Friday, August 25, 2006

Newcastle 0 - 0 Ventspils, 24-08-06

A bore 0-0 draw? Far from it! The game was very entertaining right from the start! From the first whistle onwards, Newcastle went right for the ball with some robust tackles(Ventspils kicked off the start) but thankfully the game settled into a more decent pace with less robust tackles, yeah i was worried we could end up with 10 or even 9 players if the robust tackles were to continue.

Sidetrack: Obefami Martins was introduced as our new 10 million pound signing at the center circle before the game started and was later spotted on the stands watching the game! Yeehaaa! The black & white army welcome you with open arms Martins! I hope he starts in the next Villa game! :) Now back to the game..

A soon to be familiar sight at St.James Park! :)

The team selection was quite suprising for me as we played a 4-5-1 formation with 3 wingers in Duff, Milner & N'Zogbia! I thought Butt will start as DM which would give more freedom to Parker and Emre to roam forward, and the 2 wingers.. But it seems Milner is to play upfront as a striker once we're in attack, changing from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2, BUT then the plan didnt quite work out.. Milner was more oriented towards hugging the right touchline with Duff nearby, this leaves Luque all alone upfront.. And since he's not a target man, most chances went begging or astray..

The defence coped well with the Latvians while Harper had only a few crosses to claim during the whole match.. There was not even 1 shot on target from the Latvians.. Our midfield on the other hand kept the opposing keeper very busy.. Too bad we left our shooting boots in the lockers cost most shots went wide.. Special mention must go to Duff who ran the Latvian defence ragged.. He was defeating the defenders at will, beating 2 to 3 opposing players at 1 go, the runs he made reminded me of a previous great winger in a black & white shirt which i idolize: David Ginola! Lets hope Duff will even be a better player then Ginola! With Martins, Owen, Duff, Nzogbia, Milner and Dyer(when fit :P), our team oozes with pace.. The future will not necassarily be bright but it will certainly be entertaining! :)

Player Ratings:
Harper - 6, not much to do all night
Carr - 7, did ok going forward but wasteful sometimes
Babayaro - 6, was not effective going forward
Taylor - 7, after a long layoff, he's getting good
Bramble - 7, didnt make any mistakes!
Parker - 8, all over the picth, leading by example!
Emre - 7, did just ok in dictating play, should have been better
Duff - 9, Man of the match performance, superb dribbling skills
N'Zogbia - 7, Did ok, lacks telling end product
Milner - 7.5, Made some good crosses and tracks back well
Luque - 6, caught in no mans land too many times, was never a targetman in the first place



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