Arsenal lost to Newcastle in a tremendous battle at St. James Park. We lost in the margins. Those margins once again being VAR in combination with the on-pitch referee.
Arteta finally realised that playing it nice in the media doesn’t work.
“How the hell did this goal stand up?,”
“It’s embarrassing what happened. How this goal stands, in the Premier League – this league that we say is the best in the world.
“I’ve been 20 years in this country and now I feel ashamed. It’s a disgrace. It’s not good enough. I feel embarrassed to be part of this.”
He’ll get a hefty fine for saying that, but he can sleep easy tonight knowing every manager and professional in the game was nodding their head with his rant.
PGMOL is not fit for purpose. That was before we knew big names refs were taking midweek trips to oil-rich nations to top up their salaries. I’ve been over it many times, but I’ll say it again:
There’s no consequence for failure
No one ever truly loses their job
There’s no diversity in the group they hire
There isn’t a single referee represented from London
The majority of them come from the North
They only just appointed their first black ref in 15 years this season
They are on record saying they make decisions based on friendship
The goal was shocking. VAR canceled a United goal for a minor infraction. A few hours later, the same organization managed to look at three separate incidents in one sequence of play and decide that they were all ok. The ball going out looked bad, but you never really know without Hawkeye (so why don’t we have it), the offside was clear if the McGuire one was, and the cherry on the cake was the two-handed shove by Joelinton.
We also need to talk about the Bruno arm to the face. VAR said it was ok because it wasn’t an elbow. Do you think the police would let you off assault if you did that to someone in a bar? It might be passable if it was a one-off accident, but the build-up was his temper getting worse and worse. He should have been sent off. It’s criminal he wasn’t. This was a game the ref had zero feel for and he ruined it.
Going away to Newcastle is tough, those games are tight, if you’re going to lose, it can’t be for shocking goals like that. It was an absolute disgrace.
That said, we do have to be honest about some of the challenges we had during the game, even on that goal.
1. Arsenal players switched off when they thought the ball went out of play. We have to assume, at all times, we’re going to be fucked by decisions. Argue it went out after you’ve cleared it.
2. David Raya needs to do better from that cross – it’s hard to hammer him for being small, but that ball should be intercepted by him. This is a guy that has been training with longball merchants for 8 years misjudging a cross again. I want to keep defending him. But at the moment, it feels like we’re racking up a clanger a game.
Are we looking at needing two new keepers next summer? At this rate. I think it’s almost certain. I thought his abilities on the ball were on full show yesterday, but once again, there was a black mark against his name and it’s painful viewing.
It’s really easy to get massively downbeat after a fine margins game like that. If you win it, everyone is a hero. When you lose, everything with our current setup is wrong and we need to spend more money.
Kai Havertz had an impressive game for me. We aren’t getting game-changing moments, but he was a long way off ‘terrible’ like I’m seeing from some parts of the internet. Newcastle fans might have thought he deserved a red for an aggressive early tackle that set the wheels in motion for some bad Bruno behavior – but it was a yellow for me. I liked that tackle, have to admit.
Declan Rice was absolutely outrageous. I can’t believe we have him in the side. I underestimated his incredible power and pace – and also the delicate feet he shows off when given the chance. He is absolutely world-class and I won’t have anyone tell me otherwise. The extra physical presence he gives us is so valuable. When Kai put that tackle in, l loved that Declan led the defence. Arsenal hasn’t always been that team, we are now.
The main problem with our midfield is it isn’t picking locks at the moment. We had one shot on target. You can blame the front three, but for me, it was more an issue of service. Without Martin, we looked a touch bland. Not many teams are going to have great options when they’re missing Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard, we’re not different. Though I was expecting Kai to be more of a creator than he’s proved to be so far.
I’m not sure that extricates Eddie from the conversation here. I don’t think he should have started – and he didn’t really show enough out there today to suggest I was wrong. You can’t take away the good from his season, 7 goals, 3 penalties, and some decent performances. You also can’t hide from him not offering much on days like today.
That said – Newcastle is a top team. Moments like today shine an unfair light on players and force people into drastic opinions. Not having loads of chances against one of the best defences in the league at their place isn’t really the place to be making sharp judgments. I just wonder if Ivan Toney would have melted into the background to the same level… but then I also wonder what he’d do without the service? Maybe someone more physical does more with less? Maybe he doesn’t.
Overall though, I’m not going to draw too many conclusions. When you play top teams in the Premier League away from him, limit their chances, and get done by a horrible decision. How hard can you critique? We were missing Partey, Jesus, Odegaard, and probably Timber. Different players, maybe a better chance at a different outcome. But Newcastle will be tough whoever we add. Not sure there was a silver bullet solve for today.
Let’s move on – see what happens regarding the refs – and hope the boys get on a better footing for next week.