Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle: Reality check for Howe as passive NUFC fall flat in London

A tough watch for the Toon fans who made the difficult trip down to North London, with us maintaining our awful record at Arsenal – where we’ve failed to score since 2014.

The referee was poor throughout and we might’ve led 1-0 if it wasn’t for a stunning first half save from Aaron Ramsdale, but we got what we deserved from this one in truth.

We sat too deep, were cut open too easily for both Arsenal goals, posed very little threat at the other end and were poor in possession.

The game also saw two players suspended for next Tuesday’s must-win clash with Norwich, as both Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie received their fifth bookings of the season.

Howe returned to the dugout after testing negative for Covid and he made three changes, seeing Dubravka, Krafth and Fraser come in for Darlow, Clark and Murphy.

It was difficult to know what the formation would be – some wondered if Fraser would play at wing-back our out wide in more of a 4-2-3-1 – but the early signs showed it was more the latter.

If anything, it looked like a 4-3-3 in the early stages, with Fraser drifting inside when we had the ball. Yet, out of possession, we set up in more of a 4-4-2 – seeing Fraser and ASM dropping back to protect both full-backs.

We made a solid start. There wasn’t a great deal to write home about in the first 10 minutes as Arsenal dominated possession, but we were competitive in our work off the ball, showing a willingness to get bodies back into good defensive positions.

Dubravka’s return was a welcome boost and his first contribution was a positive one, plucking the ball out of a busy penalty box from Arsenal’s first corner. Five minutes later he was also quick off his line to intercept a pass destined to put Saka in behind.

Wilson was also looking lively and trying to get in behind. He was harshly penalised after outmuscling Gabriel and almost got in just minutes later, only be flagged marginally offside after latching onto a lobbed through ball from Shelvey.

The first big chance arrived 15 minutes in as a clever diagonal found Saka. The England international had stolen a march on Ritchie at the back post, but fortunately for us his effort on the stretch was skewed wide.

If there was one criticism at this point it was we were sitting a little too deep, which invited pressure. limited us offensively and handed Arsenal a dangerous free-kick around the 20-minute mark. Odegaard stepped up and curled a shot towards the top left corner, but Dubravka was equal to it and tipped it to safety.

After Schar glanced our first effort of the game over, a brilliant effort from Jonjo Shelvey struck the bar. It looked destined to go in, but was met with an incredible fingertip save from Aaron Ramsdale -the man Eddie Howe brought to Bournemouth just a few years ago!

VAR somehow ignored Odegaard’s push on Schar from the resultant corner and Shelvey fired a powerful low shot at Ramsdale, who did well again. It was a routine stop in some respects, but Wilson was ready to tap in had he spilt it.

40 minutes in and Arsenal missed an absolute sitter to make it 1-0. After Smith-Rowe saw a point-blank header saved well by Dubravka, the ball fell to Aubameyang just a couple of yards out. The goal was gaping, yet the Gunners skipper tried to be too clever and hit the outside of the post.

Ritchie then got booked for a blatant block on Saka. It was his fifth yellow of the season, meaning he’ll now miss next Tuesday’s crucial clash with Norwich at St James’ Park.

Another chance arrived as a cut-back found Smith-Rowe in the box. Fortunately, his effort was blocked well by Krafth, however it was a little concerning how Arsenal were now starting to find space both out wide and in behind Shelvey and Willock.

The half-time whistle went after four additional minutes and we went in 0-0. In moments we looked more compact and could’ve taken the lead had it not been for a stunning stop from Ramsdale, yet fans inside the Emirates would be left wondering how on earth this didn’t go in from Aubameyang…

We had to be braver in the second half and impose ourselves more on Arsenal; who were dominating the ball and edging closer to a breakthrough as we headed into the break.

Saint-Maximin also needed to up his game. We know the threat he carries on the ball, yet he was causing problems of his own by being caught out in bad areas and failing to find teammates when a simple pass was on.

On the plus side, Dubravka was excellent, Krafth solid and Schar much improved after an erratic display on his return last weekend. Joelinton was putting in a shift and Wilson battling away, but both were feeding off scraps in attack.

The second 45 kicked off and it was a bad start for Krafth, who was booked for a blatant body check on Tavares, meaning both full-backs were now walking a tightrope.

As a result, Ritchie looked reluctant to get too close to Saka and was beaten easily by the winger just moments later. Thankfully though, his shot was gathered well by Dubravka after being allowed to cut inside.

After some neat build up play from Arsenal, Saka got in again just five minutes later – this time down the left-hand side after Krafth got himself on the wrong side. It was a tight angle, but he fired a low shot past Dubravka and into the far corner. 1-0 Arsenal.

We had to push up and impose ourselves on Arsenal. Sitting back for the first hour left us looking at a 0-0 at best, so something had to change if we wanted to get ourselves back into the game.

Lascelles then went into the book for a late challenge on Aubameyang, meaning he would join Ritchie in sitting out of next week’s clash with Norwich.

Our biggest opening of the second half then arrived as Shelvey put Wilson in behind with a brilliant ball over the top. He had the pace to get there, but fell at the vital moment. VAR checked it after claims of a push from Tavares, but there was nothing doing.

Just as our big chance to get back into the game passed us by, it was 2-0 Arsenal. It was a lovely finish from Martinelli, yet all too easy as Tomiyasu’s ball over the top found the Brazilian in far too much space.

A double change then arrived from Eddie Howe as Almiron and Murphy came on for Ritchie and Joelinton. The change was being prepared prior to Arsenal’s second, yet both now came onto the field with a mountain to climb.

We grew into the game at this point and pushed forward, but it was too little too late and slightly frustrating that we’d waited until going 2-0 down to do so.

Saint-Maximin tested Ramsdale after Schar released him down the left and that soon followed by Shelvey’s withdrawal, seeing Hayden come on for the final five minutes.

Arsenal saw out four added minutes and secured the win, leaving us bottom of the league and still without a win 13 games in.

Next up, Norwich and Burnley at home in what promises to be the most important week of our season by some distance.

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

46 thoughts on “Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle: Reality check for Howe as passive NUFC fall flat in London

  1. No internet today so had to watch on my BT app on my phone. We are so shi.t. I think we are down. The refs are giving us nothing. Screwed us in at least 2 or 3 games early this season too. The refs and FA want us down. Our team has been mismanaged and had no proper investment for so long we will now pay the price. You cannot make a silk purse from a sows ear. And you cannot polish a turd. I think we are down.


  2. I’ll be happier when we pick the right players but I I don’t think the players are fit enough although fitter than they were. They lack anticipation and rarely win the second ball. I thought we livened up a bit when Miggy came on but for me Fraser is a waste of space. You have to have a better work rate in the Premiership. I have watched Krafth many times from the Stand and I have never thought him good enough. I suppose we have to give Eddy time to get to know the players better. What players do in training is important but how they perform in matches is more important. Fede again not even on the bench. Think Jones is still having some influence on selections unfortunately.


  3. Groucho:
    I’ll be happier when we pick the right players but I I don’t think the players are fit enough although fitter than they were. They lack anticipation and rarely win the second ball. I thought we livened up a bit when Miggy came on but for me Fraser is a waste of space. You have to have a better work rate in the Premiership. I have watched Krafth many times from the Stand and I have never thought him good enough. I suppose we have to give Eddy time to get to know the players better.What players do in training is important but how they perform in matches is more important. Fede again not even on the bench.Think Jones is still having some influence on selections unfortunately.

    Groucho – we also don’t have 11 ‘right’ players mate.


  4. Sharpy17: Groucho – we also don’t have 11 ‘right’ players mate.

    Agreed but we still shouldn’t pick duffers. I don’t think all eleven are bad.


  5. I dont think Arsenal played that well but we were marginally worse. A good finish by Martinelli.

    Now what do we do on Tuesday? Lascelles has looked awful all season and Ritchie is not a fullback. We will probably see Clark back in for Lascelles, but then you have to ask where is Fernandez? Does he have Covid? I think they hid Darlow’s Covid for like 3 weeks. Lewis for Ritchie. He cant be any worse of a defender than Ritchie and Matt doesnt get to the opposition by-line enough. I think his time as a PL player is pretty much done.

    Lewis did do some decent overlaps with St Max when he played. As I said, we may as well see what he can do as he cannot be a worse defender than Ritchie.

    On a positive note, we werent crap which is what you could say in a lot of games with Bruce/Jones in charge.


  6. The possession numbers say we had 32%. It didnt feel like that though. It wasnt like Chelsea where we rolled over and let them tickle our tummy.

    But that defense!!! I thought we were always likely to give up a goal. Good to see Martin back though and I thought he did well. Probably would have been 4 or 5 with Darlow in the form he was in.

    Transfer window is still a long way off but seriously, is there any of that back line we should keep? Are Lascelles, Ritchie and Krafth above Championship level? Schar is probably bottom half PL.

    C’mon Paul Dummett, get healed, we desperately need you. The only defender we have who can actually making a tackle without fouling.


  7. We got lucky with the yellow cards because it will keep Lascelles and Ritchie out. It will give Eddie a chance to see Manquillo and Lewis.

    I dont know what to make of Lewis. I thought he did OK, but if you consider Ritchie a better defender then he must be crap in training. It is going to be Clark or Krafth in for Lascelles innit! Out of the frying pan and into the fire!

    Still, this defense is terrible so anybody, even Little Jimmie Krankie, might be better.

    When I went to watch us when I was a kid the central defense partnership was Glen Keeley and Pat Howard. That was pretty crap. Clark and Lascelles might actually be worse 🙂


  8. We did have good fullbacks though – Irving Natrass and Alan Kennedy. What I wouldnt give for them (those) 2 in our team now.


  9. I didnt think I was making this up, but I wasnt sure.

    The Wankdorf Stadion is in Bern Switzerland and the Team of Young Boys play there. Yes, Young Boys are Wankdorf as the crowd must sing?


  10. What worries me is our new owners dont seem to have learned from their mistake. They dragged their heels in the managerial appointment & they seem to be doing it again with the appointment of a DoF.
    Nothing could be more obvious that we need to strengthen players come January & whoever it’s going to be should be in already working alongside Howe to decide not only who we want in, but who is moved on to create the squad space.

    I understand how important the appointment is and then need to get it right. But because they have waited as long, time is absolutely of the essence with only a month to go!!.


  11. Wasn’t surprised by the result to be honest. But there was a small glimer of hope that we might nick a point or three in the back of my mind. It wasn’t to be 😟
    Richie should be nowhere near our back line. He was so far out of position for the second goal it was not funny. He was doing his own thing when the others were trying to hold a line. I would expect an under 12 player to have more awareness.
    We also gave the ball away after 3 or 4 passes on nearly every occasion. We are terribly low on confidence.


  12. OK, the suspensions allow us to pick the team we should be playing against Norwich. I would also drop Joelinton and bring in Miggy. Some may say it is harsh to drop Joe based on an indifferent performance against Arsenal, but that was his NORMAL performance. The game against Brentford was the outlier, so the argument should be that means he has much more to prove and should do it as a sub. Team for Norwich:


    Manquillo Schar Fernandez Lewis

    Hayden Shelvey Willock

    Miggy Wilson ASM

    Has Fernandez been seen training? If he has, then why isnt he playing?

    I would also take the captaincy off Lascelles. Make either Dubs or Wilson captain.


  13. That’s pretty much a totally different back 5, inc Dubs. Why not? The others have played sh!t all season and we need a break from the Bruce/Jones mentality. How better to do that than change the whole defense. It is not like the season so far has been a success!!! Time for some drastic measures Eddie and I will say it again, replace Lascelles as Captain. He cannot be guaranteed a game.


  14. Groucho:
    Eric several pictures last week of Fernandez training.

    We should play him then.

    We dont see players in training but we do see what they do on a Saturday and it is clear as day that certain players are out of position or are not good enough:

    Krafth – not good enough
    Lascelles – not good enough
    Clark – not good enough
    Ritchie – out of position and past it
    Murphy – out of position
    Donkey – one good game in 96 doesnt make him a good player

    Howe has only had a couple of weeks to assess what he has so I think we will see some changes. Just dont listen to Jones, he was a Bruce apologist and needs to be putting out the cones until he is sacked in the summer. I dont care what platitudes Eddie comes up with to make up for the fact that Graeme was foisted on him. Maybe Howe is TOO nice sometimes?

    I have read comments on The Mag and on here and everybody seems in agreement that Ritchie and Lascelles being suspended is a good thing. I havent looked at Ed’s to see what they say because they are a bunch of geriatric fools.


  15. Lascelles was lucky to get away with that barge/forearm yesterday, it was reckless and had it been level you know the ref would of given it. Only reason he didn’t was because he didn’t give Wilson one when he should of.

    In the studio the ref said he agreed with the decision re Wilsons claim . When asked if VAR were right to not overturn decision he said yes. When he was then asked, so if Stuart had given it ,it would of been overturned and he replied No ! WTF
    Reckons they would of gone with refs decision either way as it’s his judgement call ! What is this s hithousery.


  16. Kimtoon: that is total nonsense and reminds me of “the battle at the Bridge” where Spurs and Chelsea should have had 3 players sent off apiece. Mark Clattenberg, who was the Ref, said he didnt want to give out yellow cards too early ofrreds later because he “didn’t want to interfere”. He was the fcn Ref FFS! If he can’t “interfere” or intervene, then who can? Trelford Mills, Little Jimmie Krankie, Donny Osmond?


  17. English Refs must be the worst in the world. They are not even being selected for top European games anymore. I think there is only 1 doing the CL and he is pretty crap at it. Anthony Taylor. I think these people are full time and are paid like 100k + a year.

    And Howard Dean at the WC Final when Nigel De Kung Fu kicked that player in the chest and he let him off!!!A mole with a white cane could have seen that.


  18. I think Rafa is in trouble. They have these games next:

    Liverpool H
    Arse H
    Palace A
    Chelsea A

    I think they get 1 point from that lot. It has been 1 point from the last 6 games.

    Blue Bindippers will be out for blood.

    All of the Saint Rafa fans on The Mag and Ed Harrisons should have another think.


  19. Alex Parsons Flag of United Kingdom
    Darran Lewis basically on sky sports just implied there is a refereeing agenda against Newcastle United this season Thinking face can’t believe the decisions we aren’t getting so far this season. Interesting not just #NUFC fan noticing it then.


  20. kimtoon:
    Alex Parsons Flag of United Kingdom
    Darran Lewis basically on sky sports just implied there is a refereeing agenda against Newcastle United this season Thinking face can’t believe the decisions we aren’t getting so far this season. Interesting not just #NUFC fan noticing it then.

    We’ve been robbed of probably 7-9 points this season by not giving us pens that were nailed on, or giving very soft pens against us. There is absolutely an agenda against us!


  21. I read Charlie Bennett’s article and I keep laughing at ex-footballers acting like Newcastle is Mars and 50 degrees colder than London. It is a 1 hour flight to Heathrow, Amsterdam or Paris. I have done them all and by the time you reach cruising altitude the pilot is telling you they are starting the descent.

    Agbonlahor is acting like it is the 1950’s when 10% of the population had a car and the jet engine had just been invented. If one of the players’ significant others want to go shopping in London they can get there almost as quickly as they can from Cobham (the Chelsea training ground). That’s where they all live BTW, I have a friend that lives there and we would walk her dog and she would point out John Terry’s or Frank Lampard’s house. They do not all live in central London and go to Harrods and clubbing. I think John Terry also had a sh@g palace in central London, but that’s a different story.

    Edinburgh is 120 miles away from Newcastle and Keswick is 90 miles. As I said you can fly to Paris in an hour. I have done it. Sol Campbell was on the flight when he was playing for us. It is much quicker than a ferry or the channel tunnel.

    I am not sure what planet Agbonlohor is living on but I can catch an evening flight from Chicago, get the Heathrow express into central London, have a pint at the Flounder and Ferkin in Islington, get the express train back to Heathrow, fly to Newcastle and meet me Mam in Seaton Burn (6 miles from St James’ Park, 4 mile from the airport) at 5pm for me tea.

    Agbonlohor must think he is still in an episode of Peaky Blinders or summink.


  22. A little bit more on Agabonlahor that Charlie wrote about. He said that a player would take 10,000 less a week to live in Brentford rather than Newcastle. You do know that the average PL player’s career is about 5 years dont you Gabby and that 10k a week is half a mil a year! I dont know when they were handing out the stupid pills but you were certainly 1st in line for them.


  23. yeah Kimtoon. If a player is handed a 40k deal rather than a 30k deal a week that is 2 million pounds on a 4 year contract. And Brentford, have you been to that part of London? It is a bit of a sh!thole where 1 mil gets you an ex council flat where the lifts still dont work.


  24. I lived in London for 3 years. I loved it. I was young and in love. Mainly for the music I went to see. But it was busy. More crowded than Chicago or NYC. And expensive.

    I wouldnt go back to live. Maybe not even for a visit!!! Last time I was there was 15 years ago and I didnt fancy it that much.

    I might go to a Spurs game just to see the pints filling up from the bottom of the glass. But that part of London is a fcn dump though.


  25. Eric you would need 10k a week extra to live in Brentford. Have you seen the price there of a 1930 semi? You can travel a comfortable train trip from Newcastle to London in 3 hours. When I lived on the outskirts of Surbiton it used to take me a good two hours to get to my office in Bayswater. 20 minute walk to station, train to Wimbledon followed by two different tubes (packed like cattle) followed by another 15 minute walk. I never got home until about 8p.m. Moved to Newcastle and was even able to get home for a quick lunch. Now that’s living.


  26. You would have to pay me to live in London, it’s crap . Why do you think they all move away to places like Bristol bath, because it’s over crowded and too expensive and not even that great. It’s a myth that London is the be all and end all. It’s an overpopulated dump imo.


  27. My daughters chap works there a lot, often there all week and home for weekends, he can’t wait to get home he says.


  28. Sent off a PCR test for the lad this morning, pretty sure it’s an awful cold and negative lat flow test but day center wants to be sure before he makes it back in. He’s pretty rough though poor lad.


  29. Hope your Lew is OK Kimtoon.

    I was thinking about taking a trip but it looks like this Covid stuff will be back again.


  30. Honest but worrying press conference from Howe when speaking about the January window.

    I agree with what he’s saying, but it doesn’t fill me with confidence, so it’s certainly not going to fill any potential signings with confidence either I’d have thought 🤦🏼‍♂️.

    My hope would be that he’s just playing the media down – but the fact that we STILL haven’t appointed a DoF leaves me thinking there really isn’t a plan in place at all – or maybe they are waiting to see how the next 2 games go as well. If we win them then let’s go for January. If not, let’s go down & prioritise facilities and upgrades to the ground.


  31. Eric – regards Gabby. He’s a gobsh!te, but he kinda has a point of he made it better – and Brentford was not the club to use to make his point.

    I think players do favour London and the North West – lifestyle certainly plays a part, but I’ve always thought the international airports play a part too.

    But I hate to say it. I think players would probably favour Wolves & Villa ahead of us too as things stand.

    I think we are well down the pecking order of favourable clubs to join, and our next few windows are so important – not only for the players we get, but the message that sends out to any future potential signings too.


  32. Thanks Eric, hoping he picks up soon poor lad.

    Sharpy, you make a good point but what we have over Villa and Wolves is a possible brighter future. Yes we may well go down but if the right investment is made we should bounce back. But that’s the key thing here, just how much are the new owners willing to invest. For all we know they could lose interest if we go down, maybe even sell us on to someone else. Don’t think Mandy and the Reubens would but the PIF have a track record for buying up shares in companies then off loading them within a year, they did that with Disney I believe. They wanted a PL club not a championship one after all.


  33. Next two games are massive, win those and we could get some momentum lose and I think we are probably down sadly.


  34. I see there is talks ongoing between EFL and PL to stop parachute payments for clubs going down. Looks like they see us relegated and making sure we have no means of getting anything extra at all! 😳😬.


  35. If we fail to win either of these next two games, I think we are down. I don’t see a way back for us as the damage was done early on by Ashley, Bruce, biased refereeing and a team just not good enough.


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