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Newcastle, Bolton and Fulham are Depressing to Watch

Clint DempseyI’ve seen some dreadful football matches in my time, but Tuesday night’s matches on Fox Soccer Channel were exceedingly dire. First shown was Arsenal against Newcastle, while the second match was Bolton against Fulham.

In the Arsenal match, Newcastle employed a very negative counter-attacking style of play. In doing so, it was a waste of Michael Owen’s talent. The petite striker had few opportunities to do anything with the ball. For most of the match, the play was contained to the middle of the park with Newcastle playing, at times, six players packed near the back line and the strikers just past the halfway line.

Newcastle played to get a nil-nil draw in this match. They did contain Arsenal, but it’s practically impossible to keep Arsenal from having a few chances on goal. The first one was a volley that went over the bar by Adebayor, but the second chance resulted in a beautiful header by Adebayor to get on the scoresheet.

Flamini soon followed up by a beautiful shot that floated into the top corner, while Fabregas added the third near the end of the match.

I’ve seen some uninspiring Newcastle United performances but this one was pretty drastic. Newcastle had no hope of winning this match and given the lack of transfer signings, the Toon look destined to fall down the table unless they can stop the rot.

The Bolton against Fulham match wasn’t a good advertisement for English football either. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen quite a few Bolton matches on TV including their last gasp winner against Derby and the goalless match at St. James Park.

While Bolton looks pretty terrible, spare a thought for Fulham who look even worse. What was interesting in this match was how co-commentator Daniel Mann criticized Fulham striker Clint Dempsey throughout the commentary whenever the American touched the ball. Mann grilled Dempsey for not having any pace and being too slow. Plus Mann faulted Dempsey for playing with no confidence.

While Dempsey was unable to set Fulham on fire, you have to keep faith with the American because he was simply up front by himself the entire match. Just as Hodgson’s 4-5-1 tactics didn’t work in the match against Arsenal, Hodgson repeated the same mistake again and played the same formation against Bolton. Dempsey isn’t the type of player, like Adebayor or Drogba, who can out-muscle the defenders. He needs players to link up and play one-two passes with.

Let’s hope that Wednesday’s Premier League action is more entertaining than what we suffered through Tuesday night.

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  1. Django

    January 30, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Something tells me Newcastle fans are a little sensitive…I watched the full match yesterday, and Newcastle looked shit the last 65 minutes of the match. Arsenal deserved the win, dominated possession and looked the better side by a mile. Make sure to draft a letter to the FA about getting rid of linesman, should go over well

  2. timmyg

    January 30, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Hodgson used a 4-5-1 because Fulham didnt have any quality strikers besides Dempsey, who isn’t even a striker!

    Is it dire and dour? Yes. But considering the other option is David Healy…any Fulham fan will take that (crappy) point

  3. Simon

    January 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I didnt think Newcastle gave it a real go last night though they did on Saturday – last night they were much more negative and they got the same result. Newcastle simply didnt create chances and seemed to lack pace because Arsenal had Senderos at the back and he is there for the taking.. granted Arsenal have Sagna and Gallas who are quick but still. Newcastle will be fine when they get some time and money and players in – look for a big Summer spree. I like Newcastle and Keegan, good luck to them both as an exciting Newcastle is better for the Premiership. I however want Bolton down – they are DREADFUL to watch.

  4. Jordan

    January 30, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Teams who play 4-5-1 are always dull, its a defensive formation. Both Bolton and Fulham used this. Your point about a lone striker not being able to influence a match is fair. Davies played alone upfront for Bolton against Newcastle at SJP and he played well and if he had support from his team, Bolton would have won that match. playing 5 in midfield can help you dominate in midfield but what use is that if you dont have any stroke force? I would say 4-5-1 was a formation to get a draw, which I don’t think Newcastle used against Arsenal, Newcastle tried, but in the end Arsenals defence was too good and the keeper made some good saves.

  5. Jordan

    January 30, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Utter Rubbish!

    Newcastle tried in both times at the Emirates. How many other teams have you seen a team goto the Emirates and be entertaining to watch? Arsenals defence is hard enough to break down without shitty lineman aswell, and you might as well say teams dont need the help of the linesman to score against Newcastle (for the 3rd goal).

    Linesman are a joke to football they make more wrong decisions to correct decisions and it needs to be sorted.

  6. Mike B

    January 30, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Who made this idiot the Gaffer?

    He knows less about NUFC than that idiot that works for the Chronicle!!

  7. Dan

    January 30, 2008 at 7:02 am

    The Gaffer, you dont have a clue, keep your idiotic opinion to yourself and find something else to write about because you clearly have no idea about Newcastle or football in general. IDIOT!

  8. Rolf

    January 30, 2008 at 6:56 am

    Did nobody notice how Owen and Milner were both wrongfully flagged off-site in the frst half when they could have gone on to score. And it happened to Michael again in the second half. Plus the same linesman that wrongfully flagged us down in the first half kept his flag down when they were off-site to score their third goal!!??
    I’m not saying we played brilliant football but had we scored in the first half it might have been different.

  9. Chris

    January 30, 2008 at 6:07 am

    More Bollocks!

  10. Doctapaul

    January 30, 2008 at 6:03 am

    If you think Newcastle were depressing last night you should watch tapes of the Derby, Wigan, Reading, Sunderland and Fulham, away games.

    I see change in Newcastle. There is a faint light at the end of a dark tunnel that we have gotten ourselves into.

    Despite the media rhetoric; trying to sensationalise every millisecond of Newcastle’s management decisions, Newcastle fans are patient.

    We are ok inside the tent that those on the outside pi$$ on.

  11. Dave

    January 30, 2008 at 5:55 am

    We were also missing Martins. People say the Newcastle fans are deluded, don’t give managers time etc etc, but its moronic journalists who are the problem. As a Newcastle fan (and this is the opinion that the Newcastle fans I know, share), I am well aware we are going to have to invest many millions to rebuild the team, and it will take years before we see massive improvements, however, after the Arsenal game on Saturday I read in one newspaper “Is this the end of the Keegan Reign?”. After 2 games? And they say that Newcastle fans don’t give a manager time?! And now people complaining abot uninspiring football? Give the man time, he’s only been at the club 2 weeks!

    On top of this Keegan has inherited a squad from Alardyce, who are low on confidence, haven’t been playing together a year yet and had many key players missing. They were up against arguabley one of the best club teams in the world, with one of the best managers around and lost. Big deal. It takes time, so lets give them it!

  12. sparetheman

    January 30, 2008 at 5:45 am

    To be fair Newcastle tried the attacking approach in the first game against Arsenal days before and it didn’t work. I also think the criticism in this article is bit overboard considering they were missing Emre, Viduka, Jose Enrique, Faye and Beye – all of whom merit a place in their first team. They can’t be blamed for going for the nil-nil draw.

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