Final Reflections on the Newcastle Portsmouth Game



Newcastle gave another terrible display of defensive play yesterday with center-back Cacapa, of all people, the chief culprit with two bad mistakes that led to goals.

  • There’s not much Sam and his staff can do this week but go back to basics with the defense. The back four to start next week against Sunderland will probably be the one that finished yesterday with Taylor, Rozehnal Faye and Enrique. Sam and his staff need to grind these four in the basics of simple defending – all week.
  • We were just terrible yesterday – let’s admit that first. At least in the first 15 minutes, but now is not the time to panic. Sam and his staff will need to work overtime this week with the defense. It’s time for some heroes to emerge to shore up our defense, but Sam has to get his team doing the basic things right, which they are plainly not doing right now.
  • We need Mark Viduka back for the Sunderland game, because we’ve missed the big man and he gives us so many more options up front. With Mark being injured so much we’ll have to bring in another big man in January to help Mark share the load of the big up front man. Ameobi looks like he’s missed his chance to shine. If he cannot get his place when Mark is out – things cannot look too good for Shola, who may be moved out in January.
  • We assume Sam will have the players together for a real heart-to-heart talk about how these last two displays are just not good enough for this club. It’s so easy to criticize when things go wrong but Sam’s job is to correct it and one thing he has to do is keep the spirit in the side – that’s crucial.
    Sam has a tough job to balance criticism with not destroying the confidence in the side – which cannot be too high right now. Confidence is everything in football – so it’s a delicate balancing act for the coaching staff this week.
  • It will be a double whammy next Saturday because we’re away and we usually don’t play well away from St. James’ Park. Unfortunately, we proved yesterday that we can also play badly at home so it’s going to be a crucial match for Newcastle at Sunderland. We think Sunderland will see a big chance to take Newcastle next Saturday, given our last two performances.
    A Newcastle win will alleviate lots of concerns – a defeat will further the gloom and doom descending on Tyneside.
  • Newcastle will have to bring in new players in January. It would be nice if we could get defenders in who have experience in the Premiership because that’s what’s hurting us right now. Not sure whether Sam will give Carr and Babayaro a chance when they come back. We really don’t think they are good enough, but after yesterday’s defending anything has to be on the table.
  • We also need a mini clear-out of players we no longer need in January. Some of those that need to be removed from the wage list are Carr, Babayaro and Ameobi to make room for new players.
  • The main thing is not to panic but go right back to basics. Heaven knows when we’ll get our next clean sheet since it’s now 8 games since our last one against Wigan Athletic on 1st September. Newcastle’s Achilles heel has always been the defense and Sam is finding it much harder to fix than anyone first thought. But we’ll get there – we just need patience.

Unfortunately – that’s what we’ve been told for far too many seasons now – and it’s hard to blame the faithful Newcastle supporters for being so short on patience – but we’ll try – once again.

Comments very welcome.

39 comments so far

  • Hammy

    Nov 4, 2007 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #1

    Dear Sam,
    Any chance of a talk in at Shearer’s again, I’ve a couple of questions to ask you…….

  • indian toon

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #2

    i can write tons of reviews on the match but the people who hav to read that dont…… how many times hav the blogger’s on this site said to drop cacapa afetr his peformance against reading.. shows that no member of st jame’s id readin our shit… hopeless… this is where the legendary site has the upper hand…

  • iain

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #3

    i still believe that more than 5 performances like that at home and sam will be gone next summer.

    ive never been convinced his football would ever be good enough, regardless of results and i dont think MA will be either.

    talk of mark hughes in the papers today, but what everyone missed is the spanish press linking villareal manager manuel pelegrini with us and it sounds like that when MA first took over he was seriously considering other managers but decided to give sam a chance.

    i still maintain what we need is a european manager whos proven himself but doesnt come with a massive ego ala mourinho/koeman/hiddink/

    we need to look at the next tier of european club managers like pellegrini/prandelli/ramos, managers who have been the best outside what you would call the traditional top4 in there respective leagues.

    harry redknapp showed that with a half decent amount of cash to build a team ,playing good football will always destory long ball teams.

  • Snake

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #4

    Utter shit yesterday. Butt not good enough would’nt make on the subs bench of any of the big teams, Zog and Milner played on the wrong wings, Taylor was shit but and should never play at right back again he is after all a centre f&**kin half and a young one at that. Emre our most dangerous passin mid-field player sat on the bench, our most dangerous striker Martins sat on the bench.

    What has Martins done exactly to deserve to get dropped? Furthermore Alan Smith is shit if I had to rate him out of 10 I’d give him a 1! But no doubt he’ll play more of the game against Sunderland than Martins will, why? Because he’s Allardyces F*&*kin golden boy! Crisis talks after gettin dropped for one game who the f&*&k does he think he is? Martins get dropped all the time and just gets on with it. Also Smith won nothin in the air I’ve martins win many more flick on’s.

    I’m sick through away £40 quid to watch that shower yesterday. What f*&*ks me off the most is we’ve got the players he just won’t play them, Souness all over again man. What also f&*&ks me off is other teams like Portsmouth and Blackburn have got strikers who are scoring week in week out like Mcarthy and Benjanni and if he would just play Martins he would do the same for us. Bollocks to all this big man little man shit who cares how big they are as long as it works man give Martins and Owen 10 games together and see how they get on and likewise play Milner and zog but on the correct wings and please no more centre halfs as full backs and no more Nicky Butt instead of tallent. Arsehole pick the right team and let them f*(**kin play man

  • Marguerite

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #5


    As so eloquently an topically put by and in just 3 words– covers it all doesn’t it? No need for anything more to be said.

  • iain

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #6

    also if you want to defend better why play wingers on the wrong wings so they can tackle properly when players go outside them on the wings ?

    makes a mockery of sams attempt to improve our defending.

    it means your cm are positioning themselves for covering errors in wide areas leaving a free run at your centers halves, becuase that is exactly what happened vs pompey.

  • MightyMilburn

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #7

    No doubt the result and performance against Portsmouth was abysmal and hopefully we will not see anything like again.. but I am so sick and tired of the self-pronounced fans who is calling for Sam out – Shearer in – Capaca out etc..

    Come on.. have you all erased the memories of last season.. we were woeful several games in a row.. we defended poorly 80% of the time AND we were constantly placed in the lower half of the league table..

    Of course the defending on Saturday was completely unacceptable and Capaca was to “blame” for at least two of the goals.. but come on the guy has had two bad games.. In the games before those we were all singing his praise.. how quickly the tides turn..

    We have to remember that our back 4 has only played 5-6 games together (if even that) so how on earth can we demand that they should keep cleans sheets in every game – or know exactly how their partners will react in a given situation?

    I mean if one of us were to start at a new work place it would take us at least a few months to settle in – why should it be any different for these guys.. sure they get paid a hell of lot more than most of us, but they are still “only” human beings..

    Sam has a massive task to do at St. James and I sincerely hope that he will given the time to install some of his philosophies in the club.. If we sink straight to the bottom of the table or if we are still a mid-league team in 1,5 to 2 seasons time we are right to question his credentials.. but for now we should keep faith in him..

    I guess patience is a virtue that we magpies will have to have in abundance – to follow our great club.. but hey, I cannot wait for the day that we do win that elusive trophy..


  • iain

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #8

    should be cant tackle properly above

  • iain

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #9

    problem is all the mistakes yesterday stemmed from poor team selection

    the players couldnt do the jobs they normally do never mind all the extra tactical work sam has them doing.

  • Dragoner

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #10

    “harry redknapp showed that with a half decent amount of cash to build a team ,playing good football will always destory long ball teams.”

    not really, it wasn’t the long ball tactic that ruined us, it was just us playing poorly, if you can play the long ball effectively you can beat teams who play good football. There are numerous ways to win a football match, around 25% of those ways are good on the eye. playing good football is the safest option as you can still have the fans behind you if you play good football and lose, however if you play long ball and lose, fans start with the “blah blah blah” , if you win then no one says anything. have people forgotten the bolton of the last few seasons?

  • iain

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #11

    there are team who pass the ball but arnt tactically sound like wigan were under jewell hey passed it well but there players were often out of position.

    that pompey team was the best ive seen outside thepl top 4 play at st james since i can remember.

    there passing was good becuase the players knew there roles and never abandoned there positions to chase the ball, meaning there was always a simple pass on, there movement was good and varied unlike ours which was poorly timed and uncreative leaving players being doubled up on by pompey players. ive have never seen a team give away possesion so cheaply as ours in years.

  • Nobby's dad

    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #12

    Dragoner -successful teams have always played possession football – I cannot think of a team having any long term success with the type of football we are playing. It’s a simple game – pass to a team mate and you retain possession – half of the battle. Whenever we got the ball yesterday every Toon player who provided a pass ran away from the man in possession!

    It defies logic to have small, quick forwards in the side and then just to lump the ball upfield. The simple fact is that the football we are playing at the moment will not satisfy the fans. Portsmouth are the sort of side we are competing against for the European spots – on yesterdays evidence we’re a million miles away from them.

  • Dragoner

    Nov 4, 2007 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #13

    Chelsea didn’t play possession football under mourinho…however you could argue that their success is not long term

    i agree with the second part of your comment

  • Dragoner

    Nov 4, 2007 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #14

    i have just realised that we have conceded 6 goals and scored 0 in two games, that is embarressing isn’t it.

  • the big p

    Nov 4, 2007 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #15

    Patience, patience, patience.
    I hate to say it, but at the end of the day there have been massive changes.
    No I cannot understand playing Zoggy and Milny out of position, nor can I understand why Martins is not getting more football.
    Things don’t seem right and we should not expect them to be at this point.
    Half a season to get settled at least. By then we should see (potentially)exactly what is possible with Allydice at the helm.
    Most of the pundits expect Sam to do well given time.

  • Dragoner

    Nov 4, 2007 at 2:05 PM

    Comment #16

    i refuse to include the two own goals we were gifted

  • valle

    Nov 4, 2007 at 2:17 PM

    Comment #17

    Nobby’s dad

    Liverpool… There’s one for u.

  • Len

    Nov 4, 2007 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #18

    People who are obviously moving in the right direction and making progress deserve patience. People who are simply getting it wrong deserve the sack, and the sooner the better. Our manager is starting to look alarmingly like he is Souness in disguise.

  • Jóhann

    Nov 4, 2007 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #19

    The thing about Smith is that he slows the game soooo much. By constantly tackling players and given the opposition teams fouls he just slows the game down. When we are trailing we need to do little of that. Let portsmouth attack and then go quickly at them. Smith is just so much a liability when he does that. If he can´t curb is play he should be out.

  • Dragoner

    Nov 4, 2007 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #20

    i see what you are saying johann, but at the same time smith slowing play down with his agressive attitude could be an advantage when playing the top sides like arsenal and man united who literally rely on the football being fluid and uninterrupted

    oh how i wish i could turn back time and assassinate souness before he and shepherd teamed up destroyed all the progress Sir Bobby made with our beloved team

  • Phill P

    Nov 4, 2007 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #21

    im sick of tired of hearing people say, sam shud go, sams gonna get sacked, sam wont last much longer, give the bloke a chance for gods sake, newcastle united football club, will never win anything if they keep choppin and changing managers, dont get me wrong yesterdays performance woz a disgrace, but sam needs time, youve gotta give him at least 4 years. atleast, and if we havnt improved then shoot me down, and say told ya so. sam is the right man to bring sucess to the club, but time is the key here. i know weve waited so long for sucess, but where just gonna have to wait a little longer, coz it aint gonna happen ova nite. i dont know how anyone can even be thinking about he shud be sacked, and believe me, the rumours today, mark hughes, wey u cant tell me he’s a better manager, and he’ll do just as good, coz he wudnt, newcastle need stability and time, and sam is the man ! ! !

  • Vest

    Nov 4, 2007 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #22

    Mayby Big Sam hasn’t had his time yet, but mayby we should try to get “The Special One”. If he is told he has funds and the chance to make Abramovich look stupid for fyring him by bringing good results to St James’s, maby he would like to come to us. I think that Mr. Ashley would be interested in appointing his own super manager.

  • Leo

    Nov 4, 2007 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #23

    WE NEED SPEED and i dont mean the midfielder

    we lack pace all over the pitch…

    butt smith barton emre milner nzogbia geremi

    viduka owen ameobi

    only really pacy person i can think of is martins

    and i know people are going to say milner nzogbia and owen are fasts, i dont personally think they are fast enough.

    look at the pace of pompeys players or what about the gunners or manunited

    needs sorting

    fast winger for right
    another fast cb
    a fast center midfielder to replace butt(i know he has played well but he isnt good enough)
    another pacy and strong striker to compliment MARTINS
    a right back and left back

    maybe even a left winger

    they must all have blistering pace

  • indian toon

    Nov 4, 2007 at 3:44 PM

    Comment #24

    cut the whining people and look forward for our trip to the MACKEMLAND

  • Tom_Toon

    Nov 4, 2007 at 3:56 PM

    Comment #25

    Fkin sick of BSA double standards but im willing to stick woith him as a manager. He drops Roz from a bad performance but not Capaca which essentially lost us 2 goals!

    New line up for BSA:


    Beye Roz Faye Enrique

    Martins Smith Viduka Owen

  • Tom_Toon

    Nov 4, 2007 at 3:57 PM

    Comment #26

    Ahhhh wrong mb

    I mean


    Beye Taylor Roz Faye Enrique

    Martins Viduka Smith Ameobi Owen

  • Eve

    Nov 4, 2007 at 4:02 PM

    Comment #27

    We need to concentrate for some reason, we always have lapses of concetration, all the time. We seem incapable to concentrate for an entire game, hence why we seem unable to keep a clean sheet. We can’t do that against Sunderland. They will crucify us. Because if you notice one thing about Sunderland ever since Keane took over they keep scoring at the very end, you’ve got goals in the 90 plus minute in alot of cases. And they have players that can score goals from anywhere. Mostly long range. If we fall asleep against them we’ll concede. I’m not saying we’ll loose but we will concede goals if we can’t keep our concentration for 90 plus mins and mark tight.

  • lion

    Nov 4, 2007 at 4:28 PM

    Comment #28

    i weep 4 big sam.he is just being patriotic,believe it or not ,he wont get anywhere,his days are numbered,how can u leave martins and emre on the bench,when they are in great form,harry is more wiser and smart,wake up sam.give equal treatment,given the chance pompey will whip newcastle again,so change or u will be a loser.also u need additional 5 strong,creative and hungry midfielders and defenders.goodluck.

  • Northumberland Magpie

    Nov 4, 2007 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #29

    This is my first comment on this blog but read it on a daily basis.

    I just want to make a few sensible comments without asking for the Managers head.

    Why play Milner and Zog on their wrong wings what is that achieving, it means they have to come in to get on their favourite foot narrowing the game, they should be on their right wings and get behind opposition back 4.

    BSA said at the start he would sort out defence which as far as i can see he hasnt, what do they during the week, where was our right back yesterday i would reinstate Roz and Taylor will get plenty of passion from Taylor and dont understand why Roz was dropped in first place.

    If Viduka cant play play Oba and owens who will stretch defenses and if we have to play Smith (Fergie never lets a good player go) let him be Midfield enforcer, however would prefer Emre and Barton (when he is fit)

  • Hammy

    Nov 4, 2007 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #30

    The best teams have great possesion, as Nobby’s dad says, if you have the ball the other team can’t score….unless your Bramble of course…..last term the Toon couldn’t string more than 3 or 4 passes together before giving it away cheaply, imo Arsenal are the possesion kings, very rarely giving the ball away. If you are going to play a long ball defensive game either your passing is shit hot or the odds are stacked against you….I’d like to see where Sam gets his stats from, I think he needs to change tact.

  • Callum

    Nov 4, 2007 at 5:49 PM

    Comment #31

    Can i ask where Beye was? Injured or what?

    And it seems Geremi is needed afterall, first game he doesnt start and we get destroyed, so maybe he does more things off the ball – like helping out communication and sorting out positions. 🙂

  • Bill f

    Nov 4, 2007 at 5:55 PM

    Comment #32

    Talk about a cr*p 2 weeks. We lost last weekend, then I came down with a bad dose of Flu and had to postpone a any plans for my wife and I’s Ruby wedding anniversary. (Forty years happily married to the same person in this day and age has to be quite an achievement), then we had Saturdays debacle.
    Most of the already stuff said more than covers the shortcomings etc. The main crux of the matter as far as I’m concerned is that Sam picks his real best team and lets the other managers worry about us and stop trying to be tactically clever. Also there there needs to be some major signing of quality players not just “bargains” who may be coming to the end of their shelf life.

  • Cram Gav

    Nov 4, 2007 at 6:20 PM

    Comment #33

    Well lets all call for the umpteenth managers head ….yes its was a total unacceptable perform… but hey we ‘ve got 17 points ……the team has several new players,….did you really expect miracle’s ,the fact’s are the guy has been given little money,we’ve had a change of owner .I do agree about playing zog and milner on the wrong wings,but people need time to instill new idea’s….have you forgotten our outstanding league postion from last season under Reoder….get a grip ,and stop moaning… this team is in a transition period ……..although its a typical knee jerk reaction from those of you who havent see some of the dros from the 70’s-80’s

  • Andy H

    Nov 4, 2007 at 6:54 PM

    Comment #34

    Why are our players so scared to have the ball at the moment. Okay we went 3-0 down so early and the whole ground was stunned but no one wanted to play us back into the game. The most positive attacking players were Taylor and Rozenhal and the midfield might as well not have been there. There is no movement from any of them and when they run out of ideas it comes back to Butt who seemed to take responsibilty of handing back the ball to pompey with hopeless long balls to our two short strikers, neither of who could hold up the ball or get in behind. It makes no sense. This season I would’nt mind if we played a direct style – long ball if you like – if we got the results. But we need Viduka for that and even then we need to get it to his feet because there with his back to goal he is truly world class. But longballs to Smith Owen it is just retarded.

    These are the things that worry me the most, not the defence. After Rozenhal came on it looked better because he seemed so keen to make an impression. Faye seemed uncharacteristically weak and tentative in challenges and Enrique needs time to adapt to the faster pace of the prem because I think he is a technically gifted player as he showed against Spurs but was nervous under pressure from Doyle and Utaka in the last two games. His confidence couldn’t have been helped when Harper refused to take the backpass and left him with Utaka breathing down his neck. I think he’ll get up to speed in time.

    Taylor was the only player yesterday who cared we were losing and looked like he wanted to do something about it. He got forward well from right back and has got to play in the Derby because he’s the only one who knows what it means. Cacapa should have been dropped after Reading in hindsight but I think he can come back stron even it is a while before he can get in the squad let alone the first team. The last two games have found him lacking in the pace and strength you need in the premiership but I was really impressed in his first few games so who knows.

    My Team for Sunderland:

    Taylor Faye Rozehnal Enrique
    Milner Geremi Emre N’ Zogbia
    Viduka Martins

    Yeah, that’s right – Milner on the right wing and N’zogbia on the left. For God’s sake Big Sam. Sort it out!

  • iain

    Nov 4, 2007 at 7:03 PM

    Comment #35

    andy i agree totally with your assesment of the match, to say our movemnet off the ball is bad is an understatement and only confounded by players who then cant pass the ball 5 yards to a player standing next to them, if they do they take ages doing it and allow the oposition time to jog across the pitch and cover the pass made to the man in space.

    that team you picked is about the only variation left for sam come sunderland.

  • Hammy

    Nov 4, 2007 at 7:03 PM

    Comment #36

    Nice write up Andy, would be happy with that line up for the mackems match.

  • Stamford Toon

    Nov 4, 2007 at 7:56 PM

    Comment #37

    Unable to get to the match I watched TV stunned at what was happening. Not just with the players but our supporters. How on earth can they sing that they are ‘ the best supporters in the world’. The players needed that support to lift them…….what did they get? The BOOO boys time and time again. A new team, a new manager need time , and encouragement,and from the sound of things we need some new supporters !!! Not too long ago everybody was rejoicing in the fact that we had had the best start to the season for quite some time………..lose a couple of games and all hell breaks loose, So come on lads get behind the team give them and Sam support and time.

  • Hadrian

    Nov 5, 2007 at 4:35 AM

    Comment #38

    that would be close to my line up aswell andy ,
    trouble is all sams summer sigings came with the ‘must play in every game’ clauses

  • Magjp

    Nov 5, 2007 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #39

    Heavens!!!! I have no words!
    I will just shut this one out and hope for better in the stadium of plight


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