In what looked very like a relegation dog-fight at St. James Park today, this game probably did more damage to Sam Allardyce’s reputation with Newcastle fans, than any other game this season.
Sam Allardyce – had too many players out of their natural positions
The reason this was a woeful performance by Newcastle is that we know Derby County are not a good team, and they donâ€™t have many quality players. That’s not meant to be nasty criticism of Derby County, who did just great today and can be very proud of their performance, as can manager Paul Jewell and his staff. Maybe one or two of Derby’s players (Miller, Barnes …) would even make it into the Newcastle United side.
But after the game, we thought Derby were a touch unlucky not to capture all 3 points in a wonderful fighting display from the team. So what does that say about Newcastle United?
The problem is Newcastle have good players â€“ thereâ€™s no doubt about that. Mark Vidukaâ€™s two goals were a joy to watch and he had a classy game today. But you cannot expect players to play at their best, when they are out of position and Sam had most of the team playing out of position today. Yes, we know Shay at least wasn’t used as a striker.
There were so many players playing out of position that Sam had to take the responsibility for leveling the playing field before the game even started. If we had started this side in a 4-4-2 formation, surely we would have done so much better against Derby today:
Beye Taylor Cacapa Enrique
Milner Barton (Emre) Butt (Geremi) Nâ€™Zogbia
But Sam played 4-3-3 yet again and had Smith, Nâ€™Zogbia, Martins and Milner all playing in odd positions, which couldnâ€™t possibly have brought the best out of them. A good coach is one who can bring the best out of the players and therefore the best out of the team. Sam Allardyce didnâ€™t get the job done today.
Weâ€™re not even going to blame the players too much because it was obvious they were doing their best in a woefully unbalanced and unnatural formation. Martins was trying too hard and always did that little bit too much.
The bottom line is the class of Mark Viduka saved us from a very embarrassing defeat today â€“ make no mistake about that. It could have been much worse – but it was bad enough for us as it was, especially after last week’s terrible display.