In a game we half expected it’s end to end stuff at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon, with Newcastle pushing Arsenal all the way in the first half of their 4th round FA Cup this afternoon.
The Newcastle team looks completely different from the team Sam Allardyce had just a couple of weeks ago, and Newcastle have been unlucky not to take the lead in the first half.
Newcastle have played some great attacking football in the first half and the traveling Toon Army of about 6,000 are singing Keegan’s name, as the team looks like his old Newcastle Entertainers team. They continually are attacking Arsenal, in an end to end game, to the surprise of many.
Smith and Owen have both had chances to put Newcastle ahead but the ball is not going in the net this afternoon. Charles N’Zogbia is having a good game in midfield and the Magpies seem to be combining well, after a full week’s training with Keegan and his staff.
The game has been end to end and the winners of this are the fans in a packed full Emirates stadium of 60,000 – this is how the game was meant to be played.
Eduardo, who had come on for Rosicky nearly beat Given at his near post after 23 minutes, but Given just turned the ball behind for a corner. Fabregas took the resulting corner but Taylor headed well clear.
After 30- minutes Steven Taylor beat the offside trap and was one-on-one with Lehmann as the ball was header over Lehman but also over the crossbar as the ball lands on the top of the net â€“ a great chance missed by Newcastle.
Towards the end of the half Newcastle were all over Arsenal in their half of the field – but then just before the break Shay Given pulled off a tremendous finger-tip save to divert Abou Diaby’s dipping 25-yard strike over the crossbar. Newcastle looked a little dodgy from the resulting corner from Fabregas, but clear their lines just before half time.
That was notice from the Arsenal side that they are still in this game, but the half time whistle blows with the scores still level at 0-0.
Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Abou Diaby, Cesc Fabregas, Philippe Senderos, Tomas Rosicky, William Gallas (c), Msthieu Flamini, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Adebayor, Justin Hoyte, Theo Walcott
Subs: Eduardo, Alexander Hleb, Gilberto, Lukasz Fabianski, Nicklas Bendtner
Newcastle United: Shay Given, Stephen Carr, Jose Enrique, Claudio Cacapa, Steven Taylor, Nicky Butt, Charles N’Zogbia, James Milner, Damien Duff, Michael Owen (c), Alan Smith
Subs: Steve Harper, David Rozehnal, Kazenga LuaLua, David Edgar, Andy Carroll
Referee: Martin Atkinson
The second half should be a lively 45 minutes â€“ and that’s probably a huge understatement.