Category Archives: Arsenal

MAtch Report: Newcastle 2 – 0 Arsenal

Newcastle United (0) 2 Arsenal (0) 0

Premier League

St. James’ Park, Barrack Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4ST

Monday, 17th May 2022. Kick-off time: 8.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Aaron Ramsdale; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhães, Nuno Tavares; Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard, Emile Smith-Rowe; Eddie Nketiah.

Substitutes: Bernd Leno; Alexandre Lacazette, Cédric Soares, Nicolas Pépé, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Gabriel Martinelli, Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, Zak Swanson, Charlie Patino

Yellow Cards: Ben White, Eddie Nketiah, Granit Xhaka

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 49%

Referee: Darren England

Assistant Referees: Ian Hussin, Dan Robathan

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Jarred Gillett; AVAR Nick Hopton

Attendance: 52,274

Let us not dwell on last Thursday’s horrible result, instead we need to focus entirely on these last two, crucial, nail-biting matches, the first of which is tonight at St. James’ Park against Newcastle United. Big pressure tonight; if we don’t win, then the coveted fourth place will be out of our hands on Sunday afternoon. Absolutely everything to play for this evening, chaps.

We kicked off tonight’s game, this the first of two vitally important matches for us within the space of six days. Within a minute, both goalkeepers got a feel of the ball, but our man Aaron Ramsdale slipped as he cleared successfully, but the ball flew down the pitch luckily for him (and us). Both teams weree extremely cautious of each other in the early stages with strong tackling being exchanged across the pitch. We successfully cut out a ball into Callum Wilson’s path and started a counter-attack which ended in Eddie Nketiah having a shot blocked inside the box, and then Aaron Ramsdale made an error inside our six-yard box, in which he managed to compose himself quickly in order to get the ball away just as Miguel Almiron was running in on our goal, which was an extremely close shave indeed. Ben White received a pointless yellow card for a foul on Callum Wilson, and as the home side were putting a lot of pressure on us, our defenders were certainly earning their money out there tonight. Allan Saint-Maximin beat Takehiro Tomiyasu with some fancy footwork, but he hit his cross up and out of play, thankfully. With the home side pushing us further and further back in our own half, we managed to soak up their loose balls very well. The first chance for Bukayo Saka came after twenty minutes when he played a one-two with Martin Ødegaard but his shot was blocked by Dan Burn, and a couple of mintues later he got his second shot of the match in, but goalie Martin Dúbravka got down quickly to retrieve the ball. These two chances appeared to wake us up a bit, and as Eddie Nketiah got close to scoring with a couple of chances, it was looking like we could get something going here now at some point. Maybe. However, the home side had two corners in a row which went nowhere, and then again, we were pushed back deep into our own half; Allan Saint-Maximin blasted a ball towards goal from outside our penalty area, which saw Aaron Ramsdale make an incredible save to prevent a certain goal. Takehiro Tomiyasu went down to the ground with an injury, which meant that he was unable to continue any further, and so Cédric Soares replaced him with six minutes of the first half remaining. Quite frankly, the half-time whistle couldn’t come soon enough for us, as at times we looked in extreme difficulty; mercifully we got to the break in one piece and managed to hold out a dominant Newcastle United.

The home side kicked off an important forty-five minutes for us, and almost straight away, Eddie Nketiah received a yellow card for an innocuous clash with Fabian Schar, the latter hitting his head on the ground on impact; he was led off by their coaching staff and a concussion substitution came into being. The home side continued where they stopped at the end of the first half, by piling pressure on us; thankfully Aaron Ramsdale kept their forwards’ shots out miraculously. A lacklustre Emile Smith-Rowe was replaced by Gabriel Martinelli seven minutes after the restart, and despite some good play initially, after just fifty-six minutes, we conceded the first goal of the night when we let in a messy goal courtesy of our own Ben White, after Callum Wilson received a cross from the left via the boot of Joelinton. Anyway, in order to salvage something from this game, Nuno Tavares was replaced by Alexandre Lacazette just after the hour, and still the Magpies kept coming for us, egged on by the crowd. After our coaching staff treated both Gabriel Martinelli and Alexandre Lacazette within a matter of a minute or so, the home side nearly grabbed a second goal when a ball came across from the right, and Ben White almost scored a seeond own goal when he slid in to clear the ball just past Aaron Ramsdale’s post! We counter-attacked and Gabriel Martinelli’s superb shot led to a couple of corners for us, which ended with Mohamed Elneny taking a chance from thirty yards which was saved by Martin Dúbravka easily. Because of the concussion substitution earlier, Gabriel was replaced by Nicolas Pépé with eighteen minutes of the match remaining, and still the Magpies kept on advancing towards our goal. With eleven minutes of the game remaining, Ryan Fraser flew towards our goal (after picking up a loose ball in midfield) and he passed it to Jacob Murphy, whose shot was tipped to safety by Aaron Ramsdale; then, with six minutes of the match remaining, Callum Wilson almost scored from forty yards for the home side. He turned Mohamed Elneny too easily and then hit a stunning volley which curled inches wide, leaving Aaron Ramsdale stranded. With five minutes of the game remaining, Newcastle United finally got their second goal when poor defending by us let in Callum Wilson through on goal. Aaron Ramsdale knocked the ball away from his feet but Bruno Guimaraes whacked it into our net from the edge of the penalty area; Ben White tried to slide it off the line but to no avail. In the six minutes injury time, the only thing of note was Granit Xhaka getting booked for a late challenge, other than that, the match was irretrievably lost.

Another poor performance, another critical match lost. We didn’t have any answers to the intolerable pressure placed on our team by Newcastle United, the endless inconsistency, the atmosphere in the ground which we simply buckled under the noise of the home supporters again; and sadly, more unbelievably, we have lost thirteen Premier League matches in 2021-22, our joint-highest tally in a thirty-eight game season in the competition with 2017-18 and 2020-21. Terrible statistics. Something better change.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Everton at the Emirates on Sunday, 22nd May at 4.00pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon

4th or 5th – Arsenal have the brightest future outside of the top 2

Whether we finish 4th or 5th this season, I am more comfortable looking into our future than I have been for years.

We have the youngest team in the Premier League. With the youngest manager.

Even without investment, we will improve as those youngsters continue to grow and Mikel Arteta gains even more experience.

But we will improve, as the first time in a long time it feels like we actually have a plan in the transfer window under Edu.

When you look at the 4 clubs behind Manchester City and Liverpool, I think Arsenal are in pole position to be “best of the rest” next season.

Manchester United

Another new manager. Another new regime.

Manchester United are basically Arsenal of 2 years ago.

Too many over paid, ageing players. Too many egos.

Erik Ten Hag needs to do what Arteta and Edu have done over the last 2 years and ship out those that are not onboard.

As we have seen with Arsenal, this takes time.

Man U’s financial power might allow them to accelerate the process; but you feel that they need to turnover their entire squad to begin moving forward again. This will take them a few transfer windows

Chelsea

A 3rd place finish papers over the cracks of Chelsea Football Club.

Off the field the club is a mess following the Roman Abramovich saga.

Whilst they now have new owners (I think?), they no longer have their tanks of roubles pointed at other clubs.

It is well documented that they have lost on average £900k a week since Roman took over.

There will be huge changes at the club as the go from “sugar daddy” model to “US investor”.

They are also in crisis on the pitch with a whole host of senior pro’s set to leave.

Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger have already agreed deals that will take them to Spain. Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta are likely to join them.

Those departures will leave them with just a 38-year-old Thiago Silva in defence alongside Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr. That is mid-table centre back options.

They basically need to buy an entire back 4. And without Roman’s money Chelsea will struggle to replace them.

Problems continue on midfield as N’Golo Kante is clearly a player on the decline and Jorginho hoping to move back to France.

And then you have the Romelu Lukaku problem.

There squad clearly needs huge investment. But do the new owners have the money (and will). Or will Chelsea join the ranks of “self sufficient” and as a result will spend a few years in the wilderness whilst they rebuild?

Tottenham

Tottenham need top 4 more than Arsenal.

This season, 5th was Arsenal’s target. We survive and move forward with our plans regardless of whether it is Champions League or Europa League football.

Tottenham are struggling financially and in desperate need for that Champions League football.

Covid and the new stadium will put massive pressure on a club who are already run on a shoestring in comparison to the other “top 6” clubs.

There best 3 players – Lloris, Son and Kane – are all coming towards the end of their peak and plans will soon have to be in place to replace them. But Spurs do not have the money to buy players of the same quality.

Tottenham have made two very good signings in the last 12 months – Romero and Kulusevki. But both are only on loan.

Spurs will have to spend around £80m to make both deals permanent. That is £80m in transfer fees just to keep their squad at the same level as it is this season.

Without any high profile departures, they will struggle to finance any big moves beyond securing the services of Romero and Kulusevski on a permanent basis.

This squad is basically as good as it gets for them.

Arsenal

Youngest team in the league

Youngest manager in the league

I expect us to spend upwards of £100m on incoming transfers again.

Aaron Hickey, Youri Tielemans and Gabriel Jesus will hopefully just be the start.

The futures bright. The futures Arsenal.

Keenos

Dust ourselves down and get back on that top 4 horse

I do not want to dwell on Thursday nights defeat too much.

With games coming thick and fast, we need to put it to the back of our minds, dust ourselves down and get back on the positivity train.

All I will have to say on it was there were 3 contentious decisions. All 3, if given, would have been considered soft. 2 were given, one not. The two that were given were against Arsenal, the one that was not given benefited Spurs.

Was it corruption? The TV companies fixing games for an exciting finish? Probably not. But it just shows how incompetent our referees are.

Looking forward, we have a game against Newcastle on Monday to get ourselves up for.

6 months ago, the trip looked like 3 points in the bag.

Newcastle would likely have been relegated, and a half empty, angry Geordie crowd would not exactly inspire the team to victory.

Since January 1st, Newcastle are one of the most inform teams in the league – Only Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham have won more points.

A lot will point to the colossal amount of money they spent in the January transfer window as the reason for their survival, but I think this takes away credit from Eddie Howe.

Chris Wood and Dan Burn have been solid, if unexceptional acquisitions whilst Bruno Guimarães took a bit of time to settle but is now putting in performances that are already attracting suitors.

What Howe has done is get a tune out of most of Newcastle’s existing underperformers. The likes of Joelinton, Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser.

So credit where is due, Howe has done a great job for them.

The Newcastle fixture now looks a very different proposition.

It will be a packed stadium with 48,000 bouncing Geordies fuelled on Greggs looking to sign off the season with a bang in their last home game of the season.

The hope is now that they are safe from relegation some of their players might return to their earlier season form with their minds on the beach rather than the pitch.

They have lost their last two games – but these were against Manchester City and Liverpool so not much can be read into it.

Prior to those defeats, they won 4 in a row.

The lads will be back in training today, getting ready for Monday’s big game.

Mikel Arteta will need to get the players relaxed and mentally ready. Forgot about Thursday. Move on. And come away from Newcastle with 3 points.

Keenos