Author Topic: Newcastle United 3 Reading 0 - Saturday 5th April  (Read 2185 times)

Offline trophy4toon

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Newcastle United 3 Reading 0 - Saturday 5th April
« on: April 06, 2008, 12:01:53 am »
Well a third win in a row is beginning to give you more confidence in this Newcastle team.

It must be said, whilst the stats show 60% possession more could have been made of this and some disappointment that it was not more than a 3-0 win.

Another good performance from Barton, another exceptional performance from Beye and the front 3 all registered a goal. Martins looking the best he has all season.

Reading fell away badly in this match but you have to give Newcastle some credit for a comprehensive win, however one feels some sterner tests lie ahead, away to Portsmouth next week being one.

The midfield is still a worry, lack of pace, lack of creativity, will be exposed against better quality sides. Also if Viduka ever gets injured this whole systen falls apart, and what do we do then .....

Anyway, 38 points on the board, Premiership status secured for next year, time to turn our thoughts to next season, Kevin already has, "4 or 5 new players" he says.

Time for a pint to celebrate   :D  :D  :D 

Offline CraigDoyle

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Re: Newcastle United 3 Reading 0 - Saturday 5th April
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2008, 01:39:27 pm »
Another 3 points on the board and I think we've done enough now to disassociate ourselves with the relegation struggle. Recent performances have been a huge improvement over some of the rubbish rolled out this season but I'm not getting carried away like many people are. I think the performance against Reading showed more of the real story than perhaps the scoreline would suggest.

Reading were no mugs. If I was to be fair I'd have to say that Reading were the better team in the first half. They may have gone in two goals down but they could well have scored three goals of their own in the first 20 minutes. I feel they lack a clinical finisher but, much like Fulham a fortnight ago, they have an influential player in midfield that can keep things ticking. Stephen Hunt was that man yesterday and although he is hardly a big name, he does a lot of the simple things right and is able to string things together and get others involved in the game. In the early stages he was causing havoc by passing and then running in behind a midfielder to receive the ball again. Perhaps our midfield would benefit from having that sort of guy next season. Not just a player who is able to stick the foot in, but able to drive forward and create confusion. Thankfully, Nicky Butt quickly identified the problem and started to keep tabs on Hunt, which greatly reduced his influence on the match.

Reading had a good go against our midfield early on and I think that their four men up against our three was a massive factor. Perhaps we were also not helped by Michael Owen conceding possession on several occasions by passing the ball to the feet of blue and white shirts while still in our own half. I know Owen looks the business in his new role but he doesn't impress in the central midfield area of the pitch and needs to stay ahead of the other three midfielders.

The finishing from both Martins and Owen showed that we have a lot of quality up front. The composure of Martins impressed me greatly and illustrates an improvement on technique and composure that was lacking at times earlier in the season. Where once he would have tried to blast the ball with his bootlaces in an effort designed to remove the net from the goal frame, he opted to just slide the ball along the floor with the side of his foot. He chose to do similar at Spurs last week and in my opinion such composure is the way to becoming a better finisher.

Owen is now sitting at four goals in his last four games for Newcastle. I think with the improved service, he is getting more chances per game and on current form he is scoring from almost one in two chances when inside the box. What makes it more impressive though is that Owen doesn't always need a clear cut chance. He is often able to turn the tables on his opponent and gain an advantage that others player wouldn't by arriving in positions at precisely the right time and making intelligent runs that defenders can't track. He often manages to mask his physical 'disadvantages' such as height and lack of pace with his ability to read the game and clever footballing brain. Yesterday was an example of such with a finish of high quality. A clever little run off the back of a Reading defender and a little 'dink' pass of superb quality over the defenders from Habib Beye and suddenly Owen finds himself in on goal. However he still had a lot of work to do in order to find the net before he was closed down and the sweeping finish into the far corner of the goal really left Reading no chance. I'm now starting to wonder if we should ease off on his schedule for the season. He's done a lot of the work in removing us from the relegation fight and despite the fact he is on such a wonderful run of form, I'd be thinking ahead to next season. A little alteration to the front line here and there could reduce the load placed on the strikers and bring others into the first team for a run out. We don't want to risk a long term injury to any players who could be a massive influence next season. Just a thought.

Special mention for Joey Barton who was everywhere once again. He's starting to come out of his shell a bit and get more involved in matches. Plenty of work off the ball and looked like he was starting to develop more of an understanding with Martins. One lovely moment to watch was Martins receiving a cross field pass on the edge of the box and looking like he was going to nip inside the defender for a shot. Instead, aware of Barton's run in behind, he played a delightful little backheel into the path of Barton, which went over well with the crowd. It's those little things you love to see that have been missing for so long. The small backheels, flicks, stepovers, dummies etc. They seem to be returning and when you are a couple of goals ahead that's the sort of enjoyable event that makes Newcastle worth paying to watch.

Geremi on the other side still can't take a corner or provide a cross to save himself. While he is defensively rather sound and provides a steady head in the midfield there isn't much about his game going forward. He relies on Beye driving down the touchline and while I respect Geremi's recent contribution to the side, I feel that in the summer we could go out and find another right sided player who has both the legs and the ability to cross the ball.

At the back the omission of Steven Taylor due to food poisoning was a breath of fresh air. David Edgar deputised and despite a few worrying moments I felt he did enough to stake his claim for a place. I think it has to be considered that Edgar doesn't play every week at the highest level and he has never had a run in the first team as a centre half. He took time to settle into the game but looked more comfortable as the match went on. I think Faye helped out greatly in steadying the ship and keeping Edgar's feet on the ground in the first half. The most notable thing about his contribution was that he wasn't content to just be playing in the backline. He was showing signs of leadership and organisation by pointing and communicating with Beye throughout the match. Little has to be said about the contributions of Beye and Enrique who were both very solid as they have been for a several weeks now. After another excellent performance from Faye his early departure due to injury was a little disappointing. It did however allow for a glimpse at new boy Diatta. Although there wasn't a lot to see of the other Senegal man he slotted in fine and dealt with what little threat Reading could muster towards the end of the match.

The 'also' men, Damien Duff and Alan Smith made cameos late in the game. Duff looked a lot more lively than he ever did before we picked our game up. Whether or not he has the legs to last a full game would be the big question but there may be the role for such a player in the squad. Especially when the seven substitute rule kicks in next term. Smith was much of the same but in fairness he was deployed to hold the midfield together when Nicky Butt was taken off.

I'd like to call up one set play from the match for further review. The incident in question was a Newcastle freekick where Reading tried to spring the offside trap by rushing out from the back and leaving all our attacking men offside. I'm afraid I didn't record Football First on Sky where the event was covered on their footage, but it was a rather strange moment in the match and I'm not too sure the officials got the decision correct. Geremi initially went to take the freekick and pulled up before striking the ball, causing Reading to reveal their intentions to leave Newcastle offside. Geremi then took the freekick and Reading did exactly as they had initially planned and the linesman flagged for offside. However I'm not convinced that our guys were offside. It may have been Faye who the flag went up against and he'd be the player I'd be interested in watching if I could see that scenario again. Michael Owen on the near side of the picture looked onside and I'm pretty sure Faye was as well. In my opinion the Newcastle players having realised what Reading had in mind were able to adapt to the situation and remain onside. The referee or linesman perhaps had already decided that it was going to be offside and made an error in giving the decision the way of Reading. However, I could be completely wrong and the officials could have been right. It was just a curious situation that I thought I should cast the spotlight on.

So that's 38 points on the board and safety high likely but not guaranteed. I get the impression Keegan has no idea how many new faces will be coming in the door and now it is down to Mort or perhaps Ashley to start talking money and transfers with the manager.