I still know what you did last Monday

By Lee Ryder on Sep 24, 07 09:06 AM

So then a week really is a long time in football isn't it?

Seven days on from that excuse for a football match at Pride Park, Newcastle show us they can do the business when they want to.

Sorry to keep banging on about Monday but we really were poor and this just makes it more baffling.

There was plenty of stick flying about after Derby but perhaps that has been justified.

We already know about Derby getting battered from pillar to post against Liverpool and Spurs, but now Arsenal join the list with a crisp 5-0 job - where as Newcastle stumble to a 1-0 defeat!

That meant that Newcastle really did have to get all three points against West Ham but they did it, and they did it professionally.

West Ham still had their moments and if we are honest you couldn't deny them if they had picked up a point.

Thankfully that didn't happen and the final score could have been even better from a Toon point of view, especially when Oba Martins missed an open goal towards the end.

By that time though the Nigerian had already rolled the ball across the face of goal in unselfish manner to set up Charles N'Zogbia at Gallowgate, who completed the win with a third after he'd earlier supplied Mark Viduka with two fine assists.

Yet amazingly, Sam Allardyce now has the problem, surely a welcome one, of where the heck does he put Zoggy now?

To be fair, the teamsheet at Arsenal will be all over the place tomorrow with several changes expected not least due to the absence of Michael Owen.

But with Jose Enrique now firmly on the scene does Sam revert to 4-4-2 with the Spaniard on the left, James Milner on the right and Alan Smith in his proper role as a striker with Owen out?

Certainly this shape is much more balanced and even though my coaching badge is still very much in the post, you have to say that Zoggy and Milner providing the bullets for any two of Martins, Owen, Viduka, Smith or even Shola kills two birds with one stone.

The first being that it keeps the opposition on the back foot, especially at home and the second, it's entertaining.

Oh yeah, getting the ball in or around that six yard area usually leads to goals too with all three scored from that area against the Hammers.

Overall a great day, Lee Bowyer was quiet as a mouse, Craig Bellamy didn't fancy it and Nobby wasn't selected along with the unfit Scott Parker.

So with Arsenal reserves away next, Newcastle can go there in confident frame of mind.

Don't forget Arsenal's second string were actually 1-0 up in the FINAL last year but with Wenger clearly focused on the Premier League and finally bringing the Champions League to North London, perhaps this could be our year to get somewhere in Carling Cup...


Benton Bob said:

All that really matters at this point are the 3 points. Big Sam is
skilfully fitting in all his buys one by one and it looks like we may at
last have found a worthwhile right back. Habib Beye not only reads the game
but goes overlapping when it matters and produced a few telling crosses.
Apart from 1 scary moment (the pass back to Harper) Enrique looks to be
finding his feet as well.When he came on N'Zog was released wide, Milner
went right and Smithy looked much more comfortable up front. Ashton and
Cole gave Roz and Cacapa a bit of a roasting aerially in the 1st half, so
if there is hope for Taylor it's in 1 of those 2 positions -- even Faye is
good cover at the back if they don't learn the script. Owen is obviously
not fit and Viduka is gonna be in and out all season -- he's always
struggled to put a good few games together -- his 1st goal was
outstanding.So my view is, bit by bit the jigsaw is coming together, Barton
and Duff will defo add to the party when fit. Notwithstanding the Derby
fiasco -- and you feel there will be 1 or 2 more debacles to come (thats
NUFC !)I don't think there's anything to stop us really pushing into that
top 6.If Owen & Viduka don't make it to the Emirates it's gotta be Martins
and Smith up front.Next Sat's agame against City will be our biggest of the
season so far and a better yardstick of where our ambitions fit.

mag in boro said:

yeah 7 days a long time in football..all the knives will be sheathed again..derby was a blip bad day at the office fair enough very bad day..but lot of positives to take from yesterday and can goto man city now with some confidence(how dare sky make it an early kick off when im getting married 15 mins earlier so toon can give me a good 3 point present and yet another reason to rib the smoggies)..

Mark in Washington DC said:

Good yard stick is what we need as the teams we have played atthe start of this season ain't really in the league we need to step into, no disrespect to them but they are all bottom half teams. With team selection in mind I think the only real problem Big Sam is at the front and back, personally I think the team is atarting to pick itself on performance, workrate and shape. My Team would be:

Harper or Given


The reason why I would put Martins is everything about Owen, he just ain't B&W. Sorry but a players who says he wants to wait until after the 2 England matchs next month before having an operation, Come on Owen your taking the michael (no pun intended) How about staying fit for your club know the one who plays your wages. England should be the last thought on his mind after the way the club has looked after him. If he can't play 90 mins for us then I can't see why he is even talking about England. Pay the club and the fans back first then lets talk about internationals.

Bottom line..Good performances lads lets push on and have a great season.. Big Sam congrats on some good signings so please leave Zobs and Milner were they finished yesterday.

oxboy said:

Surely this is a no brainer?
Our lack of creativity from midfield, Enrique being an expensive but proper left back and Zog being a midfielder and not a defender as well as our best play maker only has one answer.
Lets just not waste starting places on Owen and Ameobi and give Butt a rest.

Andrew Davis said:

Hi Lee,

Please give my best to Alan Oliver as he does seem to be not at his best and i enjoy it more when you too are argueing about the mags fortune's........

I thought we were ok against WH on sunday and i am not confident about facing the Arsenal and i would hope for a draw but that is not possible in this cup.

I am hoping we get some points against MC on sat morning as i will be watching that game at 8.30am in the USA.

I would play martins,shola and alan smith tonight as we have to go at them as they will be coming at us with 60,000 people and the only shame is that it's not on sentanta.

Its a shock that Mike Ashley had to out in 45 million again and i hope that does not affect the jan sales as i am not convinced that they are not in this for the long haul and i can see another owner coming in after jan and what do you think lee.

I have to say that the martins miss on sat was a joke and i have no doubt he will be on his way in jan as well.

All the best lee and all the best to Alan Oliver and sorry someone stole his tape recorder when he was last in Washington, DC, USA.



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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