Author Topic: Birmingham 1 Newcastle 1 - Monday 17th March  (Read 2210 times)

Offline trophy4toon

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Birmingham 1 Newcastle 1 - Monday 17th March
« on: March 18, 2008, 12:50:26 am »
Keegan went in at half time trailing 1-0 having witnessed an abject Newcastle displaying all the bad things being said about this squad in spades.

Keegan must have wondered if his third coming was going to survive much longer after the first half performance. He said he'd told the players at half time they would be disappointed if they came away from Birmingham playing like that. One senses the actual words in the dressing room were probably harsher but whatever, we had a fighting turnaround second half when Newcastle almost looked like a football team again.

Owen played a heroic captains performance in front of the watching Capello and almost equalised from a shot in the box brilliantly saved by Taylor. Then Martins won the ball, flashed in a quick shot, parried by Taylor and Owen was first to react to push it in.

Martins, totally anonymous first half was at his spectacular best second half and always looked a threat and seemed desparate to score. With around 10 minutes to go though Keegan replaced him with N'Zogbia which was a strange substitution to make. Martins twice almost did a Robbie Keane as he moved to pull his jersey off but luckily had a change of mind. The Toon Army boo'd the substitution and chanted 'there's only one Oba Martins' as N'Zogbia treated us to a Forest Gump impression as he drove up the pitch towards the Toon Army behind the Birmingham goal and only stopped when he hit the advertising hordings having taken the ball out for a goal kick.

A pretty poor substitution from Keegan, Newcastle ended as an attacking force once Martins went off and the lack of pace in the Newcastle front line became instantly evident.

Viduka did his job well, at last someone to play the ball to who can hold it up and lay it off to one of his own players.

Keegan said afterwards that Butt and Barton provided a real engine room for the side in midfield which was not quite how I saw it. Same old failings in central midfield, too deep, can't tackle, can't hold, don't make themselves easily available to receive the ball and constantly lose posession.

Good to see the Newcastle bench much more animated tonight rather than sitting down looking downcast and miserable. Liked having Chris Hughton in there, he looks enthusiastic and like he enjoys football rather than the rather gloomy and depressing Nigel Pearson we had become used too. 
  
Here's my scores out of 10 for the players:
Harper - 9 - rock solid, must have Capello wondering about Harper for England given the state of English goalkeeping at the moment
Beye - 9 - a class act and a classy performance, never looked hurried, always in control
Faye - 5 - strggled with McFadden first half and bad error to lose him when he scored
Taylor - 4 - continues to play the Titus Bramble role, some terrible clearances, never seems to be in position or tight on his man
Enrique - 8 - strong running attacking full back, still a mystery why he's been overlooked all season
Geremi - 6 - probably his best game for Newcastle but wish he wasn't taking the corners. I counted 6 second half corners from the left which were just chipped to a Birmingham near post head
Butt - 4 - nuff said
Barton - 4- nuff said
Martins - 8 - great pace and always looks a threat, was he on the pitch in the first half ??
Owen - 9 - worked his socks off, immaculate touch and distribution, should have had 2 really
Viduka - 7 - a large presence up front in more ways than one, worked hard to get on the end of the many long balls from defence
N'Zogbia - 5 - only on a few minutes but reminded us why he's not as good as he thinks he is

This was a big result for Keegan and the first signs that he can have an impact with this team. For me the central spine of the team is a big problem but we got what we wanted, an innovative tactical formation which allowed Viduka, Martins and Owen all to start and second half they should have won the game. Well done Keegan and the team.

Some glimmers of hope at last  ;D  ;D  ;D     
« Last Edit: March 18, 2008, 08:41:00 am by trophy4toon »

Offline CraigDoyle

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Re: Birmingham 1 Newcastle 1 - Monday 17th March
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 10:18:12 am »
I'll try not to summarise the game in providing a little analysis.

I felt 3 upfront was a bold move and possibly the shake up we needed to improve our attacking options. I won't let the result and improved 2nd half performance cloud the fact that our midfield was shocking once more.

Barton just drops to new lows every game. Didn't even realise he was on the pitch 2nd half, as he contributes so little when we are on the ball. Butt did his best to infuriate me with his usual World Cup pass act. These 60 yard, over the top, 'passes' are utter nonsense and a complete waste of possession. I wish Butt would just stick to his own level of ability and play the easy balls along the ground. Geremi was an improvement on both but demonstrated that he takes corners like Charles N'Zogbia. I was amused by Martins eventually catching on to how poor the delivery would be and deciding he'd be better of running to the front post.

Upfront I'm split in two minds about Viduka. Strangely, in the first half he looked a lot better when the rest of the team were performing poorly. He links the play up well by holding the ball and using his strength to make time for Owen and Martins to join the attack. The only downside is that I don't feel he gets into the game often enough. Kicking the ball at his head is not as effective as getting it to his feet. He never really got hold of the ball in the second half and when that starts to happen he drifts out of the game. Martins is very similar in that he can be completely anonymous if he isn't being brought into the match by his teammates. Opposite to Viduka, he didn't show in the first period at all. Again, he wants the ball on the ground at his feet. His ability to shoot with his back to the goal or turn out a snap shot when under pressure was crucial to getting us back into the game. We need to include a player with his willingness to shoot in every single one of our final games. "If you don't buy a ticket, you can't win the raffle", says it all when applied to this context. Not much to say on Owen other than he could benefit on feeding off the passes and scraps left by the other 2 strikers. Poach some more goals and keep us afloat.

More trouble at the back. Surprisingly both fullbacks are looking strong. After the Anfield disaster last week, Enrique has picked himself up well. Looks stronger and more difficult to beat now. A few wayward balls forward but I'm happy to see improvements all round. Enjoyed the moment of skill followed by the strike that was well saved by Taylor in the Birmingham goal. Beye continues to look like our only worthwhile purchase this season. Ever since he got himself on the pace he's looked like a proper right back. The big issues lie at centre half. Faye couldn't deal with the trickery of McFadden and once again a simple mistake led to a goal. Alongside him, Taylor is gifting chance after chance to the opposition. Clearance headers don't look convincing from either of the pair and poor passes along the backline often lead to trouble. Taylor didn't get caught out last night as he did at Anfield but now that his errors have been brought to attention more and more supporters are able to highlight them as a potential source of our goal conceeding issues. Maybe this new lad will prove useful.