Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal (limited players, limited performance)

Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal (limited players, limited performance)

Postby Reverend Gooner » Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:17 pm

The last couple of league encounters at St James’ park have not gone as Arsenal would have wished and this game smelt from the start of a game they would rather have later rather than sooner. However with this being a rescheduled game that was due to be played months ago, it had to take place without delay.

Arsenal were without a multitude of talent with the likes of Van Persie , Fabregas, Hleb, Flamini and Diaby all on the sidelines. In fact to look at their casualty list you would think the Arsenal squad had been in the battle of the Somme. However the league table does not reflect such crippling problems in the gunner’s camp; in fact it is Newcastle who looked like they have been stuck in the trenches.

You know times are bad if you have had more managers in 7 years than Real Madrid but sadly that is the case for Newcastle who have had a torrid time this millennium trying to form a staff and team to do the clubs status justice. Sam Allardyce took Bolton from Premiership new boys to a team no-one wanted to face in a few seasons and built a formidable team which reached the heady heights of European competition. He did it in a very unfashionable style but that did not deter the Newcastle board who snapped him up at the end of last season.

As usual in the north east things have not been going as planned and not only have Newcastle failed to improve from seasons past but they are playing a scatty, unimpressive, sometimes dire style of football. Some appalling home results against Portsmouth and Liverpool have oiled the ever eager Newcastle booing machine to call for Allardyce’s head and to move onto yet another fresh manager.

This could only spell trouble for Arsenal as they were involved in an encounter which a loss for the opposition would probably result in the managers sacking. The makeshift Arsenal team walked out onto a pitch which has not been kind to them recently, knowing they were going to have a battle on their hands.

Any worries Arsenal fans had were quelled within minutes when Ade Adebayor scored yet another sublime goal for the gunners and putting Arsenal into the lead. Eboue hit a great cross in from the right to Adebayor who was under pressure from Steven Taylor but Taylor stood no chance of saving the goal when Ade took the ball on his chest and thunder-volleyed the ball into the roof of the net. It was a wonderful goal and the players and fans were in fine voice celebrating Ade on a possible second goal of the month winner.

Newcastle could have laid down and died at that point. So much has been said and so much has been going on that it would not have been a great surprise if they did but the response from the players was superb. Newcastle were tenacious, valiant and energising in attitude and fought for every ball and fought to break down any Arsenal attack from that point on.

Almunia was called into action straight away to save a header from Geremi after a James Milner cross and it was another highlight in the ever growing scrapbook to justify his position as number one. He was called into action to save from Geremi again after a well took free kick and again to stop Taylor scoring from a corner. It really was a fine half for the Spanish goalkeeper.

Despite the Newcastle effort they could not stop Arsenal playing their style of football and Arsenal really should have been two up by the break after a great move was wasted by Adebayor. A slick passing move on the break saw Adebayor take the ball past a defender and into the area. An obvious pass to Rosicky would have seen the Czech international slot the ball into an empty net but instead he decided to take it past the keeper and his heavy touch gave time for a defender to close down and a corner was all the move eventually earnt.

Giberto also had a chance to score at the back post following a corner with a volley but his effort was woefully inaccurate and flew wide for a goal kick.

As half time came both sides could have been happy with the way the game was going. Newcastle were still in the game and playing very well whilst Arsenal had the lead and were able to play their style of football.

The Arsenal players came out for the second half but in truth they may as well stayed in the dressing room because they were completely missing for the remainder of the game. In the second half Newcastle bossed proceedings and put Arsenal under an incredible amount of pressure. They were first to every ball, swift in movement and direct in intention. Arsenal struggled to get the ball out of their half and on 60 minutes Steven Taylor levelled and sent the Toon army into delirium.

A poor choice of pass by Adebayor saw the ball out wide to Eduardo deep in his own area. He was instantly put under pressure and lost the ball to Beye who crossed it along the ground along the top of the area. A beautiful step over by Martins and a mistimed interception from Toure saw the ball to the feet of Taylor who finished it low and hard off the post and into the back of the net.

Arsenals passing for this half was diabolical. Gilberto inparticular was passing like an amateur junior and Adebayor wasted every opportunity he had to create something promising. Despite a fantastic goal it was a very poor game for Adebayor and he proved that he cannot be relied on as a main source of attacking focus within the team. Nearly every slick passing move ended up at his feet and more often than not it was Adebayor who lost possession. Twice his inadequate passing was nothing short of criminal with both Rosicky and Bendtner failing to be fed into goal from seemingly easy, standard passes.

Bendtner was sent on as a sub for the very poor Eduardo who looked extremely out of his depth as a left winger. The man who had one of the most impressive goal scoring records in Europe the last couple of years must be wondering why he is not allowed to play in his usual position, especially with Van Persie injured but Arsene Wenger is keen to try him out wide, a move which failed miserably today.

For most of the second half Arsenal were struggling to contain the Newcastle attack and the gunner’s fans were becoming increasingly nervous that the single point they were in possession off was going to whisp away to nothing. In fact if it were not for the efforts of Diarra and Sagna who were both fantastic in the tackle all the points would have gone to the black and white of Tyneside.

In fact the game ended 1-1 much to the relief of Arsene Wenger and the travelling fans although a clear sending off and dangerous free kick was not given in the last minute when Barton slammed into Adebayor. It was a disgraceful act by Barton and even more disgraceful it was not given but Adebayor’s constant simulation and instigation during the game did a lot to help the ref’s persona of him and eventual decision not to penalise.

In the end there was no complaint from the Arsenal camp and the gunners can count themselves very lucky to walk away with anything from this one. The second half was a shambles and although Arsenal should be expected to suffer due to the important players being out, the sheer incompetence of the passing and attitude was unacceptable for any premiership class player.

The game in hand did not bring the three points but a point is still a worthy prize and the gunners can be forgiven a bad game considering they have been so great all season. However the next month is going to be massive for Arsenal and after the second half performances at Villa and here the players need to up their game because there could not be a worse time to lose form than over Christmas.

There are a lot of players due back and the fans can only hope they come back sooner rather than later. The gunners are still top which is the best place to be in and whatever the form they are always behind their team so hopefully the passionate fans can help inspire this makeshift team to see us through Christmas and into the New Year in first place. The club, the players and the fans all deserve it and hopefully the football gods will allow it, we have been the best this season, let not injuries and incompetence deny what is rightfully ours.

Heres to a tough month ahead :arsenal:
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Re: Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal (limited players, limited performance)

Postby Cheese » Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:02 pm

Good report...

The game boiled down to bad timing and playing a team who were in a miniture cup final of their own.
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