Newcastle put up another spirited performance tonight, against a good looking Arsenal side, but were still on the wrong end of a 4-0 defeat by the north London side.
But the score-line was much worse than the performance of the Newcastle side tonight, and they had little luck, and in the end it was Arsenal’s extra class and their innate ability to keep possession, that was the difference between two good sides, in what was another entertaining game.
Arsenal started this game at an electric pace and for the first 10 minutes or so it was all Arsenal, and in that time they must have had 4 shots on goal, but the Newcastle defense remained steady, with Tim Krul looking safe in goal and making a couple of good saves.
But then Williamson tried to beat two Arsenal players just outside the box, and he lost the ball but he was lucky that Newcastle escaped the danger. Mike has to learn he cannot do that stuff against top sides because they will punish you.
Left back Gibbs seemed to suffer an injury to his ankle after 10 minutes, but he carried on for a while, but then left the pitch and was replaced by … the very experienced Sagna.
On 15 minutes Nile Ranger almost scored when he beat the goalkeeper to a long ball up field and got past him only for the center-back to block his shot, as he tried to put the ball in the back of the net.
And then Alan Smith had a wonderful shot from all of 30 yards out that was touched by Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny, and onto the cross bar and over, although referee Mariner gave a goal kick.
If the goalkeeper hadn’t touched the ball, could have well gone into the goal off the underside of the cross-bar so it was a cracking save from the young 20 year-old Polish goalkeeper.
To think that Alan still has to score his first senior goal for the club, that have been some first goal for the Leeds lad.
And Newcastle then took as much as they got in the first half, with Vuckic, Routledge and Kadar looking good, and then would you believe it – with just 30 seconds to go in the two minutes of added time in the first half – Newcastle conceded a goal, and it was a poor one again.
Tim Krul punched away a corner, and it was immediately headed back into the goalmouth, and with two defenders and Krul seemingly having the ball covered, the ball appeared to go between Krul’s legs, and Ryan Taylor blocked the ball on the line – but it rebounded into the goal off the back of Tim Krul’s head.
A cruel goal to give away and at the worst possible time for Newcastle United. The half time whistle went immediately following the kick-off and Newcastle were 1-0 down at the interval in what was another cracking game.
The second half started with no changes being made by either side.
On 52 minutes Arsenal went two up when a long ball down field found Bendtner well offside, but it was Theo Walcott who came through onto the ball and put the ball into the back of the net – and the referee allowed the goal to stand.
When a player is or is not interfering with play is in the imagination with the current rules, and in the old days Bendtner would immediately been flagged for offside. The powers that be have to look at this offside rule again, because players are starting to take advantage of it, by simply taking up offside positions, and then deciding not to play the ball – it’s ridiculous.
But Newcastle were still 2-0 down.
And Chris Hughton made a double change on 57 minutes when he brought on Andy Carroll and Jonas Gutierrez for Wayne Routledge and Peter Lovenkrands.
Newcastle tried to press to get back into the game but Arsenal were keeping possession well – one of their great strengths – and Chris Hughton made his third and final change on 71 minutes, when Joey Barton was brought on to replace the tired looking Alan Smith – and Joey took the captain’s armband.
Newcastle were pressing Arsenal and were trying to pick up some momentum, but then they were hit with a sucker punch as Arsenal and Fabregas, who had been brought on 10 minutes earlier, fed Bendtner on the left wing in a quick counter attack, and the striker cut inside and hit a wonderful shot into the net from 20 yards out, to get Arsenal’s 3rd goal and surely seal the win for the visitors.
Arsenal 3-0 up.
On 86 minutes a terrific Ryan Taylor free kick was well saved by Polish goalkeeper Szczesny, as the Magpies continued to press for a goal.
On 88 minutes one pass split the Newcastle defense wide open, and it was Theo Walcott clean through to put in another goal, as they again caught Newcastle pressing up field too much, and it was 4-0 although the result was much worse than the Newcastle display tonight.
The Magpies can only do so much on spirit and bravery and it was Arsenal’s superior class that showed through this evening, especially in the second half, and in the end Newcastle were well beaten.
But Chris Hughton will still take many positives out of t, which they showed in spades again tonight in this game, and there were some good individual performances – young Nile Ranger is going to be a handful for defenses in a year or so, and Haris Vuckic gave a powerful performance in the center of midfield in this game, and looks like a potential great player for Newcastle in the future.
We were still proud of the lads tonight – for their brave performance against Arsenal, who are of course a very good side.
But it points to what Newcastle need next in their squad – some players with class – if only we had had Hatem Ben Arfa tonight.
And there are disturbing rumors about a betting shop refusing to take bets on Chris Hughton being fired at the club – do they know something we don’t?
The club should issue something to quell these rumors, because a win on Sunday will see the lads very nicely positioned in the Premier League after 10 games.
Newcastle United: Krul; R Taylor, Williamson, Kadar, Perch; Guthrie, Smith, Vuckic, Routledge; Ranger, Lovenkrands.
Subs: Soderberg, Coloccini, Enrique, Barton, Gutierrez, Tiote, Carroll.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Koscielny, Rosicky, Vela, Walcott, Denilson, Djourou, Eboue, Gibbs, Eastmond, Bendtner.
Subs: Fabianski, Sagna, Fabregas, Arshavin, Emmanuel-Thomas, Lansbury, Nordtveit