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