Mohamed Diame was immense against Arsenal.

Named man of the match, the stats simply reinforcing what we could all see with our own eyes.

Yet another non-stop display in midfield as he repeatedly broke down Arsenal attacks/possession, not giving their players any easy time in the Newcastle half.

Garth Crooks revealed that Mohamed Diame had been the hardest working on the Newcastle team, running a total of 11.5km against Arsenal.

It has been some journey and transformation for a player who Jamaal Lascelles allegedly called out in training earlier this season, in the infamous incident that led to blows between the two players and a broken finger for Jonjo Shelvey as he tried to separate them.

Speaking after this win over Arsene Wenger’s side, it is ironic then that Mohamed Diame was keen to say ‘We have been fighting hard, even in training.’

Football of course is a team game and it is all about putting the right people together, so maybe no coincidence that we are seeing the best from Diame after he has been paired with Jonjo Shelvey and with the vital added attacking element of Kenedy arriving at the club.

The bottom line is that we are now watching a player who works so hard and is now struggling to ever have a poor game, both the player and Rafa Benitez deserve so much credit for the turnaround.

Mohamed Diame talking to the official club site:

“It [Premier League safety already] is a massive achievement.

“This team has been working hard since the beginning of the season and I think we deserve it.

“It’s very good what is happening in this club, in this city. I think we are where we deserve to be.

“It has been tough…a few seasons before this club went down, then we got promoted and enjoyed last year.

“This season, everyone was thinking about fighting until the last game of the season, and getting that 41 points is a massive achievement.

“Everyone is happy to fight for each other.

“This team has that spirit that gives you an extra breath, and the stadium…you saw how the fans were again, amazing, they were pushing us.

“It’s just the atmosphere, that’s what we’re trying to enjoy as much as we can.

“We knew that Arsenal are a good team, technically they are very good and they play balls through the lines.

“It hasn’t been easy and we were running a lot, but we were keeping our shape.

“The manager did very well to make sure this week we worked hard about that and just kept our shape. We knew we were going to have some opportunities to score and that’s what happened.

“We have been fighting hard, even in training. It’s not been easy but everyone has been focussed since the beginning, and I think we deserved it today.

“The target is still the same as it was last week…to finish as high as possible.

“We’re going to enjoy it for a few days, then get back to work to prepare the game against Everton and try to win again.

“We know what we want between us, we want to finish as high as possible, so we are going to keep working.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Arsenal 1


Newcastle: Perez 29, Ritchie 68

Arsenal: Lacazette 14

Possession was Arsenal 72% Newcastle 28%

Total shots were  Arsenal 15 Newcastle 8

Shots on target were Arsenal 3 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Arsenal 5 Newcastle 2

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie (Murphy 86), Shelvey, Kenedy, Perez (Joselu 79), Gayle (Slimani 63))

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Hayden

Crowd: 52,210 (2,700 Arsenal approx)

(Alan Shearer revels in Newcastle win and has Piers Morgan and other Arsenal fans biting – Read HERE)

(United fan/writer instant reaction to the 2-1 victory – Read it HERE)

(Match ratings of all NUFC players after beating Arsenal – Read HERE)

(Arsene Wenger says Newcastle didn’t even deserve a point…Read HERE)

(Rafa Benitez reaction after final whistle – Read HERE)

(Garth Crooks revisits ‘Rafa could win Premier League with Newcastle’ comments – Read HERE)

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Took him 18 months but he`s sorted himself out, at Christmas he wasn`t even good enough to be on the bench now he`s 1 of the 1st on the list to start

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Next we`ll see the Hoss morph into the Geordie Harry Kane,
      or maybe not.
      🐎 🐎 🐎

      • Arty Hume

        Ha ha ha, but hey Perez has come good too so you never know lol’s

        • Geordiegiants

          Slimani and Perez have the makings of an excellent pairing.

        • Wor Monga

          Perez has always been a good skillful hardworking footballer who does things the right way, but he’s not Salah, Aguero or even any £30+m striker…he’s a talented young player playing in a very physical league, and he needs others to take some load off, while he develops…Kenedy is doing that and I suspect that Slimani being in there will make him very dangerous, but it’s worth remembering his goals have kept us up this season!!!

      • Rich Lawson

        Only if he severely injures Rooney in the 1st 15 min’s at Goodison.

  • pedrodelgardo

    He is in his right position now and pulling up trees.

  • Geordiegiants

    Diame was outstanding yesterday. I had just posted on here five mins before the MOTM was announced and everyone thought the same. If he can keep up the standard he could be a legend of this era.

  • 1ewis

    At one point Diame didn’t seems to be bothered, Lascelles gave him a proper wake up call and it seems like he has the right character to work his way back to the team.

    More often that not, footballers are too proud, too rich and too egoistic to improve on their performances. He could have pointed the finger at someone else, sulked, ask for a transfer.

    Diame has my respect in that sense that he listened. That alone speaks alot.

  • Paul Patterson

    Diame and Shelvey complement each other perfectly.

  • S.G.M.

    Diame is pulling the wool over many peoples eyes, watch him play, watch his movement, his positioning is good, but, he never moves faster than a gentle jog which is why he appears to be lazy.

  • Wor Monga

    What a transformation we’ve seen from Mo Diame since January…before then he’d been a bit part player used mainly coming on as an alternative for Ayoze or in an irregular midfield alongside Hayden /Merino while Shelvey was out…he’s mainly operated throughout his career in an attacking role behind a striker, and probably expected that to go on that way especially as we were struggling to integrate Merino, Hayden, Murphy or Atsu into mid-field attacking roles in the PL…which left Ayoze, Gayle and Joselu struggling to score without any credible support… Unfortunately for Mo he doesn’t have the pace to trouble PL

    defenders on the counter-attack, or to get back afterwards in the way that is necessary to maintain complete team efficiency, and that led to the big lad getting the heavy word from Lascelles on the training ground…

    …After Burnley at home with Kenedy now supporting Perez, and Diame playing the destroyer role in front of the defence…it took a (saved penalty) and a very unlucky own goal off Darlow’s back to give Burnley a lucky draw, but we saw a totally re-vitallised Diame stopping anything coming down the middle…the rest is history…

    …all it took was to get Dubravka and Lejeune in and we have the framework for a top 10 side…everybody working hard for each other, Kenedy making holes for Ayoze and Gayle to run into, and the next few games look bright with Slimani who looks the real deal up front!!!

  • MadMag83

    Hold up. Wasn’t Mr Porter amongst those generating articles slagging off Diame and Dummett last season?

  • 1957

    As outstanding as he has been in the last couple of months he should be replaced in the summer, Ashley willing, with a better player if we are going to move forward as a club.

    • Wor Monga

      Why’s that then?…if something’s not broke you don’t fix it, and Diame is functioning very well in the role so why does it need altering ‘to move on’ as a club…over the years the Toon has ‘moved on’ as a club many times when they didn’t need to…one of those I can bring to mind was Franky ‘Fanta’ Clark who was ‘put out to grass’ after many years good service here…

      … only to be snapped up by none other than Cloughie who (when he was thought to be finished) turned him into a ‘superstar’ with a full trophy cabinet, and yet we never progressed after ’69…

      …You’ve personally never liked Diame for whatever reason, but he’s obviously shown that he can handle a step further back in the system, and that he has the experience and intelligence to help a young side like we’ve got for a good while yet!!!

      • 1957

        So that will apply to all the players in the current first team?

        Because he’s having a purple patch now, after 18 months of dire performances, doesn’t mean he is the answer to the club improving next season. We need to look for better players but I’m not advocating he is sold on immediately, he can contribute as a squad player just not first choice. The if it’s not broke theory sounds like something out of the Ashley manual of running a football club, every club will replace some first team players next year even Man City. Standing still is a recipe for more struggles against relegation. We’ve had this discussion before you seem happy with the club as it is, I’m not I want to see better players and a gradual push up the league… I suspect Benitez does as well.

        • Wor Monga

          Yes we need to either sign Kenedy, Slimani and Dubravka or like for like players, priority…not Diame he’s playing very well in a position that both him and the team are comfortable with…

          …doesn’t need replacing or side-lining (I suspect Benitez knows that better than anyone)…he’s just your pet hate…get over it!!!

          • 1957

            The idea Diame stands above the other players in the current first team isn’t fair, he’s not a one man team or the most influential player, that is without doubt the captain. If your argument is if it’s not broke don’t fix it has to apply to all the existing first team, including those on loan, which permanent players would you replace on a like for like basis, Yedlin, Ritchie, Dummett, Shelvey, Perez…

            The if its not broken theory was applied by Ashley after Pardew’s fluke year look where that got us.

  • wheyayeman

    Well played Mo! He’s definitely found his new favoured position further back in midfield breaking up attacks but it’s his desire to give more on the pitch which has been the key! Mo has a new character he’s now a real grafter and who’s to say Lascelles calling him out in public hasnt in fact been the very trigger he needed to up his game?! If so that’s fantastic – Shearer likewise was known to do the same to players not pulling their weight or fighting for the shirt.