Observations on Tottenham Newcastle Game

Here are some observations on the game yesterday, which turned out to be Newcastle’s best performance of the season.


Supporters have been waiting a long time for a performance like yesterday’s

  • For the third game running the players all played up to their best form and not one player let the side down, so first and foremost it was another excellent team performance.
  • The Tottenham goal came out of the blue after 25 minutes, and it wasn’t a good goal to concede. But heads did not drop like they have in previous games. The lads seem to have a lot more spirit and confidence in themselves these days and got themselves back level just before the break.
  • The defense was solid and Abdoulaye Faye in particular is becoming a dominant center-back but all four – three of which are new recruits this season – looked competent. It was a pity Beye didn’t score after 3 minutes with a great left foot shot that almost broke the cross-bar. Jose Enrique looks better with every game and Steven Taylor was again solid, with no frills at the back.
  • The midfield three of Butt, Barton and Geremi were a revelation. Butt had his best game for a long time and gave an exhibition of midfield play. He did everything and Nicky has really blossomed under Kevin Keegan. Joey Barton is starting to look like he did at Manchester City and Geremi had a great game out on the right. His passing is reminiscent of the way David Beckham plays out on the right, and of course he scored a great free kick yesterday for his first goal for the club. All three midfielders seem to play together so well these days.
  • Oba Martins looked what he is – an enthusiastic one off unique striker, and you never know what he will do next. His goal was the best of the match and he also made another goal for Owen when he danced past Alan Hutton, urged on by manager Keegan from the sidelines. This boy is magic and it’s great to have him at the club. We love to see his somersaults even though we wince in case he injures himself 😀
  • Mark Viduka would have scored but for a wonderful save from Paul Robinson, and Mark more than most, seems to be loving playing for Kevin Keegan. When he was replaced by Alan Smith in the second half, he just couldn’t keep that smile off his face, and he was embraced for another great and all-out performance by manager Keegan.
  • Steve Harper was again as safe as houses and made a couple of good saves in the first half. Steve is playing great for this club at such a crucial time and he will no doubt be fighting it out for the first team starting place next season with Shay Given.
    But Steve has served the club well again, is this latest stint of games, in a most critical time for Newcastle, and he’s come through for us big time.
  • The lads kept their shape all game and played some phenomenal passing football. We think Kevin is right that we need just 3-4 new players in the summer and we also think he’s going to keep most of the squad he has and ensure they are tied up with longer term contracts.
    Maybe just Ameobi and Carr will leave and Charles N’Zogbia, if he still wants to go elsewhere, like to Tottenham.

What do you think about yesterday’s performance?

Comments very welcome.

19 comments so far

  • steve

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #1

    Fantastic performance, brought back memories of the old days under KK.

    Enrique is looking really good at the back along with Beye, Faye and Taylor.

    Barton, Geremi and Butt were a revelation in midfield and were even able to pass the ball to our players which 4 games ago seemed an impossibility.

    Forwards look as if they are really enjoying themselves and are full of confidence.

    I’m aware that one game doesn’t mean all our problems are solved but if we can add some quality in the summer we should be fighting for a UEFA cup slot rather than worrying about relegation

    Come on the toon

  • Bobby Ollox

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #2

    It was an exhilerating performance – not sure I agree with KK that we could have won by significantly more – but it was an emphatic victory.

    What I do agree with though is that the players looked like they were enjoying the game – and players who we thought were in it just for the money suddenly looked like they just wanted to play football for the fun of it.

    Thats what KK was brought in to do, and the evidence was there yesterday that it is starting to happen. Still a long long way to go – cant imagine that we could have played that way against Liverpool Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona etc etc and that is the goal.

  • Bucks1985

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #3

    Despite the quality of the performance, I do agree with King Kev that three or four players are needed to supplement the squad. We obviously won’t have Europe to contend with next season so the emphasis will be on quality rather than quantity in the transfer market.

    The tell tail signs are that the players Keegan will sign will have Premier League experience and the positions that need cover are at Left-back, Centre-back, Central midfield and another striker. Therefore, I believe that these four players will be Riise from Liverpool, Dunne from Manchester City, Bentley from Blackburn and Crouch from Liverpool. Furthermore, if another centre-back is required, I think he will go for Van Buyten after his tenur under Keegan at Manchester City or get Wes Brown on a free from Manchester United. If we can bring some more youngsters to the club it would make the summer all the more sweeter.

    Players out have to be: Carr, Ameobi, Rozehnal, Cacapa, Ramage and probably N’Zogbia.


    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #4

    I do not think that ZOGGY would drop out of this ship onto the worser london ship anymore 😉

    Yes, bring in more youngsters would be cool, but do not forget that injuries can come and for then we need more backup and I recommend to have 3-5 signigns!

    I guess EMRE could also be sold in summer along AMEOBI and SMITH…

  • ronaldeano

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #5

    HOWAY THE LADS!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    Roll on the next 6 games!

    A fantastic performance from every single one of the lads yesterday

    Why would Nzogbia want a move to spurs now when he has the chance to play under KK? Keegans style of football suits Zogs game perfectly?

    He is probly having second thaughts now anyway. But if he does go, he will be on the losing side the next time we see him at SJP!

  • Davies

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #6

    I didn’t see the match, and was too pissed to watch match of the day. I watched the Everton Liverpool game and saw our result at half time. I haven’t stopped smiling since.

    Just watched the goals on Youtube with a colleague who is a Spurs supporter. Genius.

    We were talking on Friday and agreed that Oba was likely to find the net, but what a beauty his goal was.

    If Nicky Butt carries on the way he’s going, not only will I stop calling him Licky Butt, I will even promote him to Sir Kicky Butt!!!!

    What sweet vindication is this.

  • Irish-Toon

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #7

    We’ve improved so much over the last few weeks, but I still have a couple of problems.

    Can somebody take Geremi aside and show him how to take a corner, the amount of times he hits the first defender.

    Enrique needs to hold onto the ball a bit more and look for the short pass rather than hoofing the ball immediately up to the forwards which he did on numerous occasions yesterday.

    On the plus side, Faye looked good, Beye has to be the best of Sam’s signings by a country mile and even our midfield is beginning to look like they can protect the defence and help the attack.
    As loathe as I am to say as I don’t like the guy, Barton is begininning to look like he was worth the money

  • King Kev-4-3-3

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #8

    the way we played yesterday was unreal, iv heard a few spurs fans saying they where just tinkering with the team, but any team with bent, berba and keane in it is going to be a great task to feat. i want to praise taylor yesterday as he was anonymous throughout and was berbatov even playing???? not too many people will realise how impressive he was yesterday. Enrique is a great buy, i love the kid, no nonsense defender, links up well, always an outlet for the back four to play across to, unlike under fat sam where the cbs would just hoof aimless balls. Barton was unplayable, tottenham midfield didnt know what had hit them, bags of potential and i think (touch wood) he has got all his troubles past him and loves playing under the king, maybe he is the prince rob lee in disguise after all. viduka is a genius with a football, he even tracked back and tackled, i loved the pictures of him coming off with a great smile on his face. oba and mo are world beaters, owen has come into his own in his deeper role and also as captain, biggest praise of all to nicky butt though, this man has a great footballing brain, i hope all these players have proved there great determination to the cause to all doubters. great summer ahead,yesterdays performance alone will make players want to come to us, im not going to mention any possible any names of potentia signings or positions, but i just want to see these few games out and evaluate what we have after the last game against the scouse blue.
    i honestly dont care if n’zogbia goes, we dont need him, im not to bothred about milner either, few youngsters out on loan next year, make them stronger, i hope shola earns a permanent deal as he deserves first team football, and 5 million is money in the bank for us also, i think we will win most of our remaining games now, and there was us 2 weeks ago thinking we were going to do a leeds united. pffffffffffffft!! KING KEVS BLACK AND WHITE ARMY!!

  • Leo

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #9

    charlie wont want to go there now lmao hha

  • Spot The Zebra

    Mar 31, 2008 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #10

    Paul Robinson or Stevie Harper for England?

    Yeah, thought so.

  • marcus owen

    Mar 31, 2008 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #11

    What a win!! Absolutely unbelievable.

    Thank you so much for;
    Woodgate fumble
    Geremi brilliant freekick
    KK didn’t sub Martin at 70min
    Barton & Butt winning the ball everywhere

    But, pls no Smith even for the last min of the game.

  • spyro

    Mar 31, 2008 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #12

    i agree with KK, we could have won by more, but smashing them 4-1 is enough though eh?

    This is the first time in ages that the WHOLE team has played great.

  • Thomas

    Mar 31, 2008 at 1:14 PM

    Comment #13

    Fantastic performance but to be honest, the spurs defence was shambolic, reminiscent of ours of past times.

    Cameroon’s exploits in the ACN did Geremi a world of good, hes a completely different player since he’s come back, maybe all he needed was some African sunshine.

    I think David Bentley would fit the team really well next season, hes got a great cross and free kick but he has more to his game than just that, he can cut inside and be direct also. Owen and Viduka would benefit from him.

    Finally Bartons come good! Now the last bit of magic KK needs to do is unlock Emre’s potential!

  • ObaFan2

    Mar 31, 2008 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #14

    Great game.

    Harper for England squad? Why not!

    Beye is playing with so much confidence.

    Back four good but Taylor still the weak link imo.
    Enrique getting stonger/better by the game.

    Midfield ran their socks off and used their brains, fantastic.

    AND my favourite goal, the third… from Oba’s work on the wing, a little dink off the Duke and Owen into the corner of the goal ….. classic.

    Great team performance, every player helped cover and worked hard for each other.
    Well done KK 😀

    Oba’s class too 🙂

  • James

    Mar 31, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    Comment #15

    Obafan – the 3rd goal was started by Owen on our 20 yard line when he broke up their attack and sprayed the ball out wide, then ran 50 yards to get into the box at exactly the right moment.

  • Irish-Toon

    Mar 31, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #16

    How about a cheeky little bid for Jimmy Bullard as Fulham are going down

  • Steve Mills

    Mar 31, 2008 at 4:52 PM

    Comment #17

    I couldn’t believe my eyes watching yesterdays game. Even after Spurs scored it was nice neat football, no head going down, everyone wanted the ball. Although the goal was bad defending, beye should have been blocking the cross, Faye out jumped. We got an equaliser before half time and could have scored more in the 2nd half.

    Main positives for me

    The back four were pretty solid and used the ball better than I’ve seen in a long time. Beye and Faye were the outstanding ones, Enrique had a solid game, but the earlier reader is right, he gave too many long balls away. But he’s getting better. Taylor was solid too, and looks good with Faye now.
    Our midfield three won the game, Butt was magnificent, Barton looks like the player we thought he’d be. Geremi scored one and made one .Overall he was very good, but his corners were shocking again.

    Our front three demolished Spurs, Oba was unplayable and thoroughly deserved his goal. His pace is frightening, and on his day he’s unplayable, his general hold up play was fantastic yesterday, and no one had a clue what he was going to do.

    The idea of playing Owen deeper is a revelation. I can see it rejuvenating his career. He can make his intelligent runs from deep, finding space and the fact he’s lost a yard of pace doesn’t matter as much as if he was playing up front. If Lampard and Gerrard can get 20 a season from there, why not Owen? It would also improve his England chances, as it fits in better with Capello’s formation. Viduka looked great as well yesterday, but the problem is keeping him motivated.

    Overall really chuffed, I must admit I didn’t think we’d done the right thing bringing Keegan back. But now it looks like a masterstroke, great football, loads of commitment, entertaining.
    I love the way we played exactly the same formation as them, but destroyed them.

    I think if we add 5 quality player in the summer, keep Taylor and Owen. We’ll do well. I think Duff and Smith will stay (Keegan loves them both) Emre might leave, but I would love to see him play in our present formation with Barton on the right. Its made for him.

    Players to leave

    Ameobi and Carr

    To come in

    Right Back
    Left back
    Centre Half
    Centre Mid
    Centre forward.

    Not sure who, that’s Kevin and Dennis’s job.

  • Reb

    Mar 31, 2008 at 5:28 PM

    Comment #18

    Owen’s goals in the last three matches have all been based on his ability to see a gap in the defence and exploit it — his reaction & reading of the ball v. Birmingham, his positioning for the free-kick v. Fulham, and a late arrival that the defence didn’t pick up until too late v. Tottenham. His missed chance v. Fulham was similar to his goal v. Tottenham — a run from deep that the defence didn’t cover until it was too late.

    Each of the strikers contributes to this 4-3-3, although I’d say Viduka would be the most easily replaced (luckily, since he’s the most likely to need replacing soon, isn’t he 33 or 34?). A decent to good finisher who is strong and plays well with his back to goal is more commonly found than a player with Martins’ combination of pace, power, and utter unpredictability and certainly more common than Owen’s ability to read a defence and drop deep to link play while still being a great threat in the box.

    My only issue is what to do with Milner when he comes back? If Newcastle win v. Reading, and do well v. Portsmouth, would Keegan change the side? Milner played well in the matches before his injury, consistently solid during a tough time for the squad. Would like to see him back in, but who for?

  • Rob

    Mar 31, 2008 at 7:32 PM

    Comment #19

    Accrington stanly whos accrington stanly
    we will soon say that about shay given


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