Bassong, Coloccini Making Newcastle Defense Look Good

It’s a long time since Shay Given had anything like a decent defense in front of him at Newcastle United.

Shay Given – smiling because of good defense in front of him

But there are clear signs that Joe Kinnear and Chris Hughton, who seem to have an excellent understanding together, are determined to make the defense one of the best Newcastle have had in recent times.

Assistant manager Chris Hughton told nufcTV today:

“Keeping clean sheets drives home to the team that we have to make ourselves harder to beat,” “If we can stop the opposition from scoring then we always know we’ve got players to get a goal at the other end.”

“But it’s also very pleasing for Shay as well. One thing that a goalkeeper always wants is a solid defense in front of him and we have looked that in recent matches.”

“It’s now about keeping clean sheets on a more regular basis and these last two have done wonders for confidence.”

Coloccini has made a big difference to Newcastle at the back this season, and at least in the last two games 22 year-old Sebastien Bassong has looked just as good.  We have to hope the young Frenchman can continue his recent excellent form, because if he can, the position is his.

He’s been one of the big successes so far this season, as he was brought in as a youngster, who was expected to take at least a season to challenge for a first team spot. It speaks volumes for the youngster’s character and temperament, that he has improved so quickly, and it certainly hasn’t gone to his head, that’s for sure.

It’s a very long time since we’ve had anything like a decent defense, which was a season or two when Bobby Robson managed the club. Even under Kevin Keegan in the 1990s, our defense was hardly the strength of the team.

But Chris is right, and all top teams have good defenses, that can take the pressure during a game without conceding a goal. What we need to get working on Saturday at home is getting a few goals, so we can start winning games, now that we have made ourselves that much more difficult to defeat, and score against.

This all sounds good to us, and we think the team may be back on an upward spiral – we really hope so anyway. 😀

Comments welcome.

38 comments so far

  • lesh

    Dec 2, 2008 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #1

    Guess Shay’s the man who’d know!

  • lesh

    Dec 2, 2008 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #2

    Completely off thread but inserted in the hope that Ed’ll open up the debate about the Mido chants at Boro.

    I believe it’s a topic that needs to be aired and the perpetrators of the chants, banned from all games.

    From another site
    Richy1980 (Newcastle United fan)
    Posted Today @ 12:13 View all Richy1980’s posts
    Fast Eddie Posted Today @ 00:17; I think you and most of the Press are missing the point as to why us Newcastle fans were chanting at Mido. It has nothing to do with his race. It is because he looks scarily similar to the shoe bomber Richard Reid. This is not a race issue, it is a lookalike issue. Did the opposition fans not used to remark that Peter Beardsley looked like Quasimodo? Did the opposition fans – and, indeed, our good selves – not chant ‘Sumo’ at Mick Quinn? Why, but of course we did. How is this different to saying that Mido looks like a certain individual. We live in a world whereby any sort of humour that is ‘near the knuckle’ is deemed as inappropraite. And this in turn is killing humour on the football terraces. It seems to me FastEddie, that you infact, have no sense of humour yourself. Google ‘Richard Reid’ and try to tell me that the image that you find doesn’t look like Mido.

  • ObaFan2

    Dec 2, 2008 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #3

    Central defense pairing the last 2 games have been much better and keeping clean sheets especially away from home is fantastic, just need the midfield to start creating more for themselves and our forwards.

    Noticed we do pass the ball alot with JFK’s team but do not use the wings so much as go direct towards goal. When we do use the wings we are a much more threatening team IMO.

  • nightfall

    Dec 2, 2008 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #4

    owen for benyoun
    smith for baines
    appiah for free
    loan deal for jo (pernament deal, if he plays well)

    beye colo bassong baines
    jonas benayoun barton zog
    shola martins

    krul (given)
    edgar (beye)
    kadas/tozer (colo)
    taylor (bassong)
    enrique (baines)
    lualua (jonas)
    guthrie (benayoun)
    appiah (barton)
    duff (zog)
    jo (shola)
    xisco/ranger (martins)

    so we can sell:
    harper – 2m
    cacapa – 1m
    geremi – 4m
    butt – 1,5m
    viduka – 2m
    carroll – 1m
    = 11,5 m, plus we’d save millions on wages with our biggest earners gone (owen, geremi, smith, viduka, butt,….)..we’d save approx 10m, so we’d have 20m to spent in the summer, and i’m sure wise could get us 3 top players and 5 top prospects for that ammount…

  • Zangwill

    Dec 2, 2008 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #5

    I love him so much!! Good player!Good keeper!

  • tdt

    Dec 2, 2008 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #6

    like sum1 said earlier, if we had a LB as good as Beye at RB, we’d have a very very good defensive unit. hopfully this is on joe’s mind come Jan. creative midfielders would be a great addition 2, since emre left theres not been a realy decent AM in the team, all our central midfielders are pretty defence minded. sort owens contract please! depending on his form over the next couple of months, viduka may be a worthwhile renewal also. right midfield could do with back up 2, duff aint really right sided enough to cover 4 spiderman, this has been a problem since the shocking sale of milner, which was the final straw the broke keegan’s back! so 2 speak.

  • BT9MAG

    Dec 2, 2008 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #7

    Any idea when Newcastle last kept 3 clean sheets?

  • BT9MAG

    Dec 2, 2008 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #8

    Doesn’t matter – I wikipedia’d it…

    In april 08

    Beat Reading 3:0
    Drew with Pompey 0:0
    and beat the scum 2:0

  • kid in toronto

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #9

    no one in their right mind will buy cacapa nor viduka from us, at least not in this league. we shouldn’t sell harper; he’s always been dependable when needed, and you can’t knock his loyalty. geremi is a good squad player and subs for beye when needed. carroll is an england int in the making…just need to gain some weight. why is it so hard for us to find a good leftback? this is a problem position for us for many seasons now. can duff play left back?

  • Kash

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #10

    @Nightfall – Are you absolutely deluded?

    harper – 2m – NO contract expires soon and he’s not for sale…..IDIOT
    cacapa – 1m – Who’s gonna pay for a 33 year old who can’t get into a relegation team….IDIOT
    geremi – 4m – Supidest thing i’ve ever read!!!
    butt – 1,5m – Again, who’s gonna pay for an old guy with extortionate wages?!
    viduka – 2m – As above……IDIOT

  • Bill F (Original)

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #11

    There has been a lot of luck in our clean sheets although the defending has been better. We do not seem to be getting caught out so often with the long balls over the top now. Seb has a lot of pace which is the big bonus about his defending, bit of a Dez Walker?

  • Kash

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #12

    I think a big factor why our defence maybe playing well is that it is finally balanced. Colocini does a great job sweeping up behind the line and protecting the area. Bassong is a destroyer in the making and his pace gives us so much security.
    While having specialised full backs who can play makes a huge difference!

  • nightfall

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #13

    better for us and harper if he leaves…or krul will…

  • Bill F (Original)

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #14

    Kid in Toronto, have you read any of my previous posts re Duff at LB. I sometimes wonder if it is worth posting comments. Feels like I am talking to the wall at times.
    What’s that Wall, at least you find some of my stuff interesting, oh good.

  • nightfall

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:15 PM

    Comment #15

    geremi’s worth 4m…cameroon international, played for, 29 years old, premier league experience, champion’s league winner… IF smith was worth 6m, geremi’s worth 120….billion…

  • Kash

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:18 PM

    Comment #16

    Nightfall: Smith was not worth £6m and Geremi is NOT worth the SHIT that comes out your mouth, you mucking fuppet!!!

  • Kash

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:18 PM

    Comment #17

    Because he’s worth less………WORTHLESS!!!!

  • Fergie

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #18

    nightfall- you have got to be joking if you think we would get anywhere near 11.5 million for those players!

    “so we can sell:
    harper – 2m
    cacapa – 1m
    geremi – 4m
    butt – 1,5m
    viduka – 2m
    carroll – 1m”

    not a chance. harper, cacapa, butt and viduka’s contracts are all up in the summer, so clubs would pay no more than £1m for any of them. And Geremi is worth about £2m max, plus anybody that actually wants him won’t be able to pay his wages.

    If Owen does leave, I would like to see Kevin Doyle brought in as his replacement. I think he would complement Oba and Dukes well.

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:34 PM

    Comment #19

    Sell: Owen (£4mil), Smith (£2mil), Carroll (£1mil), Harper (£1mil), Edgar (£500k), Cacapa (£500k).

  • It Could Be Worse, We Could Be Spurs! (DC)

    Dec 2, 2008 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #20

    yea cuz with 4 mill we could buy……….eh……..?

  • Bill F (Original)

    Dec 2, 2008 at 4:04 PM

    Comment #21

    The Liverpool fans are talking £3 for Owen and seem keen to get him. If they do (and I know it’s bad karma to say it) but I hope they don’t get any more out of him than we have.

  • Whumpie

    Dec 2, 2008 at 4:05 PM

    Comment #22

    Hmm. Yerss. So – back on track:

    Let’s not get too excited about the defence just yet. Two good performances with a bit of luck thrown in, but we need to show that consistency for a lot longer before I’ll be convinced.

    That said, I am chuffed to bits that we have seen such an improvement, albeit that it’s only early days. Teams can no longer expect to barge past us to score, and that should start to play on the oppositions’ confidence. With any luck.

  • It Could Be Worse, We Could Be Spurs! (DC)

    Dec 2, 2008 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #23

    Very true Whumpie… while Bassong is the toast of Toon he could very easily be on the other end of our accolades. He very nearly gifted Henri Camara with the winner against Wigan with an error and let Tungay turn all too easily on the edge of the box to put in that far post cross that could have very easily resulted in a winning goal for the smoggies. A game of inches.

    Glad to see Seb doing well but let’s not blow things out of perspective. He seems a great player but he is young and bound to make mistakes, let’s just hope our lofty ambitions/expectations don’t catapult those mistakes into anything more.

    More and more he reminds me of young Distin, let’s just hope we can keep him. And here’s a thought, how’s about we move for Distin rather than Sol? Could be a perfect mentor/apprentice pairing.

    Owen to stay

  • JP...from The Rock

    Dec 2, 2008 at 4:43 PM

    Comment #24

    Whumpie- Right on! 2 sold defensive displays ain’t enough for me to go celebrating but I am really pleased that it has improved. I could see a slight improvement just before Taylor got injured. Although I must admit I am really happy with Bassong’s improvement. His commitment and class at such a young age is heart warming. I really hope we have a star in the making cuz’ it really looks like it. It will be interesting to see if Taylor improves his game a bit as he has become a bit sloppy of late but started to improve before he got injured. Let’s see if he has what it takes to claim a spot in the center of our defense, I think he will struggle if Bassong and Coloccini keep this great partnership going. At last some proper fighting for places at the heart of our defense.

  • It Could Be Worse, We Could Be Spurs! (DC)

    Dec 2, 2008 at 5:07 PM

    Comment #25



  • Tom

    Dec 2, 2008 at 5:29 PM

    Comment #26

    Why not try and get a loan deal for Wayne Bridge? Cole is back fit, worth a shot.

  • nightfall

    Dec 2, 2008 at 5:38 PM

    Comment #27

    Kash – which one are you? spoiled little rich brat, a guy who really f****d up his life or smith’s cousin?

  • sg fan

    Dec 2, 2008 at 5:48 PM

    Comment #28

    MARQUEE (barca) or METZELDER (madrid) or Burdisso (inter)
    LB: Baines (everton) OR Matthew Taylor (Bolton) hopefully our new Laurent robert, haha.
    APPIAH (free) or DIEGO ( Werder Bremen) or Kevin Nolan (Bolton)
    Ashton (westham) or Loan Vela or Bendnter from arsenal ^^ lol

  • magpie6699

    Dec 2, 2008 at 6:09 PM

    Comment #29

    Thinking about the Stoke game – and this may seem a bit strange considering how well Bassong has played, but do you think we ought to have Taylor back in for his aerial power? Stoke are basically bullies and rely on height, strength and to some extent speed. Maybe try Taylor at left back?? For the same reason, it may be useful to have Viduka on for as much of the game as possible – he might be able to trundle back to help with corners and long throws.

  • Santi

    Dec 2, 2008 at 6:48 PM

    Comment #30

    Santi // Dec 2, 2008 at 18:45

    Let’s show Ed Harrison how we feel about his great blog by voting it “Best Football Blog Community of 2008? on Soccerlens.

    Sorry for those who’ve experienced problems (viruses) or the like with the website as of recent. I’m sure the problem is being worked on. I’ve never experienced any of it so I plan on showing my support for Ed. Hope others do too.

  • Tore Torell

    Dec 2, 2008 at 7:03 PM

    Comment #31

    Baines is no better than what we’ve got, lets go with Emmanuelson instead.

    Fat Ash, splash your cash!

  • cause I got the girth

    Dec 2, 2008 at 7:29 PM

    Comment #32

    errr Ed, howay man, get a grip, they have played a couple of good games together and all of a sudden they are Maldini and Baresi?!?!
    Ive been screaming for years for us to spend some money on our defence and get it sorted once and for all, so I would be one of the happiest to see these two become a good pairing (especially since i think Taylor is over rated and quite simply dreadful!) but come on man, two games, lets have a bit of perspective aye!!

  • kid in toronto

    Dec 2, 2008 at 7:40 PM

    Comment #33

    Bill F (Original);

    sorry dude i’m kinda new to this forum…i will try to find your comments.

  • reillers

    Dec 2, 2008 at 7:51 PM

    Comment #34

    A clean sheet gives the whole squad and fans a boast, but nobody thrives from a clean sheet more then wee Shay. There are games we should have kept more clean sheets if it wasn’t for comical, and in Shay’s opinion soul crushing defending. The Toon defenders over the last few years have been pathetic at best. So to have players who make him smile like he does after a keeping a clean sheet, is not only great for the defenders, but it gives one of, if not the most important player on our team even more confidence. So not a bad days work overall.

    But we’ve been lucky, it’s not all keep a few clean sheets and then happy days, we’ve been sloppy but lucky, our defence needs to keep on improving and be consistent and not to get caught up in what 2/3 clean sheets.

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 2, 2008 at 8:19 PM

    Comment #35

    Tore Torell – Enrique is 100x the DEFENDER Emanuelson is.

  • Al Long

    Dec 3, 2008 at 1:08 AM

    Comment #36

    Put taylor at left back. He played there before.. good for overlapping & can defend. Jose Enrique is now good enough yet.. need to learn the EPL system better. must stick with Colo – Bassong at the centre… RB is Beye’s… Again I must say, time to relegate Butt to the bench, to many mistakes.. too old to chase the opposition midfield..

  • Bosck

    Dec 3, 2008 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #37

    SG fan – if we did sign marquez from barcelona I would be unbelievably happy, as the guy oozes class in every game I have seen him play and for me puyol has always received too much credit for marquez’s hard work.

    unfortunately dont see him joining us in a million years!!!

  • Bmore

    Dec 4, 2008 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #38

    Our squad is small enough with out selling players.

    Buy them first please, dont repeat the Milner/Ferdinand/Woodgate/Bellamy fiasco!

    Thats do it right for a change please.


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