Initial Reflections on Stoke City Newcastle Game



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.

32 comments so far

  • Tom_Toon

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:04 PM

    Comment #1

    Lualua is the way forward if Fat Sam wont play Emre.

    Oh you want my initial reflection?

    Another disgrace, sack the man before we get worse.

  • trojan

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:06 PM

    Comment #2

    roza is out of his depth . . . looked slow and off the pace and pulled out of some challenges, i would have preffered taylor right back , he`s not afraid to come forward with the ball

  • James

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:07 PM

    Comment #3

    Forget effort and commitment, you expect that at the very least. What we need is pace and creativity and we have neither. Smith in midfield for god sake! I mean if he is so undroppable by Sam then play him up front.

    If tonight proved anything its that the majority of Sam’s signings have been very poor.

    With better finishing Stoke would have won 3-0.

    Shocking performance in terms of quality and invention. But then again, thats Newcastle under Sam for a long time now.

    Mort – when you do eventually sack Sam in the summer make sure he is never allowed to set foot inside the city again.

  • carl

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:11 PM

    Comment #4

    we need rid of him, honestly we aint going to get better.this managerial performance has just swung me this way.

  • James

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:15 PM

    Comment #5

    I will now watch us against Manure at the weekend from behind the sofa….it’s gonna be a horror show.

    He makes me very mad to see Sam with a complete lack of balls to go after teams and attack them. He was even scared of Stoke. Any of the top four teams would have beat them by 3 goals.

  • Greg P

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:16 PM

    Comment #6

    We need to stick with Sam until the end of the season, give him time and then we’ll see. Sack him now and cost the club £30m without achieving anything this season.
    Despite a few positives which are being discussed we need to remember it was stoke and they’re pretty poor. Apart from the young centre half non of them are near prem standard and we couldn’t break them down.

  • Soren

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:18 PM

    Comment #7

    Didn’t think Enrique was great tonight but he was solid enough. But he probably needs a few games with the team and get to know the other players better. Also want to see more full hearted tackles from him, since he is called the bull.
    A good prospect still and the best yet to come.

  • Tom_Toon

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:19 PM

    Comment #8

    Stop listening to the media its 7.5mil to get rid of sam.

    The new manager who comes in will want a team and if he doesnt want the, he will sack them gradually as he find replacements.

    Id donate money to sack sam!

  • carl

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:22 PM

    Comment #9

    same here tom toon.just cant see the way forward with him anymore

  • Ed Harrison

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:22 PM

    Comment #10

    I agree it now has to be more than effort and guts from the players. We need more creativity – time to allow Emre to earn his wages and Michael Owen has to start scoring. Why are we paying the guy 100K/week – I keep forgetting.

  • Nobby's dad

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:23 PM

    Comment #11

    I always come on here and sound like a defender of Big Sam but some of the stuff written is by people not prepared to give the bloke a chance. His signings haven’t been that bad (given he hasn’t spent the millions Souness / Bobby had). Beye and Faye – I’m well pleased with them. Smith – not great – don’t know why we bought him, but if we sold him we’d probably recoup our money. Geremi / Viduka / Cacapa – all free, could probably get money for Geremi. Only Enrique looks a bit of a waste. Barton if he stays will come good I’ve no doubt. We need a creative player or two – but we’ve needed these for years (and no Emre is NOT the answer).

    People forget the bright side – there is one. No Dyer (blig king piss taker), no Bramble, no Shola, no Carr and best of all no Baba. That in itself is progress. It doesn’t matter what we fans think of Sam it’s obvious Ashley is not going to sack him at present – so stop whinging all the time and support the boys. Yes there is little quality or invention – but in case you don’t watch the team live it’s been like this for about 4 years – since SBR last full season (and we played some rubbish football then as well).

  • carl

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:32 PM

    Comment #12

    nobby- im supporting the team but not our manager.full stop, hes arrogant .yes faye and beye good signings but rest of are very poor. its not the team its the managerial decisions and team selection and style im sick of

  • Steeley

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:36 PM

    Comment #13

    Ed – as mentioned in your FT report, I really dont know where you get this view from? I suspect you may be trying to hoodwink people into thinking that the game was so good so that it might ease the pressure on Sam. The fact is that everyone with TV saw the game tonight and it was nowhere near “tremendous”.

    We werent good enough AGAIN, although I fully agree that the defence was a million times better tonight.

    Please try and b truthful when writing these threads as I really dont think you are reflecting the real situation after tonights game.

  • lezb

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:36 PM

    Comment #14

    Viduka at least a stone and a half off the pace and for a big guy he,s so easily pushed off the ball.Butt must have been wearing the wrong boots or can he just not pass or shoot.Smith brings nothing to the party a better side could have scored at least 3 from his mistakes.Owen its not there anymore it left with his pace.Bring on the youths at least they can run and take on the opposition and pass to boot,ie Lualua looks good for now and not as some have suggested for the future,The youth is the future.

  • Steeley

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:36 PM

    Comment #15

    P.S. Your site has been going down again…sort it out eh?

  • ObaFan2

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:42 PM

    Comment #16

    We played well for the first 25-30 minutes of the first half and then again we faded away and were over-run for large proportions of the game.
    We had chances yes but so did they.
    Enrique started real well then faded, Smudge still shell shocked ! and again Duff ran the game for the 25 minutes or so of the first half.
    Zog learn when to pass/cross/shoot.
    Faye had a great game but tired too.
    Taylor looking more solid.

  • Steve

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:44 PM

    Comment #17

    We need an AM.. decent performance, but they were a Championship side… Enrique and Charlie on the left was superb. Owen and Viduka are yet to gel. Owen needs to run off Viduka a little more. Playing like two individuals at the moment. Faye is superb, Taylor needs to watch his marking on corners….

    We must sign a creative attacking central midfielder.

    Defenders will contrinue to gel…

  • Murvar

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:46 PM

    Comment #18

    I don’t agree with the summary at all. We were poor and Stoke deserved to win. Smith and Butt are too alike (they give the ball away and too many fouls) and there is no forward driving force unless Zog has a go. Barton was supposed to provide that but we all know where he is – and he’s failed so far anyway. And if Emre is the answer, what is the question……………….? A thought – why can’t we play Vids in the hole behind the 2 main strikers like Pedro used to do, putting in those little through balls? He has the skill for it. That way you might just be able to play Owen and Martins together up front. Zog in CM, Butt and Duff either side of him. I think it could work. Mort – can I have a job please? I would only charge half a million a year…..

  • john

    Jan 6, 2008 at 9:52 PM

    Comment #19

    shola would be doing a better job than martins has the last month without doubt

  • Gareth

    Jan 6, 2008 at 10:00 PM

    Comment #20

    Is it just me or recently have we looked more dangerous going forward when Smith’s not been playing? Is he told before he goes out “you’re only job is to give away free-kicks”?
    Still, at the back Taylor and Faye were immense. Rozenhal and Enrique look a little short of confidence, but that should return as long as they get a run and people get off their backs.

  • Ashton

    Jan 6, 2008 at 10:02 PM

    Comment #21

    Lualua should start instead of Milner

  • Murvar

    Jan 6, 2008 at 10:16 PM

    Comment #22

    Ashton – that’s clutching at straws. Lua Lua looked fine and hoopefully he’ll come into his own, but Milner was our Mr Consistently good earlier in the season and I’m disappointed that after a poor game or two people start to write him off. If that were the case Smith and Butt should have gone ages ago…….. but at least Butt, in his defence, never shirks responsibility, never hides.

  • Midjew

    Jan 6, 2008 at 10:19 PM

    Comment #23

    was it JUST me or does anyone else think Rozenhal Should NOT BE IN THE TEAM!

    Mayeb fine for a backup but his playing is shocking, i think we need a good RB then put taylor and faye in centre with cacapa as backup

    then buy riise and have him as LB or LM and Enrique as backup/prospect

  • spen

    Jan 6, 2008 at 10:24 PM

    Comment #24

    butt never hides because he’s career is already established he should be dropped with roz and maybe smith bring in diego keep zog at left back with duff on wing bring back our attacking days

  • Ashton

    Jan 6, 2008 at 10:36 PM

    Comment #25

    Milner is shite

  • Pete

    Jan 6, 2008 at 10:45 PM

    Comment #26

    I’m reading the post match comments, and guess what? BS is actually very, very happy with this fantastic draw against a Championship side…
    What’s the world coming to? I can’t believe that the level of ambition has sunk to the degree that we are extremely pleased with this kind of result against poor opposition. You can twist and turn as much as you like, but with all due respect to Stoke, they’d probably collect fewer points than Derby if you put them in the PL

  • Jamie

    Jan 6, 2008 at 11:40 PM

    Comment #27

    Stoke are a very much in form side in the championship.

    At the moment the confidence of the team is rock bottom, and as much as I don’t like the style of football played at the moment, sacking Sam would send us back to square one.

    He needs a lot longer than a few months in charge, I’m sorry but he does.

    It was a step in the right direction playing 442 with Zog in his best postition.

    Michael coming back to play 90 mins.

    Only thing is Rozy had a dodgy game and Smith is playing out of position.

    We will get beat by Utd in the next game, lets hope its a decent performance like at chelsea and move forward.

  • john

    Jan 7, 2008 at 12:10 AM

    Comment #28

    sacking sam could be positive not many managers would turn toon job down

  • Prince Monkey

    Jan 7, 2008 at 1:40 AM

    Comment #29

    I think everyone needs to realise the truth. We are a club who have been rotting for years. You can’t stop the rot in 6(?) months. The club needs sorted from top to bottom. BS has sorted out training and the facilities (was it Butt who said that the other day?). Anyone who says we need to sack BS now is the typical fickle Newcastle ‘fan’ who thinks because the press still call us the best supporters in the country it’s true. Grow up and learn some patience. I agree we can’t keep losing for ever but do you HONESTLY think we will be relegated? Will we finish worse than if GR or GS were in charge? Give him the season. If there is no sign of improvement by then then fine get rid. Who could we get as manager now?

    Support the team till the death like you should! If we’re the best fans then PROVE it!

    Enrique looked crap today. I had high hopes for him and hope that today’s performance was just because he was rusty.

  • Graeme

    Jan 7, 2008 at 8:23 AM

    Comment #30

    We need an attacking MF so either Baptista or Arshevin, with Babtista getting my vote after his performances for the Arse nil.

    A target man to play CF? how about Crouch at Liverpool – they were so lucky to get away with a draw as Luton ran them eagged and deserved to win.

  • Davey G

    Jan 7, 2008 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #31

    An Appeal to Ashley & Mort. DO NOT GIVE THIS BLOKE ANY MONEY!! If he is still looking to buy defenders and a Defensive Central Midfielders. Now I know 90% of the papers Talk SH*TE however, in the same vein there is no SMOKE without fire.
    I stood at that Stoke game yesterday and watched a team totally void of an attacking / creative midfielder. Then we hear that he is looking at the likes of Diarra / Nolan / Arbeloa / Gilberto all of which are defensive midfielders. Nolan pops up with the odd goal, but so does Nicky Butt…..He wants another couple of defenders???? We have hundereds of CB Majority of Which are SH*TE, majority of which he signed!!Faye & Taylor look like the only 2 decent CB we have……
    Why do we have to play with 2 defensive midfielders every game????
    Do Chelsea?
    Do Manure?
    Do Arsenal?
    Do Liverpool?
    Anybody get where I am coming from here?
    We have 2 wingers…..both with a left boot only….Okay Milner was sick yesterday, but, will he get his game when fit???? Who do you leave out?? He wont drop Golden Bollox smith will he. IMO he was the worst player on the Park Yesterday, playing only for stoke and when not passing to them he was passing to the linesman!! Cracking skipper!! I dont go for all this shit re “He gives 110%” SO F***in what!! Only giving 110% gives you nowt…not a bean!! No goals, crap passer, decent tackler when not taking people out at the waist!!
    Please, only rlease funds if he buys at least 2 GOOD attacking/Creative Players!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • scott9

    Jan 7, 2008 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #32

    we need creativity if were not gonna spend big just sign manche and arshevin that will cost about 10m maybe not even that


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