FT: Newcastle 1 Arsenal 1: Magnificent Magpies



In what was probably Newcastle’s best performance of the season they pushed Arsenal all the way to record a great draw against the League Leaders t9onight.

The sight of Mike Ashley clapping his hands at the end of the game, with a huge grin on his face, then rubbing his hands in glee said it all.

Here was a Newcastle side that fought tooth and nail from the first whistle, and played as a team giving Arsenal all they would ever want in a game. Every Newcastle player played their part but none better than James Milner on the left, Steven Taylor at the back and Joey Barton in midfield, who must have covered miles tonight.

It was exactly the game the fans wanted to see, as Newcastle United matched a good Arsenal side in every facet of the game. This should do wonders to Newcastle’s confidence and we’re sure the fans of Liverpool. Manchester United and Chelsea were cheering on Newcastle, as much as the home fans. The game was an exciting one to watch and of course was beamed around the world on live TV. The home fans were just magnificent in their support of the Newcastle side.  We would suspect that there’ll be more fans world-wide on the evidence of this game. It was guts and (nearly) glory for a wonderful Newcastle display.

With any luck Newcastle could have won it at the end as both sides opened up and tried to get the winner.

After conceding a goal after only 4 minutes it did nothing to suppress the passion and fight that was Newcastle United tonight. They slowly came back into the game and it was tremendous pressure from Newcastle that finally saw them equalize as young Taylor, who had a great game and epitomized the fighting spirit of the Newcastle players, hammered the ball home after 60 minutes giving Almunia, who also had a good game, no chance at all.

Now Newcastle have to keep up this pride and passion against lesser sides and not many teams in the league will be able to live with their pace and fitness. Arsenal found it hard at times tonight, but Wenger has made a real side out of them and they were just about able to put up with the Newcastle pressure, which at some times during the second half appeared overwhelming.

Just a fabulous display form Newcastle tonight and they hardly looked a team in turmoil. If they can play like this against Birmingham on Saturday they should just be too good for the Midlands side.  One last word about the game plan – it worked like a charm and all credit to Sam Allardyce, not just for the game plan, but the way he was able to inspire the team, in a time of tremendous stress.  Good for you Sam.   😀

Just a great game and a tremendous advertisement for the Premier League, which is so clearly the best league in the world.

Here is our minute by minute commentary on the game – as it happened.

4 mins A weak clearance from Newcastle and the ball was crossed to Adebayor, who brought the ball down beautifully with his chest and slammed the ball home. A half-chance and Arsenal’s very first attack at that.

8 mins William Gallas tried to stop Smith getting to the ball as it went through to Almunia, but Smith went for it and was spoken to by the referee, but this is a physical game and Alan had every right to go for the ball.

13 mins Good play by Milner on the left as he gets by Sagna but his cross goes over the bar. Milner is looking lively early on.

17 mins A breakaway by Arsenal had Adebayor on goal but Given blocks it well for a corner.

24 mins Newcastle are harassing the Arsenal players at every opportunity and they are all working very hard to close down Arsenal but every time the Arsenal team comes forward they look very dangerous.

27 mins Newcastle get a free kick just outside the penalty area and Geremi finds a hole in the wall and forces a sharp save from Almunia low to his left

33 mins A great free kick into the box by N’Zogbia but nobody can get a touch on the ball. Newcastle are doing well but they need a goal badly.

35 mins A corner comes over and Taylor get a good header in which is scrambled away buy a corner by Arsenal. Almunia pushed the ball onto the post. Newcastle were really unlucky.

37 mins Newcastle have been very impressive up to this point in the game but have had no luck.

38 mins Another excellent free lick by Geremi and Almunia does well to hold onto the ball as he is challenged by Newcastle players

39 mins Arsenal are starting to look a bit rattled with the constant pressure Newcastle players are giving them as they are not allowed to get into any rhythm.

44 mins Oba Martins is straight through on goal and controls the ball well but is flagged for offside. The ensuing TV replays shows he is actually on-side.

45 mins The half time whistle blows after a minute of added time.

58 mins Milner does some beautiful work down the left and gets around two Arsenal players to get in a good shot that Alumnia saves well to his left.

60 mins GOAL: Newcastle ate all over Arsenal as they have increased the pace in the second half and Steven Taylor hits the ball home, in off the post giving Alumina no chance. Newcastle deserve to be level and now the last 30 minutes should be .all action.

62 mins Arsenal are rattled as they are being challenged for very ball and they are starting to lose their composure.

64 mins A Geremi throw into the penalty box is beautifully headed just over the bar by Smith

75 mins Newcastle are pressing hard and it looks like Arsenal may be tiring but Newcastle are giving Arsenal everything they can handle keeping the game at a terrific pace. They certainly must be fit, that’s for sure, and it’s showing.

79 mins An Arsenal free kick gets through to Rosicky who crosses low and Given makes a great interception and the Newcastle defense clears the danger

The last 10 minutes was excitement personified and with any luck Newcastle would have been able to clinch the winner in what would have been a tremendous victory. But it was not to be but Arsenal will know they’ve been in a game tonight and in the end were probably pleased they picked up the single point.

33 comments so far

  • Tripp

    Dec 5, 2007 at 9:57 PM

    Comment #1

    Howay the Lads! I’m very excited. It’s not a perfect result but pretty damn close, esp considering where we’ve been lately. This is the confidence booster that the lads needed. Now we just need to build on this fabulous opportunity. Kicking the snot outta Blues next weekend at St Andrews is the first order of business. We owe them after that miserable 5-1 thrashing in the FA cup last year. I’d say 5-1 to the Toon ought to make up for it. 😉

  • ToonKing

    Dec 5, 2007 at 9:58 PM

    Comment #2

    i’m sorry Ed, i’ll post a proper comment in a little while but right now i need a minute with my Stella and a smoke to calm down a bit………

  • big pea ov the weab

    Dec 5, 2007 at 9:58 PM

    Comment #3

    a think ul find the birmingham game is at st james park m8 but kick there arse indeed

  • dougnufc

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:02 PM

    Comment #4

    Superb performance

  • feel

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:03 PM

    Comment #5

    I think ARsenal played badly, without Fabregas, Helb and Flamini, they are the their ususal self.

  • brigham

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:05 PM

    Comment #6

    Well played barcodes and you fully deserved your point tonight. We (Arsenal) just did not play well, but I think you stopped us from playing well.

    We could get into our usual rhythm at all and we were hustled off the ball too easily.

    A draw was a fair result I feel and at least we remain unbeaten.

    Good luck for the remainder of the season.

  • Soren

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:05 PM

    Comment #7

    My god we played good. Arsenal weren’t giving any time on the ball, and everyone was fighting like crazy. A proper performance and the players also look much more confident and with the beautiful fan support they will shine. These last two performances really is something to build on, and it was good to see some continuety( or how’s it spelled) in the line-up and it finally looks like sam’s got it all right. Proud of the boys tonight!

  • Dirk

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:06 PM

    Comment #8

    agree wiv toonking stella IS GR8

  • Mac

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:06 PM

    Comment #9

    Who ever said that Alan Smith should not play for Newcastle should be ashamed. Yes he’s never gonna be a Ronaldo but he just gives 100% all the time and that brings the rest of an under performing team on. Nicky Butt was poor i thought, however i don’t know if i trust Emre and Barton in the middle of the Park. Is Enrique any good??? If so lets play him and let Charles play out wide. Sell Michael Owen and have Smith,Viduka,Martins and Crouch up front also sell Emre and bring in a creative central midfielder in the mold of i don’t know maybeez Roy Keane. Come on the Toon 3 points against Birmingham. Well done Sam (the fat head)

  • Ed Harrison

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:10 PM

    Comment #10

    It’s a long long time that I’ve seen a Newcastle team work this hard and keep pressure on another side the way they did tonight. All credit to the team and to Big Sam – it was one of the best performances for a long long time – we just needed that 2nd goal to put the icing on the cake. And of course we have to keep this up against Birmingham – we still need to pick up points. But if we can play like this against probably the best side right now in Britain – we not too bad a team. What’s that about a crisis at Newcastle? 😀

  • billy

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:13 PM

    Comment #11

    smith would be a great captain and has to be played up front.proud of the team tonight!

  • Dirk

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:13 PM

    Comment #12

    mac i agree smith wont b ronaldo but he is much better team player than ronaldo he gets every1 fired up and is so passionate, ronaldo is a chocolate boy that should b a gd enuf reason alone to bring back hanging. neva sell owen tru id rather martins and smith upfront bu owen gives so much experience to a team and he could teach martins to put away easier shots, lets get edmilson in in january and go for another winger

  • nightfall

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:18 PM

    Comment #13

    superb performance

  • Dirk

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:21 PM

    Comment #14

    i no sum1 mite shoot me for this but am i the ony 1 to notice that zog is playin his best football at left back?

  • yh

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:33 PM

    Comment #15

    Dirk, Zog was good, but I’ve seen better. Okay I shall stop the Milner on the right Zog on the left theory but anyone notice how we just charged down the left flank the whole day? Sure there’s nothing wrong with it but I feel we could do with a better balance – everybody knows Geremi’s no right winger.

    BUT, GREAT PERFORMANCE OVERALL such a joy to behold – and 10 days or 11 days ago we just got walloped by Liverpool 3-0…

    Where did the boo boys go?

  • Toon Chicken

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:33 PM

    Comment #16

    Dirk – no mate. Opta (or whoever it is now) noticed as well, at the start of the season when they had him down as the 5th best player in the Prem!! 🙂

  • Tripp

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:34 PM

    Comment #17

    Commander Zog has done really well back there no doubt. Hard to judge really. Seems he’s played more back there this season than on the wing (he also prefers the left side and has spent some of his wing time on the other side of the pitch).

  • ToonKing

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:35 PM

    Comment #18

    no Dirk, your not the only one to notice that, but he needs a little more experience there.

    all those strange positions for which sam was and is so harshly criticised are making sense now arent’ they ???

    Zog had a great game at LB and so did Milner on the left wing. hmm hmm looks to me that Sam may indeed be knowing what he’s doing………..

    i’ve on got one slight regret…..Oba…..so so so frustrating…..come on lad learn to shoot and man up and take the shot when it’s staring you in the face, other than that he was good too today. can’t wait to see how will we look when little Mickey comes back.

  • adam

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:36 PM

    Comment #19

    so proud of the team! brilliant commitment for the club, fans and big sam.

    its hard to single out one player but i thought alan smith was awesome.

    its been a while since iv been this happy this season.



    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:42 PM

    Comment #20


  • valle

    Dec 5, 2007 at 10:58 PM

    Comment #21

    I dont agree that Zog is doing well at left back at all… He played fairly well, but that was his attacking play. The defensive part was as bad as it gets and he was clearly at fault for their goal when he failed to clear the ball… Geremi is just a nightmare for us imo, he plays bad, he passes bad he takes bad set pieces and so on… On the plus side, no one can point a finger at Sam, he really got the players going tonight, and players such as Smith, Beye and Butt had great games. Barton also did allot of work altho his passing needs to improve and Milner played quite well altho his crosses werent that good tonight, but great to see that he holds back on the dribles on a regular basis now… Martin did farily well, but his control were back to its poor old self and he needs to read the game better, since allot of Smiths flick ons went out the window because he didnt react till he saw where the ball was passed, but then too had the arsenal defense… All in all a great match which we had deserved to win

  • nufcmkd

    Dec 5, 2007 at 11:00 PM

    Comment #22

    I don’t remember when i last saw nufc to play like this for 90 minutes. Great performance and commitment from all the players. We should have won. Let’s hope players don’t get carried away too much and we’ll get at least 10 points from the next 4 games

  • ToonKing

    Dec 5, 2007 at 11:07 PM

    Comment #23

    actually valle i thought Geremi was pretty good today….he put some nice crosses in and was very efficient at stopping the Gooners build-up.

  • Neil W

    Dec 5, 2007 at 11:12 PM

    Comment #24

    Hi All

    I thought overall the performance was excellant from the highlights I have seen.

    Smith – excellant running
    Barton – starting to show what he can do
    Beye – you are not Marseille captain for nothing. The chap has to get used to the Premiership and so, only three months from the transfer deadline, he is doing well.
    Newcastle fans – over recent weeks some have shown a worrying short termism, and, dare I say it, a lack of football nouse and, lets be honest, pent up frustration!



  • valle

    Dec 5, 2007 at 11:23 PM

    Comment #25

    Toonking… No good stopping the play if he plays the ball straight back to them… Its funny how, when the team plays like it should u see the weakest links more. Maybe its because they cant hide among the rest, as they can when the whole team plays bad.

  • Leo

    Dec 5, 2007 at 11:23 PM

    Comment #26

    i wonder wat sh1t the reporters can put in the newwspapers 2mo?

  • ToonKing

    Dec 5, 2007 at 11:27 PM

    Comment #27

    read the SkySports leo……….Arsenal were poor, either team could have won it and that’s basically it. they don’t even mention us. 🙁 Southern Bastards.

  • Nobby's dad

    Dec 5, 2007 at 11:30 PM

    Comment #28

    Just back from the game- the atmosphere was fantastic tonight and was before kick off. You just knew we were going to do something and I was sure we’d go on to win when Taylor scored.We really had them rattled.

    Smith never stopped running – gave 110% top man. Beye looks very good, Nicky Butt and Milner both had very good games. This is the turning point and shows how the crowd in full voice is the 12th man. I’m hoarse tonight – first time since ManUtd draw last year. It’s a great feeling!!

  • Leo

    Dec 5, 2007 at 11:32 PM

    Comment #29

    wat a piss take. well im used to it now

  • Ross

    Dec 6, 2007 at 2:15 AM

    Comment #30

    havent seen a performance from the lads like this for a while.
    4 minutes in we conceed and not a single head dropped. had we just showed a little more concentration early, we’d have won.
    we battled for every ball, never gave anything up, and more than deserved our point. in my opinion, we deserved to win.
    to say arsenal were poor or whatever, who cares. thats not our fault, we were the better team tonight, against unbeaten league leaders.
    we cant let this attitude drop when it comes to smaller games though.
    like you say Ed, go to struggling teams and play like this and we’ll show what we’re really capable of.
    so proud tonight.

  • Ross

    Dec 6, 2007 at 2:21 AM

    Comment #31

    to be fair toon king, sky sports do give us credit really!
    more of the highlights mentioned sky sports are concerning our attacking as opposed to that of arsenal.
    and it claims that even though arsenal finished playing attractive football, if anyone was gonna win it, it was us.
    (dunno if theyve changed or updated the report or anything..not trying to sound like an arse, just read the report after you mentioned it and it didnt seem too bad! ha :D)

  • yh

    Dec 6, 2007 at 3:28 AM

    Comment #32

    Said point about us attacking is a GIVEN – how many times did Arsenal attack tonight? There were periods of time when we were literally camping in their half 😀

  • wsq

    Dec 6, 2007 at 6:44 AM

    Comment #33

    of all the places in the world, they forgot to beam it here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! why!


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