Match Reviews: Newcastle v Liverpool and Bolton Wanderers v Manchester United

25 November 2007

Well I am back for another batch of match reviews, this from the start of the Premier League weekend. Sit back and enjoy as I take a look at one utter dominance and another total shock.

Newcastle United v Liverpool: Liverpool simply dominated Newcastle United in a way you won't see many teams dominated during a competitive match. Goals from Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel were compounded by the fact Fernando Torres had four golden chances of his own yet not finding the back of the net as Liverpool leaves St. James Park 3-0 winners.
Fact is Newcastle were killed in the midfield, were woeful at the back, and only once did Newcastle properly link with a forward. Newcastle has to have the narrowest midfield ever seen in professional football. It doesn't also help that the midfield can't press forward and that the midfield is consistently getting beaten to the point they are picking up worthless fouls. It also goes to show you what happens when you cannot get the ball to the feet of Obafemi Martins. Liverpool I think were more shocked at how easy it was to move the ball around the park today as they cut through Newcastle with relative ease. The back four wasn't really tested and the midfield looked like adults taunting kids. One minor concern coming from this game was the fact Fernando Torres didn't finish a number of chances. Had Torres's confidence not been ruined from his time on the bench, Liverpool could have scored seven or eight. It was that kind of easy for Liverpool on the day.
Defining Moments
Minute 8-9: Free kick to Liverpool when Beye fouls twenty-three from goal, however the free kick comes to nothing when shirts were being pulled in the wall and Gerrard isn't able to put his shot on goal. The free kick was generous and the foul in the wall was even more generous.
Minute 22: First shot on target in the game from Steven Gerrard close to thirty yards out, parry saved from Given. There was some knuckle to that shot so Given was well to stop that one.
Minute 28: GOAL LIVERPOOL, GOAL STEVEN GERRARD. Torres fouled by Emre thirty yards from goal. Emre clipped Torres as he was running by and that will always be a free kick. Steven Gerrard takes the indirect free kick from the foot of Lucas and gets a perfect shot on target right past the outside of the wall. Given doesn't see the ball until late and by the time he can react, it's in at the near post. Poor wall from Newcastle and honestly had the two on the outside not moved, I don't think it would have mattered. Gerrard placed his shot that well. Newcastle United 0 Liverpool 1.
Minute 38: Alan Smith puts Newcastle close to an equalizer. Smith takes the pass off his knee and his volley far post doesn't miss by much. First time Newcastle got anything that resembled a proper link up in the game.
Minute 45: Controversial moments involving Shay Given. Fernando Torres gets in all alone and Given comes well off the line. Torres tries to shoot over Given but it hits the shoulder and really should have been a red card hand ball. Either way Kuyt feeds Torres again and his second effort ends up on the far post and back out. Poor defending from N'Zogbia who was the closest man to Torres on the pass and lucky from Given that he wasn't sent off when he should have been. Also please explain to me why Given was twenty-plus yards off his line?
Minute 46: GOAL LIVERPOOL, GOAL DIRK KUYT. Off a Liverpool corner to start the second half, Gerrard finds Hyypia on the near post. Hyypia flicks on and finds the knee of Kuyt who knees the ball in central. Poor line management from Newcastle as no one bothers to come off the line and make the save. Also even poorer from Given to let that ball get past him on the flick on. Newcastle United 0 Liverpool 2.
Minute 60: Torres does well to fight Beye and Geremi to get the ball eight from goal, however his shot ends up curling wide of the far post. Poor defending from Newcastle as Torres should have never gotten in that position.
Minute 61: Yellow Card Nicky Butt. Clips Steven Gerrard ankle first. Tough on Butt as Wiley was in his way and really a harsh yellow card to be given.
Minute 62: Torres beats Rozehnal inside the penalty area, but in that time Given is able to get out and kick save whatever Torres was trying to do with the ball. That would have been the time to flick over Given's body.
Minute 66: GOAL LIVERPOOL, GOAL RYAN BABEL. Babel plays a perfect one-two with Gerrard after a very long spell of continued possession. Babel beats Butt and Rozehnal was in the place Babel took the shot from. However Rozehnal went after Gerrard. Poor defending from Rozehnal and Enrique on that one as both Gerrard and Babel were in plenty of space. Newcastle United 0 Liverpool 3.
Minute 68: Torres gets in all alone after Geremi keeps him onside but pulls the shot wide of the far post. Should have finished that one off.
Minute 69: This is a recording. Torres breaks the central defense down yet again and it's Given who kick saves before Torres can shoot. How many chances can you get?
Minute 79: Yellow Card Mohamed Sissoko. Dangerous challenge on Joey Barton using both feet diving in. That challenge will always see a color.
Minute 87: Yellow Card Habib Beye. Shoulder lunge into the back of Fernando Torres. Stupid challenge that could only be birthed out of frustration.
Minute 90+1: Yellow Card Alan Smith. Too many fouls makes Smith see the book.

Bolton Wanderers v Manchester United: Sir Alex Ferguson yet again underestimates a new manager at a club as Bolton through a Nicolas Anelka eleventh minute goal was enough to see off the pressure of Manchester United and give Gary Megson his first win as Bolton gaffer winning 1-0 at the Reebok.
What can be said about Gary Megson. He has brought back the football that everyone may groan about with Bolton, however for the Bolton players it's just effective. The back was tight, the midfield did it's part, but Bolton wasted chances to put this game out of reach. Manchester United looked completely disheveled on the day and it makes you wonder what they are like without Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. Do Manchester United just not have the depth they thought they did? The shocking bit to it all was the fact that the Red Devils just looked shaky enough at the back, and were pressing too much going forward. Gerard Pique needs more matches to get better and it wouldn't hurt for him to be loaned out to a Championship side to get just a little bit more seasoning.
Defining Moments
Minute 9: Carlos Tevez goes to ground off a Davies challenge. Really nothing to the challenge and Tevez dropped to ground a tad too easily. Referee correct in playing on.
Minute 11: GOAL BOLTON WANDERERS, GOAL NICOLAS ANELKA. Free kick conceded by Patrice Evra on a poor challenge to Danny Guthrie. While Guthrie may have over hit the ball, the fact remains that Evra shouldn't have hit the deck and sent Guthrie flying. Ivan Campo takes the free kick and the ball makes it's way through to Nicolas Anelka who one times it far post and in. Gerard Pique doesn't head the ball clear and Louis Saha was posting up Kevin Davies. Pique was the man responsible for marking Anelka. Had Pique just stayed with Anelka, Van der Sar has an easy save. Instead one mistake leads to a shocking start. Bolton Wanderers 1 Manchester United 0.
Minute 19: Patrice Evra and Kevin Davies gets into a little bit of a tussle after Davies catches Evra late. Why Evra felt the need to come back with a small shove is beyond me. Just move on with life.
Minute 22: Yellow Card Kevin Davies. Stupid challenge on Patrice Evra by Davies after Evra had already played the ball off his feet. You would have thought that Davies would have gotten the message from the challenge of just a few minutes ago.
Minute 29: Ryan Giggs with Manchester United's first decent effort on goal. However it's from distance and right off the back of Andrew O'Brien...right into the ever waiting hands of Jussi Jaaskelainen. It was more speculation than shot and a shot that didn't really ever look like it was going to threaten the Bolton keeper.
Minute 31: Mark Clattenburg has a serious discussion with Kevin Davies after yet another challenge on Patrice Evra. Davies was late on the challenge as Evra had already headed the ball clear by the time Davies clashed heads with Evra. Honestly that should have been a second yellow and Davies is very fortunate to escape with only a warning.
Minute 34-35: Now it's Kevin Davies winning a free kick for Bolton in a decent position after beating Evra with ball on feet and Evra taking Davies down. Either way the resulting free kick and corner come to zero and Bolton will feel that was a wasted opportunity. They didn't even create a decent half chance off the set pieces.
Minute 38: Owen Hargreaves still doesn't have his Manchester United account open. Nani on the wing finds Tevez inside the penalty area. Everyone wearing a Bolton kit closes down Tevez who finds an on rushing Hargreaves twenty from goal. However Tevez puts the ball on Hargreaves off foot and the shot curls wide of the far post. Even if you don't score off that effort, you have to at least make Jussi work for a save, something he didn't have to do.
Minute 43: Had Rio Ferdinand been just a little softer with his ball forward to Tevez, he's equalizing the game. Nicky Hunt was caught just a little flat footed and even on the Rio long ball, Tevez just barely missed getting his head to it. Bolton will consider themselves fortunate to have escaped.
Minute 53-54: Free kick to Bolton after a one two to Guthrie is fouled by Michael Carrick. Anelka and Campo are over the ball and and it's Anelka's free kick that is blocked out for a corner. The resulting corner leads to a spell of possession for Bolton, but Davies is unable to link up with the final pass from Campo and it's out for a goal kick.
Minute 59-60: Ivan Campo catches Louis Saha without playing the ball for a Manchester United free kick. Comes to nothing when Manchester United try to go wide before centering the ball.
Minute 62: Kevin Nolan holds off Michael Carrick as well as drawing Wes Brown in. However Nolan's pass to Davies is one timed right off Brown's back. Davies had a chance to get a touch before shooting but his hurriedness to shoot hurt that shot.
Minute 64-66: Yellow Card Kevin Nolan. Patrice Evra was on the attack and Nolan took him down from behind, most times that will be a yellow card and that time it was. Hargreaves's free kick is put in a good spot, but it's Jaaskelainen with a wonderful parried over the bar save. The resulting corner kick appears to come to nothing, but it's Nicky Hunt catching Evra before the cross could be played for another free kick. Hargreaves's free kick is deflected out for a corner, that Meite clears. The first real sustained period of attack for Manchester United.
Minute 72: Patrice Evra finds Carlos Tevez in the perfect place between Meite and Gardner. However Tevez's final touch severely fails him and instead of toe poking in the equalizer, he puts his shot well wide of the near post. Tevez has to finish that shot and there are no excuses to why he didn't.
Minute 81: Tevez tries to feed Saha, but Jaaskelainen is there to slide in and save before Saha can get a shot on goal. Jussi hasn't had to do much, but the work he has had to do has simply done the job.
Minute 87: Yellow Card Nicky Hunt. Time wasting by taking too long to get the ball back into play off a throw in.
Minute 90+2: Ivan Campo concedes a corner that brings Van der Sar forward. It's Campo defending the ball. Evra dispossess and heads down the wing, Louis Saha running unmarked in the penalty area. However instead of Evra passing to Saha for an easy equalizer, Evra goes for glory and severely misses the crossbar. Wasteful from Evra as Saha wouldn't have missed from where he was.
Minute 90+4: Diouf concedes a free kick in a dangerous spot and it's Owen Hargreaves to take. That didn't miss by much as it ends up on top of the net, not inside it.

I will be back over the course of the next three days covering as many games as time allows. Until then, may the debate begin!


Anonymous November 25, 2007 at 10:31 PM  

Big Fat Sam should be mega grateful to Kuyt/Torres for this not resulting in another 7-1/P45.


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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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