First of all credit must go to both sides for a great football game to watch and the BBC must be very pleased this game was beamed around the world live on TV. Both sides came out of this game with some credit – but for different reasons.
- Stoke City and their supporters can be proud of their performance tonight. Against a good Newcastle side they gave the Magpies everything they could handle in the second half, and how they didn’t score with two chances in the second half is still a mystery to us.
- On the other hand Newcastle came prepared to fight to the very end and you could see clearly within a few minutes of the KO that every Newcastle player was ready to fight to the death. Newcastle played some of their best football for many a game in the first half, and were unfortunate not to be at least one goal up at half time. Owen missed an excellent chance to score and he just has to start putting those chances away.
- As many Geordie fans have been saying for a very long time this season, when we play Jose Enrique at left-back and Charles N’Zogbia on the left wing we look so much more balanced and dangerous a side. Jose looks a great full-back in the making, and Charles is what he is – an exciting and talented young player destined for great things.
- Sam MUST play Enrique at left back and play Charles out on the left – we have a number of extra dimensions when we play with Charles on the left wing and Duff on the right wing. And we looked a very good attacking side in the first half with this 4-4-2 formation. Duff again looked good and was even crossing with his right foot tonight – amazing.
- Faye and Taylor both had great games for Newcastle and Faye in particular won most balls in the air – what a player this boy is. And Taylor must have impressed anybody who was watching tonight as he saved Newcastle at least twice by two amazing blocks on the goal line. You get all the Newcastle spirit built into Steven Taylor when he plays for Newcastle. You can see the determination and guts shown in his face. Oh the Geordie spirit!
- Taylor had a wonderful game and if new England Manager Fabio Capello was watching, he must have been impressed by what he saw. It seems Taylor has learned his lessons from his mistakes earlier in the season, and now looks a much more complete defender. His mistakes have been removed from his game, and surely Faye and Taylor can form a strong future partnership at the back for Newcastle.
- What of Newcastle’s performance tonight? Well, it was a clean sheet away from home, but it wasn’t a win. Sam will be pleased with the performance but it’s a pity we couldn’t have stolen a goal right at the end even though that would been a travesty for the Stoke side. Stoke City hardly deserved to be beaten tonight – they played just great football for a Championship side. It must have been one of the most exciting nights for their supporters for many a year – it certainly looked that way. They look a good side, that’s for sure.
- There are still faults with this Newcastle side, and we just have to get more creativity into our midfield. Smith, Geremi, Faye and Butt are not creative players and to be a good team you need to have some skill and invention in the side. Emre was injured tonight but we have start playing the Turk. But a few more of these high octane performances, and surely we can start to win some games and turn this thing around.
- But this is what Sam needs now. All out 100% effort from his players in every game, with a fighting commitment to the very end. But with skill from players like Emre, N’Zogbia and others that we’ll need to win the games. But Sam at least got that effort and commitment from his players tonight – and it was just great to watch.
What do you think?
Comments very welcome.