Arsenal v Newcastle United – Match Report
Saturday 29 December 5.30pm
Newcastle United 3 (Ba 43, 69 Marveaux 59)
Watch Match Highlights Here
Definitely within the realms of ‘you couldn’t make it up’, only three days after Old Trafford Newcastle managed to be at 3-3 again, with twenty minutes left.
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Against Man.Utd, Newcastle took the lead three times, this time it was the Toon battling back on three occasions.
Walcott scoring on 73 minutes wasn’t a surprise in the context of this game but the final six minute collapse must in large part be put down to the bare cupboard Alan Pardew has to dip into when he wants/needs to make a change.
Most of our players played really well for most of the match but at the end of the day as a group they just aren’t at the level needed in the Premier League over ninety minutes.
Mistakes and lapses of concentration are contagious and we are getting punished; Santon plays them onside, Simpson gifts possession, Cisse falls asleep, Tiote caught in possession, Perch outmuscled and so on.
To score six goals in total at Old Trafford and The Emirates and not a single point, it’s just a joke really and not a very funny one.
A great first half performance looked to have been for nothing as with a couple of minutes to go, Newcastle trailed to a coolly taken Theo Walcott goal.
United had more shots, more shots on target, more corners and more possession, thankfully Demba Ba evened it up with our first set-piece goal of the season as lady luck came our way for once with a deflected free-kick in the forty third minute.
Playing offside with a high line is always living on the edge and Newcastle were punished at the first time of asking as Santon just played Walcott on and his nineteenth minute finish was impressive. Before the match there was surprise registered on this site that he had already scored eleven goals, no we can see why he’s scored a few.
For all their triangles and close passing it was Newcastle who worked the ball into better positions and as always if only we had better delivery into the box…
Marveaux was carrying on his Manchester United performance and on the stroke of half-time his shot from outside the box was well saved. Newcastle more than deserving their halfway parity.
Arsenal came out fired up though and after only five minutes of the second half they were back in front, a daft Simpson throw gifted possession on the edge of the box and when the ball was squared to Oxlade-Chamberlain his twenty yard shot went right in the bottom corner.
More slack defending though, this time by Cisse, let the Gunners back in and after a scramble Podolski scored.
On 69 minutes though, for me the goal of the match. Marveaux hit a glorious cross with the outside of his left boot and Ba lashed it past the keeper.
It was that dreaded 4-3 scoreline again as Tiote was caught in possession and Walcott got his second.
With ten minutes left things fell apart though as while Arsenal could bring on the likes of Giroud and Ramsey, Pardew shuffled his pack with Shola and Ferguson replacing Bigirimana and Simpson. Unfortunately, we were then all over the place as Walcott completed his hat-trick and Giroud almost claimed a fifteen minute one.
It’s a cruel game at times and things don’t get much crueller than today.
I can’t point to any player who didn’t do well for a decent part of the match and the space our midfield and forwards created was first rate.
However, eleven goals conceded in two matches can only tell you one thing, especially against a backdrop of regularly conceding in the previous eighteen league matches.
If Alan Pardew is allowed to very belatedly bring in the two defenders he desperately wanted to sign in the summer, will it be too little too late?
If we do sign them then you would guess they’ll almost definitely be from abroad and expecting them to fit straight in without a pre-season of integration could create its own problems. There is no other option though because we desperately need a couple of defenders who will take responsibility and help lead their team-mates.
Demba Ba was once again our most potent attacking threat and he hardly put potential vultures off with his performance today.
Can Alan Pardew manage our club through this mad period and what help will he get from above to assist him in steadying the ship?
I honestly think the best signature we could get on new year’s day is for Ashley to deliver Ba’s new contract, closely followed by those two defenders.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Giroud 74), Cazorla (Coquelin 86), Podolski (Ramsey 82), Walcott
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson (Ferguson 83), Coloccini, Perch, Santon, Bigirimana (Shola 82), Tiote, Cisse, Marveaux (Tavernier 87), Obertan, Ba
Unused Subs: Harper, Streete, Abeid, Sammy Ameobi
Ref: Chris Foy
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