Newcastle have played their best football for many many games and are unlucky to be one goal down at the interval against Premier League leaders Arsenal.
A breakaway goal and a beautiful one at that scored by the mercurial Adebayor after just 4 minutes is all that separates the two sides, and if anything Newcastle’s have been the better side, and their game plan has worked very well.
The Newcastle players are harrassing Arsenal at every opportunity and not giving the Arsenal side any time to settle on the ball. And just before half time Martins was clear through on goal with only the keeper to beat, but was flagged for offside. But the TV replays showed he was onside. They either need to change the offside rule, or these referee’s assistants need to give onside when the player is level with the opposition player. They just never do that.
Newcastle also went near when from a Geremi corner, Steven Taylor had a good header that Almunia just got a hand to, and the ball went off the post for a corner.
Newcastle need a goal and some luck and they could well get right back into this game, but at half time this game is by no means over.
Here’s some highlights of the first half but Newcastle fans can have no complaint with either the work effort or the skill shown by the Newcastle United team tonight.
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 Arsenalâ€™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 Nâ€™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.