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Newcastle 0-0 Arsenal or similar story, different year

by on August 14, 2011

Newcastle 0-0 Arsenal, at least we’re unbeaten.

Well that was fun wasn’t it. We wait a few months to find out what’s changed and then find the answer. Nothing. I’m still not quite sure how we’re carrying on from last season with our good defence and shocking attack, I don’t even know what to say about it in all honesty. The match itself was never of brilliant quality. It was fractious and Newcastle had set up to frustrate and play on the break.

That's not going to last long...

As such, Wojciech Szczesny never really had much to do except punching a few corners and collecting a few crosses. Taylor tried to lob him from the half-way line but it went wide so there wasn’t really much to worry about. There was one moment where a Newcastle player looked like getting in behind the defence, but luckily Szczesny managed to head away the danger. He also got an idiotic booking. I’m told it was for swearing at Joey Barton, but I’m pretty sure that Vermaelen and Van Persie did the same. I would be surprised if they didn’t. Just like last year, where he was booked for picking up the ball when it was our kick-off. It might be petty, but bookings add up and I find it so idiotic that you can’t appeal.

Bacary Sagna was in the wars a bit. He got elbowed in the head early on by Steven Taylor and then there was a knock of knees after he cut inside someone. The booing by Newcastle fans obviously justified by his past record as a notorious diver. Oh wait… Despite picking up a few knocks, he was as solid as always. His crossing still left something to be desired. Gibbs was much the same, great going forward and some good pressing high up led to some interceptions in midfield. His crossing was strangely sub-par as well. His defending was better than usual, but his ambition going forward does mean that sometimes he can be slow to get back.

The teams good defensive performance due in large parts to the centre-backs as well. Laurent Koscielny looked really tidy and carried on his good partnership with Vermaelen. He also had a header cleared off the line. That’s right, we almost scored from a corner. Away to Newcastle. A physical side. Could these new set-piece tactics really be working? Thomas Vermaelen was pretty good as well, great to see him striding out from the back like he does. He seemed to pick up a thigh problem early on, but a few crunching tackles later and he seemed to be fine.

RVP being a good captain

Alex Song. What a naughty boy. He had a bit of a stamp on Barton and, in my opinion, should have seen red. It remains to be seen whether retrospective action should have been taken. A shame, because he was keeping the midfield tidy and played a big part in the teams defensive performance. Tomas Rosicky had a decent game. Better than he’s looked for a while, looking sharper with crisper passing. Having said that, he did have a decent chance set up from the edge of the area, but side-footed it wide of the post. Aaron Ramsey had a pretty good game. He shouldered a lot of the creative burden, but matches like this have shown why he’s still not 100% ready to replace Cesc. While he has the vision to thread passes through defences, he doesn’t have the range of passing that Cesc does. It will take a mixture of himself and Wilshere’s more direct passing to give us the creativity we need.

Andrei Arshavin started out wide and was his usual creative self. He was running at people and putting balls in the box. Having said that, he had the ball in a 2 on 1 situation but failed to pick out the pass to put his team-mate 1 on 1. Gervinho was really bright in the first half. He used his pace really well to get past his defenders but lacked the close control and final ball when in the final third and really, should have set up a few attackers once or twice. Having said that, it was all a bit silly really to touch Barton. We all know what happens, just like with Diaby last year he knew what he was doing. I won’t go into it but it was a bit of a farce really, much like the fact that he can’t be punished afterwards. The worst part is that it wasn’t a dive. How idiotic.

Joey Barton takes a finger to the brow. Brave man.

RVP. Massively lacked service is what I’ve got down in my notes and that pretty much sums it up for his game. Had one or two chances which, on a different day, might have been goals. Only because we know what he can do though. His free-kicks are coming back. I could say the same about Theo, who came on for Arshavin after an hour. His pace wasn’t really utilised that well with no Jack/Cesc to play balls over the top. He had a shot saved soon after he came on and that was about it.

Frimpong came on with about 5-10 minutes left to shore up the midfield. Johan Djourou came on after 90 minutes and kind of played as a holding midfielder/centre-back. He led a break in the 93rd minute but failed to pick out Walcott. I know we were down to 10 men, but there was a lack of ambition bringing on a holding midfielder and a centre-back with the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chamakh on the bench.

You can catch all the highlights here.

If you don’t already, then you be sure to follow me on twitter @SavageGooner.

Sums it all up really

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2 Comments
  1. elkieno permalink

    Don’t forget 2 good of our best midfielders bout to go, 10men at Newcastle I am happy with s point. Really can’t stand Barton, he got angry and grabbed Gervinho for diving, then took a dive to get him sent off, hypocrit of the highest order! Anyway onwards snd upwards… Go h Arsenal!!!

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