Observations On Portsmouth Newcastle Game

If Newcastle were 80% last week against Reading then we thought the lads upped it to 90% of our capabilities against Portsmouth, but it still wasn’t good enough to get the win.


Michael Owen – cannot believe he just missed from 5 yards out

  • Either team could have won the game in the last 20 minutes, but a fair result was probably a draw.
  • The defense looked as good as it’s looked all season. Abdoulaye Faye had another great game and Steven Taylor was also strong at the back
  • Jose Enrique looks better with every game but one fault we’ve noticed is that he somehow tries to do too much. He’ll have to learn not to do that because he could get caught out – but he’s a great player with a wonderful left foot, and we think he’s going to very well at the club, now he is getting lots of playing time.
  • Steven Harper gave another fine exhibition in goal of how to do a professional job with no frills. They go on about David James on Saturday, but we think Harper if anything had a better game than David. Steve is a much better goalkeeper than he’s given credit for – and Given will have to be at his very best next season to regain his place.
  • All three midfielders played very well indeed with Nicky Butt probably Newcastle’s best player. But Geremi is a revelation out on the right, and hardly ever gives the ball away. Keegan is also using his dead ball expertise fully and that wasn’t too bad of a shot in the second half that David James saved so well to his left.
  • The attacking three played well but we thought Mark Viduka looked a little unfit, as he probably was. Owen was as good as ever, and Oba Martins was a live wire throughout, and the confidence is starting to ooze out of him.
  • Oba must be part of Newcastle’s rebuilding plans next season, because he is a special and unique player. We would expect Kevin to keep a 4-3-3 formation so that it’s not a competition again between Michael and Oba, for one of the two striker spots in a 4-4-2 formation.
  • All in all another very competent performance by Newcastle and with any luck at all we could have had all 3 points.
  • We need to win against Sunderland next Sunday to get back to our winning ways and try to capture 10th position in the league.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

36 comments so far

  • jeff

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #1

    I agree with the comment…..I’ve got to laugh at something Ive just read from Harry Redknapp…He says Keegan is kidding himself playing Owen in the position he is now…Redknapp reckons Owen is an off the shoulder type player,well yeah we all know that..He also says that is Owens best position and that he loves to score goals…Aye and!!! Hasnt he been scoring in this new position also?If he wasnt scoring and it wasnt working then Keegan would no doubt change it back to 442…But to me Owen looks a different player and he seems to be enjoying it,not like other players in the past who moan when played out of position….I think Redknapp needs to just concentrate on his team…We didnt want you as manager and certainly dont want to hear your bollocks comments…

  • hanzemre

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #2

    yea let’s get the job done & get the 3 points to be mathematically safe from the relegation. Then we can bleed some more young guns into 1st team for another 3 games left.

  • Spyro

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #3

    we MUST beat scumberland, and comfortably too

  • Bmore

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #4

    I dont think Faye had a great game. He was found out of position a couple of times which allowed Defoe a shot on goal – one in particular he got under the header – in excusable for a guy his size.

    Disappointing corners too. If we want to utilise the big fellas we need decent delivery and we didn’t get that.

    One the plus side we did look comfortable in possesion – and generally we show a lot of promise.

    Great work by Keegan, I just hope the south press give him the credit that is due. So much for FSA and his man management skills…..

  • faustino

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #5

    Have to agree Jeff…Semi Final hangover or not they looked really ineffectual going forward even with Defoe in ‘top form’. Admiral Akbar should keep his gills shut!

    I think what was shown on Saturday is that against a decent midfield and back four the 4-3-3 will always struggle. Their defense looked in control of at least Viduka and Owen for the majority of the game and their midfield we’re keeping Beye and Enrique pegged back. Though to me it seems that Redknapp and Adams had made the concsious decision that if anyone was going to get space it would be Enrique as Beye seemed particularly penned in.

    It’s games like this show us up for being a couple of flair players down as I thought the only thing that would have won the game in the end would be a moment of Martins magic. We need a few more players who can score from nothing imo.

  • Spitfire

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #6

    I think we looked good on Saturday and I don’t think anyone should underestimate Portsmouth – especially that little central triangle of Campbell Distin and James – who would probably walk into our team – well except maybe James . 2 months ago we would have lost that game easily

  • faustino

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #7

    Bmore re: corners

    Thing is mate against a side like Portsmouth with what, five 6 foot and over players, it’s hard to stamp your authority on corners/deadball situations; especially given the size of our side!

    Its even more diffcult with Portsmouth as they just lump Kanu on the near post.

  • Spyro

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #8

    the 4-3-3 wasn’t amazing against pompy and you are right faustino, however, i have noticed that even if we do not look great going forward our opposition still cant stop us from carving out a couple of good opportunites between our three man strike force, and we could have won the match if Owen had scored the best chance of the game. I believe it is true when people say the best teams win without playing superb and creating too much.

  • Bmore

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #9

    faustino – I agree, but the ball needs to up there to at least compete for it.

    But you cant do that if you hit the first man every time.

    There was no variation, no short corners – or even let Enrique hit a few with his left foot.

  • faustino

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #10

    Agreed Spyro…though never had any doubt that KK would turn out a team that always look like they could score a couple of goals. The surprise is that he is turning out a side that is beginning to look like it won’t concede much either. Will wonders never cease.

    Bmore; yeah true. I think Geremi’s corners we’re getting better, though that wasn’t that difficult to do in all fairness

  • Spyro

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #11

    i agree with both faustino and bmore when it comes to set pieces. Geremi is not consistent enough, and we should look to have someone else taking them, or do what Arsenal and Liverpool sometimes do, one man comes short and does a little lay up, the corner is then taken like a straight forward cross, making it easier to deliver the ball well as it is at less of an angle

  • steve

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #12

    Happy enough, lets face it 5 games ago we would be thinking of a getting a hammering away to pompey.

    We need someone else to take corners and dead ball situations – Geremis been playing really well but his dead ball skills are poor to say the least

  • GeordieBoy

    Apr 14, 2008 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #13

    Yup, completely agree. Every time I saw Viduka on saturday he was doubled over trying to regain his breath. He’s been good this season, but I don’t think he’ll fit very well with Keegan’s attacking, fast paced football. Still can’t believe Defoe missed that chance from 6 yards out, similarly, can’t believe that Owen fired straight at James, was amusing to it hit his face mind 😛

    All in all, not the greatest of games I’ve seen, but a cracking result to leave Fratton Park with a point.

  • faustino

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:00 PM

    Comment #14

    Thing is with Viduka’s fitness is that it should be rectifiable.

    Some of the fittest people I know are his age and over – i.e. run 2-3 marathons a year fit not a quick jog round the town moor fit. So, if the will is there, he should be fit as butchers dog next season but the fact is that it’s very aparrent he’s a lazy b’st*rd 🙂

  • Viper

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:06 PM

    Comment #15

    Corners. I agree with all above comments to a certain level.
    I was spiting fire at the screen in the pub, shouting along the lines of “Kev! NOT Geremi again man! They’re (corners) all NOT good enough”
    Even sent a text to a mate on holiday in Portugal saying the same and mentioning how even Milner’s efforts better. Getting beyond 1st man anyway.
    Asides, Enrique good, thought Beye had couple of moments, Faye did go out of position odd time…
    Lets take frustration out on scum on Sunday!

  • Spyro

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:06 PM

    Comment #16

    yes viduka should be made to lose weight

  • Egar

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #17

    4-3-3 didn’t do the job this time but it also made Portsmouth wary about going all out.

  • Egar

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #18

    Looks like our 4-3-3 brings in more corner opportunities. Something to think about and capitalize on.

  • Egar

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:18 PM

    Comment #19

    Wonder who’s the corner kick & set piece specialist KK got his sights on this summer?


    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #20

    hm, seems that I watched completely another game…I found the game very VERY boring. Both sides had stupid mistakes in their play and it really was almost a step back (imagine if whe stupidly had lost it…). No, that wasn’t as good as the other performances…

    hope we can step up again vs the mackems!

  • Southside Jordy

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #21

    Agree hole hartedly and believe that we can win all the rest of our games be it home or away!!


    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #22

    exactly, and I remember the game against CHELSKI…oh how good I remember it!! And revenge will be ours!

  • ChrisL

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #23

    I think that apart from two free kicks/corners… Geremi’s dead ball delivery was shocking! (again)

  • Punk Skunk

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    Comment #24

    Generally Faye did have a good game, yea he made one or two mistakes, but that doesn’t detract from his great play!..& yes Enrique kick the ball out 2/3 times, but again, he had a great game & gets better as he goes along!..
    …Everyone makes the odd mistake but if y’gonna pick on every single one…?
    …I suppose, some fans aren’t gonna be happy ’til we have 100% posession & 100% pass completion, 100% tackling, etc…

  • Punk Skunk

    Apr 14, 2008 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #25

    But hey, we kept a clean sheet away from home in a game we woulda lost a couple of months ago!..We’re going in the right direction!..
    …The 433 worked in as far as they were scared to go for it at home, big change, if you ask me!..
    …We always looked the most likely & it was hard to tell which team was in the top 8 & which was trying to avoid relagation, let alone which team was at home…Don’t think we can complain too hard really?..Most on here woulda been predicting a loss a month or so ago!..
    …Ho’way the Lads!..

  • Mr T

    Apr 14, 2008 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #26

    in relation to the formation, it would appear the best form of defense is attack! Everyone knows we have 3 good forwards who are always likely to score if given a decent enough chance, so if they’re all on the pitch teams will have to have some balls to fully commit!

    In regards to geremi being a revelation? I could go along with it, if he didn’t waste all them set piece opportunities we had, I know there’s the height issue you’ve all mentioned but none were even close to dangerous. Come back Milner!!!

  • ScottyT

    Apr 14, 2008 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #27

    ttly agree bmore .. faye made a few mistakes letting defoe in when he just switched off if tht was taylor all of yous on here would be slagging him off. he did do alright apart from them lapses tho yes.

    i thought:
    very good – oba owen (loved his workrate) geremi
    good – barton butt taylor beye viduka harper
    average – faye enrique

  • Craig Allen

    Apr 14, 2008 at 3:13 PM

    Comment #28

    I don’t think Enrique will want to match his performance against pompey as it was way below par and stood out the most for me – that’s why I’m mentioning it. He got caught out of position quite a few times – the first that comes to mind where we could’ve paid dearly was when Defoe pushed him away before a corner was taken and Enrique just turned his back to him. This made Defoe creep further away to the far post and when the ball swung in, he was unmarked and Enrique was reactive. He needs to focus more and mark his man and not allow anyone to shove him around like that. He did that a couple of times. anyway, glad we got a point though. Come on TOON! Looking forward to us crushing sunderland!

  • Obafan

    Apr 14, 2008 at 4:35 PM

    Comment #29

    And again Geremi si the talking point. His corners okay they were poor, but his free kicks were all very dangerous. If someone could just touch his inswinging kicks we would have scored. The only one who tried to touch the ball was Owen, the others did not always believe in it, a bit a shame, but okay. The thing I remember from this game is another clean sheet (a bit lucky in some of the cases, but we deserved that luck!).

    Harper: solid
    Beye: could not attack that much cause Kranjcar is too dangerous
    Taylor: okay game
    Faye: had a few slips, but got away with it
    Enrique: defending okay; attacking was awful
    Geremi: intelligent player
    Butt: lots of work in midfield and he handled it superbly
    Barton: good game, only missed the final pass on a few occasions
    Owen: worked very hard and was very unlucjy not to score
    Viduka: should have got more the ball, they (midfield and defence) played too soon the long kick to Martins
    Martins: the most dangerous on the pitch, but was a bit selfish on a few occasions

    All by all a good result which will give the confidence to take on Sunderland next Sunday.

  • Leo

    Apr 14, 2008 at 4:43 PM

    Comment #30

    i agree with everything, also enrique is doing well and all he needs to do is improve his distribution and not try and take on to many people, its ok up the field every now and then though… 😉

  • ScottyT

    Apr 14, 2008 at 4:59 PM

    Comment #31

    agree with that summary obafan

  • Punk Skunk

    Apr 14, 2008 at 5:03 PM

    Comment #32

    That’s a fair enough assessment obafan!..
    …Y’right about Geremis free kicks, pity no one got on the end of one of ’em!..
    …Also, pity he didn’t show the same quality on corners!..
    …But the team played well & portsmouth couldn’t get their crowd into the game…They were real quiet weren’t they, that’s a good sign!..
    …They’re usually pretty vocal, ha!..

  • Tripp

    Apr 14, 2008 at 5:22 PM

    Comment #33

    lol, I guess I’m not the only one to think that ‘arry looks like Admiral Ackbar. 🙂

    Good comments Ed, can’t say I disagree with much of it.

  • Leo

    Apr 14, 2008 at 6:08 PM

    Comment #34

    punk skunk, did you watch the match on setanta by any chance? what i thought was really funny about the coverage- which i just remembered thanks to you, was that every time pompey had a chance and the fans would sing, they would massively increase the volume of the microphone to make it seem like they were louder than us… it was so obvious.

    at least if they are going to try that make it seemless…

  • Punk Skunk

    Apr 14, 2008 at 6:40 PM

    Comment #35

    Yea Leo, i did see it on setanta!..Y’dead right mate, weird or what?..
    …Also, it was really funny that even burley had to give us some credit, what a turn up for the books that was, specially when he said it wasn’t a pen…I was amazed!..

  • marcus owen

    Apr 14, 2008 at 11:52 PM

    Comment #36

    Good performance, considering that we are playing away from home and against a good team. Off course, many of us felt that we should have won it but it would be the same to porstmouth fans.

    When you playing away from home, especially for our team (where we are usually weak playing away from home) things like Faye lost Defoe, Enrique miskick, Owen missed chances, poor final ball, etc wouldn’t really bother me. The only thing that bothered me was the reaction from the manager. I don’t understand why he subs Viduka so late when he obviously look tired after 70 min of the game and why Alan Smith instead of Carroll or Duff?? Does anyone believe Smith can win us the match? maybe KK yes.


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