Time for the Toon to serve up a Christmas cracker

By Lee Ryder on Dec 20, 07 02:55 PM

Let's face it Sam Allardyce is on a hiding to nothing against Derby County but he'll be hoping for a convincing win when the doomed and relegation haunted Rams show up on Tynside come Sunday.

Big Sam has already told us not to expect miracles in the transfer window next month or said as much when he revealed that he isn't a big fan of panic buying in the January sales.

But for 90 minutes on Sunday it's all about the players that Newcastle have at their disposal right now.

Beating Fulham wasn't pretty and I think most people are in agreement on that fact yet no matter which way you look at it wins breed confidence and vice versa.

And as unlikely as it might seem we are a just a victory away from gatecrashing the race for the top six.

Whether we move when the starting gun sounds is a different matter entirely but at least we've got something to hang our hats on after the unspectacular win at Craven Cottage.

All we want against Derby - amazingly and somehow beat us in the reverse fixture - is a good solid win and if we can show some flashes of brilliance as well - it certainly won't hurt.



Mal said:

This is a big chance for the players to consolidate recent good results with a convincing performance as well as 3 points. Let's face it the mood would have been entirely different but for 2 very late winners that have given us an extra 4 points and, as you say luke, puts us within gatecrashing distance of the top 6. Go for it lads!

Gerry said:

I really hope Sam doesn't try and "contain" Derby. This game is a true test of his supposedly basic tactical knowledge. This would be an ideal game to introduce Enrique, and put our wingers in the right positions. Also it would be a good opportunity to pair Barton with Emre in the middle, at the expense of Geremi. We'll be without Geremi anyway come January, so we may as well get used to his absence....

On paper we should hammer Derby. Sam doesn't seem to read the same paper as us though, so expect a scrappy 1-0 win at best.

medan said:

Hope SAM puts an attacking formation give the fans something to be exited about perfect opurtinity to win with Class. Merry X-Mass and Happy New Year to all the fans and the team..

Charles said:

Time has come for newcastle to show their true form againts Derby. Revenge is bittersweet but i like the flavour just right. Go for it lads, show us some confidents and the important thing is play well and win three more points for the team...

Michael Nee said:

We need as many points now because we are not going to pick up money 2nd 1/2 of the season with trips to all of the top 4 + man utd and chelsea come to St James

I want a win and a performance, if we don't get a performance which is long long due many fan's still will be unhappy like the fact i am for the derby defeat (which was blamed on tiredness??)

We will play the bottom 3 in 3 games that doesn't happen often and a club like us should expect 9 points

But never take victory for granted

Paul Patterson said:

I’m not sure we need anyone bought in January, bar Tozer- I know the African Nations cup is a problem, but we surely don’t want to sign big-money players that will not get in the side, once the African based players return, to be honest Geremi wouldn’t be in my starting eleven anyway. This leaves loan players as the only realistic and shrewd option.

I actually think the squads good enough as it is, it’s just the authority they fail to express out on the pitch which worries me, not helped by the players being used as a proverbial Jigsaw puzzle by Allardyce at present.

The main culprit is Charles N’Zogbia, surely it would be more beneficial to see him bombing down the left hand side of mid-field and getting to the by line and sticking in crosses for Martins and Viduka to capitalise on? Instead of this he’s bunged in at left back (Cost us a goal at Blackburn and against Arsenal) getting turned one way and another, simply because he can’t defend.

If only there were an orthodox left back at the club??

As for Derby, as ever- Newcastle United’s role in Premiership Panto is to be the side everyone wants to play, after a defeat, when a striker’s on a four hour goal drought, if a side hasn’t won away from home, a young kid’s making his debut, etc, etc, the list is endless, Newcastle United will turn up and be the exact Tonic for somebody’s Gin at the right time.

A good performance, according to Sam Allardyce is the game against Fulham, nicking a win late on, with no time to reply from the opposition, and away from home as well, now, while this is a great delight, and we all celebrate regardless, it’s not good enough long term, as we won’t get away with this for much longer.

I’ve said before, if this is merely a means to an end and that once stability has been made, better performances follow, (Still don’t understand the ‘Jigsaw’ policy like) This still stands and hope that, after a comprehensive performance against Derby is complete, we can like you say Lee, we can climb up into European places.


Chris Stocker said:

here here.....

"is a good solid win and if we can show some flashes of brilliance as well"

We need to give someone a good hiding and they are the poorest team so get into them and blast the goal difference to shreads.

Merry Chrimbo to all.

Anonymous said:

I think you're being hard on zog who has actually played well at left back - i thought for example, that he and milner were our best players against brum. Everyone seems to be analysing his every mistake and using it as justification for moving him to midfield. Just as many mistakes are being made by those playing in their proper positions and, just for the record, it was taylor (playing in his proper position) who made the initial mistake for the arsenal goal.
Presumably sam will bring in enrique when he feels he is ready (i'm sure he'll get some games over the holidays) but in the meantime i'm sure zog will do a good job.

alvan said:

Derby is going to pack the defence, they are not going to roll over and play dead.They need point and they will fancy their chances at St.James Park. Hopefully we can find a way and score another 1-0 win?

McGregor said:

Is victory a foregone conclusion for United against Derby? Victory for United is not a foregone conclusion against an under-seven side. Regardless, this is a must win game for Newcastle. We HAVE to win.

Gerry, I fully agree with you. Derby at home is a perfect chance to give Enrique a run. Although, Brum at home and Fulham away were good chances to give the guy some time in English football too. So, I'm not holding out much hope for when the team sheet comes out. I always dread that team sheet!

Playing Charlie at left-back, through no fault of his own, distorts our football. Surely, our cause would be mcuh better served if Charlie was in our midfield. A left-winger on the left wing? Not a chance. But, he'd be better somewhere in the midfield than at left-back. Enrique needs to be given more of a chance before anyone writes him off as a poor buy. He's been a poor buy so far because of his price and the fact that he isn't picked ahead of a left-winger who isn't much of a defender. So it's not "all about the players that Newcastle have at their disposal right now". Allardyce has a huge role in how we have played so far this season.

Having said that, for now, I like some of Allardyce's purchases and a greater focus on defense. I certainly don't agree with the amount of emphasis Allardyce places on containment in all games, but it is good to see a manager at Newcastle talking about clean sheets. Hopefully, Cacapa and Beye continue to grow with more time and Faye has looked solid for most of his time.

I haven't called for Allardyce's head yet, though have been so so close, but I wanted to see some change. Playing Smith up-front has had a more positive impact on how we have played. I'm not a huge fan of Smith. Obviously though, he'll be starting alot and if that is the case, play him up-front.

I'm really nervous about this game and can painfully imagine us losing or drawing to Derby. That night at Pride Park was absolutely woeful. Still, we've shown some fight over the last couple of games and we need to keep that up with performing well and beating Derby.

Charlie motoring down the wings, swinging in balls to our front-men? Enrique looking solid at left-back? A Smudger hat trick? A clean-sheet? Please Santa, please!

James 09 said:

The ONLY foregone conclusion regarding Newcastle United is there are NO foregone conclusions !!!!!!

Lee - how about asking Mr Allardyce what the heck is up with that certain left-back he bought for around six and a half mill and isn't blooding against the likes of Brum and Fulham (and most likely the truly awful Derby who easily beat us)?? Instead his costly backside now has an impressive collection of splinters. What's his name again ... ahhh En...ri...que or something vaguely similar.

Wait I know the answer - we have a fantastic left-back in Charles N'Zogbia. Sorry, Mr Claus himself took over the typing there for a minute.

Ant McGivern said:

Writing this after the game I can't help but notice the optimism in Lee's article as something we are all guilty of. At no point during today's game did Derby look like a team at the bottom of the league (at least not against us!). And it once again shows our defence naively conceding goals where others would not. Foolishly, at the start of the season, I felt hopeful we would be on our way back into the top4 (or 6!). However, on today's display I would be quite happy with mid table mediocrity, giving us the chance to stabilise and buy in the close season.


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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