Newcastle United will not have to worry about the Latics “Dirty Plan” to wind-up Joey Barton on the Boxing day match to get him sent-off as Big Sam didn’t even include him on his travelling Toon squad to JJB Stadium.
Bart being report has a slight ankle injury. On the central defensive pairing, both David Rozehnal and Claudio Cacapa are being replaced by Steven Taylor and Abdoulaye Faye. Roz also didn’t make a trip today and have an extended Christmas with his family.
In midfield, Big Sam give Damien Duff his first start of the season while Geremi and Turkish playmaker Emre are also recalled. Geremi playing today without his regular arm band as Big Sam handed it to Alan Smith who is partnered with Big Vid up front.
Jose Enrique, Cacapa, Nicky Butt, and Nigerian striker Oba Martins are waiting on the bench, while Michael Owen will have to wait until weekend for a possible return.
Wigan start the match and are straight on the attack. They got the first real test for United defence in 12 minutes, when Sibierski gets the ball off N’Zogbia on the left and release a crosses. Smith who is back defending only can hacks it away from the penalty spot.
The ball only goes as far as Scharner who controls it and aim for Given’s target, the 25-yard strike deflected Geremi and the ball runs safe through to Given. They also have a shout for a spot-kick when Smith and Sibierski collide inside the area in 16th minutes but referee Mike Dean rightly waves away the protests.
Afer twenty minutes of play, United start to meet the form and try to give real pressure to the home side. Beye’s
overlapping run from United right sees off Kilbane but his cross fails to find a black and white shirt. A good opening but sadly United were unable to capitalise.
We also have one scary moment in half an hour mark, when Melchiot deep crosses aiming for Sibierski on the penalty spot. Sib climbs above Taylor to head the ball for the run of strike partner Bent, but Given is able to claim. Given’s clearance only goes as far as Ryan Taylor who immediately returns into the area but Bent is unable to control and United clear.
The poor first-half performance from both sides ended with no goals. Both side starts the second period without changes and this time United lead the attack.
Steven Taylor springs Milner clear with a lofted pass out to the right-wing in the first four minutes into the second-half, the England Under-21 star attacks the by-line but his cross is too close to Kirkland who can plucks it from the air at his near post.
United got the best chance so far on this game when Melchiot’s back pass is too soft and short, Milner charges down while Kirkland attempts to clear, the ball spoons in the air and Viduka hooks back over his head towards goal.
For seconds it looks destined for his third goal in two games with Wigan’s goalkeeper Kirkland stranded, but Titus “the Fear Factor” Bramble recovers to head away at the last minute for a corner. Zog takes the flag kick from the right but the home side can manage clear.
From the clearance, the Latics made a break and Emre has to scamper back to guide the ball back to Given with Marcus Bent in pursuit.
Later on the hour mark, Fear Factor Bramble surges down the left and taken out as he tries to go between the challenge of Viduka and Milner but Mike Dean blows for a free-kick. Wigan’s Taylor takes it but United’s Taylor heads it away from the penalty spot.
And if there’s hope, at least we can manage to get the early minutes of both period safe from sloppy goals, but it’s the Boxing Day away win that is look still far-far away from our grab, and will have to wait for another year to try it once again.
In sixty-four minutes, Brown controls the ball on his chest before tries to take aim for Given’s target but being brought down by Smith’s challenge 20 yards out resulting a free-kick in dangerous position. Ryan Taylor steps up and curl it above and goes beyond the United wall and Shay Given for the Latics goal.
Big Sam response by taking off Geremi and bring in another striker Obafemi Martins. After the changes, Emre immediately switches play to Milner on the right, Milner has the whole box to aim at but elects to pull back looking for the runs of Martins.
The ball bobbles through for Duff on the left of the penalty area, the Irish star takes a touch but when he gets his shot away it is charged down by Scharner and Wigan clear. That was his last action on his return day and Sam Allardyce call him off to bring in left back Jose Enrique.
And yet, the same old story happens again in our defence. Steven Taylor plays the ball back to Given but it’s an awkward one. Shay has to take a touch before clearing it out with Marcus Bent racing in and in the panic situation, United stopper almost hooks the ball into his own net. Luckily it clears the crossbar and goes behind for a corner. Landzaat takes but the Magpies are able to clear this one.
Another sad result for United’s attempt on Boxing day, and another one goal margin at JJB Stadium from the same man who scores it for the Latics last season. This will leave a big question mark again for Sam Allardyce and the Lads commitments. Postmortem to follow…
Chris Kirkland, Mario Melchiot (c), Paul Scharner, Titus Bramble, Kevin Kilbane, Antonio Valencia, Denny Landzaat, Michael Brown, Ryan Taylor (Salomon Olembe 74″), Marcus Bent, Antoine Sibierski (Julius Aghahowa 71″)
Subs: Mike Pollitt, Emmerson Boyce, Josip Skoko
Newcastle United FC:
Shay Given, Habib Beye, Charles N’Zogbia, Steven Taylor, Abdoulaye Faye, Geremi (Oba Martins 66″), Emre, Alan Smith (c), Damien Duff (Jose Enrique 78″), James Milner, Mark Viduka
Subs: Claudio Cacapa, Steve Harper, Nicky Butt
Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance: 20, 304