Newcastle 1 Arsenal 2  – Saturday 15 September 3pm

We asked Kevin Christie to give us his match ratings after Saturday’s match.

A disappointing result considering we were so dominant in the first half. We never showed up after the break unfortunately and the players’ belief ebbed away as soon as we conceded. Relatively solid as usual but showing a worrying lack of creativity and inventiveness.

Dubravka – 6. Didn’t have much to do but was his usual reliable self. Solid and secure, the defence seem to have confidence in him and he commands the box well.

A couple of iffy moments when playing out from the back but no real clangers. A stronger hand might have kept the second goal out but he wasn’t really at fault for either.

Yedlin – 6. Was in the wars today and had a tough day at the office.

Nothing really came off for him – had no joy when trying to overlap down the right and misplaced a couple of passes himself when trying to play others in.

Good recovery and interception near the end to prevent Arsenal going 3-0 up.

Lascelles – 6. Pity to see him having to come off at the break as he had been solid (if a little immobile) in the first half – hopefully his injury isn’t serious.

A calming influence on the defence, we suffered when he went off.

Fernandez – 9. Played extremely well today, our best performer by a country mile.

A couple of small errors here and there but he had so much to do today and did it brilliantly for the most part.

I lost count of the number of vital interceptions and tackles he made over the 90 minutes.

Was unlucky on the second goal as he got a great block in on the first shot before Ozil netted.

Whipped in an excellent cross for Clark’s goal too. Seems a good organiser and is vocal on the pitch too – could prove to be a very astute signing.

Dummett – 6. A frustrating afternoon. Had lots of defending to do, so didn’t manage to offer much going forward.

Got in a great block near the end after Kenedy had been dispossessed to set Arsenal off on the break.

Murphy – 6. Looked a threat when he had time and space to run but lacked end product as usual.

Always seems nervy and unsure of himself – lacks the cockiness and confidence that good flair players need.

Should’ve angled his run when running through on goal early on and lacked the strength to set himself off for a 1 v 1 when he was through again shortly after.

Faded as the game went on. Really needs some big performances soon or his NUFC career could well fizzle out.

Hayden – 5. Was completely anonymous for the first 45 but got more involved in the second half – unfortunately it was too late by then.

Hard to see what exactly he offers us. James Perch #2 – without the cult status!

Diame – 5. Struggled today. Covered ground well and broke up one or two Arsenal attacks but way below his best.

Very poor distribution this afternoon – tried a few Shelvey-style diagonals and long balls and none of them came off.

Needs Jonjo back alongside him, so he can concentrate on his own game.

Ritchie – 7. Gave it his all as usual. Had a brilliant first half – was on the ball constantly, always offered team-mates an option and sent a few dangerous balls into the box.

Looked like he might be our matchwinner again….then half time came. Struggled after the break and just couldn’t get a foothold in the game at all.

Ayoze – 5. His lack of killer instinct was all too obvious today.

Dawdled on the ball two different times when he should’ve shot in the first half. Took too long to pass when he could’ve set us away on the break just before half-time as well.

Misplaced a few simple passes too and sent a poor cross in towards the end after Fernandez had played him in down the right. Always puts in a shift and has a few tricks in his locker but rarely makes a telling impact in games.

Joselu – 5. Disappointing performance. Didn’t impose himself on the game at all today.

Looked slow and ponderous the couple of times he managed to find space with the ball at his feet.

Decent header to force a save from Cech at the end but that was his sole contribution. Rondón’s physicality could’ve swung this game in our favour if only he’d been fit to start.

SUBS:

Clark – 6. Didn’t do much wrong today but his presence never inspires confidence.

Regardless of how well he’s playing, he seems to only ever be seconds away from calamity. Re-jigging the back line seemed to unsettle us but Clark can’t be held accountable for that.

Good header for his goal near the end.

Kenedy – 6. Was glad to see him benched today. Would’ve sent out the wrong message if he’d kept his place after some shocking performances recently.

Took a little while to acclimatise after he came on and was dispossessed easily (again!) to set Arsenal off on the break.

Settled down after that and showed some good footwork and composure to set us away on the counter twice near the end.

Muto – 5. Didn’t get into the game at all.

Adapting to life in the Premier League might turn out to be trickier for him than we’d all imagined/hoped!

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Arsenal 2

Goals:

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

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (Clark 46), Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie (Muto 79), Diame, Hayden, Murphy (Kenedy 69), Perez, Joselu

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Manquillo, Rondon, Shelvey

Crowd: 52,165 (3,200 Arsenal approx)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle 1 Arsenal 2 – Read HERE)

(A third relegation in 10 years on the cards? Read HERE)

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  • Paul Patterson

    Nobody deserves a 9 from that lot. Especially when we concede 2. Collectively, first half a 7, second half a 4.

    • molend

      Young man (by definition you are compared to me) I agree entirely. We conceded 2, scored 1. We lost. Therefore, overall 0

  • ivanlogan

    Newcastle United is dead, better to burn the place down and draw a pitch on leazes park and start again, I’ve never been to such a vacuous empty vessel as I came to today, it’s done, footballs dead and it’s time to start again

    • wheyayeman

      I’d like to say that’s awfully pessimistic but you’re right. I’m looking down at Gateshead and like idea of giving them some support at least until Ashley goes.

  • Kenny

    It’s scary looking at that team, Fernandez – 3 as it was his fault for the first goal, the front 2 were appalling & Diame has reverted to Slomo, out of a squad of 25 there’s maybe 7 who can hold their own in this league and what’s up with Rondon he has played well & scored 2 for his national team, sounds familiar doesn’t it ?

    • Billmag

      C’mon Fernandez was our best player ok he gave the free kick away for there first goal, but the free kick still had to be defended Dub’s could have saved it if he had been better positioned.

      • Ram Kishore

        Goals will be scored imo, we can’t always keep a low score line of 0 or 1, i would definitely say our midfiel, wingbacks, forwards didn’t do much to get goals or provide attack in the final third.

  • Rabid Dog

    Kenedy was utter gash when he came on. I don’t know what the problem is with him but he needs to get his head in the game.

    • Toontaff

      ut gets a 6 – same as Dummett!

  • Natturner26

    Hayden a disgrace again for me. He said he wanted to leave and now looks like he can’t be bothered. Doesn’t look like he got himself fit for the season either. Should never wear the shirt again. Don’t know how he stays on the pitch when Rafa is supposedly a micromanaging disciplinarian.

    Really enjoyed the first half today at least. Don’t know what Rafa said to the lads at halftime but it certainly made an impact. Second half wretched.

    • Toontaff

      Yet, worthy of a 5!!!!
      When he bottled that challenge with Cech, he should have been hooked – for good!

  • Philippines

    BBC report says as follows…….Both Murphy and Joselu proved worthy additions as, along with Perez, the home side went about forcing Arsenal into errors in front of a home crowd encouraged by Newcastle’s desire to get forward.

  • Toontaff

    Kenedy 6 – nearly gave 2goals away , cannot even take a corner.
    Hayden bottling challenge with Cech but more involved in second half.
    Did you watch the game?

  • Mike

    Who gave Ars a needless free kick ofr the 1st goal? rubbish I didnt know Perez was playing and why didnt Rodan not get on