More than one good point for United

By Lee Ryder on Nov 19, 06 11:07 AM

Shay GivenNewcastle United weren’t the first team to pick up a point at the gleaming Emirates Stadium this season.

But it’s fair to say they were probably the most grateful come the end of Arsenal’s fourth draw at their new home.

And although United rode their luck at times they deserved their reward after a positive afternoon in North London that sees them move out of the relegation zone.

There wasn’t just a great scoreline to smile about for the 6,000 travelling Geordies.

Oh no, plenty of other plus points during a time of uncetainty when takeover talk continues to mix with the Tyneside air and spread across Newcastle.

Like his chairman Glenn Roeder has had to face the critisism from all sides recently – everywhere they turn they get hit with a different fist.

But both of them walked away from Arsenal with heads held high yesterday and for the first time in a long time even managed a smile.

And why not?

Liverpool were thrashed just seven days ago at the Emirates while both Manchester United and Chelsea will also be happy with a score draw when their turn arrives to test out the new facilities at Ashburton Grove.

Some nightmare visits to Highbury in recent years were just a distant memory for United after this.

The most obvious plus was the re-emergence of Kieron Dyer in his first start.

Dyer is still struggling to get his sight back in the eye that collided with a flag pole in training to hamper his latest comeback from a hamstring problem.

But still had enough vision to latch on to an Oba Martins flick on, turn two defenders before beating Jens Lehmann from outside the box.

Top 20 European midfielder form? Of course, but will more follow?

Masses certainly hope so but the future for KD looks a lot brighter to the dark days of rehab.

Yet there was more.

Shay Given’s last visit to London ended in horror after a bowel tear following a collision with Marlon Harewood – he didn’t leave the capital for almost a week after collapsing in the dressing room and then being rushed to hospital for an emergency operation that could only happen to a Toon player.

But Given returned with a string of fines saves to deny the Gunners and Thierry Henry no less, the Frenchman’s only answer coming from a dead ball.

Scott Parker proved to be in sparkling form too, while Nicky Butt was first class.

And what about Martins?

The Nigerian has been a disappointment so far but the former Inter Milan bench man hasn’t been bad enough to be branded a flop just yet.

More like his running and link up play at Arsenal won’t do him any harm.

So after the debacle that was Sheffield United, Newcastle United have brushed themselves off and snatched back some pride on the pitch.

Two draws won’t convince anybody just now but qualification for the UEFA Cup knockout stages and a win over Pompey is surely evidence that there is much still to play and fight for.

But with many fans carefully judging their side on a game by game basis now the mood on Tyneside depends on the character of the performance against Celta Vigo.


Ian Teasdale said:

I for one am glad to see Dyer return, if he can keep fit he could be the player everybody thinks he can be.
Martins was poor, Parker and Given were excellent, and although it hurts me to admit it Bramble put in a solid performance, If he played like that every week nobody could complain about him.
But why o why are we again in the Sunday papers being linked to 2 more midfielders in January, does GR know we need strikers and defenders? or does he think we can win games with 10 midfielders and a goalie?

Ryder's reply: Good point, well put Ian.
We are crying out for a calm head at the back at the moment with only three or four defenders fully fit at the minute.

bottlodog said:

Saturday showed a marked improvement in both attitude and performance.The expression on Dyers face following his goal,showed me how much it meant for him to be playing in a black and white shirt.He gave us another dimension bringing the best out of the players around him.I only hope his injury nightmares are behind him - 'cos without him - heaven help us.

Ian Teasdale said:

Thanks for your reply Lee,
On another point i for one would like to say thank you to Harps, for the job he did while Shay was out.
He may not have kept all clean sheets and he did make a couple of mistakes, but considering he's been on the bench for the last 2 seasons,(where as Shay has been the first on the team sheet for club and country for the last 2 seasons), he did a heroic job for us, and as ill never meet him to tell him i just wanted everybody else to know we are all grateful.

Julian Duncan said:

Didn't we do well!!Fantastic team effort and a glimpse of what the Toon are capable of doing every week, Shay Given was an inspiration that has given confidence to the back 4 and you could see it spread through the rest of the team,who knows what might have happened in the 2nd half, Keiron Dyer's goal was truly remarkable and shows he has inner strength, top strikers would have not made that goal happen. I have been very critical over the last month and still stand by my decision that the Chairman and Roeder are not right for NUFC, but for now, lets support our lads for a thoroughly entertaining game.....

Ray Wilson said:

Hi Lee, Great result against the Gunners. Question now having found some
rhythm will GR resort to making more stupid changes before next Sunday? It
is no coincidence that if we substitute Martins for Luque and Butt for Emre
it is almost the same team which did so magnificently against Palermo. I
would also point out Duff for Milner. Also as against Palermo Bramble looks
twice as assured with Butt, Taylor and Ramage for company. I would like to
think GR will have learned something from these games but dont hold your
breath. More than likely he will bring back the likes of Emre supplemented
by the useless Carr and Babayaro in which case we will be back to where we
looked like going....BOTTOM. may I make two further points firstly how lucky
we are to have the magnificent Shay Given back fit again,even though we have
two wonderful lads in reserve ,well done SHAY and a million thanks to being
just as lucky to have Stevie and young Krul who are both wonderful keepers.
I think GR needs to think about his selections carefully before our next
game. I would still prefer Zoggy on the left and let Duff fight some more
for his place ,he has not done much to warrant it so far. Please MR. Roeder
results dont lie it would be cruel on those who performed so well last
Saturday to change the team at this stage though I would like Milner and
Zoggy in from the start,this would give us much more energy and
penetration,though knowing GR it probably wont happen.

Dale said:

Ian Teasdale - How was Martin's poor?? He never let Arsenal mobile back 4 settle for minute. Did well for his part in setting up Dyers goal. People need to give the lad a break. Even Wenger said after the game that he highly rates Martins. So we do not have a flop on our hands just just fickle impaitent fans.

12 apps 3 goals. Not breathtaking but then again not poor.

oxboy said:

Yipee we got a point and scored a goal - been a fantastic season hasn't it!

Ian Teasdale said:

Sorry Dale if you misunderstood me, my opinion is he had a poor game by means of shots on goal. He set up Dyer and did a lot of running but had too few clear chances on goal.
Also for a striker of his class 3 gaols in 12 is poor, and Sheva is also poor as well, so its not a criticism its an observation.
I was one of the ones who celebrated the signing of Martins, when he settles to the game he will be a good buy but i would have preferred he played along side Chopra not instead of.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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