Newcastle United today just scraped a draw against the bottom of the league team Derby County, in a terrible display in front of their fans, who again packed St. Jamesâ€™ Park to the rafters. To say this performance wasnâ€™t good enough is a huge understatement.
In what was probably a warning of things to come Derby County scored only their 6th goal away from home after only 6 minutes when Derbyâ€™s exciting young midfielder Giles Barnes rifled a half chance from from 28 yards past a diving Shay Given.
Newcastle came back into the game and were pushing forward to try to correct the situation and after several half chances Mark Viduka fired home a half chance inside the penalty area following great work by Alan Smith.
Newcastle pressed hard to go ahead before the interval but Derby played well to keep the scores even.
In the second half we had expected Newcastle to win the game, following the scare they had in the first half. However, Derby were having none of it and after 52 minutes Kenny Miller scored his second goal against Newcastle this season. Miller somehow went through in the inside right channel and somehow got past both Cacapa and Rozehnal. Sam will be pulling his hair out at the schoolboy defending that conceded this goal for Newcastle. Rozehnal again looked responsible for the goal.
So the impossible had happened and a team that had only gained one point away from home this season were winning against the hapless looking Newcastle United side, supposedly full of star players. Newcastle pressed hard after Derby’s goal and Sam brought on Taylor, Duff and Emre during the second half to get more attacking from the home side. Why he waited over 70 minutes before he brought on Emre, to add some creativity in midfield we have no idea – no idea at all.
Mark Viduka – two quality goals from Mark today
Then near the end, when Newcastle were becoming more frantic by the minute, Viduka slotted home after 87 minutes, for his second goal of the game, and another excellent goal it was from the Australian. That goal saved the blushes of Newcastle United this afternoon.
Newcastle went all out near the end for the winner, but they could do it this week, and didnâ€™t deserve the win. Derby played extremely well and some may say even deserved to win the game – Newcastle were that bad.
But Sam has only himself to blame for the way Newcastle played today since he continues to play our players out of position in an impotent 4-3-3 formation. Here’s some things that were very wrong with our formation today:
- Milner was out on the left â€“ and James can only cross with his right foot.
- Martins was way out on the right wing â€“ when he is our top goalscorer this season with 7 goals.
- The potent Nâ€™Zogbia was at left back when â€“ as the commentators mentioned near the end of the game â€“ he looked our best attacked and most likely to score
- Alan Smith was out wide on the right and impotent in that position – as he always is
So with all the good players Sam had at his disposal he managed to tie their hands behind their back by asking them to play in those positions, in his 4-3-3 formation.
Sam has to take the full responsibility today â€“ not only for not winning what every other team has done this season bar one (beating Derby at home), but also allowing the worst team in the league to take 5 points off us this season.
Sam is doing it his way, but itâ€™s simply not good enough, and will not do for too much longer if we continue to play like this.
Comments very welcome.