Game On! Newcastle v Arsenal

Game On at St James' Park

Game On at St James' Park
Game On at St James’ Park
Good morning one and all, and welcome to this ‘Game On’ article which will take us through every twist and turn of the visit of Arsenal today.

The Gunners will no doubt be smarting after watching Manchester City knock them off the top of the Premier League table yesterday and will want the spot they’ve occupied for the bulk of the season back in time for the turn of the year.

On the other hand Newcastle are in good form and have their own agenda to fulfil. A win today against Arsenal could potentially see us occupy a European spot as we head into 2014 so there is a dangling carrot for both sides in this one.

You can catch up with early team news along with a host of stats, facts and a history of the fixture by having a look at the match preview here. Real team news will be added in below as soon as I can get to it.

The game itself is being shown here in the UK on Sky Sports along with a whole host of overseas broadcasts so finding a stream should be straight forward today. However should you find a decent, reliable one then please share it by leaving the link in the ‘comments’ section below.

Which just about wraps this up. Today will be tough, real tough, but I’ll bet Arsenal will be saying much the same thing. Will it be another notable success for our boys today? Or will we be put in our place?

Howay the lads!

Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Davide Santon; Vurnon Anita, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye; Moussa Sissoko, Loic Remy, Yoan Gouffran

Subs: Rob Elliot, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Sammy Ameobi, Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse

Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny, Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud

Subs: Lukazs Fabianski, Carl Jenkinson, Mikel Arteta, Ryo Miyaichi, Nicklas Bendtner, Serge Gnabry, Lukas Podolski

223 thoughts on “Game On! Newcastle v Arsenal

  1. KK,

    Don’t rate Demba as a target man either. Although he’s better at it than anyone we have.

    I also think our substitutes were predictable and made us one dimensional.

    Shola means long ball. So Mertesacker marks him and wins 90% of every ball played towards him. Our movement up top becomes zero and it makes it so much easier for the opposition to mark us.

    Then Ben Arfa comes on to create something out of nothing. He knows what’s expected of him so he tries to do it all by himself. Flamini drops to man mark him and Koscielny covers. So 90% of the time he runs into dead ends. And if he does find space he takes pot shots and ignores his team mates anyway.

    Arsenal sit back, allow us to have possession in the areas they feel comfortable and although we look impressive because the ball keeps being headed and kicked back to us, we are actually impotent.

    It was smart from Wenger.


  2. Anita had a few missed placed passes today, i’m not sure why but he was also very good when he was in the final third.

    Cabaye looked too tired as did Gouffran.

    The biggest disappointment was not resting any players vs Stoke.


  3. DJG,
    Honestly, don’t get it. I did it to prove a point to Troy about how stupid it is to find humour by pretending to be an idiot.

    I also think Troy likes to use it as the odd get out of jail card because he can use it as cover for when he actually is an idiot. 😆


  4. Reports of Gabriel Obertan storming off before the game today after being told he wasn’t involved #nufc

    🙄 🙄


  5. KK,
    I don’t think Shola played well at all today or against Stoke I thought he was poor both games and did nothing that any third division striker could do in that “job”.
    Re Ben Arfa: same as Stoke game. He looks impressive on the ball but most of the time he could do what he does far more effectively with simplicity rather than the “flamboyance” than seems to fool most supporters into thinking its more effective than it actually is.

    I also think people completely overate his “link play” I don’t think he is any better or worse than Cisse is (neither are great at it).


  6. @AXEL

    I think Chelsea will keep Demba until they sign a replacement just because of the risk that Torres or Eto could get injured. When they have cover they will let him go.

    He won’t be there next season when Lukaku goes back there.


  7. AOD,
    If they were worried about Obertan running away in a strop they should just put a ball at his feet, it’d confuse him and stop him dead in his tracks. 😉


  8. There is one player who did not deserve to be on the losing side today and that’s Debbie, he was fantastic again today, full of running and didn’t do much wrong imo, Tiote was full of bite as well. If we’d had a more consistent ref who didn’t get conned so easy by Arsenals playacting , I’m thinking Walcott here in particular, we could so easily of taken a point of them. Make no mistake they will know they been in a game today, they had to really work for that win and that’s all as a fan I ask. I have said since start of the season I think it’s their year and still do but I was disappointed with the falling over and playacting from them which only shows the lengths they had to go to, to gain the advantage.


  9. @JJ

    Interesting analysis. You’re right about the tactics being predictable…

    December 28, 2013 at 17:42

    Second guessing pardew, i imagine there are 2 places up for grabs.

    So which 2 out of Remy, Cisse, Gouffran, Ameobi & Ben Arfa?

    My guess:

    Debuchy— Wiliamson—Coloccini—Santon

    Ben Arfa will come of for Gouffran when he tires.
    The other change might be Anita for Ameobi unless Cabaye is too tired (or reckless!).


  10. JJ@156
    Agreed, Shola has gone off the boil again now. It was nice while it lasted but he’s done nothing apart from force the keeper to punch which created Gouffs goal against Stoke. He’s still better than Altidore, but so is my mother.


  11. @JJ
    I agree, Ameobi didn’t do anything special but nobody else did either.

    Ameobi coming on did change the game in our favour though but what changes would you have wanted to see after 60mins?


  12. We didnt loose today because of Benny or Shola, we lost as a team, as a squad. If anything, today just confirmed that our forward options aren’t strong enough. If Remy doesn’t score (a loanee) then which NUFC player will?.
    We didnt perform terribly today but we weren’t our best either and Arsenal were without their 2 best players of the season so far.
    We gave them a decent game but we didnt have enough.
    That’s why their squad is looking at top 4 or winning the league and we will have achieved well finishing top 6.


  13. Kim,

    Completely agree. If there are two players on current form who could make a Premiership IX starting line up, they are Debuchy and Tiote. Both have been and are outstanding players.

    Funny how not long ago Debs was a championship player not cut out for the Premier League and Tiote should have been let go for 6million because he was clearly a one season wonder and they had “found him out”. 🙄

    Cisse has taken the same hammering because a third of a season he played on the wing for the first time in his life and then a poor start to this season. He is quality. Yet some people prefer Shola who after 13 seasons has proved no better than Championship standard and who hasn’t scored and has had two assists in 26 appearances. 😆

    Yet he’s a god.


  14. Well if Obertan has thrown his toys out the pram i would say flog him for anything we can get ,he won’t be missed he has hardly had a game all season . Offer him as part of a deal for Gomis and possibly throw Marveaux into it as well .


  15. Is over… next game is another chance given to us..

    JAN 1

    Man United vs Spurs

    We win WBA, everything back to normal…..Man United or Spurs either one to lose points.


  16. The Obertan story is fake.

    He’s just not that type of personality to storm off. I think he doesn’t have the aggression or self confidence to do something like that.

    It’s what is missing from his game.


  17. JJ
    I think we’ve got some good players throughout the team but we just lacked that bit of intelligence and cuteness to get something today. But we have beaten Chelski, Tottenham and Man U, and draw with Liverpool. Can’t win every game. I think Arsenal will think they were lucky to walk away with 3 points today which is a good thing, some of them thought they would just turn up and turn us over.


  18. Sharpy,
    We didn’t lose because of Benny or Shola, but their individual performances were poor. For the same reasons mentioned since both started playing here. That’s my concern.

    If they are going to be used in their current capacity, we should be looking for better replacements. In Ben Arfa’s case, maybe not better, but with a year or so left on his contract I wouldn’t be rushing to renew it and therefore it might be a good time to look at a more consistent smarter replacement.


  19. Yep, i’m not sure why some fans are so quick to jump on a players back when they perform badly.

    Cisse is still our best striker at the club. Better than Remy for sure.


  20. Sharpy@163-Agreed mate.

    Not much chatter about how shit the goal we conceded was really…appalling. Why is Santon not tracking his man and why is Krul in no man’s land?


  21. DJG,
    I’m very happy with the starting team at the moment. My complaints are minor really because I’m delighted with our season so far, even today’s performance was fairly pleasing.
    I’m just highlighting areas that are constantly disappointing me and areas of the pitch I believe we can improve to remain competitive at this level.

    I don’t see Ben Arfa as a future Toon legend. And I can’t wait for Shola to retire.


  22. I don’t know what Ben Arfa has done that was so bad.

    We were losing 0-1 & chasing the game. Time was running out. The 2 NUFC players in the box were man marked. The only thing he could do was shoot or take the ball back out of the box.

    His shooting could have been better but i’ve seen worse shots in the game.


  23. We could have won if our players were fresher. Otherwise i don’t really think there is anything else we can complain about.


  24. The rubbish goal was because we lost concentration. We didn’t get organised & we lapsed out.

    The leaders on the pitch should have made sure everyone was paying attention.


  25. Our first 11 is good enough for the Champions League. Top 4 is a realistic target to aim for.

    It’s the lack of confidence the manager has in our other squad players.

    Either the manager doesn’t know how to rotate players or the squad players are not good enough to play against teams like Stoke & Swansea.

    I’d say it’s the managers fault for not rotating but i’m sure some people think Cisse, Ameobi, Marveuax, Ben Arfa are not good enough play any games in the league.


  26. Some people don’t want to change a winning team.

    Following that logic, we would either blindly keep winning or get beaten & moan that the players didn’t perform & the manager got the tactics wrong before we change anything.

    We need to be more proactive.

    Why are these players getting paid if they are not going to play:
    Cissé, Sammy, Campbell, Obertan, Marveaux, Bigirimana, Gutiérrez, Streete, Dummett, Good, STaylor, Mbiwa.

    Alot of those players should have started vs Stoke or they should be on loan.


  27. KK,
    The reason players are man marked is because when they’re moving and available Ben Arfa decides to take on another man. It screws with the timing of their runs and they are left flat footed when he actually passes it or the defenders have caught up or they’re offsides.

    I’m surprised you haven’t picked up on that its quite obvious and you seem an intelligent guy.


  28. Not sure if these stats are correct but interesting if they are…

    Ben Arfa 13 goals 13 assists in three and a half seasons (69 appearances/ 43 starts).

    Cisse 28 goals 5 assists in two and a half (78 appearances/55 starts).

    Add in the seven he’s had wrongly chalked off the last two seasons.

    Just don’t understand why Ben Arfa is “class” while Cisse is “crap” to some. Both have done a decent job but Cisse edges the stats for me.

    If we’re a goal down I’d say Cisse is a better bet to get that goal than Shola. If you must play Shola then sacrifice Remy or a midfielder because we’re going to hoof it anyway and they then become far less effective.


  29. @DJG

    I’ve no idea why Pardew doesn’t rate Marveaux.

    It makes no sense making someone like Cabaye play 3 games a week when Cabaye himself has said he needs a winter break & struggles with more than 1 game a week.

    It make even less sense when we have someone like Marvueax.

    He was our best assist maker last season & the 5th best in the league for games played.

    Now he can’t even make the bench against Stoke even though we have 2 centre backs (Mbiwa & STaylor) & a fullback ( Haidara) on the bench.

    WTF has Marveaux done (or not done) that he deserves such shoddy treatment??


  30. Man Marked or not, if you’ve got 7-8 players in the box, there’s a chance the ball will drop to someone, or be half cleared.


  31. @JJ – 179

    Fair point. I agree, Ben Arfa is so unpredictable that the opposition & our players don’t know what he’s going to do next. That’s one of the reasons he is very good.

    It’s also no excuse for our players to not keep moving or more players to arrive in the box when we’re 0-1 down.

    Cabaye did it perfectly when he lost his man in the box for the first goal vs Crystal Palace.


  32. People will laugh at this too, but I think Marv is a better player than Ben Arfa.

    I think he’s more likely to create goals and work in the team dynamic to unlock defenses. He is smarter on the ball, and only takes on his man when he needs to.

    Where Ben Arfa unlocks a defense by dribbling past three men (too often then losing it or taking a shot from difficult angles). Marv will do it by splitting those three men with a pass to find a team mate who is then through on goal.

    I would love to see Marv working at the top of a diamond with Anita/Cabaye and Tiote behind. With the movement of Gouffran, Remy and Cisse in front of him.


  33. @DJG

    Agreed, we needed more players in the box otherwise Arsenal would have cleared it. If i was Ben Arfa, i’d probably have done the same.

    We needed more runners arriving into the box for us to get a goal.


  34. @JJ

    I won’t laugh at that. I think Marv is a better team player than Ben Arfa & from a technical point of view, just as good.

    Cisse, Remy etc need players like Marv more than Ben Arfa or even Cabaye.


  35. KK,
    Agree, other players must take share of blame for lack of movement, but it must be massively frustrating for them.

    Shola frustrated me because he’s lazy and seems to not be bothered most games.
    Ben Arfa frustrates me because he’s so bloody incredibly talented but he just won’t learn to be more of a team player in attack. (I can get over the defensive part because I believe he tries there).

    Is it that he is selfish or does he not have enough faith in his team mates to be able to give the ball back to him in a better position? Off the ball play is even more important than skill on the ball because most of the game you don’t have it at your feet.
    If he could learn to run off the ball intelligently and work hard he would be good enough to be in the top 20 players in the world.

    If Messi and Ribery and Sanchez and Iniesta can have the ability they have but learn the rest, why not Ben Arfa.


  36. Just a stat re Marveaux. Last season we got less points when he started than any other midfield player. why would you want to start him?


  37. JJ
    Nice statistics you are telling us. But really Cisse has more apparitions for this club, has no big injury and was the main striker, and have in overall goals and assists not much more than Ben Arfa.
    Ben arfa is not a striker so these statistics are not very good Cisse in my opinion.
    I don’t know what you like in Cisse. Close control under pressure zero ability, to take on opponent zero ability, header zero ability, link up with other players zero ability, pass precision zero ability, What he has is that good reaction before the goal and good shoot from excentric position.
    But even that in the last games he always react badly when he is in a good position due to lack of confidence.
    And i forget always offside.
    But thats not his fault, it is because other players take too much time to give him the ball.

    As i told 100 times here, if you really like football, and like to be entertain i don’t know how you cannot like Benny.
    For sure you can find 100 players more effective than him in a season and more consistent who will bring you a lot more but at least when he is in the pitch he entertains the crowd, he tries something.

    Player like Cisse, Shola Ameobi, Sissoko, Gouffran have nothing they are not effective and they entertain maybe only their own family and JJ.

    Sometimes the result are not all, you need a little bit entertainement.


  38. But when you see the crowd reaction, I like the fact they really love Benny because they paid to see a game and want see him in the pitch because he is special.

    Stats are not all the thing.

    And when you mention player with ability, don’t mention Sanchez. Just look to his stats of dribbling in comparaison with players like Iniesta, Messi or Ribery, He isn’t in the same category than them.
    He never take one single risk since he played for Barca. A good team player.


  39. Prem
    I think he has more assists per minutes played than anybody else. Also its a bit harsh to blame him (an attacking mid) because we lost games last season when the whole team was poor. Stats mean nothing unless they are put into context IMO.


  40. Prem,

    I seriously doubt we got many points whether he played or not. There are so many other factors involved. Its a bit of a silly point really.


  41. We set out not to lose and as a result we lost. We gave Arsenal too much respect. We were the home team but we played like the away side. Arsenal were the better side but not outstanding. I felt they were there for the taking had we been more positive. We need to cut down the passing backwards so much and ending up lumping it aimlessly forward. Those are second division tactics.
    One down and we bring on Shola. Tell me, when did he last score?

    Man of the match: Debuchy.
    Best defender: Debuchy
    Best forward: Debuchy

    When you see the service Remy is getting you can see why Cisse was having a hard time.


  42. Maybe but when you look at who was most effective as a team, then then points won per start is a valid measure. when someone gets 1.33pts per start when the team averaged 1.08 then you see that that player has contributed a lot. When someone in the same position only averaged 0.8 then you think that he has contributed less.

    So when someone is saying that the player with the lessor stats should be the one to start, then there has to be a good reason. If Chances created is the missing ingredient at the moment then by all means that is a valid argument. Look at HBA he creates lots of chances but only for himself and he misses most of them. Maybe Marv is just what we need. But we don’t see him in training and we seem to be doing pretty well without him.


  43. Prem
    Marveaux played in 22 games last season. (Probably quite a few as sub) Are you saying we won most of the games he didn’t play in and lost most of the games he did? The difference between 0.8 and 1.3 is nothing. It means we got the odd defeat extra over those games and maybe a few wins when he didn’t play. Regularly winning and drawing would be 2, not 1.3. Ypur clutching at straws.


  44. If he started 22 games the difference between 0.8 and 1.3 is 10 points. given the season we had last season that is significant.

    Look I’m not saying he is useless or we should sell him etc. What I’m saying is that I can see why he may not be an automatic choice. When your stats are worse than others you have to understand why you don’t get a start


  45. I think Marveux is crap.
    Poor entertainment today. The technical geeks might have enjoyed it but as a paying punter it wasnt to my liking. Would think of maybe giving all if not some of Cisse. Mbiwa. Ben Arfa an Hadiara a start on Wednesday then complete rest for the regulars on Saturday


  46. Going by you theory, we could have won 2 extra games 1-0 because Sissoko arrived and scored. And he got 1.3 or whatever. And Marveaux could have regularly set up moves and provide 6 assists in 22 games (compared to Sissokos 4 in 19 this season) and we could have lost some games 3-2 or 2-1 and drew and won some games. Can you see how it is a team game and we dropped a lot of points last season as a team?


  47. Prem , that’s interesting re Marveaux but taken a little out of context I think. When he played in the games we lost who were in the team with him?. We keep hearing we are so much better this season so what really is the difference, maybe if he was given a couple of starts he’d do well also ,no.

    hba39@191 , Cisse was only on the pitch in our last game a short while yet managed a pass accuracy of 75%, Goofy was at 85% having played all the game yet we all acknowledge he was good, and Cabaye was at 95% as you’d expect. I don’t know what you expect from a guy who gets no starts anymore tbh.

    Truth is Benny is a sublime talent and COULD be world class if his decision making was better/less selfish ,anyone who denies that is not watching the game impartially .


  48. @premandup

    We might have won more points without marveaux in the team but it’s a long stretch to say marveaux was causing us to drop points.

    You’d have to see which opposition we played when the points were won, how many days rest the players had, whether the game was at home or away, which other players were in the team etc.

    It’s better to compare individual players using player performance data & not team performance data.

    The big stat to remember is the assists marveaux provided. An assist is just as important as a goal & marveaux was our top assist maker. It’s the equivalent of dropping your top goalscorer.

    Oh wait, we’ve dropped cisse.


  49. If we’re going to talk stats, how about that one. Marveaux got more assists last season (when we were awful) 6 in 22, than our top assist maker Sissoko has got this season 4 in 19. When we are scoring more goals and playing ten times better. 😯


  50. Of course it’s a team game but some individuals contribute more. This is reflected in the results. Over a season it becomes significant.

    In the article I wrote at then end of last season I suggested it was the fact that we constantly chopped and changed the team, for reasons beyond our control that was the major factor. Actually only a few players got more than 20 starts last season. So I’m not having a go at anybody.

    I only pointed out that on the table of points per start last season Marv came bottom of the midfielders. I presented it as a factor as to why he ain’t getting starts. They maybe many other reasons, eg performance in training etc that are much more important. It is a valid measure of performance. One of many that managers consider.


  51. @premandup

    I don’t think anyone thinks marv should be an automatic starter but i do think he should be used instead of playing tired players like cabaye & gouffran.

    How bad would marveaux have had to be in training for him to not make the bench against stoke, for a midweek game during the busiest period in the season?

    Was he really that bad that pardew had to bring mbiwa, staylor & haidara instead of him vs stoke?

    If he really has become that terrible then surely we should have transfer listed him?


  52. For me marv is the perfect player to feed those balls for Remy and gouffran, he has to be on the bench, how the likes of Obertan, amoebi and Steven Taylor get on before him is beyond me. Last season he stood out when we were terrible I think he would be a great addition if pardew put him in occasionally.


  53. @premandup

    This is key:
    ‘Of course it’s a team game but some individuals contribute more.’

    Nobody contributed more in terms of assists than marveaux. He made goals for other players to score. To me, that looks like a very deffective team player.

    In any case, you’re right we haven’t seen him in training. If he’s that awful he needs to be replaced.

    This conversation is happening because if the squad had been rotated vs swansea & stoke, we might have been able to get wins against swansea & arsenal.

    Pardew needs to use his entire squad & not just his first 11 or favourite 15.

    If i was mike ashley i would be justified to tell pardew & kinnear to get rid of any players that they’re not usinv before making anymore transfer funds available.


  54. well that’s warmed the blood up on a cold winters evening. Shame about the result it was a pretty close game overall.


  55. I think we played pretty well today, they fought hard and you can’t ask more than that, the ref was awful, and any luck we had v Stoke is history ,we are right back to normal service in so far as refs are concerned. I have watched Arsenal a few times now and been very impressed but today their was a lot of playacting mainly because we were frustrating them and it’s sad to see a player like Walcott rolling around clutching at his face and eye after a coming together with Tiote where Tiotes forearm connected with his lower jaw (not his entire face or eye) ,it wasn’t even that hard a contact ,yet his reaction was like a sniper had hit him, totally over the top. He did similar antics on a couple of other occasions too as did others.


  56. Kimtoon

    Can i ask you one question about stats?

    What is for you pass accuracy?

    This stats doesn’t tell you what was the risk you take in your pass.
    Because if you want you can make just simple pass 5 yards away, never take one single risk and you have 100% pass accuracy. and you said Cisse had 75% pass accuracy thats really poor when you tried 10 pass you miss 3 out of ten.
    The best pass of Gouffran in the last game is a backward pass to Santon.
    There was one pass he made to Coloccini that was sensationally sensible. Fifteen yards, backwards, straight line. Don’t miss it tonight on MOTD.

    And do you prefer a winger who when he is one against one, who prefer to go backward and don’t loose the ball or who take risk and try to beat his opponent..?

    After it’s all about the football you like to see when you go to the stadium or you sit before your tv.

    For me in the last games Gouffran has scored some goals and that made his performances look ok. Because offensively how many chances created, how many crosses he produces, how many times he tries to beat his opponent to bring some danger… Never.
    He has one really good thing, he produces a lot of effort and run defensively and he is really good defensively. But don’t say this player or Sissoko are class player.
    You can say they are more effective than Ben arfa, more useful to our team than Ben Arfa, I can understand that but you cannot say they are class, because in the last games he pushes a ball from 3 yards into the net.


  57. The same people in this blog was slating Jonas because he brings nothing offensively never cross never take on and now they start falling in love of Gouffran. Its just a little bit better than Jonas because in his last games he scored some easy goals but at the end…but nothing more.


  58. Hba39@218&219, I really don’t know where to start with that little lot 😕 All I know is managers rely heavily on stats and the media love em. Me personally, I just watch the game and say it as I see it . For me goofy,Debbie, cabs, Tiote, Willo, Remy, Anita have all done well this season, save for Debs poor start like and to be fair Benny and Cisse have had little to no game time to properly judge them this season but Benny does have to be less selfish if we are honest and Cisse has to also improve too. Both guys are NOT crap but they are not class either, not yet anyways.


  59. “JJ

    One thing Ben Arfa did do today was press and chase which is something everyone should be doing when a goal down with ten minutes to go. Everyone did that except for Shola. He stands on his heels watching the ball that is two yards away. Unless it lands on his head he doesn’t bother. Can’t stand him as a player.”

    Couldn’t have said it better. When he did that I wanted to f*cking lamp him one! I’m so glad the crowd showed their displeasure at it as well. He is a waste of space and needs to f*ck off. Useless striker that doesn’t score goals and has nicked a career off of NUFC.


  60. Before the Palace game I said I would like 7 points from them, Stoke, Arsenal and West Brom. I think we are well on our way to that, so no complaints from me on that front.

    Anita needs to be considered 1st team now. Some of his passing todaywas superb. Especially that first time chip/cross to Gouffran the back stick early in the 2nd half. Too bad Gouffran bottled out of the header 😡


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