Newcastle 1 Arsenal 2 – Saturday 15 September 3pm
The match is easy enough to sum up.
We had the best of the first half without ever looking like we’d score. Cech had so little to do that he amused himself by kicking the ball backwards for a corner rather than up the park.
Having been the better side and gone in for half time at 0-0, it was almost inevitable we’d lose, and lose we did. They scored two goals in relatively quick succession and barely had to break sweat to do it. They just walked through our defence.
Some fans will question the starting line-up and wonder why Kenedy and Rondon didn’t start.
Others might reason we’d have defended the goals better had Lascelles remained on the pitch.
They might be right, but no one had a particularly good game, I can’t remember much Dummett did wrong but everyone in advance of him was poor.
Kenedy made no difference – he had the air of a man who couldn’t be bothered.
But I worry that our problems go deeper than which eleven players start the game.
I hope I’m wrong, but I sense that the qualities that kept us out of trouble last season – discipline, commitment, work rate and pride – seem to be in shorter supply.
To me, Newcastle looked like they’d accepted defeat at 0-1. No one wanted the ball and we played like headless chickens.
This isn’t a good Arsenal team, certainly nowhere near as good as the team we got the 4-4 draw against. A bit of the battling qualities we saw that day may have seen us fight back for a draw, but Clark’s goal was too little too late.
It’s still early days but if I had to bet on the outcome of this season, right now I see a third relegation in 10 years, and potentially the most catastrophic of all…
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Arsenal 2
Newcastle: Clark 90+1
Arsenal: Xhaka 49, Ozil 58
Possession was Arsenal 64% Newcastle 36%
Total shots were Arsenal 12 Newcastle 4
Shots on target were Arsenal 2 Newcastle 2
Corners were Arsenal 4 Newcastle 10
Referee: Lee Probert
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (Clark 46), Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie (Muto 79), Diame, Hayden, Murphy (Kenedy 69), Perez, Joselu
Darlow, Manquillo, Rondon, Shelvey
Crowd: 52,165 (3,200 Arsenal approx)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle 1 Arsenal 2 – Read HERE)