footballing style.â€
â€œThe pair have different games. Obafemiâ€™s game is nothing like Michaelâ€™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.â€
â€œI think the partnership is one that could work. If itâ€™s the case (that Owen and Martins start against Tottenham), we will have go about things in a different manner.â€
Newcastleâ€™s change in tactics for the two small strikers up front may well mean weâ€™ll play more good football on the ground â€“ which should be good to watch. Thereâ€™s got to be a way to play both these stars together â€“ since they can both be deadly near goal.
Sam went on:
â€œWeâ€™ve got to make sure that we play to their major, major strengths,â€
â€œWe canâ€™t be playing aerial balls down the middle and allowing Tottenham to keep heading them out. We need to be playing it to feet.â€
â€œWhen youâ€™re playing with two lads like these two, you have to go through midfield â€“ you have to use the wide areas rather than trying to challenge the central defenders in the air because we just donâ€™t have anyone to challenge and compete in those areas.
If we do use them together, we will have to use different tactics.â€
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 â€˜doubtfulâ€™ as he continues to struggle with the fitness problems that have dogged his career.
â€œIt has been difficult this season â€“ weâ€™ve had to change it (the forward line) around quite often,â€
â€œIâ€™m grateful that the lads have suffered no problems while they have been away â€œEveryone has reported back fine. Itâ€™s good to have everyone back.â€
Looks like Cacapa is struggling a bit to recover from a groin injury still. But is Claudio doesnâ€™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 😀