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Stale mate! Leicester 0 Newcastle 0

Posted on January 30th, 2010 | 84 Comments |

Plenty to ponder?
Plenty to ponder?
The Sky Sports team talked it up and went as far to say that ‘Leicester 0 Newcastle 0’ was the best goalless draw they’d seen for a long time. I think in their quieter moments, off camera, they might ask for their money back, and so might the fans. Because it was a bloody awful game of football from where I was sitting, and perish the thought that I almost travelled to watch that garbage.

It will be a long journey back home for those loyal Mags who had to sit through another unstimulating performance from our team. Even with the well worn cliche of ten men often being harder to play against, tonight was a perfect opportunity to get ourselves back on track and put some daylight between us and the chasers. Unfortunately we fell miles short of looking anything like taking the 3 points at any stage in the game, and if any team looked more likely to create something, it was Leicester.

We just look completely stale and while I’ve argued for months now that we’ve rarely looked like a good football team, we also now seem to have lost some of the hunger that was earning us points regardless of the style we played. Defensively we’re still stubborn and less likely to concede than the opposition generally, but in midfield and upfront we seem to have lost our appetite and drive. Big players like Smith and Nolan, seem quiet and ineffective, drifting in and out games with barely an influence on the occasion.

Hughton gave full debuts to van Anholt and Routledge, with the young Dutchman slotting straight in to replace the injured Enrique at left back. Routledge took up his more recognised role wide on the right as Danny Guthrie switched over to the left, leaving Gutierrez on the bench, presumably still feeling a knock from the Palace game. Ryan Taylor returned from suspension to fill in at right back with Kadar dropping to the bench.

But the biggest decision Hughton had to make was his formation further afield and when he predictably plumped for the 4-4-1-1 option, and stuck Nicky Butt in for Lovenkrands, the writing was on the wall for me. The pedestrian pace that Butt, Nolan and Smith play at in the middle is something to behold when they’re on the same pitch together. And with Guthrie out on the left, our only real outlet was Wayne Routledge, who was inexplicably starved of possession for long periods of the game.

With Derby winning at Forest, it was an ideal scenario laid out before us, and with ten minutes gone we had at least played some possession football without ever looking dangerous. But that changed all too soon and the game became very scrappy, notably when Richie Wellens could have walked for a challenge on Smith. And on the half hour, he did walk after a much more innocuous pull on Routledge.

And so with the advantage gained so early on, most Toon fans most have been fairly optimistic of taking all three points. However, the first half was largely void of any goalmouth action and Leicester’s Matty Fryatt came as close as anyone, forcing Harper into tipping over the crossbar midway through the first half, and then having a shot blocked by Van Aanholt after cutting through the United defence as if it wasn’t there. At the other end, Weale pushed a Van Aanholt effort round the post and we went close twice after headers from Smith and Carroll.

We inevitably put them under a period of pressure but without ever really looking convincing with our attacks, and Weale never had to make a save of any note in the second half. The introduction of Nobby Solano was probably as noteworthy as any of the football and the quality dipped even lower with the combination of our desperation to take all three points and their dogged determination not to allow it.

Even the introduction of Ranger failed to make any impression as we belatedly went for a more attack-minded approach. And ultimately we just weren’t good enough on a night when many of our inadequacies were exposed. Leicester battled admirably, as many teams have done against this season and can undoubtedly be proud of their performance in adversity. They even managed to pass the ball around us, despite being a man down. But the fact remains that we played to their strengths. Their dogged defending was helped by a side lacking ideas or the ability to put them to good use. The lack of any real penetration was painfully obvious, where in the absence of Enrique and Gutierrez who have chanelled the play all season, we just looked bereft of any direction.

It seems somehow indecent that we should be complaining when we’re top of the league but the harsh reality is that pretty much all season, for some fans (though not this particular supporter), winning has masked the awful means that led to it. And when we don’t win, it’s even hard for them to stomach. It’s not so much what this has done in the immediate future because the table still looks healthy. But promotion still seems an awful long way away on these performances.

Us – Harper 7, R Taylor 5, Coloccini 6, Williamson 6, van Aanholt 7, Routledge 6, Butt 5, Smith 5, Guthrie 6, Nolan 5, Carroll 5

Subs – Krul, Kadar, Gutierrez, Lovenkrands, Ranger 5, Hall, Pancrate 5

Leicester – Weale, Morrison, Brown, Oakley, King, Fryatt, Berner, Waghorn, Wellens, Gallagher, Hobbs

Subs – Nielson, McGivern, Solano, Howard, Dyer, Logan, N’Guessan

Att – 29,067 (with 3,000+ noisy Mags by the sounds of it)

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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84 Responses

  1. poor poor performance willamson and routledge both looked good, van anholt looked bit nervous and r. taylor had poor first half and very good second, guthrie was awful on the left giving no width.

  2. Personally, I think Williamson looked heavy-legged tonight and I just hope he doesn’t get caught out by quicker attackers before he get back up-to-speed. Assuming he’s got another speed to get to…

  3. he did get caught out a few times but apart from that looked quite good, has a bit longer to prepare for next game. was gutierrez injured because i thought he was going to be ok, we really missed him today

  4. Yep, generally I thought he was OK. As I’ve said in the report the defence, ironically given our recent history, is our main strength.

    Without Enrique and Gutierrez, our main outlet was gone and we had no obvious style of play.

    How Routledge wasn’t given the ball more, I’ll never know.

  5. our defence is good but they were clean through a few times only to take a bad touch or slip over. enrique was missed although anholt was ok he gave it away a bit and didnt look as stable as jose.

  6. well a divent kna what too say iam gobsmaced that the team played so shite >>> but on a brighter note i stand too win £210 thanks too stardust mentioning wigan last night

  7. Hughton said a striker was needed. Moses is a lost cause, given their situation with admisitration and the lure of premier league football, Wigan is his confirmed destination as far as I’m concerned. Where do we go from here? Beckford is clearly staying at Leeds, do we offer cash to get the likes of Vaughan in on loan from Everton? Fire power is quite clearly needed.

    As far as today goes, I personally thought Routledge had a good game. He seems to have quick feet and can put a cross in. The young left back looked like he started nervously however he seemed to grow in confidence as the game went on, putting one or two decent balls into the box and firing a few efforts on goal. He isnt as big and strong as Jose, however he does have something to offer, i would happily take Hughton trying to extend his loan until the end of the season. Williamson i think had a good game, looked strong and comfortable at the back however he was caught out of position once or twice and didnt look the quickest, pace being something that sadly cant be taught. However, Colo isnt the quickest and he’s looked a different class at this level this season.

    It’s a terrible thing to say but given their chances, we were quite lucky to take a point from a team down to 10 men. Given the situation (them playing 60 minutes of football a man short), we should have been able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and take 3 points. Seen people criticising Carroll, i personally thought he was good. He won everything in the air and if we had an out and out striker to nip onto the end of those chances, goals would come. He’s a good target man and is a local lad who will give 110% when called upon.

    All in all, a disappointing result but we’re still clear at the top of the table. Cardiff will be a very difficult one, just have to hope for the best lads.

  8. everything looked up before the match with moses and forest losing now we havent got him probably wotn get any one else and have to play a cardiff side that have won their last two next week.

  9. BBM good report ;) TBH I cant understand why CH insist on playing Butt and even worse still makes him captain. I cant remember butt being in a winning side and when you combine him with Nolan no show and Smith it doesn’t really give us much. I know we have players capable of a lot more

  10. Big Dave- I may be in the minority, but to be honest mate i really dont care: I cant wait for Barton to get back. Give the lad a crack in CM and see how he does. Surely he injects more pace and forward thinking than the likes of Butt!?..the old man mentioned today that every time Butt gets the ball, he goes across the field or backwards.

  11. Has anyone heard from Hughton yet?

    Hope he’s got his thinkin cap on as we need a striker who has at least an inch of movement.

  12. Terrible game I believe, Long ball , Ugly.
    So whats going on, we were kickin ass for the first half of the season, well actually grinding out wins was how it was put.
    So who gets the blame, unfamiliar new players, tactics, wrong team lineup, all directly related to “The Manager”
    Are we about to dump on Hughton, hear a few early, “He`will be found out”, “Tactically Inept” remarks.
    He`s probably either another draw or (god forbid) a loss away, from having the mob at full bey.
    Dont worry Big Mike`s got it under control, we are destined for promotion, back to the big time, where we will generate tons o dosh and build a real team and live happy ever after, watching a team filled with flair players who will entertain the hell out of us.

  13. icedog- Butt wouldnt be anywhere near my first team mate. Guthrie, wouldnt be anywhere near the flanks. He’s wasted out there, even if he does put in a half decent ball. Today was simple for me. They were down to 10 men, use the width, exploit the flanks, drag their defenders out wide and leave space in the box. Butt comes off, Guthrie goes into the middle and Jonas goes out onto the wing. Maybe Jonas had a knock, was tired, whatever-Pancrate was his replacement. I struggle to remember him picking up the ball and running at the back four once.

  14. from what i saw of pancrate he would start to run come to a player and just stop and slow the whole game down; let leicster regroup before passing it backwards

  15. i know at times when teams go to ten men they seem to find 10-15% more,but any top manager will try to use width to whare them down not ch

  16. I have just about calmed down enough to write this post:

    Before the match I would have taken a point, then Obama throws a curveball with a terrible 5 man midfield comprising of Smudge, Butt, Guthrie, Nolan and Routledge.

    Where the hell is Jonas? Fit enough to warm is arse on the bench.

    We are all over the place, then they get a man sent off with 60 mins remaining. Happy days, time to put them on the back foot with attacking play.

    What does Obama do? Nowt, cos he can’t make a tactical decision.

    He waits until the obligatory 65 min mark and introduces Pancake!!!!!!

    Obama had a number of options available and bottled it, he lacked the desire to go for a win and instead settled for an insipid draw.

    I am furious…………

    We looked shite tonight to the rest of the world, cos of one spineless man.

    Rant over.

  17. Tell you what we may be top of a shit division,but this is not entertainment…..my nanna used to have a phrase from the olden days and if big daddy or giant haystacks or kendo nagasaki where not busting the moves she would say it was “savage amusement”,Bless her.

    Whooo Troy,ya radgie drop uz some fookin Chang over am bored off me fookin HiTecc’s the neet like and need a Buzz.

  18. Stuart79 says:
    January 30, 2010 at 9:36 pm
    Has anyone heard from Hughton yet?

    Hope he’s got his thinkin cap on as we need a striker who has at least an inch of movement.
    <<<<< aye he,s hiding in barton12s bunker there both telling fatty how good he is . lol

  19. Stuart-I’m the same mate. 1 and 2 are both very funny. Never fail to throw up some ridiculous lesbian scenes, haha.

  20. Batty,

    We’ve too many big strikers, we need a goalscorer.

    Oh and a creative centre mid.

    We just looked so unbalanced today. Guthrie is no winger.

  21. Stuart79 says:
    January 30, 2010 at 10:01 pm
    Batty,

    We’ve too many big strikers, we need a goalscorer.

    Oh and a creative centre mid.

    We just looked so unbalanced today. Guthrie is no winger.
    <<<<< try tellin hughton and fatty that

  22. STUART69 with you there if we had w.rooney up front we still wont score,we have noone to create. big hoof thats our game

  23. fatty hasnt got a clue about footy he just looks at the table and thinks we r ok and hughton hasnt got the balls to tell him to cough up some serious money for someone creative

  24. Every one saying we need a foward with speed and movement , we already have him . Lovenkrands has speed and movement ! what we need is a central midfielder that can pass and move and has vision . Hopefully Barton is match fit soon because he is the only one on the books that can provide a bit of creativity from central mid , i doubt that we will be signing anyone else before the window slams shut . Today was one of the worst performances ever thanks CH , my belief in promotion is now shot to hell . Forest and WBA to go up with Cardiff in the play offs .

  25. It says a lot for where we are now when the mighty Wigan can out bid us and sign Moses.

    For christ’s sake he will be playing in front of 15,000
    at an industrial estate.

    Bloody fed up………….

  26. I don’t think Ashley can do much more can he?

    Hughtin has said these are the players I want and we have bought them.

    The dissapointing thing is that we have only bought one attacking player this month.

    Hughton said he wants a striker so i presume we’ll get one. I just hope he hasn’t put all his eggs in one basket with Moses.

  27. I’m glad I’m not on my own in being concerned at the lack of pace from Williamson (BBM 3 & Ross 14) and like you Bowburn I’m not convinced that it is because he lacks full match fitness. Time will tell.

    Throughout the whole game we were lack lustre with no semblance of a game plan or ability to change the game.

    I have neither seen / heard anything from Hughton post match and should consider myself lucky as I do not want to listen to his predictable excuses.

    Instead can he tell us when we are not going to play ugly?

    We drastically need a forward who can score regularly and an attacking midfielder.

    On seeing the teamsheet it was obvious ugly football was the order of the day again.

  28. Mags-the worst part is, i dont think we could stick out a team sheet that read “attractive football”..it was almost as if when long ball wasnt bringing a goal, we sort of said “shite, where do we go from here?”

  29. I’ve had my whinge about the town tonight but…

    I heard some shit news today. Played football with a lad called Anth Lowther at Wallsend Boys when I was a kid, although he was bit older than me.
    Ended up playing for a few of the same teams in non-league and he was at Blyth for ages, although he was at North Shields this year I think.

    Still saw him about but not for a while and heard he passed away this week after a short fight against Leukemia, only 34 or 35 he would have been. Didn’t even know he was ill.

    He was a big Newcastle supporter and was at the club as a kid.

    Daft as a brush, great company and thoroughly decent bloke. Not to mention a wand of a left foot.

    Football is really a bloody stupid game to get all upset about when you think about it.

    RIP Anth, you were a Godsend in your short but brilliant time on this mortal coil.

  30. batty says:
    January 30, 2010 at 10:31 pm
    icedog why did u call stu 69 lol

    He’s obviously heard about me….

    BBM, Soz mate. Football really is just that – Football – A game at the end of the day, in a world that there are far more important things to be bothered about.

  31. bowburn unless ur names stardust then u would just go and support the nearest team and we know who that is dont we :lol:

  32. Just about calmed down now. What a clueless shambles.
    Has CH had some kind of brain storm playing Butt and Smith in the same team let alone all the other tactical errors he made?
    Sorry to say I was proved right. In my match preview, i said I had a horrible feeling about this game. Never expected it to be that bad.
    Feel sorry for the 3000 travelling supporters, paying good money to watch that dross.
    AArrggghh

  33. I do think we maybe need to lay off Hughton a little. We are still top don’t forget.

    Although I do question his team selection. If Jonas isn’t fit he shouldn’t be on the bench.

  34. We had the players to win the game today. What cost us the game was Hughton’s shocking tactics. This article sums it up best for me.

    http://www.newcastle.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=186552

    Leicester are a team who’s strength lay in their defence, everyone knows that. So why does Hughton bring out a formation as if we were playing Arsenal? Why is he trying to stifle the midfield of a team that rarely uses the middle of the park? A truly ridiculous decision. A 5 man midfield with 4 central midfielders, and a slow, unintelligent striker as the spearhead, fantastic. We were doomed from the start.

    Carroll may win the odd header, but his movement and link up play is shocking to say the least. He is either too close or two far away from the AM or other striker. He looked like a headless chicken, and for me, Ranger looked far more dangerous in 10minutes then Carroll did the whole game.

    We should have played Lovenkrands instead of Butt if Gutierrez was injured. Pancrate seems to have poor intelligence on the pitch and i think that is why Routledge has been signed. Honestly, today the new lads showed how poor the team was before they came, seeing as all three still managed to shine in a completely abject team performance.

    The midfield have NO UNDERSTANDING and consistently pass to the opposition. We still don’t have a specific style of play. It’s awful. If i see Butt try another Fabregas pass or Gerrard long shot i am going to pull my hair out. He has zero ability and i truly don’t see how he ever made it to a professional level. The signing of Ryan Taylor has proved to be a poor piece of business and i bet Wigan are laughing with N’Zogbia on form and Moses set to join him. R.Taylor is far too slow and can never seem to link up well with any of the full backs or midfielders he’s partnered with. Did anyone else notice that Routledge and Van Aarnholt were the only players to get a decent shot on target? Shocking. I have said it before and i will say it again. Nolan is a poor player with a half decent shot. We need to offload him as soon as the season closes imo. Butt will leave on a free, and hopefully Carroll will be sold for a couple of million. He is too slow and one dimensional, Ranger will be far superior to him by the time he is his age.

    All in all i am disappointed as we had the players to win, and win comfortably today. Hughton needs to use the remainder of the season to get the team playing otherwise he will be sacked within the first 3 months of our time in the Prem.

  35. Oh well,
    Another clean sheet, this time away.
    Big team changes didn’t help, some are forced changes.
    Big chance, with them down to 10 men, missed to put extra daylight between us & the rest.
    There has gotta come a time when the team is allowed off the leash.

    Anyhoo,
    Knackers.

  36. Why was Jonas even at the game, it was obvious that he wasn’t gonna play, as he’s nursing a pull/strain/knock or something.

    Deep sigh.

  37. Who gives a flying fck who John Terry is shagging?

    I couldn’t care less if he was shagging a horse as long as he performs for England.

    Press get right on my tits

  38. just on for a sec, good post bowburn, rings true,when things like that strike, it does seem silly to get upset over a game

  39. been drinking with a shitbag the day – goes by the name of micheal mcildoe , plays for coventry and is gonna sign for the smog monsters – he really is the pits of life.

    ……chris you will never deliver it will you ?

  40. i was at the game, it was garbage… i seriously do think at times the yjuat lack the urgency to win if they know we’ll still be top of the league when the final whistle goes… if forrest won today i do wonder if we would have seen more from them….nicky butt is utterly woeful, ryna taylor cant play right back, nolan is very out of form,maybe fatigue….the leicester defence coped with carroll, had him figured out quickley… i thought routledge looked good on the ball, just didnt see much of it….come on chris 4-4-2 please!

  41. Taxi for Mr Hughton. Its just a matter of when. Promotion or not. Smith and Butt in the middle.Joke. The whole midfield cannot score. What would we give for a Fabregas in CM? Big lumps in attack. A la Stoke or Wimbledon. Its crap boring football whether we are top or not and I am sick of it. We will come straight back down. Taxi for Hughton.

  42. 2001 – wandering the streets of luv vagus…..do you remember it was only a kiss….AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR….. i’m mr bright side……never had a division of joy’ness…

  43. Hughton makes Big Sam look like Einstein. Sam played boring football but Hughton plays a game I really hate. We may be top of the league but we are boring

  44. FFS,
    Stop with the belly-aching.
    Anyone that ‘predicted’ (guessed) we’d be where we are today, hands up.
    Right, you’re allowed to put forward your predictions for next season as you’ve obviously got the clairvoyant gene. The rest, spare us.
    Bleat, bleat, f****** bleat.

  45. jimily – i googled your name , and stinking shitbag came up – but hey you carry it well – your nothing but a defeatist waste..rtering twatt that the likes of mumford and his sons enjoy…..come with me

  46. clint – thank you in agreement , some timed=s you close your eyes ,,,,,,,,and they …..

    …we hoped you enjoyed your stay :)

    even if it’s just for the the day…..

    …worky i still love you sweet heart x

  47. is it just me or does it just feel wrong to be playing van aanholt ahead of kadar???? we are developing a talent of chelseas to the detriment of our own players! surely kadar is well capable!

    very disapointed with today………with butt playing it was negating the one man advantage!! he is possibly the worst player i have ever seen on a consistent basis…he has NOTHING these days! also underwhelmed by nolan and smith these days! v happy with routledge nd williamson, looked quite good and if anything routledge is too attack minded for our midfield!! cannot believe hughton didn change things earlier…he threw away two points! we are potentially on a slippery slope, dropping far too many points these days!! the team look decidedly fatigues……hughton mite rue his policy of not using the youngsters more

  48. Hughton’s decisions are at the heart of our troubles. Who he plays is a mystery to me and he’s incredibly uninspired.

  49. worky – if it wernt for your blog , i’d have nobody and nothing in my life & i need to remind you that your the best babe … yes your the best babe without doubt.

    ….you have saved me worky darling.

    ..i , i …

  50. Whoa ! what a bummed out bunch we are and all about a draw?
    From hero to zero, talking about Hughton, we are still top dog in the fizzy are we not ?
    Most fans would be ecstatic at being top, what exactly does it take to please this crowd ?
    Actually dont want to hear it.
    We got a good manager who is working with not the most talented NUFC team, working wonders and everyone wants him gone.
    Our corpulent owner is splashing cash around like a drunken sailor, we musta brought in aboot twenty odd players so far and still you guys are crying in yer beer,
    what`s up with that ?
    Lets get real here folks.

  51. Dragonera says:
    January 30, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I do agree, but it will have to do a transection…not so fast nolan is still a back bone for newcastle. Slow down mate..