Yesterday’s result will do one of two things to us.
It will build resolve into the squad and we’ll use the injustice to kick on and win the league.
It will destroy our confidence and we’ll stutter to a top 4 finish.
This is a tough match report to write. There are 3 areas I’ll discuss.
1) Our superb 1st half
2) The terrible officiating
3) The collapse
Arsenal started off with a bang, we were one up within about 40 seconds. Diaby passed to Arshavin, he guided the ball through to Theo who beat his man and slotted past the keeper.
A few minutes later Arshavin slipped a delicious freekick into the path of JD, the Swissman powered a high header just under the bar. A great delivery, a great finish. 2-0 up within 5 minutes.
In-between this early demolition, Chezzer made a superb catch from a high looping cross, he also dealt with a shoddy back very well.
Theo was tearing Newcastle a new one with relative ease, he sauntered into the box, picked out Robin who buried it past the hapless Newcastle keeper. This was incredible. 3-0 up with ease!
Sagna was next up with the great deliveries, he fired a cross into Robin with Postman Pat like precision and the Dutchman made it a brace with a simple header past Steve Harper.
Could you hear the Geordies sing? I couldn’t. Not a bloody word.
Koscielny made a couple of super clearances.
The half ended on a bit of a sour note. The filthy pikey that is Joey Barton took time out to Pole axe Andrey Arshavin, the little Russian didn’t seem too bothered, nor the referee for some reason, a sign of what was to come.
The second half kicked off and we were immediately in trouble. Our rock at the back JD pulled up immediately with an injury. We took him off and brought on the hapless Squillaci. Cue immediate panic.
For all those people who naively asked how we’d possibly cope keeping 5 centre backs happy, well, there’s your answer, most of us with half a brain saw this one coming.
Anyway, it didn’t take long for the dopey Frenchman to put us in trouble, his sloppy pass to Diaby created a loose ball, Diaby made it there first, Barton launched himself at the Frenchman’s leg, connected nearly snapping it in the process. Abou jumped up, grabbed him by the neck and pushed him to the ground, then a snarling Kevin Nolan ran over and Diaby shoved him.
Straight red as expected. Joey Barton, not even a yellow, as expected.
No we were missing out best defender, we’d just lost an important midfielder and the referee had taken his Arsenal hating pills.
Leon Best scored the first goal for Newcastle goal in their come back, he beat Clichy at the back, the second ball bounced nicely and he reacted quickest and finished.
The next goal came from a penalty. Koscielny was jockeying best in the box, the Newcastle man was leaning into him, a stray leg went through his leg, Best went down like a hooker on a promise, Dowd blew up instantly. Joey Barton of all people buried the penalty.
The Newcastle fans woke up after realising they’d scored a couple of goals. Greatest fans in the world
if there is a chance they might get something out of a game.
Arsenal were in free fall, the loss of JD was evident, we couldn’t win anything in the air, the organisation at the back had disappeared and no one seemed to be taking the team by the scruff of the neck and dictating how we should play. We have superb on the pitch intelligence for breaking down teams, not for defending leads.
Their third goal came from a horribly bad decision. A high ball flew into the box, everyone missed it, Thomas Rosicky and LK challenged for the ball and the referee blew up and pointed for a penalty like he’d just seen someone bottle a Newcastle player in the box.
The most bizarre decision I’ve ever seen. Someone from the referees association needs to sit down and explain how that was given. It was the decision of a man on the take, someone so petulant and pathetic all he cared about was ruining Arsenal’s season. Truly awful.
Barton stepped up, and slipped it down the middle. Of all the scumbags?
Finally, our afternoon was killed off when Tiote, an incredibly average footballer, volleyed a cleared corner back past Chesney from about 25 yards in most spectacular fashion.
Robin Van Persie had time to have a goal disallowed for offside, obviously.
Our afternoon was already over. What a shocker. What a disgusting display of refereeing, what a piss poor display of shutting out a game, what a great example of why signing players when you need them is a great idea and what a bad day for injuries.
The fact is, sh*t happens in football, things go against you, you pick up injuries, unnecessary red cards and the referees sometimes seem like they’re being paid off by undercover NoTW reporters. It’s how you deal with those issues that decides whether you’re a champion or not.
Arsenal fans have a habit of being excuse makers and angry excuse makers at that. Lets look at the facts, how many teams in Premiership history have conceded a 4 goal lead? None.
Squillaci has got to be one of the worst signings of Wenger’s reign, he doesn’t even have being geriatric as an excuse. It was his poor pass to Diaby that led to the Barton challenge, it was his introduction that led to panic across the backline. He’s an awful player and I can’t believe we’re now facing an extended period of time with him at the back (Like I predicted).
David Wheater would have cost us £3million, he’s 6ft 4, Premiership tried and tested, a potential international and he’s super in the air. Would we have been dominated in the same had we had him to call on? I’m not so sure…
Phil Dowd is a major talking point as is the standard of Premiership refereeing. Last week against Everton we were on the receiving end of an outrageous offside goal. Not to mention all the poor decisions that went against us during the game. Luckily we won, however, that didn’t stop David Moyes coming out and making false accusations against one of our players.
Was that on purpose? You bet your bottom dollar it was. There is an old boys club that bend over and take it from United (and enjoy it, ‘What can you do against United, they’re just superb’)… then when it’s us, they take it up the back passage because they have to, but then their managers use the press conference to level accusations against us. Have you ever seen that happen to United? Of course not, Allardyce, Moyes, Pulis, Steve Bruce, McCarthy, Hughes and Mcleish all eat out of Ferguson’s backside as does everyone in the media.
Remember how badly Rafa Benitez was mocked in the media for taking on Ferguson when he was bang on the money?
Sadly, this United old boys clubs extends to the referees. When was the last time you saw a shocking result go against them? What happened against Blackpool last week? A scandalous penalty they didn’t deserve kick started their victory.
What happened against us yesterday? Well, Phill Dowd for starters. The same referee who awarded Spurs the penalty from a Cesc handball. Ok, the handball was the right decision, was the freekick in the build up? Definitely not. How about the Sunderland goal in the 95th minute? The one where he let play roll on and on until they scored.
Yesterday, to me, he looked like he was on the take. His standard of refereeing was so shocking it was tantamount to cheating and apparently they said as much on Irish TV. Arsene Wenger should have come out after the game had a proper rant and took a fine because truly, refereeing like that shows the game is rotten to the core.
Questions for Dowd
1) Why didn’t you punish Barton for ploughing through the back of Arshavin
2) Why didn’t you send Barton off for his horror challenge
3) What were you thinking for the 1st penalty?
4) Why didn’t you send off Nolan off for head locking our 6ft 5 keeper to the ground
5) What in god’s name were you thinking for the 2nd penalty? Singularly the most bizarre penalty decision I’ve ever seen.
You’re a disgrace Dowd and the sad thing is, nothing will happen to you except a big pat on the back from your Man United loving old boys club.
For me, the referee should be accountable for his decisions. He should be forced to answer question about his performance and after a shocking game like that, he should be suspended for 6 weeks. It’s simply not acceptable to call yourself a professional and embarrass the Premier League like that with amateur decisions that smack of bias. Failing that, our game should be opened up to European referees. There is far too much United cronyism and there is clearly a dislike for our foreign players.
Joey Barton’s challenge on Diaby was disgusting, that could easily have been a sending off. If Joey Barton had done that to me, I’d have punched him. However, it has to be said, I’m not paid £60,ooo p/w (I know, can you believe he’s on that?) to be professional and not react. Ultimately, his sending off played a massive part in us dropping the 3 points.
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Still, Barton’s just a bit passionate, he’s not that sort of guy and he thinks challenges like that are fine. So maybe I should leave this one alone? I wouldn’t want to dirty his character.
Leadership was once again raised as an issue on the pitch. We don’t have it when our backs are against the wall. We absolutely were on the receiving end of some shocking bits of misfortune, however, you make your own luck in football. We should never have been under that much pressure and a team as good as ours should be more than capable of holding their own against an average team with one more player than us.
Wenger had a need that was well documented by him. He had £40million to spend. He didn’t spend it. We’re 6 days past the closed transfer window and guess what? We’re down to 2 centre backs, one whom I struggle to recognise as a proper player. This situation was entirely predictable and for me, Wenger’s inaction amounts to footballing negligence.
Still, like I said, it’s all on his head. There can be no excuses now. There were players available, like there always are and we chose to sit on out hands… like we always do.
The Good News
Thomas Vermaelen is doing really well in training. The bad news? Well, when we had JD and Kozzer doing fantastically as a partnership, there was no rush to bring back the powerful Belgian. Now we’re facing 3 weeks with Squillaci at the back, there is every chance we’ll rush his rehab. That’s a very dangerous position to be and there is no avoiding the cold hard facts… this is all on the manager and he was warned.
Alex Song was out yesterday because of a dead leg, he’ll be back for the next game. Samir Nasri will be fit for the Stoke game at home and hopefully JD won’t have a serious problem. Did I not mention Denilson? Oh right…
With a little bit of luck, we can avoid an extended amount of time with Squillaci in the side.
United posted a loss. Incredibly, they actually lost to Wolves and they fully deserved to. There’s more though… Rio Ferdinand pulled up before the game and could be out for a number of weeks! That my friends is fantastic news.
We all know what losing a winning run does for confidence, United have Man City, Crawley, Marseille, Wigan, Chelsea, Liverpool, Marseille and then Bolton.
Those are some tough games and if things go the way they went with Cheslea, we could see points dropped in a few of those games, then we’re right back in it.
Basically, United losing restored our chance of winning the league in one glorious swoop.
Keep them crossed for the injured players, keep them crossed for the boys gaining an us versus them mentality and for gods sake people, keep on believing!
COME ON YOU REDS!
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