Newcastle gained a valuable point this afternoon, after being outplayed in the first half, but Newcastle roared on by 46,894 fans, did a lot better in the second half, and then Gervinho was sent off after 75 minutes following a skirmish in the penalty box with Joey Barton.
That will be all the news after this game, and Gervinho basically dived after about 75 minutes, to try to simulate a foul, as Joey took the ball away away from him on the left hand side of the penalty box.
But then Joey went back and confronted Gervinho, and then in the melee that followed, Gervinho was seen to punch Joey Barton, who went down like a felled tree.
After a few minutes of mayhem, Gervinho was sent off on his debut for Arsenal, and Barton got a yellow card, although he was lucky not to see red.
Newcastle then tried to take advantage of their extra man in the last 15 minutes or so, but couldn’t make the vital breakthrough.
That was basically the game, and with just a little luck in the last five minutes or so the Magpies could have snatched a win.
The game got off under overcast conditions at St. James’ Park this afternoon and before we go any further, compliments to the Newcastle ground staff as the pitch looked simply magnificent.
The game and season kicked off and Arsenal immediately took possession of the play, and the ball. It was typical Arsenal, and although they were passing the ball about nicely they didn’t really penetrate the Newcastle defense much at all.
The defense was playing carefully with Coloccini again cutting out the attacks but somehow the defense didn’t seem to be too steady. But after 26 minutes it was still 0-0 so the lads had done a lot better than they had defended in February when they were 4-0 down at the same point in that game.
It was after 30 minutes that a corner from Tomas Rosicky on the left, had Krul going for the cross, but Koscielny beat Krul to the ball and the ball was kicked off the line by Danny Simpson. It seemed that Krul had been fouled but the TV replays of the play showed that Krul was to easily brushed off the ball, that was an escape for Newcastle.
In the first 30 minutes Yohan Cabaye hadn’t shown at all, and Arsenal were completely dominating the midfield, with Gervinho looking threatening and switching wings constantly. There were some nice touches from Demba Ba, but the Newcastle attack looked fairly toothless as the Magpies were concentrating fully on trying to contain the slick passing London team.
And then on 34 minutes Ryan Taylor tried a shot from all of 35 yards and it almost caught goalkeeper Szczesny napping but the ball was just over the crossbar and only slightly wide.
The commentators mentioned that since Arsene Wenger had been at Arsenal Newcastle had had 12 different managers, and what’s that about Newcastle needing some stability?
Newcastle held out in the first half, but Alan Pardew would need to make some changes in the second half, , as Newcastle hadn’t looked much of an attacking force at all, and Arsenal had the vast majority of play in those first 45 minutes.
Alan Pardew replaced Ba with Gabriel Obertan in the second half for the winger’s debut, to try to get more attacking play out of the Newcastle side.
Newcastle were doing better in the second half, and the game seemed more evenly matched in the first 15 minutes or so, and then a Van Persie free kick whistled just over the cross-bar.
Gabriel Obertan was showing some good skills, and on the right hand side of the penalty area he brilliantly back-heeled the ball to Cabaye, who had a chance but couldn’t connect properly and the goalkeeper saved – but it was great play from the two new lads.
Obertan again made a good run and went past two Arsenal players, but it came to nothing – however the former Man United winger was playing well on his debut.
On 64 minutes Tim Krul was down quickly to his left and made a good save from Theo Walcott, as the shot went through Danny Simpson’s legs. And then Cheick Tiote fouled Ramsey and picked up his traditional yellow card, with a rather obvious booking offense.
Then Cabaye, who was showing through more in the second half only just failed to reach Ameobi with a good through ball. On 73 minutes Leon Best came on for Shola Ameobi and both players were warmly applauded.
But on 75 minutes all hell broke loose as Gervinho seemed to attack Barton, after the Arsenal winger went crashing down in the penalty area, trying to simulate a foul and get a penalty, after Barton had cleanly taken the ball from him.
The referee waved play on and Barton should have just kept playing, but of course he didn’t, and went back to chastise Gervinho, and then Joey had him by the collar as he lifted him from the ground – that anger again got the better of Barton.
Oh my – not again.
The Sunday papers will have a field day with this, and that’s unfortunate for Barton and for the Newcastle club too – and it’s the last thing we wanted to see from Barton in this game – after everything that’s gone on over the last two weeks since the Leeds game..
There was a melee and Joey again lost his temper, and it appeared that Gervinho hit Barton in the face, and Joey fell like he had been felled by a Joe Frazier left hook of old.
Gervinho was sent off after a few minutes as the referee and officials sorted things out, and we were expecting Joey to get the same treatment as Gervinho, but he only got a yellow card.
This game will now be all about how Joey Barton lost his temper again, and it will do nothing for the player, and nothing for the Newcastle club, and Barton seems out of control again, quite honestly.
Lovenkrands was then brought on for YOhan Cabaye, who showed through well in the second half as he moved forward more, as Alan Pardew attempted to get the winning goal.
In the final 15 minutes or so Newcastle tried hard to press their advantage home, and in the four minutes of added time they went close a couple of times, but the game ended and Newcastle had earned a good point.
As we said this game will again be all about Joey Barton, and that will be a pity because Newcastle almost turned this game around in the second half.
Gabriel Obertan looked impressive and very quick, and maybe he will be inspired by the Newcastle crowd to become a really good buy on Tyneside. The lad looked very good and full of skills.
It was a very good point for the lads and a very decent performance, especially in the second half, but it was obvious the boys need more time playing together.
But all in all, a point is a very good point for Newcastle, and the new lads need time to settle into the Premier League, and we probably need to be a little patient over the first several games of the season as they bed in.
Bottom line – a very good point.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Ryan Taylor; Joey Barton, Yohan Cabaye, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez; Shola Ameobi, Demba Ba
Subs: Fraser Forster, Mike Williamson, Dan Gosling, Sammy Ameobi, Gabriel Obertan, Peter Lovenkrands, Leon Best
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen, Kieran Gibbs; Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey; Gervinho, Tomas Rosicky, Andrei Arshavin; Robin van Persie (c)
Subs: Lukasz Fabianski, Carl Jenkinson, Johan Djourou, Emmanuel Frimpong, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Marouane Chamakh