Newcastle United (Away)
Saturday 21st August 2004
An early season trip to the North-East brings back happy memories of a win their with Gus and an own goal securing a win in 2001. A lot has changed since then, with both sides undergoing a face lift in the summer.
Perhaps Tottenham's was more drastic, while Newcastle's nip and tuck has begun to come unstuck, Michael Jackson-like, with the news that Jonathan Woodgate is on his way to Madrid. It seems like one step forward with the forwards, two steps backwards with the defence.
Kluivert has been a bit of an enigma throughout his career. Scoring well for Holland, at club level he has not been as prolific and often comes across as lacking interest as a result of his laconic style. A strong physical presence up front, he will have to oust the existing partnership of Shearer and Bellamy. Shearer is the old head, with a stack of goals behind him (with quite a few of them against Spurs) and Bellamy is the hot head. Pacy, but with a quick temper, he can be easily riled by the slightest thing. The centre of the Spurs defence might be tested by this, but King is fast and Naybet strong, so perhaps there might be a more resilient performance at St. James' Park this time around.
The conjunctivitis plague in this part of the north-east robbed Robson of a few first-teamers and might again prevent some of them turning out, so keep an look out for fringe players who might catch the eye. Shay Given is not one of them, but the Irish keeper, although diminutive has been a stalwart between the sticks for the Magpies. He is a good shot stopper and will need to be with Defoe in sharp form, but some testing crosses could put the whole United defence under pressure.
The back four will consist of one familiar face in Stephen Carr and his attacking sensibilities will need to be curbed, although it might allow Atouba or Jackson to nip in behind his runs to make ground going forward. Olivier Bernard has been unsure if he has a future at Newcastle, being linked with Tottenham at one point, while Aaron Hughes is slightly untested at this level, so he could be one for Fredi and Jermain to play on. Alternatively, Andy O'Brien could play in central defence ... a solid player, but one who is prone to the odd gaff which might prove useful to Spurs. Veteran Robbie Elliott has been drafted in to play at the back too and his lack of pace could be seriously exposed by Defoe, if he plays on the Newcastle man's shoulder.
Two new players in midfield have created a bit of a problem for Robson, with Kieron Dyer kicking up a fuss about not being able to play where he wants and having to fit in around others. Those others are Nicky Butt and James Milner, who have been slotted in central and right midfield. Butt has a wealth of experience and has won the title with Man U, which is what the Toon Army hope he will bring to them. A very effective player, he is not the most dynamic and if closed down quickly could be shut out of the game. Milner is an exciting prospect, with a good future ahead of him. At the moment he is coming up to his 50th first class game, but he is yet to show the consistency that one might expect from a Premiership player. Jermaine Jenas has suffered a similiar problem, as he was a big hit when he first came on the scene, but has struggled to maintain the level of performance he is capable of. Wide left will be Laurent Robert, a mercurial winger on his day and a spectator when it is not his day. Scored two cracking goals in the corresponding fixture last year, so let's hope lightning doesn't strike two years running !!
A couple of familiar names will be among the subs ... Shola Ameobi - a future England player if Sven has his way - will be one and his all arms and legs style hides a skillful player who can hit the target ... Steve Harper is the back up keeper and he has fallen out of the picture in recent times, with rumours that he might move on to get first team football.
Newcastle are a side much like ourselves, in that the new players are still finding their feet and learning to play together. Their 2-2 draw with Boro last week will have been disappointing after leading and letting in a late late goal, but they have home advantage and while they are hopeless on the road, they are pretty strong at home. Although I would like to think we could thieve a point off the Magpies, it might be another fruitless journey ...
PREDICTION : - Newcastle United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
FROM THE OTHER SIDE
do you think your team will play this season ?
do you make of Shepherd's comments about Robson being elbowed at the end
of the season ?
NEWCASTLE UNITED : Darren Ambrose (knee); Jonathan Woodgate (thigh); Lee Bowyer (conjunctivitis);
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : - Robbie Keane (ankle); Simon Davies (shin); Mauricio Taricco (hamstring); Stephen Kelly (ankle); Lee Barnard (fractured collar bone); Jamie Slabber (dislocated collar bone); Dean Richards (ears)
Premiere Sport 1; C+ Sport (Poland); TPS Star
For other coverage see http://www.knplogic.co.uk/sport/
|Newcastle United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Half-time score : 0-0)|
|Premier League||Venue : St. James' Park|
|Saturday 21st August 2004||Kick Off : 15.00 p.m.|
|Crowd : 52,185||Referee : M. Dean (Wirral)|
|Weather : Dry, warm|
|Teams : -|
Redknapp (c) (Brown 70)
|Colours : - (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)|
|Scorers : -|
|Cards : -|
Robert 69 (ungentlemanly conduct)
Redknapp 69 (ungentlemanly conduct)
|Match Report : -|
new invincibles ? Forget Arsenal, we are on a roll !
If there are any Spurs supporters who can honestly say that they knew we would emerge from the our opening two matches undefeated I would be very surprised. After 90 minutes of Olympian endeavour the away support - from our position in the Gods - could pat ourselves on the back for showing why we have some of the countries most passionate fans. Whilst the cardboard cut-outs in the home end roused themselves only for an attempted barrack of Dyer, the fans that had travelled most of the day left with the most precious reward: three points and a sore throat.
We had witnessed Herculean defending, from a back-line marshalled by Naybet, a second half of counter-attack and promise and, more importantly, a brand-spanking new song dedicated to the match-winner Atouba. If the Sunday papers and MOTD is to be believed we deserved little from the game and were at the mercy of the Geordie onslaught. Looking down upon the ants below however what I saw was stoical and un-Spurs like defending as each attack was, by hook or by crook, subdued. Ledley was an inspiration again and each game he plays with Naybet you can see his positioning improve. Ifil was worth much, much more than the £80 he gets at the moment - If any player deserves a whip-round from the fans it is our new young right back (Steve who ?). The first 20 minutes was tough but we managed - how often can we say that ? The feeling was always there that if we could soak up the pressure, we could threaten on the break and had Atouba been more accurate in the first half we could have led. Twice he pulled back his left leg and twice the new Premier beach ball troubled the top-row of the home-end. Our luck held at the back and 0-0 was a good score at half-time. The tea-bar was strangely optimistic and buoyant at the break. The consensus was that we had never seen the natives so quiet. Our band of happy climbers (many never made it up the stairs pre-game I reckon !) had sung throughout the half and, despite a half-hearted booing of Carr, we did the team proud.
Whatever Santini struggled to say at half-time worked perfectly as within minutes of the restart Atouba atoned for the earlier chances by cutting in from the left and hitting a rocket of a shot past Given and into the far corner. Trying to celebrate on our own private mountain wasn't very easy but it certainly was enjoyable. Seconds later, Atouba had his own chant and it was sung with all the joy that hours of travelling the country and years of heavy defeats we could muster. After that both keepers were tested with Defoe going close and Shearer had a good penalty appeal turned down.
The game was ours for the losing.
Fortunately Santini made an un-Pleat like tactical decision towards the end and nullified the threat of a three-pronged attack, led by Kluivert by bringing on Gardner and matching them defender for attacker. We held on for our first win, an AWAY win AND a clean sheet. Is this the start of something special ?
This fan, still high from the result and a lack of oxygen from the altitude, thinks so. The spine of the team is young, talented and English, Keane is still to return and Carrick is waiting in the wings. All the makings of a good season and a bright future under Santini. Spurs are fourth and unbeaten so far.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - PHILIP IFIL
|BLACK AND WHITE WORLD|
|To see a Spurs team perform like
this on the road is taking the grey cells some time to recover and a win
at St. James' was just how it used to be in the old days.
Spurs showed grit and no little flair to get the three points today and the ambition of not going away for just a point (usually returning with nothing) means that the travels this season might produce a bigger haul.
The match itself was full of chances, but as it went on, fewer of those fell to the home side.
The early pressure from Newcastle saw Robinson quickly into action. Racing out to stop Shearer and them standing up to Bellamy and preventing the ball going in. But after seven minutes, Spurs broke with Kanoute tricking his way down the right to pull the ball back for Defoe to hit a low shot, but it was straight at Given. The same end result came from Jamie Redknapp's long range effort, which was comfortable for the Newcastle keeper.
Robinson again proved sound, when Jenas got away from Naybet, he stood up and made the striker pull his shot under him and wide. The defenders were doing their bit too, with a number of crucial interceptions by Naybet, King and Ifil. But it wasn't all Magpies pressure. Kanoute's deep cross fell to the right foot of Atouba off Bernard's head and the Cameroon international sliced it over the top from a few yards back of the far post. He had another chance a couple of minutes later, but again, couldn't keep it down. He produced another volley just before the break that went high and wide, but this was obviously target practice for our new left sided midfielder.
A spectacular save from Robinson kept out James Milner's powerful volley and Philip Ifil made a timely interception to stop Bellamy's pull back reaching Jenas, who surely would have score from close range. Ifil was also on hand two minutes after the half hour, when Jenas' header from a corner bounced off Bellamy's back and the youngster hacked it away from in front of the goal.
The attacking adventure of Tottenham's new coach almost paid off five minutes after the interval, when Defoe ran through, but couldn't get his shot on target from Robbo's clearance. However, a minute later, it paid dividends. The ball came out of defence to Redknapp, who exchanged passes on the right and switched the ball to the left, where Atouba ran onto it, just inside the Magpies half. He strode forward and ran at Carr, who showed him outside, but Atouba came inside to curl a great shot, with his weak foot, around Carr and Jenas to sail past Given to give Spurs the lead. It was a terrific goal and shows that Thimothee is two footed ... much to Carr's disgust !!
Spurs continued to push forward and a neat passing move involving Atouba and Davis set up Jermain, who hit a crisp low shot at Given, who stopped it with his feet. Then Robinson was in action again, stopping a fierce drive by Robert by pushing it around the post for a corner.
Jamie Redknapp got involved in a little spat with Laurent Robert and they both got booked, with Santini subbing Jamie shortly after. He was not happy about that and vented his anger at the bench, which is not the reaction you would expect from the captain, although it does show a passion for wanting to be out on the pitch. However, he had just been booked and was also putting in a lot of work, so Santini probably thought a fresh pair of legs will help keep Redknapp fresh for Wednesday.
His replacement, Michael Brown almost produced a goal on 72 minutes, with a corner that was met by Ledley King's head and only ex-Spur Stephen Carr's goal-line clearance prevented Tottenham going further ahead. Indeed Brown might have got on the scoresheet when Defoe's cross evaded him when he was only yards out. Jacques brought on Gardner for Kanoute to try and counter the attacking substitutions of Robson and the move worked. Apart from one horrendous slice when in front of goal by Ameobi, the home side failed to make any decent chances in the final fifteen minutes.
The performance was one by the team. Although Ifil and Atouba had very good games, it was the shape of the side and the effort they put in that earned the result and it is promising for when we play teams who graft that we might not get left out-fought.
Not everything is clear-cut, especially with Tottenham Hotspur. The need to produce the results could mean that Spurs might not produce pretty football all the time this season, but they look a lot more effective under Santini.
|Just thought I'd cast my 'expert'
eye over Saturdays game. Praise the lord for Sky, showing all 90
mins, makes a hell of a difference to us 'away' fans.
Robinson - Solid performance. Very good business to buy him. Bye bye Mr. Keller
Ifil - For a young lad he done very well, and will certainly bloom with the likes of King around him.
Naybet - Very solid performance With two near misses in the last two games he's bound to hit the target soon!
King - God
Edman - Very impressed with this Viking. For me he was MOM. Mixed it about, good battle with that young up-start Milner, and came out on top. Very dependable. It will be nice to see him going forward to supply the forwards with decent crosses.
Redknapp - OK. Couple of
half decent chances. I have a feeling that he wont be around at
the end of the season. Once injured he wont get his arm band back
Davis - Again has potential but doesn't look comfortable. Is he playing out of position?
Mendes - Very quiet, I'm sure he's just settling in.
Atouba - Scored a stunner, but
lets not forget the 3 easier chances he had. Also worth noting is
that was only his 6th goal in 100 matches. So that means we can
expect another two goals from him this season. Is that enough from
a midfielder ? Defensively he should have cost us a penalty.
Apart from that, he did get the ball away from the danger area, but he
had a tendency to hoof it out as opposed to passing it down the field.
Defoe - Stunning. Very quick, nimble and should bang in 20+ this season.
Kanoute - The big
man has lost it completely since the African Cup. He looked a
little sharper, but didn't hold the ball up long enough, and lost out
too often in the air. It can't help with all this speculation
surrounding him. I just hope it all gets sorted and he starts to
form a fruitful partnership with Defoe, or who ever is up front in his
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Manchester United||2||Norwich City||1||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||1||Aston Villa||1||Sunday|
|12||West Bromwich Albion||2||0||2||0||2||2||2||0|
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