Author Topic: West Ham 2 Newcastle 2 - Saturday 26th April  (Read 2542 times)

Offline trophy4toon

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West Ham 2 Newcastle 2 - Saturday 26th April
« on: April 26, 2008, 03:49:43 pm »

To be fair to Newcastle, we have gone 7 games unbeaten and not played any team, (ok, maybe Tottenham) who have been in end of season mode. All credit to Alan Curbishley and West Ham who came out here flying, much to my and everyone else's surprise.

Dean Ashton, reportedly unsettled at West Ham. Newcastle reportedly looking for established Premier League players. Whatever the reason, Ashton produced one of his best displays of the season and particularly in the first half made life pretty awkward for our centre back pairing of Edgar and Taylor.

What we Newcastle fans have always known really is that Obafemi Martins is a class act, can win matches on his own, works extremely hard and is by far our most potent striker. Which makes the handling of him this season look all the more disappointing. So many games on the bench for him and when he did get a game often asked to play out wide. At least Keegan has eventually recognised this and our 7 game run corresponds with Martins being given an influential role.

Viduka is supposedly carrying an achiles injury which needs surgery in the summer. Well on this performance he might as well have that now, his weaknesses glaring in this match, immobile and unable to make things happen. Disappointing to see him last till the 90th minute before being replaced by Smith. One can only read into this that Keegan does not think Andy Carroll is ready.

Michael Owen in his new deeper role disappeared, one feels opposition teams are beginning to sus him out here and he needs to get back to playing up front.

Defensively this showed again what many Newcastle fans already knew, Steven Taylor is not strong enough to lead this Newcastle defence. Without muscle man Faye we looked weak down the centre and were fortunate not to concede more than 2 goals in the first 40 minutes.

So, many lessons highlighted today:
- We need a strong centre half     
- 4-3-3 is a short term fix and only works with those 11 players all on the pitch and playing well
- Still many problems up front getting balance out of Owen, Martins and Viduka
- Midfield were just overun in the first half, it needs strengthening
- Oba Martins is our Fernando Torres, don't rotate him out when we need to win
- good sprit in the team to battle back from a truly difficult first 40 minutes and snatch a point in London, a few years back we would have been hailing a point in London as a triumph.

One final word on Geremi, well done for scoring, err did he know anything about Martins shot hitting him and going in, err not from what I saw  ;D  ;D  ;D

and a good post match interview from Keegan where he talks of his half time team talk and David Edgar:
« Last Edit: April 27, 2008, 09:21:14 am by trophy4toon »

Offline CraigDoyle

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Re: West Ham 2 Newcastle 2 - Saturday 26th April
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2008, 12:27:03 am »
I'm afraid the best I could do in terms of seeing the match was the 55 minutes offered up by Sky's Football First service. Unfortunately I don't feel it is adequate for getting to grips with the balance of the game and how the match played out. Therefore much of the following information will be based on third party information and speculative judgment.

The early going looked very much one way traffic with only West Ham at the races. Keegan himself commented on the first half bring very poor and almost every player not playing to their potential. I think he is right when he says he really only has eleven players right now. If you look at what we have available on the bench there is nobody who slots right into the current setup. I've made many comments over the last six games about how fragile the formation could be. I think we are starting to see issues appear as certain players under perform. Geremi, while a goalscorer didn't look like he contributed a great deal on the whole, which I must stress is not something new and has been around for several games now. While the man can often provide an assist, he lacks the mobility to operate in a three man midfield and relies heavily on the full back to get back and forward in his place. I think if Milner was fit, then Geremi would only see about an hour of football per match, allowing us to freshen up in the later stages of matches. Geremi reminds me a bit of Pippo Inzaghi. He's awful, but in some manner beyond logic he ends up adding a decisive contribution to the game. Strange.

Up front I still think Viduka is essential but also useless. He does a good job in holding up the ball when it is played direct to his feet but he won't work for it. Like Geremi the ability is there but without the industry to accompany it he isn't an asset. I think Keegan has similar thoughts to my own when it comes to Viduka and Geremi though. If they are on the pitch and not causing us any damage defensively then they both tick the box as the type of player who can turn a game with one kick of the ball. Whether it be that one cross that lands on the head of a striker or the ball into the feet, held up and redistributed into the path of a man making the run into the box. Unfortunately nobody else in the side has those skills and without them we tend to look a little lost.

Saturday was a good day for Martins. I think his frustrations these last few weeks have been less to do with being substituted and more to do with seeing Michael Owen net goal after goal. I reckon Oba rates himself right up there with Owen and wants to be seen as the main man at the club. He certainly has the attributes to take him there even if he doesn't read the game quite as well as the England international. The finish for the first goal was another example of what happens when Martins is on. On another day that may well have soared over the bar or fallen on the wrong side of the post. His consistency has most certainly improved since last season though and if we can keep hold of him for a few more years I'm sure he'll develop into a better player overall. It's very difficult to get hold of a player who can change a game by himself. The likes of Viduka and Geremi as mentioned above can turn a game but they tend to do so with the aid of the players around them. Martins is a different act altogether and has shown a willingness to get the team back into games when we have no right to be in them. He somewhat reminds me of Faustino Asprilla in that he is fabulously talented with the ball at his feet and very unpredictable.

I think Faye was missed greatly. He does a lot of work in canceling out the aerial threat at the back. When he doesn't win the header outright he is always challenging and making the header as difficult as possible for opposition forwards. We don't get that from Taylor and early indications from Edgar are that he isn't going to offer similar aerial defense to what Faye brings to the side either. I'm not a big fan of going with two young centre halves and I think the inexperience showed early on with Edgar making some errors that opened the door for West Ham. In all fairness to the lad he improved as the match went on. However, I'd have gone for Diatta from the start myself. While some may point at Cacapa as a counter example, the experience of someone like Diatta is always great to have around. I think he could have come in and steadied the ship a little in the absence of Faye.

I feel the need to comment on Ashton seeing as he was on the pitch. Good player, bags of ability. Not the man for me though. The reason being is that he's just as unfit as Viduka. The guy has had a few bad injuries in the same category of severity as Michael Owen. While Owen is back fit and playing, Ashton struggles to keep himself together. Whether his lifestyle or training methods contribute to his lack of fitness, I have no idea. I just don't fancy us splashing out what will have to be big money on someone who can't potentially play every match of a season. He's English, already playing for a high quality side and I just get the feeling we'd be setting ourselves up to buy another gifted crock. We could spend less gambling on a continental talent who will at least be fit and available on a regular basis. Maybe I'm being over ambitious but with the statement of intent with regards to money being firmly set out over the recent Modric saga, I just can't see Ashton as a realistic signing.

Last word goes to Joey Barton. It'll be just typical of our luck if he goes to prison. He's getting better with every game he plays and I'm starting to take a liking to him. On recent performances hopefully he's with us come August.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2008, 10:27:12 am by CraigDoyle »