Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: Can Toon Trio Catch Pompey 'Knapping?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: Can Toon Trio Catch Pompey 'Knapping?

Article excerpt

Byline: John Gibson

SO 'Arry didn't want to join us and has supposedly got his reward with an FA Cup final appearance.

Just as another who turned his back, Jonathan Woodgate, did in the Carling Cup.

Well, you know what happened to Woodgate recently, don't you!

He had a stinker, gave away a couple of goals, and United whacked Spurs 4-1 on their own patch.

Tomorrow, we don't mind if Redknapp and his Pompey peacocks go exactly the same way.

Up here, KK came in, and if he didn't have initial success, he has now - 10 points safely gathered out of the last 12.

The Toon Army prefer Keegan to Redknapp anyway.

One has history with the club, good history, while the other is a Del Boy from the Smoke.

Newcastle are at last playing a system properly with enthusiasm and belief.

Keegan may not be a master tactician by reputation, but what we have here is basically a 4-3-3 formation that Sam Allardyce coveted but was never able to make work.

Of course, Big Sam never tried all three of his strikers together with the specific jobs they have now.

The key is keeping Mark Viduka fit, which has been beyond many in the past. Here and at other clubs.

He's gifted and intelligent but has to stay in the mood.

Given his ability, Viduka has underachieved in his career, but it isn't too late to go out with a bang.

Michael Owen is switched on enough to know how to capitalise on his partner and, while Oba Martins hasn't that craftiness, he has the pace and power to do what comes naturally and that is sufficient.

Owen is United's top scorer with 10 goals from 23 appearances plus five as sub, while Martins has nine goals in 20 starts plus nine sub appearances, and Viduka seven goals from 17 matches and seven sub outings.

The race to finish as leading marksman is on and the goal ratios are good. …

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