Michael Owen put in a good 73 minutes last Saturday, and although he didn’t score a winning goal, which we need him to do in future games, he put in a decent shift in his first game back since late January.
Michael Owen – visiting children in Newcastle last Xmas
Michael is not yet back to full match fitness, but caretaker Newcastle manager Chris Hughton believes Owen can still put the ball in the back of the net, while he fights to regain that full match fitness in the games to come.
The positive news at Newcastle is that the club does have some good players coming back into the reckoning. Alan Smith has just returned from a long term injury, and has performed quite well so far.
And this week Danny Guthrie will be available for selection along with the great Habib Beye, and Kevin Nolan has completed his 3 match ban, and seems to be just chomping at the bit to help his new club survive.
We weren’t really expecting Owen to be on top form last Saturday, since it seems to take him a few games to get back to full sharpness, and just when you think he’s lost that scoring touch he’ll poke in a couple of goals.
But there’s little doubt that the club desperately needs Michael to do just that in the remaining 9 games, if we are indeed to survive, and the mother of all nightmares is to be avoided.
Chris said today:
“With Michael there’s always two sides to his game,” “One is what physical condition is he in, and the more games he plays and the more training he does, the better physical condition he will be in.”
“But he’s a goalscorer. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, if he’s given opportunities you’ll always fancy him putting them away.”
“What we weren’t able to do against Hull was to get in good enough positions to give him those opportunities.” “There’s no doubt that physically Michael is not where we’d want him, but that will come.”
Saturday’s game against Arsenal is being televised live around the world, so all Newcastle fans will be watching, there’s no doubt about that, and it’s a terrific opportunity for the Newcastle players to deliver on the night.
Then comes the next international break, and the team will have a couple of weeks before the next game at home to Chelsea, so we need some kind of good result on Saturday night if we are not going to stew for two weeks.
Chris knows it will be important to take some positive stuff into the break, and that will be a big change, since we’ve only had the WBA success to celebrate in our last 13 games, so we’re due some good results and some good news.
“It’s a very big weekend but every weekend between now and the end of the season will be a big weekend, not only for us but the other teams around us,”
“We are hoping the international break gives the lads who have come back after a period of time – like Michael Owen Danny Guthrie, Habib Beye and Kevin Nolan – another week of training before the Chelsea game.”
“And hopefully we won’t pick up any injuries in the international break.”
We have some confidence that Michael can indeed deliver for Newcastle, in the final 9 games of the season, and it was right to play him on Saturday, so the club can quickly get him back to full match fitness.
Michael is experienced and has always scored goals, and he’s also a big game player, so we’re expecting a lot from the lad, but we think that’s exactly what we’ll get – we have to hope so in any case.
Howay The Lads!!