FA Carling Premiership
Leeds United 0 - 1 Newcastle United
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
|« Southampton||Tottenham Hotspur »|
|Leeds||Martyn, Harte, Radebe, Woodgate, Granville (Halle 66), Hopkin, Bowyer, Haaland, Kewell, Smith, Wijnhard (Korsten 66)||Wetherall, Jones, Robinson|
|Newcastle United||Given, Barton, Howey, Charvet, Griffin, Solano, Speed, Hamann, Glass (Brady 66), Ketsbaia, Saha (Andersson 88)||Georgiadis, Hughes, Harper|
|Newcastle United||Solano 63|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Newcastle United||Barton, Speed, Charvet, Hamann, Saha|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||?||?|
|Jabba||Deep depression from the man on the window ledge....|
|Nick Allen||vs Newcastle|
|Mike Sewell||Betty Boocock ogled my bum|
|Scarborough Woof||Newcastle game|
|Barjinder Singh||Newcastle Review & Why was Alfie so Sh*t on Saturday?|
|The Observer||Solano strikes as Leeds fire blanks|
|The Guardian||Gullit pastes over the cracks|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Solano slows the Leeds march|
|The Times||Solano takes opportunity to rattle O'Leary's babies|
|The Sunday Times||Leeds left dejected by Solano|
|Express Sport||Solano shines to put O'Leary's lads in the shade|
|The Independent on Sunday||Leeds undone by Solano strike|
|The Independent||Solano rewards Gullit's tactics|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||Whizz kids slow down|
|Soccernet||Soccernet match report|
|Carlingnet||Carlingnet match report|
It almost goes without saying now that when our (pace Rev) talented and cheerful centre-forward is off form, we don't play that well. But without him we're even more clueless.
Today's game showed more than anything else that we place too much reliance on the form of JFH and that without him, we're half the team we need to be. Sure, it was a game we dominated and gave them almost no chances. Almost is not enough. Sure we passed the ball well - until it got close to their area. Against a team with a notably shaky defence we should have been pounding their goal and waiting for the dam to break, but apart from a couple of good crosses in the first few minutes - from Smith on the right and Kewell on the left - and the inevitable hard-working contribution from Bowyer we never looked like getting the ball into their net.
Ref Uriah Rennie confirmed his reputation as a fussy sod, with pointless bookings and free kicks awarded for fair challenges. And he managed to miss one of the worst challenges by a Newcastle player that left Granville on the deck.
Our lot never looked comfortable playing 4-4-2: Granville is a waste of space on the left and Harte needs to grow a right foot before he becomes any good on the right. When Halle replaced Granville and Harte switched he looked far more effective. But why drop Wethers and switch formation when it wasn't working that badly?
Clyde is looking more and more like a good Division One player - let's sell him now. Korsten didn't do much when he got on, and after an anonymous first half, Harry threatened a lot in the second.
Nige did well, could do nowt about the goal but still managed his now customary rush of blood to the head against Newcastle, charging out and trying to head the ball and only being saved by defensive cover/poor finishing. Radebe does not look anywhere near match fit and was involved in the defensive confusion that lead to the goal.
Smith played well but had no real chances, Bowyer and to a lesser extent Hoppo played well in midfield and Haaland tackled well.
MOTM was definitely Woodgate who mixed some sound work at the back with some good runs forward - despite an awful backpass that nearly let in Ketsbaia (it was so bad I was sure it was from Granville!).
It's got to get better soon otherwise we'll end up missing out on that last UEFA place.
This afternoon was summed up for me by the nodders a few rows down who, as the chorus of "Stand up if you've won fuck all" rang around the ground, they stood up ! - lots of voice's going "sit down you daft buggers".
It was a poor game, probably one that we didn't deserve to lose on balance, but they took their chance and we didn't. I think that there are a few points to be made about our tactics, and approach to the game. We started in the opening five minutes attacking down the flanks swinging low hard crosses in that had their defence all over the place. It was such a good tactic that we soon stopped doing it. We also stopped passing the ball to Harry who was scaring the shit out of their defence, and instead passed it to Granville - who does look like Harry, so maybe it was a case of mistaken identity.
Why do we persist in moving Harte - who is all left foot - to right back to accommodate Granville. Firstly Granville's not worth his place in the team - he didn't tackle back, cover, and he slowed down every forward movement he touched. Halle, Haaland or Jones are all surely better right backs than Granville is a left back. It also has the added consequence of us losing the going forward benefits we gain from Harte and Harry linking down the left. So not only do we make it easier for the opposition, we also make it harder for ourselves. We played flat back 4. Harte, Woody, Lucas, and Granville. Why not 3 at the back Lucas, Woody, and Wetherall, with Alfie/Halle/Jones and Harte as wing backs? Or what's happened to Bruno? He'd be better than Granville.
The other problem was highlighted by Jimmy's absence. No focus up front. Smith found no space, Clyde has great control 40 yards from goal, and crap control in the box, and Harry, while he played well, has to get out of the habit of running up blind alleys. Admittedly he frequently didn't have a reasonable target, but he still wants to beat every man twice.
The game had not too many clear cut chances. Solano - who was their most interesting players, with good touch, and hard working - deserved a goal in the first half, when he dropped the shoulder went round one defender, skipped sideways away from Lucas, and absolutely bulleted one that hit the post before Martyn moved. Woody tried to help their frontline out by laying one on a plate for Uncle Festa, passing back without checking first, but Nige wasn't going to lose out to that clown.
Bowyer had a long range effort tipped over the bar. Harry curled one onto the post in the last five minutes for us.
Their goal was a comedy of errors. No tackling in the midfield, Lucas and Woody both slide in on the edge of the box, Lucas gets there wins the ball, Woody arrives a second later and knocks the ball back into the stride of the striker, Solano, who finished first time, into the bottom corner.
A very depressing afternoon.
MARTYN -6- little to do
HARTE -6- trying to cope with being out of position - eventually moved across to LBack as Halle came on for Granville - where he immediately looked more comfortable.
GRANVILLE -3- laughable
WOODGATE -5- 2 mistakes, otherwise ok.
RADEBE -7- beaten in the air by Saha for most of the first half, but had everything else sown up.
HAALAND -5- ineffective
BOWYER -7- all effort, little composure
HOPKIN -7- as good as anybody for us
KEWELL -6- a threat when we passed to him.
SMITH - 4- never showed
WIJNHARD -4- hasn't got it.
subs - Halle was an improvement on Granville
- Korsten was little improvement on Clyde
And that was about the best thing that happened on Saturday.
No wind-ups, no adoption of mock-posh style this week, just a profound wish that we'd had Hamann in midfield. He was very impressive, did lots of unfussy work but also looked a threat going forward. Better, I thought, than Solano. Compared to the Newcastle midfield we looked piss-poor. Haaland again anonymous, Hopkin needing too long to work out what's going on, Bowyer trying hard but out manouevred and out-manned. Kewell good going forwards but not always helping out defensively and too prone to running into a crowd of black and white shirts. I have to say that the oppo, contrary to their manager's reputation, defened well in numbers, got bodies between the ball and their goal when needed, and were very well organised. That said, with better tactics and better passing from midfield we'd have beaten them.
Obvious bits. Sorry Rev. but despite your attempt to evade the issue, we missed Jimmy very badly. Wijhardt was crap. He played into the hands of their big, slow CBs and didn't bring runners into the game. JFH would have offered something different. He scares defences, turns them round and has pace. Clyde is the opposite.
Obvious bits 2. Harte is not a right back. He played two superlative left foot passes to Kewell, one of which led to a header just wide. But having him out of position does nothing for our game. Mybe give the Jones boy a chance on the right. GGGGGG-Granville looked reluctant to go forward and support Kewell. That robs H of the opportunity to cut infield because there is no overlap to take away one marker. Combined effect of the two things, Clyde and Granville made us narrow the play rather than stretch them. A shame, cos whenever we ran at them in wide positions we did look dangerous.
Obvious bits 3. Woody had a bit of a nightmare. Especially the goal and the horrible backpass that Nige dealt with superbly, but he only looked composed going forward.
Maybe not so obvious bit, cos Nick Allen thought he did alright. Hopkin doesn't look good enough to start for us to me. I begin to think it may not be anything to do with him, except that he's not as good as Bowyer. And as I said repeatedly last season, they don't look right in the same team. Hoppo doesn't do as well as Bowyer in that role, and the midfield looks unbalanced at present. I'd have liked, at some stage of the last 2 games, to have seen Ribeiro instead of Hoppo. He also seems to duck out of challenges. Not just me and Claire this, Adie T has noticed it too. Could it be because his awareness and speed of reaction isn't good enough? Or possibly...
...Maybe not obvious because not right bit, but I'd like to hear others' views: Perhaps we are missing McPhail. No wait, I have a sensible case here, not just hype. The good run came when he was playing, the poor run has coincided with him getting injured. I was especially impressed in the Boro game that he did a great many quietly efficient things. He retains possession, he works, he poses a threat going forward, and the oppo are worried that he can play killer passes as well as simple ones. Seeing Hamann on Saturday made me wonder whether what has been lacking for three weeks aren't those sort of quiet but deadly qualities.
All too obvious bit. Newcastle cheated, elbowed (esp. Barton), shirt-tugged, argued, dived and whinged their way to three points. And it worked. We have so many young players that they have to learn how to play against old pros who know all the black arts of the game. If they can learn how to break down massed, niggly defences then we will be a really good team. Barton should have walked for the elbow on Smith.
Which leads on to the most obvious bit of all, the ref was absolutely dreadful. He gives out lots of cards week in and week out. He did so again on Saturday, yet many seemed to come because he hadn't clamped down on cheating earlier. This man who waved a red card at Lucas when the great man was on a stretcher barely 20 minutes into a game last season, let so much go early on that it was predictable that he'd have to wave them later as everyone joined in the fouling. He didn't stop the Ketsbaia diving and whingeing, he never got control of Barton's various cheating ploys, he let bad tackles go without even an admonition. But any dissent, not retreating, getting in the way of a free kick or, in Woodgate's case, being tackled by Barton who then demanded a card, all these merited his theatrical waving of the plastic. At one point Lucas had picked the thing up and had to give it back to him. At another he waved play on when they had decked two of our players and neglected even to talk to either of the miscreants. We barely had an advantage from the position anyway, but it was even harder to see any accruing with nine men. Piss poor.
Overall, we maybe deserved a draw but probably not. We gave away a joke goal. They were better organised after half time. Clyde was bad, Hoppo was nearly as bad, Haaland may as well not have played, Harte was better in his proper position, Smith fluffed a good chance by losing control in the box but looked very bright for twenty minutes. I'd be happier with him coming on as a sub. On another day (Eg Pompey) one of the many deflections would have run to our advantage in the box. Not yet time to panic or decide that the season is over - there will be teams whose own ambitions allow us to play more and away we will catch some sides out - but the kids must be taught the art of breaking down this sort of side.
A grim result, especially after last weekend's result but...
I thought that Leeds played well enough, especially in the first half and towards the end of the second, but lacked the final ball.
Bowyer was the best player for us, and he always looked the likeliest to score. Smith kept trying, but he got no help from Wijnhard who was totally useless. He did bugger all. He couldn't trap the ball, he hardly chased anything, he was a waste of a shirt.
Obviously we lacked Jimmy but they also lacked their strike force yet grimly slogged out a result. They were negative, continually fouling (even Rennie lost his patience and booked half the team by the end) and kept behind the ball for 90% of the time, in short they did to us what we used to do to people under Judas Iscariot. We tried to play football, but they broke our rhythm, frustrated us and ultimately it worked. Ketsbaia stood out as spoiler-in-chief. His whining, fouling and diving defined the whole team.
It's an old story but it shouldn't mean that people begin criticising the move towards footballing values at the club. At the end of it, NUFC were dull as dishwater and as anonymous a bunch of commuters at Waterloo Station on a Monday morning. So much for the beautiful game. But they worked their tits off.
We were positive, we spread the ball around, we were good to watch. We could have had two or three but for Clot Wijnhard, posts, and some stern defending on their part - it was as if Judas was in their dugout not Gullit.
Our defence slipped on occasion and Martyn went awol at one point in the second half - rushing out of his area only to be bypassed by his attacker. Luckily the defence were awake for that incident.
Luck deserted us, but we need to do better.
Still, don't panic Mr Mainwaring.
Well this could explain it. My Kiwi mate went up for the game and stayed at the Travelodge hotel and guess who should be there in TGI's on Friday night downing the beers like there was no tomorrow. Not only Alfie but apparently Halle and some other with his wife were there as well. Oh well he's not called Daft for nothing is he.
Just a point to make about how we could break down defensive teams such as Newcastle/Blackburn/Everton etc. I was watching the Fiorentina vs Milan game on Sunday and Milan's tactics were just like Newcastle's against us. Fiorentina created chances by either playing the ball wide and crossing it like we did for about 10 mins or played fast one touch passing from the back right through to Batistuta who had a rare off day. Our problem was we had far too many players who wanted far too many touches before they decided what they wanted to do with it. By this time even the likes of Howey could read the passes all too easily.
Marytn 7 - Superb save from Buster Bloodvessel. On another day he
would have saved the goal.
Granville 4 - Watch P. Maldini kid and learn how to move and pass when there appears to be little space.
Harte 4 - Not his fault he was played out of position.
Woody 6 - His inexperience led to the goal. Lucas had the situation well under control.
Lucas 7 - Let's face it Rennie doesn't like him which propelled Fester and co into fouling him on most occasions. Class player even when not 100% fit.
Bowyer 7 - Seemed to have stopped trying long range shots for some reason. A few crunching tackles were awesome.
Hopkin 4 - Back to normal. Where does he go at set pieces ?
Alfie 4 - See above.
Kewell 7 - In and out of the game but in JFH's absence the only person capable of beating a man or two.
Smith 6 - Great control but should do a Jimmy and take them on. Played too wide with little support.
Clyde 4 - Gets 4 because he's not afraid to head the ball and win it.
Korsten 5 - Got into some good positions unlike Clyde but for some desperate Geordie defending would have nicked us a goal.
Halle 4 - See paragraph above.
DOL 7 - Had the common sense to change it when we were down unlike the last game. Eddie Gray can get them passing one-touch.
Rennie 0 - The guy in front of us said that he was so pissed off at him that in the second he was going to bombard him with racial abuse and told me not take any offence (He didn't BTW). Being Black and from Sheffield just made the crowd hate him even more.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 07/02/1999.
When David O'Leary reflects on his first defeat on home soil as Leeds manager, he may come to the conclusion it was not so much sexy football that won the day for Newcastle, but more the impotency of his own team.
It has been four fruitful months since Leeds failed to take at least a point at Elland Road, and O'Leary's enterprising side had the opportunities to extend that impressive sequence.
© Guardian Media Group plc
© Guardian Media Group plc