It appears like Alan Shearer will be experimenting with his team in almost every game through the end of the season.
Joey Barton – can this man help save Newcastle?
Alan is desperately looking for players who have the mental strength and capacity to perform well in the final four crunch games of the season, and it looks like Alan Smith met that test on Monday night with a solid performance in midfield.
Shearer has shown that nobody is safe from the chop at Newcastle, with both Kevin Nolan and Ryan Taylor not even making the bench on Monday night.
Alan may also turn to Joey Barton, but we have to make sure Joey is fit and doesn’t immediately break down again, which has happened to both Steven Taylor and Jose Enriqaue in their recent come-back games from injury.
Alan talked about Joey Barton:
“Joey will have a full week’s training and could be involved at Anfield. He has not had many training sessions but we could have played him against Portsmouth on Monday night for 10 or 15 minutes if it had been necessary.”
Joey will play some part in Sunday’s game, but we’re not sure he should start, but maybe playing the last 30 minutes would be good for him.
And of course all is not lost yet, and maybe Newcastle should take heart from what happened this week here in the USA. It is the Stanley Cup (ice hockey) playoffs and our local side, The Carolina Hurricanes were in a 7 game playoff series with the New Jersey Devils.
The team was 3-2 down in games, and the odds are very low they can survive when that happens. However, on Friday night in the 6th game, Carolina won 4-0 at home, here in Raleigh, to force a 7th game in New Jersey.
That game took place last Monday evening and with 80 seconds to go in that game, they were losing 3-2. All over right?
Wrong, the team scored with 80 seconds left on the clock and then their best player, Eric Stahl, got the winner with 36 seconds to go to win the series, and get through to the next round – and this was all away at New Jersey.
As we’ve often said you have to expect the great players to come through when it matters most, which is why we’ve been so disappointed in Owen and Martins in the last several games – and that’s why they are paid the big bucks – to produce.
But nothing is ever over until it’s over, as the former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra said, and we notice that Alan Shearer has already been using that phrase – and he’s right!
Yogi had some great statements he used to make like – “nobody goes to that restaurant any more because the lines are too long.” That ranks near Brian Clough’s great statement – “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wasn’t on that particular job.” 😀
Well, Newcastle still has a decent chance of surviving, but it will take the players to lighten up, and produce their best form in the last four games, and it’s been a long long time since we’ve seen the team actually play anywhere near their potential.