Toon left furious after late Blues winner

By Lee Ryder on Dec 29, 07 05:08 PM

Newcastle United's battling performance in the capital today wasn’t enough to ease the pressure on Sam Allardyce as his side were beaten by a controversial late goal.

Salomon Kalou’s goal near the end bagged the points for Chelsea in a 2-1 win for the Blues but Newcastle could have picked up all three points.

Newcastle headed for Stamford Bridge looking to become the first team in 73 Premier League games to beat Chelsea against a patched up Blues side.

However, there were still 10 internationals on show for the home team.

Under fire Toon boss Allardyce made more changes to the side that lost at Wigan with Cacapa back in defence and Oba Martins restored to the starting line-up in attack.

Fit again Michael Owen was on the bench for Newcastle as they looked to bounce back from the JJB Stadium debacle.

Joey Barton was unavailable to Big Sam while Emre was dropped to the bench.

Yet there was no place at all for Geremi against his old club as Abdoulaye Faye was used as an anchor man.

United had the first chance of the afternoon when a cross from the left flank found Martins in the box - but a bad first touch from Martins saw third choice Chelsea keeper Hilario gather the ball easily in a great opportunity for Newcastle.

On 15 minutes though Martins wasted an even better chance when Nicky Butt sent the former Inter Milan star clean through but after taking far too much time to pick his spot Blues defender Alex caught up and got a crucial block in.

Chelsea, inevitably, struck back and four minutes later Juliano Belletti cut the ball across the face of goal on the right hand side with Kalou forcing Given into a good save low down.

Tension on the terraces was there for all to see at Wigan on Boxing Day but despite the game still being deadlocked Toon ace Steven Taylor and fellow defender Cacapa squared up to each other on 28 minutes with Faye having to play the role of peacemaker.

And just seconds later Chelsea grabbed the lead as Wright-Phillips cracked a shot that rolled off Kalou before the ball rolled between Taylor and Cacapa before Essien tucked home the rebound from close range.

United’s responded with two minutes left of the first period when Cacapa picked out Martins with a low pass from half way but the Nigerian could only find the crowd as he fired high and wide.

Chelsea were looking to add to their lead in the second half, however, Newcastle looked like they were doing their best to assist them as Nicky Butt forced Given into a great save after turning a right wing cross towards his own goal.

Yet Butt got it right at the other end 10 minutes after the break as N’Zogbia broke free down the left hand side to pick out Martins whose flick into the path of the ex-England man saw him bundle home from close range to make it 1-1.

Newcastle almost snatched the lead on 68 minutes after Martins tried to pick out Duff at the back post but Belletti got there first to deny United.

With 16 minutes left the travelling Toon fans were handed a boost when Owen emerged from the bench to replace Martins.

But just when it looked like United were going to clinch a deserved point Kalou inflicted late agony as he slotted home when it looked like he was offside.

Essien’s deflected shot fell into the path of Kalou who squeezed it beyond Given for 2-1.

And as United protested furiously with the assistant referee both Butt and Given were yellow carded.

CHELSEA: Hilario, Essien, J Cole (Pizarro 66), Mikel Obi, Ballack (Sinclair 77), Bridge, Kalou, Ben Haim, Wright-Phillips (Sidwell 90), Alex, Belletti.
Subs: R Taylor, Ferreira.

UNITED: Given, Beye, Cacapa, Taylor, N’Zogbia, Butt, Smith (Rozehnal 69), Faye, Duff (Viduka 89), Martins (Owen 74), Milner.
Subs: Harper, Emre

Ref: Mike Riley

Crowd: 41,751


Big G said:

So, how are we supposed to feel now? Hard done by? (many thanks to you again Mr Riley). Perhaps grateful for a team that was at least trying? Well, we lost. Again.
The bottom line shows one point from the last nine. Some will say that had we converted a couple of our chances today, we would have won. We didn't though, did we?
Let's face facts, the Chelski defence they fielded today was possibly the weakest we have faced for many years. We will never have a better chance of getting a result at Stamford Bridge.
Yet the media are making out we should be satisfied because our lads at least tried today. For goodness sake, that's the absolute minimum.
I'm sure we'll turn Man City over but, hey, if we do (and if we manage to get past Stoke in the Cup) it shouldn't paper over the cracks. Not again. PLEASE!

Happy New Year folks, it will be. Trust in Messrs Mort and Ashley - we have to!

gav said:

well the phrase we was robbed is surely a massive understatement and the fact that we played a so called chelsea reserve side is insignificant , the fact is we played a decent game yes it wasnt perfect but we showed some courage out there and we went for it against a side who has much better quality than ourselves , at least in their results . I'm not so sure what should happen now we cant just let one performance change our opinion that the rest of the performances have been terrible , we all know they have its just frustrating to us because they should be playing like that every week . Sure big sam is the one who will be in the firing line but will it really do us any good getting rid of him ? , have we doubted him too soon ? should we hang on and see what happens , its a tricky one because if things dont change then our position surely will and it wont be leading us to the top half of the division. However what if things change it will be time for us all to eat humble pie and say we were wrong . We all want the best for the toon and i think including myself we are all just too impatient its just hard to be patient when your team are playing crap and getting beaten by sides in the relegation zone . I myself was one to call for sams head but one day its right and the other its not, i think it would just create more chaos but in turn there is chaos being created on the pitch so what are we supposed to think !!!

medan said:

Much better preformance with a little bit of luck we could have won. Linesman decsion was horrible but that is part of football some decsion go for you some aginst you. I believe when we tied up the game the subs should have been emre for smith and Viduka for Duff play 4-4-2 to go for the win as playing for a tie usually does not work.

Eventhough Martins should have scored in the first half(seems to have lost confidence) he still was the only attacking threat we had as a lone striker, he kept the 2 central defenders Alex and TB back. It was evident once Martins came off Chelsea relized minimal attacking threat and went for the goal.

N'Zogbia was horrible as LB he was massacred could have been 3-1 for CLSki in the firts half.

I wish SAM played Enrique with N'Zogbia playing left wing.

Paul Patterson said:

A lot will be made of the goal that should NEVER have been, but in reality, nothing has changed since 3pm this afternoon.

The goal that sould never have been, doesn't make ANY difference to anything.

Am I the only one who has seen players fighting with each other, or scrapping for the same ball on at least six occasions this season- Poor organisation in my book!!

In reality, nothing changes after this result or performance, in fact things seem worse, questions arise:- 1:- why did it take criticism and pressure from the fans to force this performance, much like the fans forced the performance against Arsenal after similar shambolic displays, and this was against a severely weakened Chelsea at that, 2:- Why did we end up playing FOUR centre backs (Taylor, Rozenhal, Cacapa, Feye, along with N’Zogbia and Beye, on the flanks.

Having said that, what the hell was the formation anyway? Where exactly were Duff and Milner playing, with the erratic Martins up front?
Yes! I can’t disagree, a creditable performance, but in reality, does this erase the shambolic performances of the last six months?

Of course not, in fact they are highlighted as more of a scandal than ever more, it highlights the squad as more phoney than ever before, the question should be:- Are the management and squad on the take? For if they are not, this performance would never have been.

Every ball a long one, and every ball aimless and without direction.

Oh and didn’t Avram Grant look like Dracula on the touchline?

Where was this performance against Wigan, Derby, Derby, Reading, Fulham, Sunderland, Boro’ etc, this game just highlights the fact that the fans are the most important part of this football club, for if it were not for the fans reaction to the Derby and Wigan games, we would currently be drifting aimlessly toward a pointless New Year, with little hope and expectation toward a limitled regime.

Or are we doing that anyway?


Anonymous said:

I think Mr. Allardyce had it right with Faye as a holding midfielder. But still a spark was missing. I think Emre should be in. Some games he may worry too much not to make a turnover, but his desire is there and he can make spectacular plays if there isn't anyone glued on him. And if he gets playing time he will make more.

Didn't Viduka get away with one earier in the season? Sam is done not because he's a nice guy, it's because he waits too long to put in the first sub. He must be on cloud nine at times. Newcastle deserves better and I will rout they get into Europe in a week Premier league.

James 09 said:

Despite Chelsea missing numerous scorable chances, the winner was daylight robbery, period.

What a fine clique - the Premiership is so often such a cruel place. Martins wastes two good chances ( especially the second where he checked and Alex got in) and I think many could see that was always going to be crucial.

As always though, credit where and when credit is due - a much improved performance, particularly in the second half. Mind you stringing ten passes together would be an improvement on the Wigan performance. I'm trying not to be overly negative, but like against Arsenal, that just makes the hat-full of meek-to-woeful performanceS all the more infuriating, hard to stomach, and costly.

If ever there was conclusive evidence that Charles N'Zogbia is NOT a LB and doesn't wanna play there - its the Chelsea game. He was as exposed as a brazen centre-fold by SWP and co. And no sorry, it didn't happen just the once - it was routine throughout.

Yet, and here is the tragedy, N'Zogbia again showed that he is such a force going forward down the left. N'Zogbia is not a good attacking LB like Cole, he is a midfielder. Again, the Enrique situation is a major concern for reasons hopefully obvious, and stated hundreds of times already.

Undoubtedly, Newcastle United were subject to an awful decision today, but even the improved performance has done little to allay major concern for 2008. 5 more to play against the top four, with trips to Villa, Tottenham, Portsmouth, and Everton. That's a lot of points and I'm afraid I can't see a pleasant return for us. Yes we've got numerous so-called "winnable" matches, but we all know Newcastle United's track-record with those - not just this season either.
We NEED a result against Man City.

We failed bleakly to capitalise on the Arsenal performance and embed that level of performance consistently in our play. If we don't embed (at the very least) a consistently decent level of performance - and the underlying responsibility for that is firmly with Sam Allardyce - we are in for one rough New Year.

Siomi said:

What an interesting game Lee! There is so much to reflect on. But more questions raised than answered I feel

Allardyce was pitch side throughout, not up in the stands with his silly mike for the first half. About time! I am not sure that you really can get a ‘clearer picture’ from the stands (ask Fergie about the view at West Ham!), and whatever advantage there is must surely be outweighed by having your manager on the touchline barking encouragement. And did anyone notice the gum only went in towards the end of the game?

And what about the ‘formation’? Zog had another terrible game at left back and couldn’t cope with Wright-Phillips at all. But he also seemed to moving up the wing and attacking more and doing the things he does best; beating defenders, cutting infield and putting in superb crosses. He created our goal. But was this a strategy (and if so, who was covering left back when he went forward?), or was this frustration and player initiative? And where did this leave Duff (literally?). Has Zog at left back been an elaborate preparation for Duff’s return? Is that why Duff is so grateful to his manager?

And what about Milner? He seemed to be popping up on the right, playing in the position he should really be occupying. Again, was this some masterful Ajax style ‘total football’ strategy? Or was it a player determined to show what he can do when played in position? I did see Allardyce bawling and gesturing at Milner after one of these forays, so tend to believe it was the latter.

Beye was again brilliant at right back as usual, but what was going on between Taylor and Cacapa? Feye was great as a holding midfielder, but needed Emre with him to be more effective. Obafemi looked out of sorts, lacking in confidence and unsure of where he should be and where the ball was coming from (though he usually just has to look up!). Playing him on the right seems to have confused him. I feel sorry for him as he has a huge tournament coming up and Nigeria really need him to be on top form.

We hear a lot about looking after the players’ health and fitness under the Allardyce regime, but why in God’s name was Smith allowed to stay on after his train wreck of a collision with Feye? On a day when a player in Scotland died on the pitch, you would have thought the coaching team would have been more responsible.

And who did they bring on? Emre? Owen? Viduka? Nope - a defender! And to bring Owen on later, he took off Obafemi!?!

Prognosis? Not a clue. It could be that Allardyce is now genuinely in fear of his job and is attempting to change the direction of the oil tanker that is his mindset. It could be that the players themselves have decided to take more control of what they do on the pitch. Or it could be that nobody really knows what they are supposed to be doing!

Bring on City and Stoke!

Peter Harper said:

It is not often I agree with Paul Patterson but when I came back from the match my son asked me what formation we had played and I had to tell him that in the second half I did not have a clue.
I thought Faye played very well throughout and we had Chelsea on the back foot for most of the second half.
So what does Allardyce do? He substituted Smith with Rozenhal and later Martins( who ran at the defence and continually caused Chelsea problems) with Owen (static as per usual) thereby inviting pressure and the inevitable(however incorrect the decision)happened.Sam had a chance and once again, due to lack of bravery, tossed it away.Totally gutless as I have said many times before.
Chelsea fielded 11 good players yesterday.Let's have none of this "reserves" rubbish but Chelsea were appalling and Abramovich will not put up with this.I have advice for Avram Grant.He can plan ahead to a holiday with Sam Allardyce as they are both going to have plenty time to plan the future away from their current respective posts.
NB. I would like Mort and Ashley to ensure that Allardyce's agent takes no part in any transfer dealings in January and negotiations are carried out by a full time Newcastle employee.We, the Newcastle supporters are,regardless that NUFC is a private company, entitled to ask this as we provide all the funds, directly or indirectly, which allow this company to exist.
Barton has already come home to roost.I don't want Allardyce and associates to be the second leg of the Tote double.

william p said:

Well, I managed to catch the second half
and at first I thought the tide had finally turned! milner on the right and charlie on the left but then I realised he was still playing at left back, If it wasnt for him making those good runs up the left them crosses he put in we might never had scored that goal. And then what? we went from an attacking side to defensive one! Looked to me like Sam wanted to settle for a draw. If your going to play that sort of game then you might well at least have a defence that talks to each other.... It just didnt work out again, I think I'll just stop saying anything more and wait for the good days to come back, Sorry Lads but that's way it is...

abu said:

i think big sam has to go for the jugular ie try to be innovative and take chances with the players we does not help if we loose wit four central defenders on pitch, why dont we play butt, emre, milner and duff in midfield and owen with viduka as strikers...remember the glory days of bobby and keegan. we played good attacking football

John Best said:

There is no need to pay the 20M compensation, to unload Sam & his goons; any chairman with half a brain would bring in a Director of FOOTBALL to over see this fiasco, they would all be off at the drop of a hat. There is clearly unrest in the camp; its there for all to see. The players lack skill and PRIDE !!. Allardyce is doing his best but it is clear that, it is not enough, he does not justify his salary, on grounds of gross incompetence.

Michael Nee said:

2 wins in our last 10 games THATS RELGATION FORM and we are not safe as we won't win another away game this season with him in charge.

if any1 thought we deserved a point must be joking? chelsea had 10 shots on target to our 2, percentage football thats what he bangs on about and results, and he isn't getting any of those things

when we equalised, and chelsea looking all at sea, but what does he do, sits back for the draw and takes off martins and puts owen up front, the most useless subsitution until the viduka one WHEN WE ARE GETTING BEAT THEN, we we're sitting very deep for the last 15 mins so something lyk that for the 2nd goal was eventually going to happen.

chelsea's team was the worst i've even for 7-8 years, we on paper had a better team, but then we HAVE SAM ALLARDYCE

mag in boro said:

All comments are spot on

Positives...battled well,deserved a point and for most of second half had chelsea(and yes was weakened but still had 10 internationals on show)Duff looked sharper and Faye done well
And again hats off to our fans who were awesome

Now to the negatives and no surprise most aimed at the tactically inept BS midway through 2nd half we were well on top attacking down both flanks and it would not have been a shock if we had got a second so what does he do bring off smith(not a bad thing)and sticks roz at back when natural switch would have been viduka (2wingers none better at attacking quality ball)then removes oba for an unfit owen
chelsea were there for the beating yesterday and rueing poor refereeing shouldnt have been an issue

also feel that martins patience maybe getting worn a bit thin didnt look happy at being subbed and dont blame him

So onto the New Year and i for on is hoping ashley and morts resolution is to find a proper manager oh and find barton a good brief and a place on a anger management course

to john best
a director of football wouldnt normally be a bad suggestion but in Sam we have someone who wouldnt take advice too much arrogance
we have players with the skill...oba milner znog emre owen viduka duff all attacking players but not when being told to play like bolton

Happy New Year to all of you and raise a glass to being a toon fan its never gonna be plain sailing always gonna have more ups and downs than paris hiltons mattress but its always going to be better than being a mackem

All the Best Folks
Time to drink celebrate and hope we can put a poor year behind us..Starting with city


lezb said:

Well said John I posted a similar suggestion and as the main man running the show is a smart guy business wise no doubt the same thought has crossed his mind,Move him up sideways if you get my drift.

Newcastles Premiere NLE said:

Whilst I am one of a small group who believe that Allardyce must be given time to do what he feels needs to be done there is one question which everyone is asking each other but i have not heard posed to Big Sam by any journalist.

Why are players being played out of position, particularly when we have players sat on the bench who could slot into their natural positions? Alan smith is a centre forward and in the only game this year when he has played as a centre forward against arsenal, he was excellent and won man of the match. In playing him as a defensive midfielder, Allardyce is doing nothing more than making him look a bad player. (who may i add does not moan but merely gets on with it giving 100% where others would undoubtably sulk.)

N'zogbia has without doubt been our most dangerous player this season, yet he is played at left full back?

Add to the list milner played left, martins on the right wing etc as well as team selections which leave us baffled week in week out.

Big Sam undoubtably has good reasons for the formations and team selections but I for one cannot work it out and every game we are left scratching our heads and asking 'why'?

Come on Lee or Ollie or Gibbo or ANYONE!! Ask him or Pearson to explain why. If we could understand the method behind what appears to be madness then we could appreciate what exactly he's trying to achieve.

Ads said:

Like everyone else I was left with bad taste in my mouth and was so ropable at the poor ref decision - I feel for the players and the fans (for their passion was there for all to see) - However we should have never been in that position at that stage of the game. Seems that Allardyce was definatley settling for the draw and the substitution of owen for martins served to only distract or misdirect criticism of the performance(ie. the return of michael owen from injury to boost the side) the sad thing is that if he acted quickly and went for the kill (442 with Viduka on earlier) we would have got it, I beleive that in my heart due to the time of our equaliser we were out passing and dare I say it outplaying Chelsea in the second half (if only duff got ahead of the defender with that chance created by martins!!). There is definatley some dissent amongst the players with Taylor and Cacapa sharing a few verbal pleasantries at one stage.

N'Zogbia's talent is just wasted at LB absolutley wasted - he serves little purpose there and its evident as he continualy pressed forward (and he is such a great crosser and is perfectly balanced) - like many other newcastle supporters I am at a loss trying to justify Big Sams decision to play him there. Put on Enrique for godssake!

Beye was perfect, Taylor did well, Cacapa reliable and Feye was very good but was stupid to smash into smith that way, looked horrible.

If we play that sort of committed football then I see a good fortnight ahead, but they have to be much better to beat Man City at the moment, especially at St James.

Wish you all the best for the new year.

Adam - Melbourne, Aus

Anonymous said:

Guys.. Having seen the game on MOTD, I'm ashamed to say that I know for a fact that the Linesman that gave "that" call.. (and as proof he's based in Somerset) gave a signed Chelsea shirt to the raffle at his sons schools summer fate this summer !!.

So how impartial can he be ??

bonnielad said:

at least the game was watchable chelski were probably the better side over 90 minutes but had to be content to win the game with a blatant offside goal.the linesman (sorry refs assistant) should be replaced with a ball boys job.hopefully the magpies don't revert to jekyll and hyde against a most improved man city and come out all guns blazing.a happy new year to all black and white fans and to the players, management and their families


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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