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Opinion

This was not an Arsenal team to compare with 11 months ago – Very lazy media

2 months ago
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The Arsenal team left St James Park with all three points.

The Europa League finalists who finished fifth last season, predictably having too much for little old Newcastle United.

Well at least that is the narrative lazy media are putting out.

Big boys Arsenal with their star-studded team, no wonder Newcastle didn’t get anything…

Newcastle weren’t terrible on Sunday but they weren’t very good, the media, especially in the north east, completely failing to acknowledge just how weak the visitors were.

Any suggestion that Steve Bruce and his team should have done better, is met with, well Rafa’s team lost by one goal as well 11 months ago to Unai emery’s team.

However, reality is that this was a golden opportunity for Bruce and NUFC to lift some of the negativity Mike Ashley has shrouded the club in this summer.

Injuries, lack of fitness, African Cup of Nations involvement, late signings, security threats – all of these impacted on the Arsenal team selection on Sunday.

Arsenal bought four outfield players this summer for £131m (source Transfermarkt) in Pepe, Saliba, Tierney and Luiz, none of them were available to start.

Another five players costing £133m (Torreira, Bellerin, Lacazette, Musafi, Elneny) weren’t available to start, that is a combined £264m of players who couldn’t be named in the starting eleven.

You can also add Holding and Kolasinac, who were ruled out as well.

Of the Arsenal side who beat Rafa’s side 2-1 in September 2018, only five of the eleven started yesterday.

Of the 10 players still at Arsenal who started 20 or more Premier League games last season, only five (four outfield) made it into Sunday’s starting eleven.

It isn’t as though Arsenal were rubbish but it is very misleading to make out that this was a lie for like comparison. It is like pretending clubs are playing their strongest team in the early rounds of the cups.

If Arsenal had available to start yesterday: Pepe, Lacazette, Ozil, Saliba, Kolasinac, Luiz, Tierney, Torreira, Mustafi, Bellerin, Holding, Elneny…then I don’t think we would be sitting here being reassured by just a narrow one goal defeat.

It wasn’t a morale booster, it was a missed opportunity.

For all Steve Bruce talked beforehand of this Newcastle team playing on the front foot, I didn’t see much evidence of it. Did any of the three central midfielders ever get into the penalty area to support Joelinton?

Next weekend will be very different, a Norwich team that will go for it, rather than an Arsenal team who yesterday would have happily grabbed a point if offered it before kick-off.

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