First of all congratulations to QPR who made it through 8 minutes of football before losing Kieron Dyer to injury.
I hope they appreciate that they already exceeded their quota with regard to his availability this season.
On the opening day of the season we took on the mighty Arse and came away with a point.
Almost a result one might say.
Obviously the quality of the football is not the talking point here but lets at least try and talk about the match before we get into the other stuff.
Rather strangely – we get the same number of points for this one as we got for the 4-4 draw, but that is where the similarities end. Unless you include the fact that in both games Arsenal had a stroppy foreigner sent off for sending Joey Barton tumbling to the ground.
Tim Krul – 6
A good save from Walcott and a dropped a cross that was fortunately cleared off the line by Danny Simpson were top and bottom of an otherwise uneventful day for Tim. Needs stickier gloves if he wants to keep the shirt.
I see Given played a blinder for Villa. Looks like that move to Man City paid off.
Ryan Taylor – 7
Did well standing in for Enrique – good distribution but was fleeced more than once by Gervinho. Personally I think he takes a better free kick than Joey Barton, and has a lot more chance of making it through the 90 minutes. Just needs a run in the team.
Fabricio Coloccini – 8
Put in a good shift but was out of position a couple of times, which you can’t really afford to do with Gervihno. He read the game well and appeared in all the right places whe required. I love the way the kid who went out on the pitch with him before kick off had the same hair.
Steven Taylor – 7
An excellent performance was overshadowed by two things. On 26 minutes he thought he was Jose Enrique and tried to dribble the ball out through their midfield brick wall, instantly losing it and setting Arsenal up with their best chance. Then he had his little bout of primary school amateur dramatics when Barton took the girly slap from Gervinho. It was hard to decide if Taylor was trying to persuade the ref that Barton had been slapped with the palm of Gervinho’s elbow, or if he was practising his Bagpipes technique while doing Nolan’s Chicken Dance. Either way he should be ashamed.
Danny Simpson – 7
A reasonable performance, but most of the threats were coming either through the middle or down the other side. Think he drew the long straw on the day.
Joey Barton – 6
Emerging from the tunnel with a haircut that made him virtually indistinguishable from Bert, Ernie’s mate out of Sesame Street, it would have been interesting to see who Joey would have quoted on Twitter to justify his performance against the Arse.
There was the odd touch that was impressive – but the one where he dragged Gervinho off the ground by his nipples probably wasn’t one of them. I appreciate that Gervinho’s real name is Gervaise but still!
Admittedly, in a scene straight out of “Life Of Brian”, Gervinho had previously “Thwown himself woughly to the gwound” when not tackled , or even touched for that matter, by Ryan Taylor. Does anyone else find it amusing that Barton has come out and accused Gervinho of being a cheat? This is based on the fact that he went down in the box almost as easily as Barton did when “Gervaise” slapped him.
Yes, Joey had already been stamped on by Song and probably wasn’t in his “Happy Place”, but his overreaction to the dive probably overstepped the bounds of “just helping him to his feet”.
I suppose we should be thankful Barton didn’t light up a cigar.
While this may not be the end of Joey Barton’s Newcastle career, I at least hope it’s the end of all the “he had an illness but now he’s OK” excuses, that everyone is making for him.
Yohan Cabaye – 6
Cabaye had so many passes, flicks and dribbles that nearly came off that I nearly gave him a 10. But they didn’t. So he gets a 6. A bit of a false start from the man who was seriously overhyped during the summer. Cabaye had a couple of good touches but still disappointed.
Jonas Guttierez -7
Nothing outstanding but a reasonable effort. Lots of being fouled mixed with a blend of running around and getting back. As is always the case with Jonas, he appeared to make the effort and not many others did that yesterday.
Cheik Tiote – 6
Another disappointment. Unfortunately we expect so much from Tiote and on this occasion got so little. The downside of his consistently high performances is that the bar is set so high.
Demba Ba – 5
Ba was slow, always found himself surrounded and didn’t seem to have a first touch. My first impression was that we had found another Shola. I think the fact that Ba was substituted and Ameobi left on speaks volumes of his debut.
When the manager thinks that Shola has a chance of scoring and you don’t, you know it hasn’t gone well.
The only thing that saved Cabaye from getting a slating is that I wanted to save a little venom from Ba. I kinda half hope that he had flu or something.
This is one Ba that needs to be raised a lot higher.
Shola Ameobi – 6
With his usual mixture of falling down and a second touch like a pissed Rhino, Shola had a couple of good touches but these were seriously outnumbered by events of a less than impressive nature.
Sub – Gabriel Obertan – 9
This is what a debut should be all about. Energy, pace and skill. For once, a bright light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t a train. 45 minutes was not enough. I can only assume the only reason he didn’t get a start is because he was still unpacking his boots. His flick to Cabaye was a corker. Look forward to many more.
If we can pick up a couple more “top four rejects” of this quality, bring ‘em in.
Sub – Leon Best – 7
Came on for Shola around 72 minutes. Didn’t get much exposure, but showed a bit more enthusiasm than the Ameobi twins.
Sub – Peter Lovenkrands – 5
Not his fault – he was hardly on long enough to make an impression. Personally – can’t remember him getting on the end of anything. A bit like Ba.
Manager – Alan Pardew – 6
Don’t think we had a plan (except for Joey’s). Marking was appalling and we had no idea how to move forward. Putting Ameobi and Ba up front together was either a sign of a lack of anything resembling a clue, or sheer desperation.
Obviously some players need to “settle in” while others just need to “step up”.
Despite this little hiccup, I still think we can do a job against the Great Unwashed next week and get the season up and running.