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In the cold light of day, what have I learned from Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1?

2 weeks ago
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Well an early start meant a very early start for me, happily sipping Jack and Coke amongst friends – some full of negativity and some full of guarded optimism, a bit like on The Mag really where the doom and gloom mixes like Baileys and Lime (try it, you will know what I mean).

Waiting for a taxi into town the negatives became more optimistic, why you may ask?

Well simply alcohol has that effect so by the time we reached Peppers we were all chirping in an optimistic manner.

Of course we talked about the protest and boycott and of course we/I respect those views, it just is not for me at this time, we also had a huge degree of sympathy given the biblical like rain that descended on Newcastle – maybe Ashley controls that too!

A quick 15 minute scurry up to the ground and entered soaking to the skin with pneumonia beckoning, at my age I should know better than to be in shirt sleeves.

Entering just as the players emerged it was clear the boycott had been to a degree a success for those who supported it, noticeable gaps were there in certain part, however my neighbours on both sides and in front were all there.

Ok, to the match.

Well doubtless you will have all seen it anyway but I will add my opinion.

I thought first half we played well, the team was set up with a nice balance and I thought we actually shaded it. Joelinton is clearly a decent player and with a little bit of luck he could have opened his account, he clearly has strength and actually looked useful in the air, hopefully good things to come. Miggy buzzed around and he also had a good first half, we came close through a terrific shot by Shelvey and threatened on the counter-attack in a style not dissimilar to Rafa.

So half-time came and I was still sitting on the optimistic side of the fence, the half-time announcement of a crowd of 47,000+ may have been manufactured a fraction as I honestly thought there were good few thousand less.

Second-half came and Arsenal upped the tempo, our lack of pace in midfield was a little bit worrying. However, I was surprised when Bruce took both Longstaff and Shelvey off and for a while there was some confusion and that’s what cost us, a short pass that Willems waited for was intercepted and a few seconds later it was 1-0.

After that we huffed and puffed but never looked likely to grab an equaliser. Allan Saint-Maximin joined the fray and looked lively and he will no doubt become a fan favourite up here, but it was a short cameo and Arsenal to be fair were comfortable.

Full-time and a trudge back to the pub for more beers, post-match examination and some text abuse off some Arsenal supporting mates who I had battered all week – I should know better

Ok, first game, I saw a bit of promise and a bit to be concerned about, but at the end of the day it’s nil points and looking at the fixtures to come, Norwich is already a big game, points are needed.

Did I enjoy it? It is match day and catch up with longstanding friends and lose or win we have a giggle anyway.

Do I think we will struggle this season? Well let me put it this way, we are not quite ready to break into the top six just yet

It’s Monday morning now and in the cold light of day, what have I learned?

Well firstly, don’t go to the match in short sleeves when it’s raining, no matter how warm you think it is.

Secondly, the jury is well and truly out on Steve Bruce, it’s far too early to judge anything.

Have a good week

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0  Arsenal 1 – Sunday 11 August 2pm

Goals:

Arsenal:

Aubameyang 58

Possession was Arsenal 62% Newcastle 38%

Total shots were Arsenal 8 Newcastle 9

Shots on target were Arsenal 2 Newcastle 2

Corners were Arsenal 3 Newcastle 5

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle team v Arsenal:

Dubravka, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Manquillo, Hayden, Shelvey (Willems 54), Longstaff (Saint-Maximin 67), Ritchie, Almiron, Joelinton

Unused Subs

Darlow, Clark, Fernandez, Krafth, Muto

Crowd: 47, 635 (3,200 Arsenal) – There looked to be approximately 43,000/44,000 actually inside St James Park as some season ticket holders joined today’s boycott.

(Clueless Steve Bruce tactics cost NUFC – Read HERE)

(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match HERE)

(Watch the official match highlights HERE)

(Read Steve Bruces post-match review HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

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