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Owen lost to a life of luxury

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Owen lost to a life of luxury

Martin Samuel

 

The sight of Michael Owen coming off the bench for Newcastle United may not be all good news for Steve McClaren, the England head coach. Indeed, it may grow to be his worst nightmare.

 

At the moment, Owen is working his way back to match fitness after a thigh injury suffered in July. Considering his recent problems, it is understandable that he is not rushed immediately into action. Yet, healthy again, where exactly will Owen figure under Sam Allardyce at Newcastle?

 

Not in his 4-3-3 system, that is for sure. Owen took Obafemi Martins’s place on the right during his 27-minute appearance against Aston Villa on Saturday, but it is hardly a role that plays to his strengths. Very little about Allardyce’s A game does. He is recreating his new club in the image of his old and there is no natural home for Owen’s type of striker in a Bolton Wanderers-style plan that uses the craft of James Milner on the left, the athleticism of Martins on the right and the imposing presence of Mark Viduka down the middle.

 

Even if Allardyce switches to 4-4-2, he might elect to reacquaint the successful Leeds United striking partnership of Viduka and Alan Smith.

 

Then there is Shola Ameobi, another whose physical aptitude conforms to Allardyce’s preferences. So where does that leave Owen in Newcastle’s pecking order. Fourth? Fifth? Heaven forbid, sixth?

 

Allardyce wrote a national newspaper column during the most recent World Cup. In it, he advocated a 4-3-3 system for England’s first match, which found no room for Owen. Later in the tournament, when he rated Sven-Göran Eriksson’s players out of ten, Owen was given his lowest mark, five (Peter Crouch received eight). Allardyce offered mitigation that he lacked match fitness and acknowledged his status as a player that could change a game, but his summing up will not make comfortable reading with McClaren now relying on regular club football to keep Owen sharp.

 

“Sven has to live with the fact that Owen is a predator — or rule that he is a luxury he can’t afford,” Allardyce concluded. McClaren’s fear must be that, with Allardyce now making that judgment, option two will be his bottom line.

 

Quite incredible, isn’t it, that a player who has done nothing all his life but score should suddenly be out of fashion? Owen bristles at the suggestion that the traditional goal-poaching No 9 will go the way of the midfield maestro No 10 and become a redundant figure in our modern game, but evidence is not on his side. Rafael BenÍtez did not want to make him part of the way forward at Liverpool and instead signed a succession of strikers without half Owen’s potency, but offering better support to the team. Indeed, the reason he is at Newcastle is that the top four clubs in English football did little but shuffle their feet and look awkwardly at the floor when he was made available by Real Madrid.

 

The vogue striker is embodied by Didier Drogba, of Chelsea. Artful, powerful and capable of scoring stunning goals or operating as a selfless target man. Now, even Newcastle, the romantic home of the frontman, may prove a lonely posting for Owen. His announcement last week that he is fit and ready to play had an air of desperation about it, a forlorn attempt to make himself attractive, as if he already suspects that Allardyce’s attention is elsewhere.

 

There is one team that has an aching need for Owen but, sadly, its plays infrequently. England have floundered terribly without their great match-winner, as strikers that are so valued at club level, where there is often a cunning foreign partner to help them, have struggled to fill his shoes.

 

Liverpool’s supporters harshly stated that Owen belonged to the national team, not his club, but that slight may soon be his reality. The occasional cameo for Newcastle, however, will not be enough to produce the edge Owen requires to define key matches. If so, Allardyce may get his preferred England team, one way or another.

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good piece which raises some interesting points.

 

i don't see how owen would fit into our current system. you don't want him working the channels out wide on the right in big sam's prefered 4-3-3 formation - he's lost a yard of the blistering pace he had as a youngster.

 

owen is a poacher. he's a bit like shearer in the respect that you might not notice him for 89 minutes but then he'll pop up with a clinical finish.

 

so you do you build your team around a natural goal scorer, or you do you potentially sacrifice 20 goals a season for a more hardworking players that will contribute more to the team?

 

personally, and assuming own can recover to a similar level to what he was before he did his knee, i'd play owen and viduka up top in a 4-4-2.

Edited by Dr Gloom

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good piece which raises some interesting points.

 

i don't see how owen would fit into our current system. you don't want him working the channels out wide on the right in big sam's prefered 4-3-3 formation - he's lost a yard of the blistering pace he had as a youngster.

 

owen is a poacher. he's a bit like shearer in the respect that you might not notice him for 89 minutes but then he'll pop up with a clinical finish.

 

so you do you build your team around a natural goal scorer, or you do you potentially sacrifice 20 goals a season for a more hardworking players that will contribute more to the team?

 

personally, and assuming own can recover to a similar level to what he was before he did his knee, i'd play owen and viduka up top in a 4-4-2.

To be fair, Shearer would get back to defend and give a hell of a lot to the team, I don't remember too many games where he was anonymous.

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Guest alex
good piece which raises some interesting points.

 

i don't see how owen would fit into our current system. you don't want him working the channels out wide on the right in big sam's prefered 4-3-3 formation - he's lost a yard of the blistering pace he had as a youngster.

 

owen is a poacher. he's a bit like shearer in the respect that you might not notice him for 89 minutes but then he'll pop up with a clinical finish.

 

so you do you build your team around a natural goal scorer, or you do you potentially sacrifice 20 goals a season for a more hardworking players that will contribute more to the team?

 

personally, and assuming own can recover to a similar level to what he was before he did his knee, i'd play owen and viduka up top in a 4-4-2.

To be fair, Shearer would get back to defend and give a hell of a lot to the team, I don't remember too many games where he was anonymous.

Not in his last 3 years. Unless you count standing at the front post to head a corner away.

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Raises a point, but in general the article just stirs shit.

 

Has Allardcye not said that his favoured formation was 4-3-3, but that he has no problem with 4-4-2, with a 'little man'/'big man' combination up front? Basically saying that Viduka/Shola/ will play one role and Martins/Owen will compete with each other for the 'little man' role, with Smith filling in where nessicary.

 

He's also said that he'll have to adjust personnel/formations against some teams, as teams like ManU, plainly, have better players, so if you play them at their own game, they'll beat you. You have to mix it up.

 

I was only thinking yesterday that the media had been quiet about us and keeping their fucking noses out in general. No more release clause stuff etc. Then the "Martins -> ManUtd" and "Owen as 6th choice striker" crap comes out.

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"Owen took Obafemi Martins’s place on the right during his 27-minute appearance against Aston Villa on Saturday,"

No he didn't, we switched to 4-4-2.

 

"Even if Allardyce switches to 4-4-2, he might elect to reacquaint the successful Leeds United striking partnership of Viduka and Alan Smith."

Only if players are injured. No way will Smith be ahead of Owen and Martins in terms of striking berths, especially in a 4-4-2.

 

"Then there is Shola Ameobi, another whose physical aptitude conforms to Allardyce’s preferences. So where does that leave Owen in Newcastle’s pecking order. Fourth? Fifth? Heaven forbid, sixth?"

I don't think that needs comment.

 

I could go on if you like Dan.

Edited by alex

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"Owen took Obafemi Martins’s place on the right during his 27-minute appearance against Aston Villa on Saturday,"

No he didn't, we switched to 4-4-2.

 

"Even if Allardyce switches to 4-4-2, he might elect to reacquaint the successful Leeds United striking partnership of Viduka and Alan Smith."

Only if players are injured. No way will Smith be ahead of Owen and Martins in terms of striking berths, especially in a 4-4-2.

 

"Then there is Shola Ameobi, another whose physical aptitude conforms to Allardyce’s preferences. So where does that leave Owen in Newcastle’s pecking order. Fourth? Fifth? Heaven forbid, sixth?"

I don't think that needs comment.

 

I could go on if you like Dan.

 

so he hasn't done all his homework but i think the fat beardie touches on a bit of a conundrum for big sam, namely whether owen can fit into the manager's system.

 

if you were big sam would you build a team around owen and revert to a 4-4-2 or continue with a 4-3-3 and play owen in a position where you arguably aren't going to get the best out of him?

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good piece which raises some interesting points.

 

i don't see how owen would fit into our current system. you don't want him working the channels out wide on the right in big sam's prefered 4-3-3 formation - he's lost a yard of the blistering pace he had as a youngster.

 

owen is a poacher. he's a bit like shearer in the respect that you might not notice him for 89 minutes but then he'll pop up with a clinical finish.

 

so you do you build your team around a natural goal scorer, or you do you potentially sacrifice 20 goals a season for a more hardworking players that will contribute more to the team?

 

personally, and assuming own can recover to a similar level to what he was before he did his knee, i'd play owen and viduka up top in a 4-4-2.

To be fair, Shearer would get back to defend and give a hell of a lot to the team, I don't remember too many games where he was anonymous.

Not in his last 3 years. Unless you count standing at the front post to head a corner away.

 

:icon_lol:

 

True. But he was on his last legs by then....in fairness, AF makes a good point. I remember when Shearer was the 'best winger at the club' *cringe* for about 2 seasons as he'd have to put the crosses in without any service to himself. Owen would never do that, though thats not necessarily a criticism of Owen either.

 

PS I was at Chester Racecourse for a wedding when the Villa game was on. They showed me Michael Owen's private box. 'Life of Luxury is right....probably one of the few times it has been empty in the last couple of years in fact :rolleyes:

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"Owen took Obafemi Martins’s place on the right during his 27-minute appearance against Aston Villa on Saturday,"

No he didn't, we switched to 4-4-2.

 

"Even if Allardyce switches to 4-4-2, he might elect to reacquaint the successful Leeds United striking partnership of Viduka and Alan Smith."

Only if players are injured. No way will Smith be ahead of Owen and Martins in terms of striking berths, especially in a 4-4-2.

 

"Then there is Shola Ameobi, another whose physical aptitude conforms to Allardyce’s preferences. So where does that leave Owen in Newcastle’s pecking order. Fourth? Fifth? Heaven forbid, sixth?"

I don't think that needs comment.

 

I could go on if you like Dan.

 

so he hasn't done all his homework but i think the fat beardie touches on a bit of a conundrum for big sam, namely whether owen can fit into the manager's system.

 

if you were big sam would you build a team around owen and revert to a 4-4-2 or continue with a 4-3-3 and play owen in a position where you arguably aren't going to get the best out of him?

Two of the three points I higlighted were his opinion though, and laughable ones at that. Barney is right about the shit-stirring too.

To answer your question, I'd go 4-4-2, although that isn't building the team around Owen imo. It's just playing to his strengths which isn't the same thing.

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"Owen took Obafemi Martins’s place on the right during his 27-minute appearance against Aston Villa on Saturday,"

No he didn't, we switched to 4-4-2.

 

"Even if Allardyce switches to 4-4-2, he might elect to reacquaint the successful Leeds United striking partnership of Viduka and Alan Smith."

Only if players are injured. No way will Smith be ahead of Owen and Martins in terms of striking berths, especially in a 4-4-2.

 

"Then there is Shola Ameobi, another whose physical aptitude conforms to Allardyce’s preferences. So where does that leave Owen in Newcastle’s pecking order. Fourth? Fifth? Heaven forbid, sixth?"

I don't think that needs comment.

 

I could go on if you like Dan.

 

so he hasn't done all his homework but i think the fat beardie touches on a bit of a conundrum for big sam, namely whether owen can fit into the manager's system.

 

if you were big sam would you build a team around owen and revert to a 4-4-2 or continue with a 4-3-3 and play owen in a position where you arguably aren't going to get the best out of him?

Two of the three points I higlighted were his opinion though, and laughable ones at that. Barney is right about the shit-stirring too.

To answer your question, I'd go 4-4-2, although that isn't building the team around Owen imo. It's just playing to his strengths which isn't the same thing.

 

yes it is - sam would be completely changing his prefered system to acommodate one player.

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"Owen took Obafemi Martins’s place on the right during his 27-minute appearance against Aston Villa on Saturday,"

No he didn't, we switched to 4-4-2.

 

"Even if Allardyce switches to 4-4-2, he might elect to reacquaint the successful Leeds United striking partnership of Viduka and Alan Smith."

Only if players are injured. No way will Smith be ahead of Owen and Martins in terms of striking berths, especially in a 4-4-2.

 

"Then there is Shola Ameobi, another whose physical aptitude conforms to Allardyce’s preferences. So where does that leave Owen in Newcastle’s pecking order. Fourth? Fifth? Heaven forbid, sixth?"

I don't think that needs comment.

 

I could go on if you like Dan.

 

so he hasn't done all his homework but i think the fat beardie touches on a bit of a conundrum for big sam, namely whether owen can fit into the manager's system.

 

if you were big sam would you build a team around owen and revert to a 4-4-2 or continue with a 4-3-3 and play owen in a position where you arguably aren't going to get the best out of him?

Two of the three points I higlighted were his opinion though, and laughable ones at that. Barney is right about the shit-stirring too.

To answer your question, I'd go 4-4-2, although that isn't building the team around Owen imo. It's just playing to his strengths which isn't the same thing.

 

yes it is - sam would be completely changing his prefered system to acommodate one player.

What other forwards do we have that fit into the system the way he played it at Bolton then? Viduka isn't even a Kevin Davies type of player really.

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"Owen took Obafemi Martins’s place on the right during his 27-minute appearance against Aston Villa on Saturday,"

No he didn't, we switched to 4-4-2.

 

"Even if Allardyce switches to 4-4-2, he might elect to reacquaint the successful Leeds United striking partnership of Viduka and Alan Smith."

Only if players are injured. No way will Smith be ahead of Owen and Martins in terms of striking berths, especially in a 4-4-2.

 

"Then there is Shola Ameobi, another whose physical aptitude conforms to Allardyce’s preferences. So where does that leave Owen in Newcastle’s pecking order. Fourth? Fifth? Heaven forbid, sixth?"

I don't think that needs comment.

 

I could go on if you like Dan.

 

so he hasn't done all his homework but i think the fat beardie touches on a bit of a conundrum for big sam, namely whether owen can fit into the manager's system.

 

if you were big sam would you build a team around owen and revert to a 4-4-2 or continue with a 4-3-3 and play owen in a position where you arguably aren't going to get the best out of him?

Two of the three points I higlighted were his opinion though, and laughable ones at that. Barney is right about the shit-stirring too.

To answer your question, I'd go 4-4-2, although that isn't building the team around Owen imo. It's just playing to his strengths which isn't the same thing.

 

yes it is - sam would be completely changing his prefered system to acommodate one player.

What other forwards do we have that fit into the system the way he played it at Bolton then? Viduka isn't even a Kevin Davies type of player really.

 

i think martins and milner or duff would be suited to the wide positions in a 4-3-3, certainly more than owen. i'm not convinced the formation gets the best out of viduka either but it's the system that sam has been successful using.

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"Owen took Obafemi Martins’s place on the right during his 27-minute appearance against Aston Villa on Saturday,"

No he didn't, we switched to 4-4-2.

 

"Even if Allardyce switches to 4-4-2, he might elect to reacquaint the successful Leeds United striking partnership of Viduka and Alan Smith."

Only if players are injured. No way will Smith be ahead of Owen and Martins in terms of striking berths, especially in a 4-4-2.

 

"Then there is Shola Ameobi, another whose physical aptitude conforms to Allardyce’s preferences. So where does that leave Owen in Newcastle’s pecking order. Fourth? Fifth? Heaven forbid, sixth?"

I don't think that needs comment.

 

I could go on if you like Dan.

 

so he hasn't done all his homework but i think the fat beardie touches on a bit of a conundrum for big sam, namely whether owen can fit into the manager's system.

 

if you were big sam would you build a team around owen and revert to a 4-4-2 or continue with a 4-3-3 and play owen in a position where you arguably aren't going to get the best out of him?

Two of the three points I higlighted were his opinion though, and laughable ones at that. Barney is right about the shit-stirring too.

To answer your question, I'd go 4-4-2, although that isn't building the team around Owen imo. It's just playing to his strengths which isn't the same thing.

 

yes it is - sam would be completely changing his prefered system to acommodate one player.

What other forwards do we have that fit into the system the way he played it at Bolton then? Viduka isn't even a Kevin Davies type of player really.

 

i think martins and milner or duff would be suited to the wide positions in a 4-3-3, certainly more than owen. i'm not convinced the formation gets the best out of viduka either but it's the system that sam has been successful using.

More suited than Owen, yes. Not particularly well suited though. I think he'll use different systems to get the best out of the players at his disposal, at least until he's been here long enough to shape the side properly. That's pragmatism rather than 'building the team around Owen' though, as I see it. And we both agree Viduka isn't best suited to that formation, yet he's the one striker at the club Allardyce has bought (apart from Smith, who is also a midfielder). Incidentally, I remember Owen playing well in a 4-3-3 at Liverpool when Anelka was there. Different personnel there though, obviously.

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Viduka may turn out to be a waste of time. IMO, he's overhyped and not as good as people make him out to be. I hope he turns out well but I have my doubts especially the way we were humping balls up to him against villa and just wonder if his game is suited to Sam's plans.

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