Let’s Hope Viduka Or Carroll Start Up Front Tonight

One thing we will know even before the game starts tonight against might Manchester United, is whether Chris Hughton learns from his selection mistakes in the last couple of games.


Mark Viduka – should start tonight

If Shola Ameobi starts tonight, then that will be a bad sign, given that we have a fit Mark Viduka ready to play, and young local lad Andrew Carroll, who has looked very good in his 5 starts this season, is also available.

Both Shola and his strike partner Obafemi Martins struggled to make any impression at all in the 1-0 defeat by Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday, and Ameobi seems to go through too many games like a passenger on the team.

The bad news this morning is that acting manager Chris Hughton – who has worked with Ameobi for more than a year now – has come out and defended his contribution to the Newcastle cause.

Hughton told the Shields Gazette this morning:

“I can only speak for what he gives us, and the fact that he’s in the starting XI shows what we think of him in any given game,”

“Players have good games and bad games, blow hot and cold, but the important thing is what he gives us. Certainly, we have no complaints with him.”

“He’s a good professional, and in the time that I’ve been here, it’s been a pleasure. What he does is give us an option.”

“Sometimes that option, and the role he performs, can involve a little bit of sacrifice for the team, but he’ll never shy away from that.”

Shola is nowhere near the quality of Mark Viduka, who we pay some phenomenal wage for visiting the treatment room more often than any other player at the club, and we can hardly blame Mark, when he’s not even selected on the rare occasions he is fit. He wants to play for the team, as he’s said a number of times recently.

And Carroll is a lot better in the air than Ameobi, and could possibly dispatch some of those inviting crosses from Ryan Taylor, and put that ball smack into the back of the net with his head.

But unfortunately Hughton insists Nigeria-born Ameobi’s commitment to the black and white cause, can’t be questioned.

“There will never be a time when he shies away from playing or wanting the ball, and I think that speaks volumes.”

“As a player, it’s about overcoming injuries, or what Shola has to overcome.”

The team is having a bad enough time with injuries, never mind not playing our best players when they are fit. Why are we paying Mark big wages when we don’t even play him when he’s fit?

While we’d love to see Viduka or Carroll start up front, but it looks like Hughton thinks differently, and that’s not good – not good for our chances of doing well tonight.

Comments are welcome.

40 comments so far

  • Johno Toon

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #1

    He is a poor player to say the least but ch could hardly come out and say that could he?

  • nufc_houlty

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #2

    got to be viduka..yes anoo he doesnt run around much but he knows where the goal unlike shola he is shocking why does he even get picked i really do get annoyed wen he plays he is terrible..aaaahhhh i hate shola

  • budmon

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #3

    I’m not sure we should start 2 strikers up front, especially with our weakened midfield! martins up front and bring on the Duke for Geremi/Smith if we go down a goal! Please Chris H don’t play the 4-4-2. We need 4-5-1!!!!!

  • budmon

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #4

    Shola should not be hated! its the managers who select him to start that should get the flack when he doesn’t produce!

  • Prince Bassong

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:48 PM

    Comment #5

    There isn’t going to be a ‘managerial troubleshooter’ brought in as the board feel that consistency is the key. Put that together with this statement and Ameobi gets another start.

    Are we destined to end up with two immobile targets up front again? It’s like the staff are unaware of the benefits pacy players bring despite the fact our academy is full of it nevermind refusing to play any of the kids given their unadulterated talent in a team bereft of ideas and impetus.

    They may as well pop down to B&Q, buy some large bricks and put them on the pitch instead, and knowing them they’d probably play a flat back 4-4-2 rather than build a wall in the goalmouth. Still at least they’d chase things more.

  • Nick D

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #6

    You just know Hughton will go for a safety first team.
    I don’t think he has the wit to bring in a sweeper and use pace, strong powerful wing backs and youngsters or change from a 442.

    3-4-3 would give us a sweeper behind Colo and pace up front

    Harper / Krul

    Colo Bass ?

    Jonas(WB) Edgar (DM) Lua Lua Enrique(WB)

    Lovenkrands Martins Ranger

    But you know it will be Geremi and Smith in the middle and the result will be same old, same old.

    If everyone expects you to lose anyway, why not have a go and use youngsters?

  • Nick D

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #7

    Prince bassong – phychic mate !

  • Toon Sweden77

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #8

    I criticized the selection of Shola in a previous bloggpost and I was told to get lost and start watching icehockey or mountainbiking instead..

  • beyethegreat

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    Comment #9

    the duke isnt poor he is just injured a lot

  • nufc_houlty

    Mar 4, 2009 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #10

    we should give a few chances to the youngsters tonight but only the ones hu are up for it, because i dont atually see us gettin anything anyways so give it a goo…cant do any harm can it?

  • Toon Sweden77

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #11

    Would like to see Martins start upfront together with Dukes, thats in my point of view our strongest avalible frontline. Height (and weight) and pace

  • Stuart79

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:01 PM

    Comment #12

    Won’t matter who’s up front, they’ll never get the ball and we haven’t got one iota of creativity.

    We hould go in with a flat back 10!

  • Stuart79

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:01 PM

    Comment #13



    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #14

    two postmen up front is pointless. inter tried that against manutd and it didn’t work so anyone who thinks ameobi and carroll can score need to wake up and smell the manure? play dukes with martins. they’re the only ones that can score. tell smith to stay back and cover the back 4. jonas and our RF (r.tay or geremi) need to whip in as many crosses as possible. I REALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY WE DON’T CROSS MORE INTO THE BOX. this is a precentage game, and crosses gives you chances.

    in this game, we are going to concede. our only chance is if we can score, and in martins and dukes there are goals


    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #15

    s.tay colo bassong enrique
    r.tay smith geremi jonas
    dukes martins

    bench; krul edgar lualua carroll loverboy


    btw our reserves are kicking like bruce lee why don’t we play them?

  • Stardust

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #16

    Just posting this for debate – but since Martins gives the ball away so much and if you do that with Man U you get stuffed – what about this

    S Taylor- Colo-Bassong-Enrique
    Lovenkrands-R Taylor-Geremi-Jonas

    I think that would be a hard working team tough to break down even if slow but solid down the middle. Youd be depending on balls to Viduka and him either laying off for smith (in a role he is more familiar with) and Jonas and Loven with pace down the wings.

    Just a thought.

  • Mag 48

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #17

    Playing Ameobi tonight will only prove that this management are not only inept but also as deaf as the board
    I also think Kinnear has still got an input on team selection from his sick bed
    Go for it tonight lads!!!!

  • beyethegreat

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #18

    stardust i see what you are saying but martins is our main threat yes he does give the ball away and make bad decisions but he can do something unpredictable aswell

  • stevt_0_3

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #19

    TORONTOON – I couldn’t agree more about the crosses into the box. I’ve been saying this for ages now, we rarely get crosses in and the ones we do are poor. If a team gets 10 really good crosses into the box in a game and I reckon you’ll score from at least one of them! Even if they are from deep.

  • Stuart79

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #20

    I’d go with 4-3-3/4-5-1 tonight

    Taylor Collo Bassong Enrique


    Taylor Smith

    Jonas Martins


    That would give us a focal point in Viduka and he can hold the ball up for the pace and skill of Joans and Oba.

    Also makes us stronger in the middle of the park to protect the middle of defence.

    The two wingers tuck in when we don’t have the ball and attack when we do with their pace!


  • Stardust

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #21

    Beye – I know Martins brings certain positive aspects – whereas with his weaknesses they are not as punished with other teams as they are with Man U – that was my thinking – we just cant afford to give the ball awa cheaply then spend 10 minutes chasing it to win it back to give it cheaply again.

    Smith could drop a play deeper there – in between Viduka and the Midfield – it would allow him to move into that area around the box just behind Dukes (who is more than strong enough to hold off Ferd and Vidic) I think playing in that area with Viduka holding them and allowing Loven and Jonas a run at the back line with the Cb’s playing off Vidukas back might work.

    Smith used to be a good player in that area just around the D.

    Im just really not sure playing Martins at the start tonight is the right thing to do. (hope he starts and scores a hatful – Id be thrilled to be proven wrong lol).

    I know I will get blasted for suggesting that but its a way I think might work

  • Stardust

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #22

    Stuart – we nearly agree – bloody miracle! lol – my only rationale being different is that Id play Loven as he is more of a team player and has better movement in terms of passing, keeping the ball and creating space that way (I accept martins is better off the shoulder off the back line and running into holes and space but its giving the ball away I am worried about tonight.

  • Stuart79

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #23


    I feel if we can get the ball to martins in their half we might (big might) not get punished if he loses the ball. I would worry if he ws to be in and around our area.

    I think more than anything against Man U you need pace. We will be playing on the break and for that we need pace.

    Only time will tell but we know we won’t have much of the ball so pace is the key for me.

  • Stevo

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #24

    Lads, Do you think the game will be on Sopcast or something tonight?

  • Stuart79

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    Comment #25

    Stardust // Mar 4, 2009 at 3:49 PM

    Surely we cannot agree!!! lol

    Maybe Lovendkrands for Martins, he does work hard and has got pace also. Only difference maybe that Oba can create something out of nothing.

    Lovenkrands end product is something that I still need convincing on but his work rate might make up for it tonight.

  • Alex

    Mar 4, 2009 at 3:56 PM

    Comment #26

    That’s the team that should start but i would play Jonas through the middle and R Taylor out wide . Taylor can cross the ball better than Jonas and Jonas has more pace than taylor , so we would be more dangerous through the middle of the park . Also jonas has real fight in him as does smith so we could try to out muscle them in midfield with those two .

  • Stardust

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #27

    Good points Alex – my rationale re jonas out wide is that he is crying out for a ball player in there – he looks for a pass as opposed to a whipped cross – at the moment when he moves into the box I feel our front lines movement isnt good so it does create space, holes or opportunities for a pass.

    Viduka creates a great deal of those in many ways, but I do see what your saying.

  • Stardust

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    Comment #28

    so it does NOT create space, holes or opportunities for a pass.

  • Toon Sweden77

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:03 PM

    Comment #29
  • Toon Sweden77

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    Comment #30

    But I dont know for sure, check it out before the match starts

  • komfort

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:08 PM

    Comment #31

    how about this as starting line up

    1500 BRICKS



    & 2 BRICKIES


  • beyethegreat

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #32


    with lua jonas and r tayls interchanging

  • Matt

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #33

    Anyone but Ameobi upfront would be more than welcome.

  • Alex

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    Comment #34

    i can also see your point about Viduka Stardust , he is our only CF that does create space . What ever lineup plays tonight Viduka has to be first name on the teamsheet . with carroll on the subs bench to replace him when he tires .

  • Stuart79

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:18 PM

    Comment #35


    I don’t tink we can afford to play 4-4-2 tonight, I think we’ll get murdered.

    My emphisis would be on counter attacking with pace!


    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    Comment #36

    Stardust // Mar 4, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    S Taylor- Colo-Bassong-Enrique
    Lovenkrands-R Taylor-Geremi-Jonas

    that’s my fav formation because;

    in defence, it’s a 451 with jonas, loverboy and smith tracking back

    when in attack, it’s a 433 with jonas, loverboy and dukes pushing forward

    the only thing about it is i don’t think our midfield can handle it…smith needs to stand up and prove that he’s not a waste of space/money

  • Nick D

    Mar 4, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #37

    Cutbacks on the deck with someone running on are much more effective than crosses. Crosses are hit and hope, no method, percentage football which 9 times out of 10 get headed away or sail too high over. Watch Man u play it through the middle and hold the ball even on the wings and not just load the ”big ball” in. And before you say we haven’t got the players to do that, well what the hell are they doing at a ”football” club in that case.

  • RichY

    Mar 4, 2009 at 5:07 PM

    Comment #38

    Caroll for me. he’d batter the ManU defence with Oba picking up the pieces

    haway the toon

  • simon376

    Mar 4, 2009 at 5:16 PM

    Comment #39


    I agree with you about Martins. As much as I love watching him, we can’t afford to mess up against this lot. But with Smith, I think he has to play the holding role, need some grit in there, just hope he doesn’t get sent off. That being the case, I would give Martins somewhat of a free role, drifting between the left and centre, we can do that and hope for the best

  • greatnavi

    Mar 4, 2009 at 6:34 PM

    Comment #40

    Guyz i am surprised to knw that almost all of u have forgotten the Shola had two decent chances in the Bolton game that too without any effective service.Come on guyz give him a break.Dont let him be another Bramble whos on the verge of being an England Internation after leaving us!!


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