To us yesterday was a water shed game because, as you may have guessed from our reports last night, we are becoming fed up with too many of our players not being up to the fight of relegation, which is now staring us in the face.
Oba Martins – Keegan must play him if he wants goals
Yesterday’s game told us quite a lot about the characters of some of our players and most of it was not good. But here are some things that we have to do if we are to survive relegation this season.
- Drop Alan Smith. he plays every minute of every game and takes up space when other players – like Martins – could be doing something good for the team. Is it written in his contract he cannot be substituted and must start every game? Look at the history this season – he’s been left out of the starting line up once, and he made a big stink about it to Big Sam.
He started the next game.
- We do have some fighters in the side, none more so than big Abdoulaye Faye, who was dominant for us yesterday, and won most of the high balls in style. And he nearly scored from a corner in the first half when his glancing header was just punched away by Reina. Play Abdoulaye every game. He would even make a decent captain – he could at least scare the life out of our players if they didn’t perform. 😀
- Lamine Diatta starts to look an important player for us, because the time may have come to rest Steven Taylor. If Lamine can get match fit he could come in as a straight replacement for Taylor. Since he’s played with Faye and Beye for Senegal, there should be an understanding there. Maybe Senegal can help save us this year.
- We are told that Lamine looked really good last week in practice – play him and since he’s playing for his future he’ll be motivated. Kevin will not have to wrap Lamine in cotton wool and try to coax him to play his best. He’ll do it himself so Kevin can do something more useful like work with the players on the field.
- Up front we’ve scored 6 goals in our last 12 league games and only 4 in our last 11 games. We have failed to score in 7 of our last 11 league games. What does that tell you?
Well it leads to depression for most of us Newcastle fans this season, who just cannot understand why these well paid players continue to let the team, themselves and most of all, the Newcastle fans down. It’s nowhere near good enough. We hope they know that.
- We need people who can put the ball in the net. Playing Martins in every game will help, even if Michal Owen needs to be dropped to the bench to make way for a couple of games.
We also have no aerial threat at all up front, and if Mark Viduka continues to hide out in the treatment room, then we’d do worse than play Andy Carroll up front. He’s a local lad and he will not let the team or himself down.
He will also try his very best – play Carroll if the Australian isn’t up for the fight – then get rid of Mark in the summer.
- At the back Beye and Enrique are doing reasonably well at full back, but we do have David Edgar available and he will give us 100% and David has always looked good when he’s played in the first team. He may be an option to try for a few games.
- We think Kevin is making a huge mistake by relying on his mature players with big reputations, who continue to let him down with non performances. Like most managers who played under Shankly (Graeme Souness is another good example) he doesn’t think you can win with youngsters.
He’s plain wrong.
- As far as midfield goes we were without Barton and Emre yesterday. Both are decent players but we are questioning why Emre has been out for so long with a slight hamstring strain. Surely he can give it a shot against Birmingham, even for just the first 45 minutes.
- We think it’s good we are away at Birmingham before our next home game against Fulham. The players have a chance to redeem themselves before they return to St. James’ Park. They need to earn the respect of the fans and yesterday’s game will do nothing to help that.
- But make no mistake – too many of our squad are fast becoming too faint hearted for the fight. If Kevin cannot turn the attitudes around of a lot of our stars who he continues to favor, we could be doomed, and we’d deserve it.
We hope some of the players read this and get annoyed. That would be showing some emotion, which they didn’t show much of yesterday. They should play for their own pride, and quickly because they are sadly letting the club down – big time.