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Newcastle and good defence in the same sentence? Surely not

By Lee Ryder on Oct 25, 07 09:11 AM

I don't want to get carried away but part of Big Sam's revamp at St James's Park has been to get the defence sorted out and so far it seems he is going in the right direction.

That of course will well and truly be put to the test at Reading on Saturday but at the moment Cacapa and Abdoulaye Faye look like giants capable of finally ridding us of the dodgy defence tag.

We haven't quite reached the class of Kevin Keegan yet and we might never do that but if we can keep on churning out results like Spurs and Everton and get the away form sorted or at least show more fight unlike Derby and Man City, there's every chance we'll all be smiling as we head into the winter.

Anybody who lived and breathed in the city during that Kevin Keegan period knows that those days were like one big intoxicated party.

It's easy to talk about the good old days but that's how it was back then.

It was score, win, celebrate then drink then score, win, celebrate and drink again for almost five years.

And I'm not too sure if Nicky Butt, Geremi and Charles N'Zogbia roll off the tongue as sexily as David Ginola, Tino Asprilla or Sir Les Ferdinand.

So far we've had five minutes of entertainment with two wins and but perhaps one thing that has emerged from this current United team that didn't exist back then is the defence seems a lot tighter.

Plenty of us were impressed with David Rozehnal after his first few games of the season but the Czech hasn't started since Man City when the defence went AWOL that day in Eastlands.

And although Steven Taylor has lots of admirers for his never say die attitude, is there anybody out there who would drop the centre-back pairing we have at the moment?

They both look composed, able to work with each other, bring the ball out of defence and provide a threat from set-pieces.

It all makes for interesting observation at Reading doesn't it?

Let's hope this is the last case for the defence for quite some time after decade after decade of dodgy defending.

9 Comments

Brisbane Mag said:

Cacapa and Faye are looking very good together and while I see Rozenhall pressing these two, Taylor will need to work very hard to get back in the starting eleven....

Just hope Taylor signs the 5 year contract on offer with Newcastle, as he's one for the future!

jackie w said:

Defence has never been our forte so to have a very decent back four comprising of two solid centre halves and two exiting looking full backs is great but if you add to this Roz and Taylor as cover then even the most pessimistic out there should agree the future looks bright.
Even more promising is the fact that Barton is back from injury ,Martins is starting to warm up Owen is almost fully fit and even Duffers is back in training.The only problem i can see is that old Sam has to produce now as even Ashley the so called recluse must be looking on thinking we can do something with this lot.All the talk of building for the future is good but if the fat man has got the bug then he ( like the rest of us will want it now).Cant see the champions league door just yet but if we dont get in to europe there could be stormy times ahead.Happy days Jackie W .

ZORRO said:

WELL LEE..SO FAR SO GOOD..BUT GIVE THEM MORE TIME..STILL A FEW TEETHING PROBLEMS 1 BEING THEY ARE ALL FROM DIFFRENT COUNTRIES..SO ITS GANNA BE HARD FOR GIVEN TELLING THEM WAT TO DO ..AS LONG AS WE WIN ALL HOME GAMES WELL BE UP THERE FOR EURO NEXT SEASON..UP OR DOON ILL STAND BY THE TOON 4 LIFE.

mag in boro said:

if the eleven that started againts Spurs are fit they should start against reading why change a winning team
this season we look as if sam has got the strength in depth he was looking for and its something we have lacked for a number of years in the past a couple of injuries have crippled us meaning we have to play people like babayaro or shola(sorry honest player but you just aint good enough)
still full of confidence for good season 6 points reading and pompey to set us up nicely to take the mackems apart

BRITISH BY BIRTH
GEORDIE BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Paul Patterson said:

I think intoxicated party is a good way of describing the Kevin Keegan day’s at Newcastle, especially since we had the heady thrill, invincibility, swagger and arrogance of the common drunk as he switches allegiance of public house on a Friday night, to top it off, we awoke in 1997/98, with the churning stomach, trashed room and sore head of the shaven headed youth wondering just what exactly happened.

It’s pointless even wishing for those days to return simply because they are unique and will never happen again.

The reason? Footballs changed dramatically, we no longer see free-flowing attacking football week-in, week-out, although Arsenal and Man City are brazen enough to change that, even Manchester United and Chelsea over the last few seasons, haven’t been as entertainingly sublime champions that should be winning the league.

Arsene Wenger may be the enemy of English football, with his “refusal to buy� policy of English players that would raise the national side to the pinnacle of the world game, but he does this only because the English players are so expensive or not very good anyway, he looks out for his club only.

Newcastle’s defence does seem as closer to being “as water-tight as a mermaid’s brazier� (Copyright Blackadder) than ever before in my life-time, but the attack hasn’t really suffered as a consequence, we still have the power to score the odd three in a game, but the attitude away from home needs to change, starting at Reading.

Who would have tipped us to get beat at Derby except those hardened to Newcastle’s previous, “What can go wrong, will go wrong� past?

If we play to win against these kind of teams more often, the comatose drunk may just be ready to don his leather jacket and hit the Quayside with a “Stuff you� attitude that makes any cautious publican start diving for cover and reaching for the last order’s bell.

Paul.

Toon Fan in Ipswich said:

I was very impressed with Cacapa against Spurs. He and Fay timed their tackles well and generally looked strong. Could have done better with their goal but still a massive improvement on what we are used to!
Rozenhal has great composure and it's good to know that we have these 3 guys there who can do a job.
Taylor doesn't come close to either at the minute. Maybe in time but i definitely wouldn't be offering him a 5 year contract especially on the wages he is asking for!

Brainwashed said:

Goals conceded are a good way to judge how good a defence is and our statistics are rather poor so far this season(in the Keegan era although many said it was our attack that made the team so formidable, the goals conceded were also low). Both our current full backs are far better at attacking than defending so far and although the introduction of Faye seems to have improved the centre, before he arrived we had been weak defending against good headers of the ball and have had 'fortunate' results in at least two home matches after being 'murdered' in the air!

Early days and hopefully Big Sam will get it right but against the better teams I am worried this defence will be found wanting.

alvan said:

I'think we have a much improve team this season esp. our defence is very much better.Cacapa,Faye and Rozehnal make alot of different to the team. Still our away form is not steady. Hopefull for a Newcastle win in today game.

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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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