Thursday, September 08, 2005

Out of the frying pan and into the fire

You won't find any considered opinion on last night's miserable England display here - like the players, I can't be bothered. If that's what you're after, head over to Cheer Up Alan Shearer or Round And White. Or, for a Northern Irish perspective, A Wee Spot In Europe.

What I will comment on, though, is Michael Owen's display. He failed to take two presentable opportunities, one an overhead kick and one a header, but the service to him was absolutely terrible (Lampard and Gerrard particularly culpable) to the extent that he hardly saw the ball.

I had foreseen many scenarios, most of them involving Owen starting but getting crocked for the season by ex Toon defender and Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes. Thankfully from a Newcastle perspective he emerged unscathed with a full 90 minutes under his belt. However, one scenario I hadn't predicted was that England would fail to score. It won't be much fun for Owen to have to go from the shambles of last night straight into the cauldron of St James's Park, where drawing a blank has almost become a depressing inevitability. Of course we expect goals from other sources, but against Fulham on Saturday all eyes and hopes will be on Owen. Can he handle the pressure?


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