October 28, 2008
After a truly horrific display against local rivals Sunderland on Saturday, we battled hard for a much-needed 2-1 win against West Brom on Tuesday night. After putting in a surprisingly decent first half in which we could and should have scored more than the two goals we got, things were running smoothly.
It took only nine minutes for us to break the deadlock. A wonderful through ball from the hopefully rehabilitated Joey Barton allowed Shola Ameobi to run at their last man, only for the naive Ryan Donk to bring our very own Pele down with a clumsy tackle. Barton clutched the ball and pelted home the penalty, his second goal for us and his his second penalty for us also. So two goals, two penalties, that is.
October 20, 2008
After two fairly sound displays against Everton away and Manchester City at home, both producing satisfactory 2-2 draws, we face Sunderland away tomorrow with the expected return to action of controversial midfielder Joey Barton. The scene is set for yet another classic derby match, and I cannot help but admit that this as fearful as I have ever been going in to one. Joe Kinnear today announced that Michael Owen is only 40-60% chance of being fit for the game, and Jonas Guttierez is also unlikely to start. With this in mind I feel we may well struggle tomorrow, although it has to be said that Shola Ameobi looked a different player against Man City last Monday night, and credit must be given to the manager if this is to be the re-invention of a footballer who has always, in my eyes, failed to meet the demands of the Premier League. Perhaps Sir Bobby Robson burdened him when he famously said watching him was like watching 'Bambi on ice'.
I have always wanted Shola to make it at the top level, as there is no doubt that he has potential, but just when this potential will be realized is another matter. Here's hoping that he can score for the second game in a row and prove most people wrong about his goal scoring abilities. I have also noticed that we have a prolific youngster playing in the reserves at the moment by the name of Nile Ranger, who is scoring goals for fun at the moment. This has been noticed by many up here in geordieland and many, like myself, believe that youngsters like Ranger, should be thrown in at the deep end as oppose to persistent non-events such as Ameobi, amongst others. However, this is Shola's big chance, and having scored against Man City, I get the impression that this really is make-or-break time for the Geordie born striker and he will be keener than anyone to put his lethargic displays of the past few years behind him.