Big Sam made some surprising statements when he talked to the Evening Chronicle today about what side he will field tomorrow against high flying Portsmouth.
The game tomorrow is at home and he has been quite pleased with the team in general at St. Jamesâ€™ Park this season.
Newcastle have defended reasonably well â€“ and certainly have been able to score goals quite freely, hitting 3 each in the last 3 games at St. James’ Park.
Maybe Sam will give the defense a reprieve from last week, but weâ€™ll just have to wait and see what team Sam selects tomorrow. We certainly hope we start with young wingers Milner and Nâ€™Zogbia, since Sam has said he will attack against Portsmouth. Both youngsters can be more than a handful for any defense, and they can score goals too.
Sam told the Evening Chronicle this afternoon:
â€œWeâ€™ve brushed up on defending a little bit, but Portsmouth wonâ€™t play anything like Reading.â€ â€œReading play direct off a front four while Portsmouth play with one up, so tactically, we have got a completely different scenario to face for the first time at St Jamesâ€™s Park.â€
â€œThat is a 4-5-1, a team that allows the opposition to have more ball than them, but sucks you into trying to break them down and then exploits the spaces you leave very quickly.â€
â€œThey have a very skilful, quick, counter-attacking style and it has brought Harry three away wins on the trot now, which is something they have not done for a long time.”
“They have got a terrific away record which we have got to be very careful about â€“ but we have also got to be tactically right to break a system we have never played against at St Jamesâ€™s Park.â€
Part of the problem we think Sam is facing, is that his new recruits have not seen so many different formations from teams in this league. Even though new players like Beye, Cacapa and Rozehnal have lots of experience, they have never seen the variations of play that occur in the Premiership.
Sam was asked if he would be making changes tomorrow based on the defeat at Reading, Allardyce gave a strange reply:
â€œNot because of that game, particularly.â€ â€œThat was an away match and we are playing at home with great confidence, good style, good goal scoring ability, so itâ€™s picking a team that can continue that rather than the disappointment against Reading.â€
â€œComing to the next away game, weâ€™ll take stock of what happened at Reading when we play Sunderland and then select a side for there based on that poor performance, not the home game. Our form at home has been terrific. Our results have been fantastic and our goal scoring has been great.â€
â€œWe donâ€™t want to have any hangovers from Reading and go into the game with confidence to take on a very difficult Portsmouth side.â€
Newcastleâ€™s back four was badly exposed by a hard-working and very well organized Reading side, and Allardyce says he has paid particular attention to defending on the training ground this week. But whether he will make any changes in the back line for the home game remains to be seen. We have a feeling he may stick with the same four as last week.
That seems to us to be a little unfair to Steven Taylor and David Rozehnal, who are both just itching to get back in the starting line up. Weâ€™ll just have to wait and see on that one.
What do you think? Will Sam change the back four? Â If so what do you think the back four will be?
Letâ€™s have your comments and opinions, which are always welcome on this site.