Reflections on the Newcastle Arsenal Game



It was certainly a wonderful game to watch. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen commitment and passion from a Newcastle side like we saw last night and long may it continue.

Let’s review what we saw last night.

  • The good thing about last night’s performance was it just wasn’t against the best team in the league right now, but we showed skill as well as commitment. It was like Bolton Wanderers yes, but at their very best, because Sam has lots of skill in the Newcastle side.
  • If Newcastle serve up this kind of performance at St. James’ Park there’ll be queues trying to get in after the each kick off – it was just great to watch in many ways.
  • Some of the new boys had good games last night so perhaps we are seeing them gel together a bit now. Habib Beye had a sterling game and Rozehnal was steady at the back with the fabulous Steven Taylor, who epitomized Newcastle guts and fighting spirit. A future captain indeed is young Steven.
  • We at last saw Joey Barton near his best. He fought tooth and nail for the Newcastle cause, and we’re not sure how many miles he covered last night, but it had to be a lot! Joey’s obviously a good player, and he looked like the Newcastle engine room last night. A very good performance from the Liverpudlian.
  • The Newcastle defense, apart from that first goal, looked a lot more solid than of late. All the back four played well but we’d still like to see young N’Zogbia set free on the left wing. We think young Jose Enrique is a fine player. While he’s not the finished article he has potential galore, and needs more starts at Newcastle. We’d like to see Milner and N’Zogbia on the wings in nearly every game.
  • James Milner was a danger to Arsenal all night and he had one of his best games for the club. James has become an excellent crosser of the ball through hard work in training. He gave Bakari Sagna everything he could handle last night. And to think we nearly let him go to Aston Villa. 🙁
  • Steven Taylor made a huge difference for Newcastle last night, and it was interesting he played at his best position, center-back. We thought Beye would play there but it was interesting Sam played him in the more important central defensive role. He played very well and looked what he is – a future Newcastle and England captain in the making.
  • Smith had his best game for Newcastle this season and gave another fighting performance and was voted man of the match. Alan is a great boy as witnessed in his interview with Sky Sports after the game. He’s all about team work and commitment and no wonder Big Sam, jumped at the chance when he became available at Manchester United.
  • Sam Allardyce must have convinced a lot of Newcastle fans last night that he can do the job at Newcastle. The team showed the old grit of Bolton but also has a lot more class in the side than he ever could muster at Bolton. The result was an excellent performance of both courage but also of skill. It was good to watch and there’s nothing wrong with the way Sam has Newcastle playing – nothing at all.
  • After this performance, nothing but exactly the same fare is in order for our next game against Birmingham. The pressure will still be on the team to get a result, and it has to be all 3 points. It would also be nice if we can keep a clean sheet on Saturday, since it’s now a long 12 games since we last kept a clean sheet against Wigan Athletic, on 1st September, over three months ago.

What do you think? Please let us know – comments very welcome.

49 comments so far

  • Southside Jordy

    Dec 6, 2007 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #1

    God dam fanny tastic………..really happy that we finally played as a team!! 🙂

  • adam

    Dec 6, 2007 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #2


    smith only play up front

    smith should be our captain

    would love to see zoogy and milner on wings for balance

    great improvement in the team

    emre shouldve played somepart possibly

  • Knight

    Dec 6, 2007 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #3

    As an Arsenal fan, I’d like to express my thanks to your team for saving up your grittiest performance of the season for us! Please, for gods sake, repeat this against the likes of Man U, Chelski and Liverpool.

  • Macas

    Dec 6, 2007 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #4

    Personally I see it as 2 points dropped as Arsenal were there for the taking. The spirit was fantastic but we didnt punish them enough by getting the 2 wingers on their correct wings, Sam once again baffling me by playing Zog at left back. Smith was scaring the living daylights out of them up front, so why on earth drop him back into Midfield and bring Viduka on??? Once that happened out impetus dropped and they came back into the game. Most will probably see me as being over critical but I thought Arsenal were poor, and I still dont think Sam is the man for the job as his tactics just leave me bewildered.

  • Leo

    Dec 6, 2007 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #5

    im not going to say any but’s today, we played brilliently

    the ref was a wanker, which i was told you arnt allowed to sing anymore in the stadium by a pal of mine… is this true? because i dont want to get chucked out

  • Graham

    Dec 6, 2007 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #6

    sorry to spoil the party but i’m absolutly gutted with the way we played ast night – only because i had 20 quid on at 16/1 for us to win 2-1!

    other than my own loss – we played fantastic – and im not quite sure wher the bolton thing has come from – yes there were some long balls but there was also plenty of skill on show.

    We outplayed Arsenal in every department (ive also got a tenner on them to win the league).

    Im not sure if we will keep up that sort of commitment and determination – but if the players are feeling half as good about themselves as i am this morning then why not?

    Oh and Leo – for the record i thught the ref was one of the best i have seen at a nufc game for a while.

  • ToonKing

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #7

    Sam is not the right manager for Newcastle United cause he’s tactics leave Macas bewildered………………………ok that’s a good enough reason let’s sack him…(angry, i would smack u in bollox look)

  • ToonKing

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #8

    Graham u took the words out of my keyboard mate, 100% agree, the ref was magic.

  • Steeley

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #9

    I think it’s obvious that Smith should only ever play upfront for Newcastle from now on….he won absolutely EVERYTHING in the air the last night and was superb!
    I thought Beye had a great game last night as well – he should def be the full-time RB.
    Taylor looked great playing with Roz, if only for the very occasional small error.
    I thought Milner did really well on the left although I do think he needs to move to the right with Zog on the left wing.
    Martins on the other hand, struggled when running at the opposition and lost the ball quite a few times – good game in general but not looking as sharp as he did last season.
    Geremi pulled out some cracking free-kicks and throw-ins but he didnt seem fully committed to a lot of tackles and gave the ball away a bit.
    Barton had a bloody cracker last night and it bodes well for the future of our midfield!

    Overall, a cracking game and team spirit, and I have to say that the crowd support sounded amazing on the TV.

    Fingers crossed for another great display against Birmingham!

    And cheers lads, it was the first game I’ve enjoyed watching Newcastle play in a bloody long time!!

  • michael

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #10

    It was a great game to watch and we were on top of our game but i disagree with barton, think he gave the ball away alot and was caught in possesion in the 1st half and geremi likewise. We would of won that with a decent swap for geremi.

  • Drew

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #11

    Graham………”the ref was one of the best i have seen at a nufc game for a while.”………. what the hell r u on about!?!?!? needless bookings for sagna (after he was fouled) and in the last 5 mins arsenal had two breaks only for beye and taylor to foul adebayor! this site saw last nights match through rose tinted glasses and if you see that as a great game you will be relegated by the end of the season

  • Macas

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #12

    ToonKing – Just because we have one good game I am not going to suddenly change my opinion on the manager. And I dont believe I ever said we should sack him – just that I dont believe that in the long term he is the right man for the job. I dont think I’m the only one who has been left bemused and bewildered by the ‘tactics’ this season. Maybe Sam will make us a force again, but personally I dont see any evidence of that so far. This blog is a place for differing opinions and I simply offered mine, instead of making personal attacks on others like an odious little turd.

  • steve

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #13

    good showing last night at last – Tony Cascarino had some interesting words to say about the duke in this mornings Times newspaper, basically saying he’s a talented but lazy fat get who put some effort in during his last season at Boro in order to get an offer elsewhere for more cash

    Shame that Sam didn’t bring Emre on instead and leave Smith up front – reckon we could have kept up the impetus and created more

    Lets not get carried away just yet but from little acorns 🙂

  • steve

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #14

    Worth reading in full

    Also they have a good analysis on our passing which can be downloaded here –

  • steve

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #15

    You can read the full article here, pretty much spot on for me

    Good analysis of Newcastles passing game

  • wsq

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #16

    nah i think james milner still needs to work on his crossing. he gets it wrong too many times. he needs to work on getting his head up. he works too hard just to put a cross in end up not putting it in. he doesn’t need to twist and turn too much, which gives time and composure for defenders.

  • ChrisL

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #17

    We had a great spine up the middle of the team, all making 110% effort:
    That is a good base for any team.

  • ToonKing

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #18

    for the ones who didn’t see it :

    It’s Joey Barton’s interview on BBC from this monday i think.

  • Rob Kirton

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #19

    Very similar game to last years 0-0. Similar sort of atmosphere. We played well last night , and although a good game – not a brilliant performance by either team. Not a lot of goal mouth action really. Most shots the goalies had, they could have thrown their cap on. This mornings respones from most, with the relief they are showing, demonstrate how low our standards had fallen.

    I guess the most promising thing was how we maintained our game plan even after going 1-0 down so quickly. Not neccessarily the best of plans, Milner and Oba still look a bit lost in their curent roles (Smith and Butt were real stand outs). Maybe they will grow into them. If this had been plan “A”, they could have worked on this pre-season and be bedded in right now.

    Last nights perfromance and result has to be the least we should expect, when playing any top 4 team at home. Onwards and upwards – a minimum of 8-9 points from the next 4 games should steady the ship and secure us in the top half of the table.

  • g00n army

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #20

    Just followed a link from my regular gooner website to this story and thought I’d chip in. I thought the toon did excellent against us last night, certainly I think we were somewhat fortunate to come away with a point. I actually had this game down as a home win due to the ‘funny old game’ nature of our favorite sport, what with us flying and you being vilified by the press. It would have been typical, but thankfully we scraped through.

    I’m not a fan of Big Sam personally for all his petty taunts at us while at Bolton, but I admire Newcastle as a great football club so wish the toon army all the best for the next few games – hopefully you can keep up the momentum.

  • Johann

    Dec 6, 2007 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #21

    I thought Roz had a terrible game once again. What´s up with his heading? He heads straight to them and then sometimes miscues things. Arsenal nearly scored because of his obsession with winning the ball. He´s there to defend not go to 50/50 when he´s the last defender!!!! Edgar is even a better choice than Roz. Just can´t understand why we bought him.

  • Alex Brett

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #22

    And more importantly that spine is English!!

    I was expectring a performance, and I got more than i wished!! We could have beaten them! I live in London and watched the game with a Gooner he even said “your gonna go and win this now” That alone brought a smile to my face!!

    Smith should start with Oba now, Owen cannot just walk back into the team now way!! If i’m honest I prefer Oba anyway!! I still think we need something more in midfield, I see the Arshavin story in gathering some pace!! but it does look good for the future as certain players have mentioned if they play like that every week then we cant go wrong!! It will all be pointless if we dont be the Brummies now, but if the crowd were half as loud as they were last night then Birmingham will be beaten before they walk out the tunnel!!!

  • Southside Jordy

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #23

    Macas your a fool!!!
    Yes you do have an opinion but your opinion is foolish…..Sam is a great Manager and this will be proven!!! I’m not just saying this after one game either, he is the right man for the job….give the guy some ruddy space and some f-ing time…..rome was not built in a day huh!?!?!

  • Alex Brett

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #24

    Rozenhal is a good defender but i too was a bit worried by the way he flew in sometimes but he is still finding his feet here, so give him time, He can forge a great partnership with Taylor if they play week in week out together!!

  • nightfall

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #25

    great performance… well done lads… i was against signing smith, but that’s ‘cos we already had vid, shola, martins, owen,..and i knew smith would play as a midfielder..that’s the reason..
    that’s ‘cos i expected more from viduka, owen,…but they dissapointed me and smith did good as striker…
    smith should play only as a striker, ‘cos if he’s in the midfeld our midfield doesn’t function

  • paul p

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #26

    the last 2 games is probably the best we have played all season. although it has only brought us 1 point, when it should have been 6 in my view. This is a starting point. We now have to carry this onto saturdays game with birmingham, who will try to do to us, what we did to arsenal last night. If we do manage to play like we did last night, battling for every ball, and when getting the ball, getting it down and playing good football, creating chances etc, then i am sure we will beat birmingham. This is the important month of the year for football, as it normally decides where you will end up. It will also decide the managers job as well. Victories in the next 4 games is required and lets look at it this way, they are teams a club like ourselves should be beating. Win 2 and lose 2, that could not be enough, but we will see. its up to us supporters though to get behind everyone, ashley, mort, sam, the team and the fans have got to back each other as well. take the support we had last night and saturday into the rest of the games this season, we will be alright. it lifts everyone.

  • Southside Jordy

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #27

    Newcastle 3
    Birmingham 0

  • goonerbeall

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #28

    I beg to differ. I think NU did well by avoiding football and that can only be done against teams like Arsenal, Man u, Chelsea or Portsmouth. Watch how you gonna be stuffed in the next game. Had they allowed Arsenal to play football, you could be hit with 3-4 goals but credit to you as everyone has a right to apply all he has to survive although its just a transitory measure and you gonna be trashed soon.

  • paul p

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #29

    team selections

    i did not agree with charlie playing left back again. enrique should be playing to allow nzogbia to push into left midfield. how geremi gets a game i dont no. milner down the right, barton who i thought had a good game last night i have to say and also nicky butt was head and shoulders above anyone in the 1st half. thats my midfield. alan smith. what can i say about him. 3 games he has played up front this season and 3 games newcastle have played very well. his performance last night did deserve man of the match award. he gives us something that we had when shearer was still playing. never gave arsenals defence a minutes peace. Problem now, if we have smith upfront and on current form i would start him up front, who would you play with him??

  • Cyprus Mag

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #30

    Who was it last week who said on this site that I don’t know what I’m talking about because I compared FSA’s Newcastle style to Bolton’s?
    Well I have some support, this was what Wenger said after last night’s game
    “It was exactly the same type of organisation and the same type of play, (as Bolton) very direct, very committed and in a 4-3-3.”
    I think I respect his views more than the clown who berated me saying Newcastle were going for a MU or Arsenal style, what a joke.

  • Alex Brett

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #31

    Newcastle 5 Birmingham 0

    Smith to grab his first goal for sure!!! he wont get dropped now!! Oba to get a first Hatrick and I fancy Barton to grab 1

  • Macas

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #32

    Southside Jordy – I take it you agree that Alan Smith should play in midfield then, that an expensice left back should sit on the bench while a left winger plays left back, to allow our right winger to play in his position and nobody in particular to play on the right? I’m afraid I wont be fooled by one game that’s all, I judge the manager on the team’s performances all season, and in that respect I’ve seen nothing to assure me he will take the club forward. If that makes me a fool then so be it. I’d rather be a fool than a blindly optimistic sheep.

  • Steeley

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #33

    Don’t usually bother with the tat that newcastle-united mad website kicks out, but read this from one of their articles and I think it sums up what a lot of us feel. There should never again be a position when we play for a point with the exception of perhaps at Old Trafford, Anfield, Emirates and Stamford Bridge, but certainly never at home (like when Liverpool came to is)….

    The players put some pride back into St James’ Park last night as they came back from an early goal to take a point from Premiership leaders Arsenal.

    But it was the way Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce actually went for the win that turned around his teams fortunes.

    Trying to explain the horror show against Liverpool, Allardyce defended his tactics saying “you don’t attack Liverpool … it is suicidal!”

    But the fans were furious that the team chose to “lie down and die” rather than go for the win, and Allardyce has suffered ever since.

    But late in the game he took off Geremi, a midfield player, and threw on Mark Viduka to try to take the three points, which had the fans right behind the team.

    The problem with Allardyce all season has been his show of respect for too many teams. We went to Pride Park when Derby were “there for the taking” but Big Sam’s tactics of “going for a point” disgusted many of the Toon Army.

    All season he hasn’t shown belief in his team, and that has turned into a disaster with three players banging on his door after the Liverpool humiliation.

    His negative tactics have infuriated the players AND the fans, but last night we saw a team playing with some belief.

  • milner fan

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #34

    wow amazing no more doom and gloom. What happened to all the fans who wanted BSA out on Tuesday night? Still think hes not right for the job?

  • paul p

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #35

    in football. goals win you games. not clean sheets. the worst thing you can actually do is sit back and go for a draw, caus you always get beat or conceed a goal and not get the result you want. like i have always said. newcastle united are a better team when we attack, not play defensive. attack. we dont no how to play defensive. never have done. it did not work under souness, or daliglish, or roeder, and its not working under sam. keegan and robson went for attacking football and we nearly won us the league. point am getting at is we were in the right side of the league table and in the european spots, champions league, instead of been mid table like we are now playing poor football, up until saturday. that is the closest arsenal have come to a defeat all season.

  • Rob Kirton

    Dec 6, 2007 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #36

    Milner Fan: I think the truth is, Sam Allardyce was not a top manager when we appointed him (check out his record). He is obviously a wannabe. I hope he makes it and takes us onto great things . We are his big chance.

    I think the real problem has been that he hasn’t looked like heading in the right direction. Time will tell, the next 4 games will definately show us something. The last two games playing fairly well but only getting one point – need to be converted into something more tangible.

  • Paul

    Dec 6, 2007 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #37

    Now lets watch the fans say “Oh I always knew Allardyce was the man!” Yeah…

    What happened last night made me proud to be a geordie.

    Guts, fight, and lots of it.

    Exactly what was needed.

    Sam is the man, never doubted it, just give him more time and we will be up there challenging top 6.

    Btw, Arshavin says he is happy to come here if we offer it, any change Eddie-boy can get an aritcle on it???

  • Southside Jordy

    Dec 6, 2007 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #38

    Marcas – Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!

    BSA is gunna move this club forward, and if that means he needs to change things round then fine!
    Smith should be up front and i do agree that zog should be LM not LB, but we still played well and seem to work from where i was sitting buddy!!!

    Stop with the Neg and let the man get on with the job will you…….!!!

  • steve

    Dec 6, 2007 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #39

    @Milner_fan – 2 points out of 18 isn’t exactly great – I’ll never be a big fan of Sam as I don’t like his style of play, he’s continually talking to the press as well making himself look a bit of a tart.

    however it looks like he’s getting the players to actually play Bolton style football which is better than the cr@p we had for the first 12 games (even the games we won)
    Now sell that lazy fet get Viduka, and ask Butt to retire (his passing stats are awful and he can’t run round the pitch as he used to – he’s given up tracking back as well.

  • stjames

    Dec 6, 2007 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #40

    We looked like a completely different team. Hopefully this means the end of 50/50 longballs. Of course we still have to work on our movements and positioning. We are not quite arsenal yet. But this shows we can play decent football and it shows the superiority of serious team play over the “happygolucky” longballs. This is the sign I’ve been waiting for all season.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Was some one complaining about the fans the other day? Give us something to cheer about and we will give you a night to remember.

    Barton still has to give us something. Lacks ideas, is slow and shows no playmaker’s tendencies. 🙁


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