Newcastle suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the dying seconds against Arsenal on Monday night. Arsenal came from behind to sneak a 2-1 win in the 94th minute with a Thomas Vermaelen goal. The goal came from a break, when Newcastle should have killed the game in the corner which makes it extra frustrating.
It was a performance to be proud of for most of the players, and I’ll go into detail below on the some of the players who just weren’t up to scratch below, and it’s not the first time.
The game started worringly for Newcastle when Robin Van Persie twice breached the Newcastle defence but failed to capitalise on opportunities gifted to him by poor defending by Mike Williamson. Newcastle started to link up a little bit better and the roaming midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa started to come into the game more.
Then on the 14 minute mark the ball was played into Hatem Ben Arfa and he came inside and beat his man before smashing into the bottom right corner of Szczesny’s net. Hatem Ben Arfa’s strike was a great finish and the away fans started to dream of another win at the Emirates stadium.
Within 14 seconds Arsenal were back on level terms, with a goal from Robin Van Persie, and I was absolutely livid which I’m sure was a sentiment shared between a lot of Newcastle fan and staff. Theo Walcott got in down the left hand side because of poor positional play by both Jonas Gutierrez and Davide Santon, the ball got played across the goal and Robin Van Persie buried the finish, just after leaving Mike Williamson on his rear.
That was a poor way to respond after a goal, and Arsenal had the initiative after that goal, but they struggled to create any clear cut chances before the break, but they were always on top of a Newcastle side who defended well.
Alan Pardew once again felt the need to give Davide Santon the hook at half time and replaced him with James Perch. Davide Santon is a lucky boy that Ryan Taylor has got injured, because he’s really beginning to be shown up as the poor defender he is, and Alan Pardew has taken note. I know you will say “give him a chance” and cite Enrique, But I don’t want to play a crap left back for 2 years with hope he might turn good. Sorry, but I just don’t rate him at all, maybe a winger, never a full back.
The defence looked a bit more solid in the second half as James Perch wasn’t constantly rushing past Jonas Gutierrez to join in the attack, but he still looked a bit shakey up against an impressive Theo Walcott.
Gabriel Obertan sprung a counter attack early in the first half but couldn’t find the right ball to Demba Ba who could have been through on goal, in the end that attack came to nothing.
The game wasn’t really littered with clear cut chances but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a dipping volley just over Tim Krul’s crossbar when he was allowed to shoot from outside the box. Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky both also had half chances pass them by, but Newcastle offered little at the other end.
Gabriel Obertan was taken off for the Mackem Slayer, Shola Ameobi, The god of the Tyne-Wear Derbies, the Fenham Eusebio or whatever you’d like to call him. That made us a bit better and we started to hold the ball up more and we looked like we could possibly create a chance, but unfortunately we didn’t.
Theo Walcott got in down the right hand side and squared the ball to Tomas Rosicky who missed a guilt edge chance from about the edge of the six yard box – his effort went out for a throw in. Thomas Vermaelen also had a header acrobatically tipped over from Tim Krul and that save looked like it had secured us the points.
Walcott was involved again when he had a shot blocked by Fabricio Coloccini’s back and raced over to the linesman claiming handball, when it blatantly wasn’t. Same old Arsenal, always cheating.
Time was running out and we had the ball in the corner and Danny Simpson lost possesion, from that Arsenal broke and crossed the ball in before Thomas Vermaelen finished the ball at the back post. We blew it, in the 94th minute they scored to win the game.
Yes, you’ll be wondering where the five minutes added on come from, I don’t have a clue either, but that’s good old Howard Webb for you.
More controversy happened after the Arsenal goal, Tim Krul and Robin Van Persie, who’d been chipping away at each other all game broke into an argument and the Dutch forward and Arsenal captain showed his complete lack of class when he was smug after their late winner.
The game lasted about an extra three minutes and nothing happened, before Howard Webb blew the final whistle and ended Newcastle United’s slim Champions League hopes.
Yes, I was proud of the lads and their efforts, but certain players have just been frustrating me for weeks now, and it seems they cannot be criticized. I agree we’ve had a great year, but some players are just not performing at the minute.
The most annoying thing for me was that someone didn’t just take Arsenal down when they broke. Why not take a yellow card and kill their momentum?! It’s Sunday league stuff and Yohan Cabaye had chances to do so.
Tim Krul – 7 – Krul made a couple of vital saves and was left with no chance for either goal, he also organised his defence well from corners and didn’t really put a foot wrong.
Danny Simpson – 7 – Two goal line clearances, all round good defensive performance apart from him losing the ball in the last minute, you’ll all disagree, but nothing came down the right, did it?
Mike Williamson – 5 – Won some good headers, but once again was poor positionally and let Van Persie in time and again, could be blamed for the goal too.
Fabricio Coloccini – 7 – Defended well and cleaned up expertly behind Williamson, nothing bad stood out from him, he even went forward at times.
Davide Santon – 4 – Second time he’s been given the hook at half time in 2 games, cannot defend, overlaps too much and doesn’t even try to get back when out of position.
Hatem Ben Arfa – 8 – Goalscorer and our only creative player for the full ninety minutes, worked very hard too and at the minute he is the only player that teams will fear. He must start.
Cheik Tiote – 6 – Nothing spectacular, won the ball and played it quite well, often had lots of men around him and didn’t really play a blinder.
Yohan Cabaye – 4 – Another really poor performance by Yohan, He’s starting to annoy me and next game he’d be replaced by Guthrie, no creativity, not much fight, non-existent really.
Jonas Gutierrez – 5 – Worked hard, no end product, just Jonas Gutierrez really.
Gabriel Obertan – 5 – Linked up well when he got the ball, tired early, didn’t really do enough but ran around a lot.
Demba Ba – 5 – Worked hard, won headers, there was nothing really for him to feed off, he also made some good runs but had no-one with him. Should have run at Sagna in the dying minutes.
Subs: James Perch 6, Shola Ameobi 5, Danny Guthrie 5.
I know a lot of you will disagree with the ratings, but they’re just my opinion, and I’d like to hear yours.
Onwards and upwards, lets beat Norwich – we need too!