A tough watch for the thousands of Geordies faced with a long journey home tonight, with that being one of the most forgettable performances of the season from an attacking perspective.
It felt like we could’ve played all night and not scored, with us failing to threaten the Arsenal goal, struggling to get anything going from start to finish.
The first-half was a frustrating one. Arsenal played some good stuff, picking us apart at times despite us looking well set defensively, but our passing was wayward more often than not – meaning we often failed to take advantage of the inevitable openings away sides get at the Emirates.
The ‘Three Amigos’ didn’t turn up and that continued for the majority of the second half. That said, I’m frustrated we didn’t see Jonjo Shelvey come on. He’s come on and changed the game to help us get results in our last two games, but he was nowhere to be seen. Even by Benitez’s cautious standards, that seemed a little odd.
I was about to say that Lascelles was one of few to do a solid job, but he totally switched off for their second. Ritchie made a few vital clearances – including a brilliant goal saving header off the line – but he was generally sloppy, being one of many who regularly misplaced passes. Rondon was uncharacteristically poor, Almiron showed the odd glimpse but gave the ball away cheaply / flattered to deceive too often.
Here’s how the bottom half of the table looks after tonight’s result, with us remaining 7 points clear of the drop zone:
Here’s our next 5 fixtures, with us facing Crystal Palace at home followed by a trip to Leicester a week on Friday:
- Palace (H)
- Leicester (A)
- Southampton (H)
- Brighton (A)
- Liverpool (H)
It was a lacklustre performance and one that stunk of a side that felt it didn’t have a great deal to play for – not that this is any excuse; especially when we’re not yet safe.
One to forget tonight, but we must pull our socks up after this one and be MUCH better against Palace on Saturday.