Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 16 December 3pm

It was another defeat as the scoreline showed Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0 but Rafa Benitez did put his side in the very best  place to get something.

There was major surprise before kick-off when the United boss named his team, five changes and Gayle & Ritchie on the bench a big shock.

However, there was method in the apparent madness.

With Ritchie having started every single match and maybe looking jaded, whilst Gayle had played every minute of two tough home games inside only four days.

Newcastle’s much-changed team actually started the game well and forcing the first corner and an early chance for Lascelles that Cech saved.

Ozil broke the deadlock on 23 minutes but Newcastle stuck at it and the home side only had a few other chances before the break.

Ritchie and Gayle were introduced on 54 and 67 minutes respectively as Rafa Benitez looked to build some pressure.

The tactics working (up to a point), as Joselu and Murphy went close to scoring and Perez put one over the bar.

Arsenal still had chances of their own but that was only to be expected.

The fact that the Gunners had two players booked in the final five minutes was further evidence that Newcastle were creating decent pressure.

It wasn’t to be and Arsenal deserved the three points BUT Rafa Benitez did the best he could with the players he has, keeping Ritchie and Gayle to come off the bench giving Newcastle that bit more chance of taking something from a game that pretty much every Newcastle fan had written off as a certain loss.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0


Arsenal: Ozil 23

Possession was Arsenal 71% Newcastle 29%

Total shots were  Arsenal 23 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Arsenal 5 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Arsenal 7 Newcastle 5

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Murphy (Gayle 67), Hayden, Merino (Diame 82), Atsu (Ritchie 54), Perez, Joselu

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Dummett, Aarons

Crowd: 59,379 (Newcastle 3,000)

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    when`s this lot going to wake up a buy a striker, we haven`t bought a good one since Demba Ba & my money is on us not buying a one in January either

    • Jezza

      They didn’t even buy Demba Ba. He was a free transfer they just got lucky with.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        that i can well believe

      • Lhc

        Then get remy on loan instead of buying him outright for 14/15 million, scores 14 premier league goals in 26 games, then he goes to Chelsea!

    • Dillon Tovak

      I don’t think we can afford Jesus.

      • Kneebotherm8

        We need Jesus to perform a miracle if he does sign for us.

    • HarryHype59

      Even if Phatz releases the purse strings, what decent striker will want to come to a team in freefall and languishing in the relegation places?

      • Mal

        I agree. Our best chance in the striker department will be a loan signing.

  • Stats paint the real picture – Ball Possession – 70/30, total shots 23/10
    We give away the ball too easy and do not win the free balls in the middle, simple as that. Upfront we have nobody capable of creating proper chances and our forwards cannot score the ones we do create. Some bad luck as well as we keep losing by one lucky or wonder goal a lot of games now. The entire team apart from Merino, Lascelles, Atsu and Gayle has no place starting a Premier League game.
    Ashley should have sold when he had the chance! I’m afraid we will barely get 2-3 bargain buys in January(if we can make any at all, since this is a time when clubs DON’T WANT TO SELL!)

  • Paul Patterson

    He hardly got it spot on. When you bring on Diame you really are scraping the barell..

    • HTL

      He brought Diame on because Merino was struggling with his back after a couple of heavy knocks.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Sad to see him taken off but you’re right he did take a couple of heavy knocks.

  • wheyayeman

    Relegation now a real possibility! I’m still backing Rafa but without the tools to do the job not even Pep could turn this around

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      It`s been a possibility since the Fat Lad slammed the till shut in the summer

      • HTL


      • wheyayeman

        Too true !

  • gallowgate26

    I don’t like to single out individuals but why is Rafa still playing Perez? Clarkos’ ‘Transfermark’ values him at £7,200,000!!!!
    Anyone could see last time we went down that we were relegated because we had forwards who could only muster 5-6 goals a season, such as Gouffran and Perez. I don’t care how good the lad is with a tin can at his feet on some beach in Tenerife, the fact is he is physically weak, opponents know this and just push him around. He is an inferior player. We got relegated in 2015/16 partly because of him and other inferior players. So why didn’t the board add Premier League, or at least better forwards in the close season? The position we are in is obvious to everyone and his dog, they knew this would happen. The club has no-one else to blame and deserve to be relegated.

    • HTL

      I was surprised when he brought Gayle on for Murphy, I thought he would have taken Perez off.

      • wheyayeman

        Perez is abysmal he is stealing a living as a forward – I’ve never seen a player with a less threatening shot he’s half the player he was 2 years ago and even then he was one of the reasons we were relegated

    • Kneebotherm8

      The board didn’t add premier league forwards,or any other premier league quality,because they’re clueless penny pinchers and always have been. Certain ones on here seem to think Hose a loo and Mannequin were Rafa’s first choice signings. He’s been [email protected] upon from a great height in the transfer market,ever since he’s been here,by Ashley and co.

  • Leicester Mag

    Paint this how you want the fact is we are in the relegation zone and to be frank aside from 4 or 5 players coming in during January we won’t climb back out. It is difficult to see a poorer squad than ours and any goal against is a cast iron cert winner. We can’t score goals and with a mistake at the back nailed on what chance have we got? We avoided the expected pasting but that changes nothing

    • gallowgate26

      We’ve got Man City coming to hand out the ‘pasting’. Don’t worry about that…

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Mitro`s no Shearer but he has to be given a game, Hoss & Perez are useless

    • Leicester Mag

      These 2 aren’t even championship standard. If you can’t score goals you go down and at the moment we are going down like a toothless lamb. At least Mitro poses a threat even throwing him on for 30 mins would be something different.what is there to lose? As it stands we are losing EVERY game anyway

    • gallowgate26

      They want to sell/swap him in January. He’s one of the only saleable assets at the club, none of the other strikers are international. Mitrovic will be playing against Brazil next summer and the club must want to cash in now and gamble on someone else, that’s my theory.

    • 1957

      Only the hard line Rafaites would disagree with you, but its not going to happen. You can bet those two along with Diame will continue to keep him out of the match day squad. Mitrovic, Gayle, Shelvey and Clark will all be on their way in January to fund a couple of Spanish journeyman or a has been like Torres.

  • GToon

    Ok fair enough Rafa probably did ok today but what about Watford Bournemouth Brighton Burnley Everton Huddersfield etc etc? How do u think he did in managing those games?

  • Rev

    Perfect game management … 30% possession, make sire we only lose by one goal. Hodgson, wagner and. Moyes must be kicking themselves for not following the same plan. Have a ho, win some, losesome maybe but the current game management plan doesnt work! Check the PWDL table if you disagree and dont give methe plan was right, it was individual mistakes. I put the right lottery numbers on every week, still havent won but it still pick the same every week. Teams have clocked how to beat us at our own game. Can we buy a new plan and new players please

  • Tomb

    Nonsense we should have been 4 down but for Elliott and wasteful finishing then we lumped it long at the end. Diame on at 1 nil down yeah genius