We thought the best two players for Newcastle today were Sebastien Bassong and Andy Carroll, and both give heroic displays for Newcastle this afternoon.
Seb Bassong – tremendous display at the back for Newcastle today
We thought Gutierrez did very well too, as he constantly ran at the Sunderland rearguard, but he was unable to set up any really good chances for the side today, and couldn’t get to the line quite enough times, but 100% effort again from the lad.
Here are some other things we noticed about the game this afternoon:
- Bassong is our best defender by far, and he’s like a mobile brick wall. If we had three more Bassongs at the back we’d be in great shape. And how much did we pay for this lad £20M or was it just £2M? 😀
- The defense looked all at sea a few times today and Sunderland missed at least two golden opportunities to score. In the first half, when Richardson’s free kick hit the post, and in the second half when Chopra was clean through and he inexplicably passed the ball to a wide open Kenwyne Jones, but misplaced his pass – unbelievable error by the Gosforth-born striker – thank goodness.
- Andy Carroll looked great up front and his header in the first half that hit the cross bar shows how good this lad is – in the air and on the ground. Surely if he keeps up this form he will make the England Under-21 side. We also think if he can play every game this season, and stay as good then a Martins-Carroll partnership next year would be great, and we know Martins loves playing alongside Andy.
- At the start of the game in the huddle it was Kevin Nolan doing all the talking and we think Joe should have a word with Nicky Butt, and make Nolan captain. And even when Michael comes back keep Kevin captain, because we know he’ll be here next season. Kevin had a good game and made an amazing save off the line in the first half – he will help us big time this season – as long as he can stay away from the dreaded injury jinx at Newcastle.
- Steve Harper had another decent game, but we’ve noticed Steve only makes his mistakes in his first games back, when he’s a little rusty. he should have done better with Richardson’s free kick in the first half, but if Steve can produce last season’s form (and Shay leaves) he could find himself in the England squad for the World Cup next year.
After all David James is 38 years old and Steve is nearly 5 years younger, so age doesn’t get in the way of Fabio Capello’s choices, especially for goalkeeper.
- Steven Taylor did really well to get the penalty, although to us it looked very soft, and didn’t Shola hit the penalty shot beautifully? We have to say we are a little worried when he was taking the penalty. Right-back may be Taylor’s best position, but the lad still makes far too many mistakes, and that’s the part of the game he must improve if he is to remain in top class football.
- Coloccini seems to be getting too slow too often, unless he can improve his positional play. He played well today, but he is prone to speed merchants going around him on the outside, and he must do something to stop that, because it seems to be getting out, that that’s his big weakness.
- Jose Enrique did well, and if nothing else this lad is a real fighter as he proved again today. He’s so good going forward, but his weakness is his defending. We’d like to see him given an outing on the left wing.
If Ryan Taylor is played at left back we’d like to see Jose on the left wing. He’s got a great left foot, can shoot, has a little speed, and is a great crosser of the ball – worth a try.
- Shola looked way off the pace today, but that was to be expected since he hasn’t played this year. But he did his part in putting home the penalty, and he tried to make himself a pain to the Sunderland defense. But he missed a sitter in the seconds half from a good Duff right wing center – with his right foot! And Carroll’s goal in the second half would have stood if Shola hadn’t handled the ball, which he didn’t need to.
- We should have some good news for Saturday’s game with WBA at The Hawthorns, as Martins, Ryan Taylor and Smith should be fit again, and maybe one new player too.
And Danny Guthrie should be back also within two weeks.
- Make sure you vote on our home page on who you thought was Man of the Match today for Newcastle – thanks.
Your comments on the game are very welcome.