Here are some observations on our defeat tonight against Arsenal at the Emirates.
- We shouldn’t panic because our last 2 games were against Arsenal â€“ and they are one of the best teams in the country â€“ and we didn’t really expect to get anything out of either game.
- We actually missed Enrique tonight, because N’Zogbia had to play back in defense at left back
- Joey Barton came on after 57 minutes for Rozehnal and the team seemed to flow a lot easier â€“ and we wouldn’t be surprised if Keegan plays Barton from the start against Middlesbrough â€“ which is now becoming a crucial game for us. However, Emre will also be available for the game on Sunday.
- The defense played quite well under the circumstances, and the Arsenal goals were good ones. Taylor and Cacapa are playing solidly in central defense and Stephen Carr is actually playing surprisingly well and made some good clearances tonight. He’s not our favorite player but give the lad some credit tonight. 😀
- We still lack creativity and drive in midfield, but now Emre will be available for Sunday, having now served his 3 match ban, and we expect Keegan to use him to full advantage on Sunday, when we have to attack Middlesbrough from the very first whistle.
- Smith and Owen up front both worked hard tonight, and didn’t have many chances, but we’re not sure Smith can score enough goals up front or is effective enough. We would probably prefer Viduka or even Ameobi to start on Sunday, with Michael Owen.
- The lads need the full support of the Newcastle fans on Sunday. We are playing better football than under Big Sam â€“ even in defense â€“ but playing Arsenal at the Emirates twice in Keegan’s first 3 games in charge is hardly easy â€“ and it certainly hasn’t been.
- Kevin Keegan has to work on the confidence of the players as much as anything for Sunday’s game. We will need some players to step up in that game. A win will certainly relieve the anxiety creeping in on Tyne-side right now, in what has been a disastrous season for us, let’s be honest.
- N’Zogbia picked up his 5th booking of the season, which means he will miss the trip to Aston Villa, but will be available for Sunday’s game against Middlesbrough.
- We should pretend the season starts anew for us on Sunday, and see how many points we can collect through the end of the season. But the confidence of our players is going to be crucial for the next few games – that’s for sure.
It’s almost certain now, that for the second season in succession, we will not qualify for any European competition.
Comments and opinions always welcome.