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Michael Owen verdict on Newcastle United

2 weeks ago
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Michael Owen has been talking about Newcastle United’s season so far.

Despite losing all the matches, Michael Owen is convinced that they haven’t played badly in them.

The former NUFC striker / shirker claims that with the likes of Callum Wilson and ASM, Newcastle will ‘always be a threat’ when on the attack.

Michael Owen also declaring that Newcastle United have ‘certainly created chances’ in their matches so far.

However, the reality is that it is now over four hours of football (including defeat to Burnley in the League Cup) since Newcastle scored a goal.

Even more worrying, in the opening Premier League matches in over two and a half hours of football since Murphy scored in the first half against West Ham, Newcastle have failed to force the opposition keeper to make a save. The only ‘effort on target’ in that time was in the 97th minute against Villa when Joelinton had a header which struggled to even reach the keeper, never mind beat him.

On paper, you see Wilson, ASM, Willock and Almiron, but in reality, against Aston Villa rather than trying to get hold of and dominate the game and provide the right platform to the attacking quartet. A far more defensive approach was taken and only in a limited number of counter attacks did Newcastle threaten. It is one thing putting attacking players on the pitch BUT another thing putting a set-up in place that gets them on the offensive and dictating the match.

Hopefully that all changes on Saturday and certainly Southampton have proved to be ideal opponents at St James Park, On their last 17 visits the Saints have only won once and Newcastle 13 times, with three draws. However, before an eventually easy 4-2 victory, West Ham had previously only won two of their last 17 visits to SJP.

Michael Owen does have concerns about Newcastle on the defensive side and points to six goals conceded in just two PL matches. Under Steve Bruce the defending has got progressively worse and worse and last season only four PL clubs conceded more goals, this changing from under Rafa Benitez when in both Premier League seasons with the SPaniard in charge, only six clubs conceded less than NUFC each of the two seasons.

These past four seasons have seen Newcastle conceding in the Premier League 47 goals, followed by 48, 58 and 62 last season. Obviously only a very small two game sample so far but at three goals a game, Newcastle on track to concede 114 this time around…

Michael Owen predicts a narrow 1-0 win for Newcastle United on Saturday.

In my opinion there will be goals at both ends and hopefully if given the encouragement to attack, Newcastle’s best players can hand NUFC a much needed victory to avoid a relegation spot going into the international break.

Michael Owen talking to BetVictor:

“I’m not sure what to make of Newcastle this season.

“They’ve lost both games but I don’t think they’ve played badly in either.

“They’ve certainly created chances and with the attacking players they have, they’ll always be a threat.

“I do worry about them defensively though and that’s now six goals conceded already.

“I didn’t see Southampton’s draw at home to Man United coming.

“They showed a lot of spirit in that draw and Ralph Hasenhüttl will be looking to build on that going forward.

“Armstrong and Adams look like a duo that will cause defences problems with their pace and movement but the Saints are still a very young team.

“I fancy my old side here.

“Newcastle haven’t lost to Southampton at St James’s Park since 2015 and I think they will narrowly edge this one 1-0.”

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