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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0

10 months ago
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Monday night finished Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0.

Rafa’s players never really in the game as Arsenal made it 10 Premier League home wins in a row.

For Newcastle it was only their fourth defeat since 2 January, all four defeats in the capital at Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham and now Arsenal.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives after the final whistle.

This time it is Ben Cooper:

POSITIVES and NEGATIVES

Negative 1: No Good:

Sometimes possession stats don’t tell the full story of a match, I can remember seeing Real Madrid beat Barcelona in the Nou Camp with about 25% possession.

Sometimes it isn’t how much you have the ball, it is what you do with it that counts. That wasn’t the case against Arsenal.

United’s 29% possession flattered a team which couldn’t put five passes together and got worse as the game went on. The chief culprits are the central midfielders. To be fair to Hayden and Diame, neither are in their team for their passing ability and neither should be expected to be able to compete creatively with the like of Ramsey and Ozil. They are in the team to protect and destroy.

However, if they can’t consistently make ten yard passes to our flair players, if they can find them, then you end up being comfortably beaten if the opposition are any good.

Positive 1: Save It For Later:

The solution to having midfielders who can’t create anything is obviously to get some.

For whatever reason, el Jefe does not seem to trust Shelvey, or to a lesser extent Ki Sung-yueng, so perhaps we can expect some new faces to be occupying those positions next season.

The rest of the team seem happy with this 5-4-1 structure, as Chris Suttion said, NUFC look compact and solid.

It looks like nothing will change for now and with lower quality opposition to face, Diame and Hayden should have more time to play.

So for now the team can just get on with it and save the new faces for later.

If the team is to progress, better players are required in these positions but not now, we aren’t playing Arsenal every week.

‘This is the ball lads, it is your friend’

Negative 2: Twist and Crawl:

I don’t think Almiron touched the ball in the last 70 minutes of the game.

Give credit to Arsenal for adapting to our style and snuffing him out, despair at United’s players for not passing to him, or not being able to and have some understanding that the less he got the ball, the more he chased and the more he lost his head.

After an initial 15 minutes of penetrating runs, Almiron disappeared from the game.

As one of the team’s only creative players, both he and his team-mates need to find a way of keeping him in the game. A move to the right might help.

The more Almiron and Ritchie play together the more they remind me of Liam and Noel Gallagher. They don’t get on at all.

‘Almiron and Ritchie: Best of friends’

Positive 2: Full Throttle:

Almiron in the first 15 minutes was a real threat. He ran at Arsenal, they ganged up on him, other players had more space.

That space is vital for Perez to be effective and something for Rondon to flick or lay the ball into.

Despite their lack of stand-out players, especially defensively, Arsenal are a good team and they looked worried by our new signing. When he goes full throttle he has the pace to threaten any team.

If the referee had booked Sideshow Bob or Mumford and Sons in the first quarter like he should have, Arsenal might not have been able to use the same tactics. Rafa is right, another player like him in the team and some players who can pass to him, he can be a real threat next season.

Negative 3: Can’t Get Used To Losing You:

Our London form is a joke and so is the way supporters (last night’s NUFC away support pictured at the top) who want a successful team are forced to realistically accept that we have very limited chances of beating any of the teams in top part of the league or indeed any team that has spent any money.

I can’t get used to it and I don’t want to.

I had no expectation that Newcastle would beat Arsenal at the Emirates, no real hope of a draw, I wasn’t even expecting a performance. Just as well.

I put on a brave face but I’m never going to get used to NUFC losing. I don’t like watching a team with no realistic hope of winning and I’m never going to fully support a club that considers this sort of mediocrity to be a success.

Positive 3: Run With The Wolves:

Despite what Rafa said this was not our cup final. One day I hope it will be.

The players played like it was a cup final because they were awful and lost but we didn’t see any of our former goalkeepers hand-bagging in the streets of Wallsend last night. Though we do have cup finals coming up, starting with Saturday.

The good news is United only have to win one.

The good news is that another win should be enough to avoid disaster and if steps are taken in the summer then another one can be avoided.

If the manager stays and reasonable investment is made then next season the cup finals will be to finish above Wolves not Cardiff.

Defensively the team is not that far away, some investment in attack and we can at least run with the wolves.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0

Goals:

Arsenal:

Ramsey 30, Lacazette 83

Possession was Arsenal 71% Newcastle 29%

Total shots were Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3

Shots on target were Arsenal 4 Newcastle 1

Corners were Arsenal 6 Newcastle 2

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Dummett, Lejeune, Ritchie (Kenedy 75), Hayden (Ki 67), Diame, Almiron, Perez (Muto 77), Rondon

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Manquillo, Shelvey, Fernandez

Crowd: 59,869 (though obviously nowhere near that in the stadium with thousands and thousands of empty seats)

(Rafa Benitez post-match verdict – Newcastle have to spend up to £75m on forward positions – Read HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match HERE)

(Rafa’s team outclassed but not disgraced – Read HERE)

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