It seems like Joe Kinnear is still unsure of whether to include Michael Owen in the starting line-up at Chelsea on Saturday.
Joe Kinnear – will he again start Owen on bench?
Joe talked at length about this to the Newcastle journal this morning:
“We have got three excellent strikers available for the trip to Chelsea and I’ve got a very difficult decision to make. Michael Owen is almost 100% fit and he came off the bench (against Wigan), scored and made life very tough for me in terms of the team I select to play against Chelsea.”
“He answered us in the best possible way with the goal he scored, and he looked sharp when he came on for those 20 minutes. I’ve got to weigh up in my own mind what to do at Chelsea because it’s a tough place to go.”
“Michael definitely has a chance of starting the game, he is pushing hard for that with his work in training. We will have to see how he is at the end of the week. I’d like to have him in the starting line up, but I won’t take any risks with his fitness.”
“That is what I’m paid to do, make these decisions. I left Michael on the bench last weekend and I’ve been hammered for it in the media, but I’ve never been frightened to make tough calls if I think that’s what’s best for the team.”
“Regardless of what people outside of the club might be saying, there is no problem between me and Michael and it annoys me that people are trying to drive a wedge between us.” “I’m going to have to earn my money at Chelsea. We could go into it with three strikers, but that is risky against a world-class team like Chelsea who pass the ball around for fun.”
“Don’t forget, Sunderland went there recently and got beaten 5-0 so we can’t go there and be too open. It’s a balancing act, we don’t want to be too negative either, that’s not my style.” “Shola Ameobi and Obafemi Martins have done very well for me since I came to the club, but Michael is the best player we have when he’s fully fit. He is world class and. as far as I’m concerned, it is only a matter of time before he is back in the England squad.”
“The only thing keeping him out at the moment is fitness and I’m sure once he has had a run of games and proven he is sharp and strong, Fabio Capello will recall him.”
It’s probably time to recall Michael because he was on the field just 30 minutes on Saturday and scored one, and missed two other chances. Shola Ameobi on the other rarely gets himself into scoring positions, and who would have thought earlier in the season that Shola would keep Michael on the bench.
It will be interesting to see if Joe wants to start Martins and Owen together, since we’ll lack some height up front if he does start both of them. Playing 3 strikers against Chelsea is probably not on, but he could look at a 4-3-3 formation at some time in the future, especially with Mark Viduka on his way back.
It certainly worked very well for Kevin Keegan last season.