Today’s game against Arsenal is another crucial game for Newcastle, and it would seem, if news from the papers are to be believed, that we’ll play in a 4-5-1 formation, and that captain Michael Owen will surprisingly miss out with Oba Martins starting up front.
Hughton and Calderwood – in charge again for today’s crucial game
But we cannot help but think this change is to keep Alan Smith in the side, and we already know that Joe Kinnear is an admirer of the player.
What we don’t want to happen during the run-in is for the team’s formation to be upset, just to keep Smith in the team. We all know that happened with Sam Allardyce, but we’ll still need to keep positive, and hope the lads can get the win Newcastle fans crave. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating, and if it comes off – great.
This can hardly come as good news to Owen, whose first start since late January was only last week, so we have to believe he’s not looking too good in training. Chris did say Michael was still getting fully fit physically, and that he wasn’t as fit as the coaches woul;d like.
So given that, perhaps the plan is to use Michael for one half, and the final 45 minutes would be best, as Arsenal players tend to tire – hopefully.
However, just going for a draw this afternoon and shutting up shop, will lose us points, so we have to hope we’ll still go for the goals and the win. But with Michael Owen presumably not starting, it has to make Newcastle fans think Newcastle may be trying to cement a draw.
It could be Chris, Colin and Joe want Newcastle to remain in the game as long as possible, and then in the second half, with the help of the Newcastle crowd and a fresh Michael Owen, push forward for the win.
We have to remember Chris said the same defensive type comments, before the Manchester United game, that we couldn’t really go all out, because the Red Devils would catch us on the break.
However, in the first 20 minutes of that game the lads shocked and surprised everybody, as Newcastle continually attacked Manchester United, and certainly rocked their defense more than once, and of course Peter Lovenkrands got the break-through goal.
Maybe we’ll see the same thing again, but if Michael is not starting you have to look for players like Lovenkrands, who can score the goals, bring in the starting line up.
If the story is accurate and Michael does not start and we play 4-5-1 today, this is the team we think Chris will put out this afternoon:
S. Taylor Coloccini Bassong Enrique
Lovenkrands Smith Butt (c) Nolan Gutierrez
Subs: Forster Beye Guthrie Owen Carroll Geremi R.Taylor
No place for Ameobi or Duff in this line-up at all, although we think Chris will have Ameobi as a sub, rather than Carroll.
What do you think?
Let us know – comments welcome.