My first home game of the season, having missed the West Brom game as I was away saw us roll over a poor Newcastle side 3-0.
In truth, it could have been more – maybe as many as 5 or 6 – had we converted some of the easier chances of the day. Adebayor missed a sitter, as did Gallas from a corner early on. Walcott hit the side netting when he came on after Adebayor could have had a go himself and Given made a few excellent saves.
But to be fair, this was a superb performance all round – pretty much everyone played well and we saw Carlos Vela’s debut up front, looking like a very decent player indeed, what little we saw. I recall one very good turn and flick late on.
You can only beat what’s put in front of you and it’s fair to say that Newcastle looked clueless. The team that held United to a draw on the first weekend of the season tried to out-muscle us early on but after what must have been a roasting after Fulham last weekend we were well up for the fight and, once RVP scored from the spot to put us 1-0 up, Newcastle all but gave up.
Michael Owen is totally wasted at Newcastle. He gets no service whatsoever from the defensive pairing of Butt and Guthrie in midfield and spent most of his time on Saturday dropping deep to try and get a touch of the ball. No wonder he’s been left out of the England squad – he doesn’t play football any more!
The day ended on a sour note, however, when Keegan decided to bring on the convicted criminal, Joey Barton. OK, it was fun booing him and taunting him but it is an utter disgrace that he is allowed to continue playing football at the top level after what he has done.
As Keegan said, “everyone deserves a second chance”. But this thug has had more than his fair share and deserves nothing other than to lose his job. To me, it sums up the ridiculous level of power the players have these days, when Newcastle are forced to stand by a convicted criminal simply because he is quite good at football and they are not in a position to throw away either his talent or his monetary value – regardless of what he has done.
So the message, kids, is do whatever you like – if you can kick a ball, none of it matters.