Martins leading the way in Toon's latest mission

By Lee Ryder on Sep 28, 07 08:18 AM

Newcastle United head to another ground they haven't won at yet in Manchester City's City of Manchester Stadium with the same problems hanging over them as usual.

Dogged by injuries, scarred by another early League Cup exit and another possible trophy to win ticked off a long list which started in 1969 when plenty of us weren't even born.

No wins in two visits to the Arsenal and no wins and just one goal in our FOUR visits to Eastlands!

And although Newcastle don't go there in doom and gloom mode, there are plenty of Toon fans disappointed that another trophy opportunity went out of the window against Arsenal reserves.

Especially as plenty of other lesser names made it through to the last 16 and Coventry, Leicester and Blackpool are all rubbing their hands with excitement over who's next in the Carling Cup.

Anyway enough of that, what lies in wait at Manchester City?

Well for a start we go into it without Michael Owen and Shola Ameobi meaning that it's down to Oba Martins to get the goals for us, which isn't a bad thing despite his poor performance on at Arsenal.

Poor in that he failed to convert but at least he got into the positions and any striker not doing that will tell you they are in trouble.

In fact and despite limited chances this term, Martins has scored three and made two with the majority of those games being as a sub so his tally isn't bad.

It's clear that Martins is happy at Newcastle and when it comes to January and the African Nations Cup in Ghana, we'll know exactly just how much we'll miss him.

It's true that there could be a couple of clubs sniffing around the former Inter Milan man come January.

Whether Martins being away for two thirds of January on international duty will actually help Newcastle - in terms of keeping him - remains to be seen.

Indeed tying up a transfer in the middle of a major tournament would hardly be straight forward and as the Nations Cup could end for Martins after the transfer deadline, it may work in the Toon's favour.

But tomorrow he can go a long way to cementing his place in the team between now and Christmas.

If Steve Harper is in the team at the moment on merit for preventing goals will goals in the onion bag from Martins be enough to keep Owen out?

It's all interesting stuff and Owen will probably walk straight back into the team when he's ready.

However, you just get the feeling that the fans have much more of an affinity with Martins and the player certainly seems to be aware of that.

Harper is likely to return to the posts on current form even though Shay Given performed like a hero at Arsenal.

Geremi will be back too but Cacapa will miss out due to, yes you've guessed it, a groin problem!

That means Steven Taylor and David Rozehnal will be back in the heart of defence with Habib Beye on the right of them and Jose Enrique or Charles N'Zogbia at left-back.

City have started life under Sven Goran Eriksson rather well as it happens but disaster never seems more than five minutes away for Newcastle, perhaps a draw would be a great result for Newcastle in this one.





Paul Patterson said:

I doubt Sam Allardyce will play an attacking enough formation, to get at Man City.

It will probably be Smith on the right, Milner on the left and I can see, Faye, Butt and Geremi in the middle, leaving Martins to plough a lone furrow up front.

If Viduka’s fit then that will force the two up front, but whilst Im not a Smith fan, if Viduka fails to make it, he should be up there with Martins.

Enrique and Beye should be the full backs, with Taylor and Rozehnal our ONLY options in the centre.

Expect defensive, negative football with the main aim, to nick a point and if three come our way then Sam Allardyce will take the credit and say he was looking for the three points after all.

We all know though that that isn’t true!!


Ross said:

Alan Smith represents a problem for Newcastle because he does not seem to fit in to the middle / right of the park and he certainly won't score the goals to warrant a place of front.

I think Smith has to make way once Barton returns with the Zog and Milner playing on the wings.

Smith seems be a headless chicken and more than once he's been reluctant to work the flank as required.

Man City will work hard this wekeend for 3 points if we don't try to go forward and play defensive we'll be beaten before we start.


Ben said:

I think martins is the rite choice with viduka,if he's fit.charles should play on wing, jose full back.smith not good enough.harper for starter been brillant.owen same old story.we have got play postive away from home to,we are not good enough sit back.

Snapper said:

Its been commented that Taylor and Rozenthal are the only options at centre back, what about Faye he plays midfield of CB, I am not saying he is better than the two mentioned but he is an option.

mr toon said:

There is one big thing in our favour now - with Shola not in the team we will at least have 11 players on the pitch and not 10. He must be the most 'static' forward around. Viduka is much older and regarded as slow but his work rate, effort and nous is much better (as was Chopra's). Did anyone realise Shola was carrying an injury as he seems to perform the same way if he is fit or not. Martins was great against Arsenal and if he can learn to finish and be more clinical in front of goal we should be there or thereabouts this season.

The new defence is looking strong as well. For years I've dreaded the opposition (regardless of who they were) getting in our half but this season and against Arsenal especially, despite all their possession & pressure, I've been quite relaxed. Big Sam is getting there but what we really need is a driving force and some creativity in midfield, something Barton and Emre should bring.

As for the City game, I go for a hard fought draw!

Eric Lontong said:

aye aye Paul. never more agree with you. I think sam will put his nose up on the grass to still something stink under sven's glasses :D
get the point(s), get more credits. lose the point but still get the credits.
totally agree, draw would do

Mat said:

"we go into it without Michael Owen and Shola Ameobi meaning that it's down to Oba Martins to get the goals for us..."
You're not a big fan of Viduka's are you? Haven't seen a positive comment out of you about the joint leading scorer. ???


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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