We were surprised to see Alan Smith come on as a substitute for Oba Martins after 63 minutes in yesterdays win against Valencia.
Â Keegan – still has doubts on Owen, Smith fitness
That’s because we thought his move to Everton was fairly imminent, although we think Kevin still wants to keep the experienced striker. The fee has said to have been agreed between the clubs at Â£3M, but if that’s the case, why was he playing at all?
But manager Kevin Keegan’s thoughts were on Michael Owen after the game, as the only thing missing yesterday was more bite in front of goal.
Keegan said after the game:
“Normally at the start of a season you wouldn’t want to risk any players, not Michael Owen or Alan Smith. If there is a doubt I will leave them out.”
“It will be Michael or myself who will decide if he is fit enough to come into a Premier League game,”
The Spanish Cup winners, who had a delayed journey to Newcastle, and the game was subsequently put back two hours because of their late arrival on Tyneside, took the lead through Joaquin in the first half. It was a poor goal for Newcastle to concede, and showed uncertainty between the two central defenders, Taylor and Cacapa, who seems a bit too slow for the Premier League.
And certainly Euro 2008 top scorer David Villa showed his class, after coming on as a second-half substitute, and caused the Newcastle defense some discomfort.
But Newcastle were in full flow in the last 20 minutes or so, as the game was played at a frantic pace, and Damien Duff equalized 12 minutes from time before Milner tapped in the winner after 90 minutes, with just 60 seconds left of added time, after Steven Taylor headed against a post.
This will give the Newcastle team some confidence for their daunting trip to Manchester United next Sunday, but whether Michael Owen will be fit for that game, still seems to be uncertain at best.