FT: Aston Villa 4 Newcastle 1 – Cause for Concern

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After giving a fine performance in the first half at Villa Park today, Newcastle United utterly collapsed in the second half and were soundly beaten by Aston Villa by 4-1.

This will plunge Newcastle into some trouble in the league since our league form has to be the worst of any team in the league since mid-December, which was our last win. In our last 9 league games we’ve lost 6 and drawn 3 and in those games we’ve conceded 21 goals and scored 5 for a goal difference of -16. We now have a goal difference overall of -18, one of the worst in the league.

All went so well in the first half and the lads started brightly with Michael Owen scoring with a header, from a half chance, after just 5 minutes and during the first half Newcastle were the better team and deserved their lead at the break.

But in the second half we expected that Martin O’Neil gave his players a stern talking to at half time, because they came out, and within 3 minutes Bouma got a rather lucky goal as his shot was deflected off Butt. It seemed to catch Given on the wrong foot. It looked like Shay should have had it but in the reply his foot gave away from under him and he couldn’t get over. But a bad goal to concede in any case.

Then 4 minutes later Aston Villa went ahead when direct from a corner Carew headed straight in from about 7 yards. Pitiful defending from the Newcastle side. So from being 1-0 up, we were suddenly 2-1 down after 6 minutes into the second half, and we looked for a response from the team, which didn’t come.

After 54 minutes, Given came off and was replaced by Steve Harper and Harper then saved Newcastle with two great saves – both from Gardner within 30 seconds. First of all, after 71 minutes he turned a shot from Gardner round the post for a corner. And then from the resulting corner Gardner got a shot in which looked a goal and was deflected but Harper made fantastic save to turn the ball around the post. Good goalkeeping form our number two. We suspect Given may have damaged his groin again with the second goal.

But then a minute later the Newcastle defense was all at sea again, and even through they had several chances to clear the danger, Nicky Butt finally headed off the line, but straight to Rod Carew who got his second goal of the game, by heading the ball into the open goal.

After 88 minutes Owen was clean through in the inside right channel, and should have done better than blast the ball wide of the right hand post.

Then to rub salt in the wounds, after 90 minutes Stephen Carr clearly handled in the penalty area, and Gareth Barry allowed Carew to take the penalty, and he scored to get his hat trick. A good performances from the Norwegian star – a powerful player.

Where this leaves Newcastle we don’t exactly know, until the other results come in, but we are getting dragged into the relegation battle, there’s no doubt about that. With 3 points from 9 games you’ve got to expect that. That’s equivalent of getting about 12-13 points for the full season, that’s how bad things have been.

Since Big Sam was sacked – we have played 5 league games, lost 3 and drawn 2, scored 2 goals and conceded 14. Not good, not good at all.

While the players earned their wages in the first half they didn’t bother turning up in the second, and there is a growing problems at the club, on the playing side. Our next game is against Manchester United, but that’s in 2 weeks, so we’ll have to live with that until then.
The players will have to take responsibility for their second half performance, when not only did they not play well, but they showed no fight whatsoever, when they went 2-1 down. They are good players who are getting paid sky high wages so they will need to explain how come they have played so badly for the club, this season.

After all our hoped in August, when a large majority of fans were expecting a top 6 finish, we may even see our team fighting for its very survival in the Premier League in April and May.

Comments welcome, but please the language decent – thanks.

50 comments so far

  • Zx

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #1

    We are edging nearer and nearer, week by week to the relegation zone 🙁

  • Leo*

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #2

    someone please get a rifle and pop NICKY BUTT’s head off please

  • AdamCF

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #3

    KK.. poor performance today mate. From the starting eleven through to when you made the substitutions. The players clearly can’t play out the 90 mins.. so sub early.. please, otherwise, give me the damn job!

  • iain

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #4

    proof if ever we needed it that shay is possibly knacked forever with that groin and wont ever be the keeper he was. his kicking is so bad becuase he must of been feeling his groin for weeks or hes not mentally ready becuase of concerns hsi groin will go. (that fat arse harewood that caused that injury had a go at adding taylor to list of victims and how he didnt get booked god knows).

    cacapa/carr/smith/butt useless utterly useless.

    keegan making the same mistakes that sam did… no enrique, no emre starting, smith ahead of viduka, taking barton off for emre (barton wasnt great but at least he was trying to pass it forwards)

    imo the only way we will get anymore results this season is by playing this team…


    beye faye taylor enrique

    milner barton emre zog

    owen martins

    praise for milner who as usual grafted his backside off, his shots and crosses might not be brilliant but at least hes trying to create not just turning back like duff/smith and playing backwards/square passes.

  • Jeff

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #5

    First half we done ok,but did have warnings that they would use ariel strength as much as possible.But what was to follow was nothing short of embarressing…What was Alan Smith doing all game,he was a disgrace and should have been taking off at half time…when we went 2-1 down why didnt Keegan take Cacapa off and put Faye who should have started the game on..Also why was Carr playing left back when Enrique was on the bench….Some very bad decisions by Keegan today and its getting very serious now as the players we have dont have any fight what so ever which is very worrying..
    Good goal by Owen and typical Newcastle not able to go on and attack for a second goal to kill the game..
    A big clearout is needed
    should all be worried players as they should be first out the door.

    Im very worried especially looking at the teams still to play…Games against Reading,Blackburn Mackems Birmingham are very big must win games..

  • CJ

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #6

    Ed- Cause for concern that is the understatement of the year we seriosly have a relegation dog fight on are hand’s and do any fan’s on here seriously think we have the player’s with the attitude for it cos I Don’t.

  • nightfall

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #7

    the team has some serious problems…there’s no balance… i think the best thing would be if we start playing youngsters…keep some seniors and sell the rest…let them train with their future clubs…

  • Griff

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:34 PM

    Comment #8


    firstly, what has happened to Zog?

    Secondly, Ed please write an article “why are Toon a 1 half team”. We were brilliant in the first half. Local radio described us as the perfect away team. Score. Hold the ball, good passing.

    Then what happened? We paniced. After there goal no one held the ball they just hoofed it. We didnt know what to do.

    Carr was getting into all the right areas but is shite so lost the ball.

    Milner was brilliant he was left right and down the middle. Duff was no existent in second half.

    Owen played really well but he was let down by Smith. We need someone to run and hold the ball as owen does neither anymore.

    Perfect strikers would be:

    Owen Martins

    Just dont know where to go as we still need better defenders, midfielders and taller strikers, yet no tranfer window to use 🙁

  • Obafan

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #9

    .Given: had his best period. Looks like he is afraid of coming out after his horrible injury. Play Harper.
    .Beye: ok, but I can’t stop thinking that he is tired from that stupid ACN (in January ffs!).
    .Taylor: not good enough
    .Cacapa; bad game today, but still with the correct pertner next to him he will do ok.
    .Carr: played descent as RB, but what a mistake by KK to put him on LB. He has it difficult enough playing his natural position. How stupid can you be?
    .Milner: one good cross. He is still one player who wants to fight for NUFC, bu he just is not good enough. But because of his spirit he can stay.
    .Butt: played a good 1st half, but then in the 2nd half he was nowhere. Get rid of him.
    .Barton: should never have started for Emre. Agai very bad coaching.
    .Duff: I like his playing style, I really do, but he needs to stay on his wing; he comes too often to the center. With a good midfield next to him; he really is worth keeping.
    .Smith: no comments anymore. Again bad coaching
    .Owen: worked very hard and glad that he scored the goal. But he will go in the summer. Can you blame him? No not at all. I would do the same if I was him.

    .Harper: give him a run of games and we weill see; it really can’t be much worse than this so why not?
    .Enrique: got a good run under Pearson, but now on the bench; really can’t understand this. Again bad coaching!
    .Faye: should ALWAYS start, because of his played games even if he was not on training because of the stupid ACN! Again bad coaching!
    .Viduka: should have played for Smith. Again bad coaching
    .Emre: I really feel for this guy/ He just dooesn’t get a fair chance. He is the one to open up defences, but then the manager descides not to play him. Again bad coaching!!!
    .Martins: needs a good coach to give him confidence. I tought KK could be the guy, but now I’m really concerned and I don’t think he will be albe to get the best out of Oba. I think he will be gone next year.
    .LuaLua: one for the future. If not wasted like others.
    .Ameobi: well he will get his last (20th or so) chance, but where was he??? Will be gone.
    .Carrol: sent out on loan again. Again bad descision, cause he might be very usefull!!!
    .N’Zogbia: can you blame him that he wants to leave. Again someone who will be gone in the summer.
    .The youngsters I don’t really know, but why not give them a run in the first team. It really can’t be that much worse than this.

    1. If we stay in the EPL; we will lose the most of our players (defo the better ones); perhaps we will be stuck with the ones who really are overrated.
    2. In a lot of cases very bad coaching.

  • John

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #10

    its distgusting how we performed today…

    People might look at our team and think itmight be too strongto go down , but i can remember a similar situation that happened at West ham a few years back, i can nearly see the same thing happening with us.

    I keep thinking i cant wait for the summer so we can sign good players, but now im thinking we might be buying the best of championship players cus thats were we coule possible be..Its a realistic situation that could happen and the players need to wake up.

  • bob

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #11

    Reason for the embarrassment :

    1. The Players : too many of them put what looked like they just didnt care in the 2nd half and as soon as the scored than flooky goal all of their heads dropped and they had jus made the decision that they were goin to lose. The dont jus lack the effort which is the worst part but they jus hav no skil or creativity, Butt cand pass the ball to someone on his own team and always tries so make the impossible pass which normally end ups in the stands. Carr at the end of the day is a Championship player, hes just a short fat irish man who drinks too much guiness and with his wayward passes just looks like he may aswell be drunk. Smith well hes a striker who cant score goals so honestly what is the point of playing him cuz getting stuck in is just no enuf. Duff doesnt seem to have the skill to skip past players anymore and his final ball jus hits the 1st man. The defence completely unorganised Cacapa is jus looking more and more like a Bramble. Given was unlucky with the goal but i jus dnt kno wats happend to him this season with a collosol drop in form.

    Keegan : Although i am a big fan of KK his team selection today was a discrace. I would rather see an unfit Enrique than a fat irish man with no left foot which led to the collapse wen he gave the ball away for the 1st goal. Butt shouldnt have been playing with emre on the bence cuz at least he has the ability to create something altho doesnt do it much. Substitunes were terribe emre came on too late and he mite aswel lhave put the unfit aussie upfront cuz he knos how to score unlike smith

    i just hope KK has the chance to spend in the summer cuz he wnt have a chance to if we get relegated and with the form we are in and the fixtures coming up its looking more and more likely.

  • daiv

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #12

    Keegan is making the same mistakes Big Sam made…except the defence is worse. We create nothing which is very worrying. Smith, Butt and Carr must go yet Keegan picks them. The honeymoon is over and we must let Keegan know we dont want them in the team. I wont let Keegan take the team down without a fight. You cannot blame Sam for that selection today.

  • daiv

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:48 PM

    Comment #13

    Cause for concern. Tell it as it is. Or you must be on the happy pills mate. I’m terrified we are going to get relegated. Or are you Oliver in disguise?

  • Obafan

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #14

    John – very good comment I’m afraid. We should first be praying to stay in the EPL and then we can focus on bringing in new players (like Henry lol).

  • nufctj

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #15

    kk has got two weeks to sort this mess out. He must come up with a side that will be able to get at least a point against ManU. Butt and Smith should never play for NUFC again.

  • AdamCF

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #16

    In the years I’ve followed New U, I have to say that the last 3 weeks have been the worst football I have seen played by them.. It’s disappointing to say it, but the players and coaching staff need to be held accountable. Something drastically different needs to happen. An injection of youth is the only positive way that the team can move forward here.. it provides them with time on the park and if the worst happens and the team is relegated, then they’ll still be the players left with the team. Get some yards into the young guys and bring on the Department of Youth 🙂

  • Ed Harrison

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #17

    CJ – I know. 🙁

  • AdamCF

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:53 PM

    Comment #18

    Bob.. an unfit Aussie will always beat a fit Pom.

  • Rob Kirton

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:55 PM

    Comment #19

    It’s easy for people to be armchair generals and ask why didn’t Keegan pick so and so or why not play a sub whenever. For what it is worth I thought that today

    a) Emre didn’t deserve a place in the starting line up, he hadn’t earned it the previous week. ( – Doesn’t make him a poor player)

    b) Carr actually had won his right to keep a starting berth on the strength of his recent performances. ( – Doesn’t make him a world beater either)

    It is easy to keep on kicking a dog or coming up with the same scape goats each week. This week for what ever reason, the team selected played a very good game in the first half – playing intelligent football, keeping possession and defending well. In the second half it was obvious to see that there is a big problem in terms of character in a lot of the players.

    IMO Sam Allardyce would have stood a chance of getting us relegated this season – Keegan just has to keep the team up by any means possible, and it is far from clear that he has got the plan or means to do it.

    Apart from organising motivating and selecting the best team each week Keegan really needs to think hard about the long and short term goalkeeping situation – even though replacements cannot now be bought in

    1) Given has not been the same since returning from his terrible injury. It has long been rumoured that he requires further surgery but has been putting it off

    2) Harper was injured last week, not being able to make the bench and has suffered a few niggles himself over the last year or two.

    3) Tim Krul is currently injured with a dislocated shoulder

    4) We are then down to Fraser Forster and the new Swedish kid we have signed…

    Not good news.

    Keegan faced bigger problems last time he took over as manager, but at least then he could make emergency signings such as Killer Kincline to help plug a leaky defence. This time he doesn’t have that option. It’s going to be a real hard scrap…….

    Irrespective of what happens I expect to see a lot of players arrive / depart in the summer. That also includes a new first choice keeper between the sticks (maybe give Krul a shot at it if he proves to be good enough).

    This is no time for fair weather fans or faint hearts.

  • John

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:56 PM

    Comment #20

    I’ve looked at our fixture list and i personaly think we’ll get another 11points in total. that would give us 39 points.

    Not sure if that would be enough ..god im shiting myself

  • Rob Kirton

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:58 PM

    Comment #21

    Griff : Zog has been a bad lad. 5 bookings and a 1 game suspension. Provided he has his head on and isn’t hankering after a move in the summer, I’d expect him to play next game against Man U.

  • John

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #22

    why did’nt Faye play today…everyone knows villa’s strength is in the air andhes probably our best header of the bacll.SDame with Viduka, he could off been in the box defending those set peices…

    Its so bad..Im really questioning weather keegan should of came back..I was really happy at first and thought about the good times, but i think in reality thats not goping to happen again under him, as painful as it is for me to say that.

  • daiv

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #23

    You are more optimistic than me. We are playing total rubbish and along with Derby have the worst current form in league. We have been unable to beat teams like Boro and Bolton at home recently. Where are our next 11 points coming from?

  • AdamCF

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #24

    Rob, I do agree with some of what you say, however, the only reasons for not picking Enrique or Emre would be because of their midweek games, that would be it. Emre’s performances would well outway anything that Joey has done thus far. But for picking Carr out on the left, no way. If Beye wasn’t playing then yes play him on the right but KK was majorly caught out with very poor selection and tactical play today and I can only hope that a class No2 comes in to turn it all around. And we all know who that may be.

  • valle

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #25

    Zog had suspension ffs… At least try to get your facts right before u blame

  • John

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:05 PM

    Comment #26

    blackburn – Draw 1 point
    birmingham – Draw 1 point
    fulham – win 3points
    reading – win 3 points
    Scum – win 3 points

    Thats what im hopi9ng for anyway..the positive is taht these team are playing shit aswell, and should beat them at home..

    Hey im not being unrealistic..I know theres a major possibilty we might go down now

  • Jamie

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:07 PM

    Comment #27

    The team is NOT BIG ENOUGH!

    We got BULLIED in the second half, SHRUGGED off the ball, we couldn’t clear the ball, Smith did NOTHING the entire game, was like playing with 10 men, BUTT had an ok game, but again is just not athletic enough, BARTON was decent, but was let down by BUTT and DUFF (how weak is this guy? I mean common put up some sort of fight going forward and in defense). CACAPA had a game much like Portsmouth at home, the second half he could NOT COPE with the power of Carew and Harewood, I mean why was FAYE now playing.
    OWEN and MILNER our best players, but it has to be said, OWEN has not sting going forward, apart from the lucky goal in first half and last weeks brilliant header, he has no menace, no strength. We really need to up the muscle in the team, we need athletes, we need to force the play, if we are going to play direct, we need box to box runners, big strikers to hold the ball, join the play, actually be a threat so Milner and the like feel they can cross the ball. FFS Newcastle lets get with the programme and Toughen up!!
    I cannot wait for summer! we may clear out the shite for some premiership warriors.

  • Obafan

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:08 PM

    Comment #28

    Shearer won’t come as our number 2. This is what I see that can possible happen;
    1. KK keeps struggling and we get relegated (I really have it cold when I say that word, but it is reality, no top 6 or Europe this season but a relegation fight ffs).
    2. KK gets the boot in his back and dissapears again. He will never watch a live game again.
    3. Shearer will be our new manager and starts to build a completely new team full of youngsters in the Championship.
    4. We end in the top half of the Championship in 2008-2009 and get a good FA cup run.
    5. Wa are the champions in 2009-2010 and get promoted again.
    6. Who knows what might happen then with Shearer on board and with the experience he has then…

  • daiv

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:09 PM

    Comment #29

    Its all gone completely mad in 5 games. When Keegan became manager who would have thought that 5 games later we would be talking relegation. Hes gone from hero to zero in a month. Unbelievable….not at NUFC. Appoint Micky Mouse and we would probably win the league!

  • John

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:10 PM

    Comment #30

    Jamie what makes you think were going to be a premiership team next year?

  • CJ

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:10 PM

    Comment #31

    The fact is the other team always wants it more and that is with the supposed great attitudes of Barton and Smith and Butt we have heard Keegan talking about running around just kicking peoiple is not a great attitude KK.

  • Rob Kirton

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #32

    AdamCF: Sorry I had forgotten Barton was playing today. How can I forget after the “hand ball”? Yep I would have probably given Emre the nod over Barton – who is now so anonymous that the ref doesn’t even notice him when he handles the ball. He can sharpen his skills in the Wormwood Scrubs first 11 when gets there.

    I also only assume that Carr was originally LB due to having Enrique away mid week, though Enrique has hardly been flogged to death playing every game like say Milner.

    Don’t know really. I guess It is best to play players in their natural positions. That includes Smith at left back. Left back in the changing room – boom boom tish… :0)

  • millepede

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:19 PM

    Comment #33

    why do people go on and on about smith, when barton is FAR FAR worse, he has done absolutely jack shit this season (apart from the penalty agaisnt fulham which he shouldnt have taken anyway) – absolute bastard aswell, his performance today was SHOCKING, at least smith has abit of talent and seems to try his arse off… barton doesnt even seem todo that unless he is wound up and them justs gets yellow carded…

  • John

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:25 PM

    Comment #34

    barton is the only player who tried tyo play football…I’ve been saying for ages ,Butt is stealing a living at newcastle..whats he on..50grand a week for f all…Why does’nt the managers see that he is a has been shit player…actualy thinking about it, he NEVER been good..He best warming benches like he did for Man u for 10 years

  • Jamie

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:25 PM

    Comment #35

    SMITH DID NOTHING THE ENTIRE GAME! I WATCHED THE GAME, HES USELESS, DID NOT EVEN WIN A HEADER! sorry to shout but hes useless! same with Butt. Barton is ok, goes forward and just needs games to get back match fitness.

    Im sorry but we need more about us, small and weak! thats Newcastle.

  • Jamie

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:26 PM

    Comment #36


  • Rob Kirton

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:28 PM

    Comment #37

    millepede: You right in saying that Barton has had a shocking season. In a sane world, and when having more suitable options – he shouldn’t be in the team. Smith is a trier and today gave his lot again. The problem is that he is a forward who doesn’t score goals. A bit like a chicken that doesn’t lay eggs. Nice pet – just terrible if you’re hungry

  • CJ

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #38

    Millipede- I would say barton is a lot better footballer than smith don’t forget Barton never had a pre season and missed the start of the season and has been in jail he has missed many weeks of the season while Smith has had no problems at all if it was my choice i wouldn’t have any of them there both scum.

  • John

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #39

    why did’nt Viduka play today? Not even brought on when we went down 2-1..We were crying out for a change and at that point Emre and Viduka should off been brought on for Butt and Smith…

    F**king shit…Im pissed…Its not like Villa were amazing today either..All they did was lump the ball up to 2 big oafs and got 4 goals

  • John

    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:34 PM

    Comment #40

    why did’nt he make a change at 2-1 today? we were crying out for a change and it would off been ideal if Butt was taken off for Emre and smith for Viduka…

    Its so annoying..Its not like Villa were good today either..All they did waslump the ball up to 2 big ooafs and still got 4 goals…They played crap also..

    Its so annoying…..im not convinced about keegan now..


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