Keegan – Owen Has Led Newcastle Fantastically

Michael Owen scored his second goal in as many games for Newcastle United this afternoon, and is just starting to look like the world-class striker he can be.


Michael Owen – another vital goal today

It seems that Kevin has been delighted with Michael Owen, in many ways, since he came back to Newcastle in mid-January. Certainly we’ve noticed Michael’s work rate go up significantly and he’s worked his tail off for the team again today. He certainly sets a good example on the field for the rest of the lads.

But the really good thing about today’s display is that every single player turned up and put in a good shift this afternoon. It was an excellent team performance and we proved too good for Fulham.

The reward was all the 3 points the side thoroughly deserved.

This is what Kevin Keegan said after the game this afternoon:

“People keep questioning all sorts of things with these great players, but they can answer them,” “Michael probably answered a few critics again today – and there are plenty out there, from what I am seeing.”

“But the players always get the chance to do that on the football field. People can write what they want, but as a journalist, you have got to sit there and write what you see and today, you saw someone totally committed.”

“He has led this team fantastically. He is a great skipper, not because of all the things he shouts, but because of the example he shows.” “I have said all the time what I think of Michael Owen. He would certainly be in most people’s England side.”

“He is definitely in form. This idea that Michael is not as sharp as he was has been dispelled this week with his finish at Birmingham, where the one thing you think of when he scored that goal is sharpness, and today again against another committed side.”

“Michael will just keep doing what he does. By all means criticize when they are not doing well, but praise them when they are.”

Good words from Kevin as usual and it’s really looking like Michael is starting to earn his spurs with the Newcastle United faithful.

His goal today was from a set piece, worked out on the training field many times no doubt, and it put the game away for Newcastle.

At just 1-0 up in the second half, the game was anything but over, even though Newcastle were clearly the better side.

That goal now puts Michael on 8 goals this season, one more than Oba Martins, and Mark Viduka improves to 6 goals. Mark’s goal was a fantastic individual effort after just 8 minutes. If only we can get this guy playing more games for us.

It seems Mark just loves playing for Kevin Keegan, and today’s performance, coupled with his play last Monday at Birmingham are not bad at all. He’s been out a few weeks, but since he’s come back he’s made a huge difference in the team.

It’s interesting our top 3 goal-scorers are all starting in the front three positions in Kevin’s new 4-3-3 formation. Good thinking Kevin, but not rocket science. :D.

The formation worked well again today, and the players seemed comfortable with 4-3-3, which they never did under Big Sam.

However, we played very narrowly today and 4-4-2 does give us a lot more penetration down the wings. However, we don’t expect the formation to change anytime soon. What’s that saying – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

Comments welcome.

27 comments so far

  • m.

    Mar 22, 2008 at 8:17 PM

    Comment #1

    wor Mikey

  • ScottyT

    Mar 22, 2008 at 8:26 PM

    Comment #2

    imo owen wasnt as great as you are saying here. yes he scored and yes he worked hard but he missed an absolute sitter in the first half and many times when just outside the box decided to try and walk the ball in resulting in us losing the ball.

    having said that i thought he was still good at linking play but would just liked to have seen him be more adventurous on a number of occasions

  • Leo

    Mar 22, 2008 at 8:33 PM

    Comment #3

    owen was great
    viduka was great
    martins was great
    geremi was great
    barton was great
    butt was super great (i know- me thinking that)
    enrique was great
    faye was really great
    taylor was great
    beye was really great
    harper was great

    thats the best way to sum up our teams performance, they were all committed just like owen has been in recent matches.

    when we havent got the ball he is basically a midfielder and is tracking back its great to see… even viduka did it too

  • Edd Case

    Mar 22, 2008 at 8:36 PM

    Comment #4

    I still think that there are certain players in the team that need to play better, Geremi for one but overall, a much better performance and a deserved victory.

    If we can get a draw or more at Spurs then I think we’ll all be breathing a lot easier but I have to say, Spurs will be very, very hard to contain and I can’t see us scoring 4 like Chelsea did.
    But we do well at Spurs so let’s hope for a good result.

    Howay the Toon.

  • ScottyT

    Mar 22, 2008 at 8:37 PM

    Comment #5

    you cant say geremi was great after today surely i thought he was awful but at the very least he was average. yes its great we actually won a game but dont get carried away it was only fulham and they were ttly crap tbh.

    still though we needed that win get in!


    Mar 22, 2008 at 8:46 PM

    Comment #6

    Owen is pure quality. His use of the ball far superior to most of the other players.

  • Paul

    Mar 22, 2008 at 8:49 PM

    Comment #7

    barton geremi very poor, dont let the win gloss over the fact we are struggling in the middle of the park (butt aside) lets hope we survive and get rid of the very average players we have at the claub


    Mar 22, 2008 at 9:07 PM

    Comment #8

    Look at that picture of Milner

    ” Hello little boy, I dont want to hurt you”

    Only Joking just wait until we have Jimmy down the right and Emre in the middle again but i cant fault Nicky Butt and Joey Barton for the last two matches or even Geremi who despite wasting most set pieces he set up the goals and did some good work in defensive areas.

  • big pea ov the weab

    Mar 22, 2008 at 9:13 PM

    Comment #9

    wots the deal with gerimi takein the corners and y is the zog not in the startin line up nicky butt had a belter game he realy done the biz today back to gerimi and his corners there terable realy r he cant get them past the front post every time i saw him do the same thing get him out n put zog in

  • Ed the Duck

    Mar 22, 2008 at 9:21 PM

    Comment #10

    The Spurs match will be a good test now with confidence being up… however I’m not so convinced that 4-3-3 will be as effective against them with their width and pace… so we will need to go 4-4-2 which should mean King Charles starting and Oba on the bench and the present back 5 pick themselves really… lets hope the boys show as much effort and commitment as I think we can come away with a point although we will need to score…

  • Andreas

    Mar 22, 2008 at 10:56 PM

    Comment #11

    I normally advocate to pick players after the formation, and normally I would prefer 4-4-2 for us. However, a standard 4-4-2 would mean that one of Oba/Owen/Vid start on the bench and at the moment I wouldn’t want any of them there.

    Hence, it’s kind of a dilemma since 4-3-3 is dangerous against a team attacking with pace down the flanks (as Tottenham).

    At the moment Owen seems sharp and up for the job to score, but I do think that it’s the combo of all three strikers that have made us into a team creating stuff again. Still lacking penetration from midfield so it’s pretty much up to the front three to create chances (note: today I thought Butt was splendid, even managed to pass the ball to a NUFC target).

    I have a feeling that Oba will be sacrificed if we revert to 4-4-2 and I do think that is just about ok (based on goal scoring form, not general play). However, I also think that’ll mean less chances and hence goals from Owen.

    As said, the formation is indeed a dilemma vs Tottenham.

  • Shaz

    Mar 22, 2008 at 11:47 PM

    Comment #12

    Owen was brilliant.Dropping into midfield and playing the passes as good as anyone can.Why do people say he hasn’t adjusted his game.I thought he was brilliant.Strikers can’t put away every chance they get.It is called being human.Stop complaining.They guy is doing his best and leading by the only way he knows how.Scoring goals and getting points.

  • Gloryhunter

    Mar 23, 2008 at 12:10 AM

    Comment #13

    The best thing for me today is that Owen was acting like a captain.

  • Dragoner

    Mar 23, 2008 at 12:27 AM

    Comment #14

    You know what Craigg, i reckon if Barton can hit some form we wont need inury prone Emre any longer. I think Geremis recent performances (apart from set peices) has earned him a first team spot and i feel Milner should stay on the bench until Geremi cocks up, imagine the impact zoggy and milner would have both coming on at the 60th or 70th minute at the same time

  • Egar

    Mar 23, 2008 at 12:39 AM

    Comment #15

    Good teamwork was shown against Fulham. The gritty performance is commendable and can be further refined with time. Deploying 3 of the best available NUFC forwards together provided so much more punch. What’s needed now is not to lose this strength but to work on how to effectively change formation during play; be it 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 and vice versa, to suit the situation. This flexibility is the key and Captain Michael Owen is adding a new dimension by playing deeper and still popping up front at the opportune moment. Well done, lads and keep up the good work. A bright future awaits NUFC with KK.

  • Charlie Bucket

    Mar 23, 2008 at 12:58 AM

    Comment #16

    Brilliant to see Edgar get a small run out, hopefully Keegan will soon be able to start giving the young lads a run out before the seasons out.

    Would be good to see us do an Arsenal and play a young team in the Carling Cup – by all accounts the reserves are playing well and who knows it could be a fantastic experience for them…

    Krul, Edgar, Kadar, Tozer, Enrique, Troisi, Lua Lua, Doninger, Carroll, Baheng, Zamblera

    The futures bright the futures TOON


  • marcus owen

    Mar 23, 2008 at 2:11 AM

    Comment #17

    No doubt we all are happy to get the first win under KK. However, i still don’t understand why he insists to sub Martin instead Viduka. I think he get it wrong just like he took 8 games to drop Smith.


    Mar 23, 2008 at 2:15 AM

    Comment #18

    see how much better we have been since harper has been playing.

  • Reb

    Mar 23, 2008 at 2:24 AM

    Comment #19

    I think Keegan believes that Viduka adds something unique to the play, something that makes him a good partner for Michael Owen — and to be honest, Owen’s generally played well throughout his career with a bigger, slower partner to help shove through the defence.

    Of the three strikers, I thought Martins was the least great (I just couldn’t use the word ‘worst’) today and so was rightly substituted. Viduka had already scored and was holding the ball up well, while Owen was running his socks off in the midfield contributing quite a lot to the overall play of the match — Martins wasn’t. I like Martins, but in this case, I think the substitution was correct.

    I don’t think Keegan took 8 matches to drop Smith, I think it took 8 matches for him to have any option besides Smith. I assume he eased Martins back into playing, rather than risk aggravating an injury which could have him out longer. Martins and Viduka haven’t been available before Birmingham…I’m much more interested in Keegan’s selection now that the strikers are all fit.

  • Whitt

    Mar 23, 2008 at 3:55 AM

    Comment #20

    agreed Reb. the first game Viduka was fit again, he was starting. and i don’t think Kev is getting it wrong taking off Oba. he is making tactical decisions based on the strengths of his players. Oba is the most explosive of the three, but Owen and the Duke are both smarter players. in the last 2 games, we have been level on the road- where loss would be a disaster; and up 1 at home-where anything short of 3 points would be a disaster. in each case, he left the smarter more experienced players on to get the result.

    anyone notice that Smith got 3 votes for best player against Fulham in the poll…?

  • m.

    Mar 23, 2008 at 5:24 AM

    Comment #21

    Whitt – you’re absolutely right mate – Martins is like “do I run, or do I think?”

  • indian toon

    Mar 23, 2008 at 6:13 AM

    Comment #22


  • Hadji

    Mar 23, 2008 at 6:26 AM

    Comment #23

    Dragoner…I don’t think its fair to say that we don’t need Emre that much if Barton hit his form.The way i see it,it looks that KK’s magic is showing up.Just look what he did to Owen,he’s transforming him to the player he once was.
    Maybe Emre’s next 😉

  • marcus owen

    Mar 23, 2008 at 6:58 AM

    Comment #24

    The fact is Viduka always look tired after 70min while Martin is still running everywhere to attack our opponent until the last minute.

  • hanzemre

    Mar 23, 2008 at 7:11 AM

    Comment #25

    Yeah KK’s tactic was spot on recently & long may it lasts. The confidence are back in the team. Fear no Spurs. Would he opts the same tactic for Spurs game? Hopeful for Owen to regularly score as that game will be a tough test for our defense.

  • Steve_48

    Mar 23, 2008 at 8:09 AM

    Comment #26

    More sh*t from southern press this morning lads, remember it will be tomorrow fish and chip paper

  • Jack

    Mar 23, 2008 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #27

    IMO Owen has practically been like a new signing.


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