Tag Archives: Newcastle

Match Report: Arsenal 2 – 0 Newcastle

Arsenal (1) 2 Newcastle United (0) 0
Premier League
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Monday, 1st April 2019. Kick-off time: 8.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Leno; Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal, Maitland-Niles; Ramsey, Guendouzi; Kolašinac, Özil, Iwobi; Lacazette.
Substitutes: Čech, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Suárez, Jenkinson, Nketiah.
Scorers: Ramsey, Lacazette
Yellow Cards: Monreal, Kolašinac
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance: circa 60,000

Great to have the Premiership back, and it’s even better to have our first match after the enforced international break here at The Emirates against Newcastle United. A good crowd with a buoyant atmosphere makes for a crackle in the air and a desire for the right result which should take us to third place in the table if everything goes the right way, of course.

Sure enough, right from the kick-off our intent was there for all to see. After just thirteen minutes, Aaron Ramsey’s goal was disallowed for a foul by Sokratis on Florian Lejeune; it has to be said that the Newcastle man didn’t even look like he was going to get close to getting the ball despite the foul. A bit harsh really, but all it did was harden our resolve to win the match. It was now becoming obvious that not only did we dominate this period of the match, we constantly and successfully pinned the Magpies back in their own half. Of course, on the half hour our skilled play and domination paid off. The movement started and finished with Aaron Ramsey; he flicked a clever ball over to Alexandre Lacazette with the outside of his right foot, and almost immediately received it back and elegantly swept it home past a nonplussed Martin Dúbravka for the first goal of the night. Although the visitors did come back into the match for the last quarter of an hour of the first half, it was Arsenal’s half from the very moment Anthony Taylor’s signal started the match to forty-five minutes later when the same whistle brought proceedings to a close.

Could the second half be any better for the Magpies? Not really. To be fair, although they did have some moments where it did look as if they could threaten our defence, in reality their general play was both flaccid and tiresome. It was becoming fairly obvious that Newcastle United decided to implement Plan B; basically, if we can’t get through Arsenal’s defence, and we are unable to adjust our system accordingly, then let’s stop them playing their brand of football instead. And that, in a nutshell, was what happened here in North London tonight. Arsenal then did, under Mr. Emery, what Arsenal does best, which is continue to play their own style of football and just simply wear Newcastle down. We did start to look rather frustrated, so it became a case of fresh legs and fresh ideas. In the space of just eight minutes, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replaced Alex Iwobi, and Mohamed Elneny took the place of our goalscorer, Aaron Ramsey. Now the sparks started to fly, with the movement from midfield becoming crisper, the shots on the visitors’ goal more urgent.

Sure enough, we got the second goal that our play deserved. Seventeen minutes from time, Alexandre Lacazette got the ball to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who in turn headed it back, and Alexandre Lacazette cleverly lobbed the ball over Martin Dúbravka into the net for a well-taken goal. Our third and final substitute came a couple of minutes later when Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaced a tired Mesut Özil, and almost immediately we were off again. If the match had carried on another five minutes, we could have got a third, but it was not to be, and two-nil was the score of the night.

This is great stuff. Who would have thought it a few months ago? Ten home Premiership matches in a row undefeated, and after tonight’s win, we have simply leapfrogged Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur into third place in the Premiership. So many good things came from tonight’s match; the resolve of the defence, the sharpness of the attack, and hey, doesn’t Aaron Ramsey get better with every game? This is our only sadness, that our little Welsh wizard is to leave us in the summer. Let’s hope beyond hope that out there in the wild blue yonder there is a tailor made replacement for him. He’s out there somewhere! Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


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.


“Superpower” Tottenham are the Newcastle of the South

We wake this morning to headlines revealing “the secrets behind Pochettino’s success” and how Spurs are a “Premier League Superpower”. I spat my coffee out.

What success is this exactly?

This is Mauricio Pochettino’s 5th season with Tottenham. He has yet to win a trophy.

In the 4 completed seasons, he has finished above The Arsenal twice, and only finished top 4 75% of the time.

Let’s roll our minds back to the Arsenal trophy drought 2006-2012. An 8 season period of failure when Arsene Wenger failed to lead the club to a single trophy.

During that 8 year period, Wenger led Arsenal into the Champions League 100% of the time. The side finished above Spurs 8 out of 8 times and he led the team to a Champions League final and 2 League Cup finals. He was labelled a failure for doing so.

What Wenger “achieved” during that 8 year period, when Arsenal were paying off heavy stadium debt, was superior to what Pochettino has achieved in his 4 completed seasons at Spurs.

This year will make it 5 seasons in a row without a trophy. It could also see Tottenham finish outside the top 4 for the 2nd time in his short reign (Wenger was at the helm for 22 years and finished outside the top 4 just twice).

Tottenham may well end up finishing behind Arsenal for the 3rd time in Pochettino’s 5 seasons.

Reading a book explaining Pochettino’s success would be akin to reading a self-help book from Theresa May on how to unite your colleagues behind you. It would not contain anything useful.

The reality is the media are writing about Pochettino’s success even though he is achieving less than Wenger’s failure.

I have said for a while, Arsenal at their worst this century achieved more than Tottenham at their best.

As for the “superclub” comment, well that is just laughable.

The new stadium in Tottenham is an architectural masterpiece. The most technological advanced stadium in Europe. But that should be a given.

It is the most expensive stadium ever built in England, and the newest stadium. You would be a bit disappointed if it was not the best, most advanced stadium in history. Especially for £1bn.

The media have tried to compare it to Arsenal’s Emirates stadium. Spurs fans have “boasted” about how the new Tottenham stadium is superior. Of course it is superior. It is new.

Arsenal’s stadium is 13 years old. The technology that is around now was not around in 2006.

In 2006 the iPhone did not exist. The best-selling phone was the Nokia 1660. It still had snake and cost £30.

“The Nokia 1600 mobile has a speaking clock, which was a novel feature when the phone was launched in 2005. A user could use the speaking clock by pressing the asterisk (“*”) button during the display of the home screen.

The phone also includes a ringtone composer which allows creating custom ringtones. Pre-composed ringtones can be transferred through a data cable.

The phone has a basic calculator which can perform only addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

There are 14 pre-defined themes with 14 wallpapers and menu backgrounds.

The menu features animated icons.”

In 2018 the best selling phone is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, at a cost of £799.

Look at your car.

In 2006, things like SatNav and air con did not come as standard. Bluetooth A CD player and FM/AM radio was your entertainment system. In 2019, every car comes with SatNav, climate control, digital radio, bluetooth enabled and more. Technology has moved on.

In summary, you would feel short-changed if you spent big on a new mobile phone or car and it was not vastly superior to a car or phone from 2006.

It is a fantastic stadium, but that counts for nothing if you fail to win trophies.

Tottenham are no more a superclub than Newcastle under Kevin Keegan.

Keegan led Newcastle to a 2nd place twice, and three top 4 finishes in four years. Compare that to 3 top 4 finishes for Pochettino, finishing 2nd just the once.

Newcastle also reached two FA Cup finals, losing both.

In the end Keegan left having failed to win Newcastle a trophy, despite playing in-front of over 50,000 every week.

Were Newcastle a “Superclub” in the 90s? Or did they just have a couple of years where they finished high up the league, won nothing, played in-front of huge crowds and failed to break their league title drought which was well over half-century.

Tottenham have finished high up the league, won nothing, played in-front of huge crowds and failed to break their league title drought which is well over half-century.

Leeds under David O’Leary were cut from the same cloth.

They finished top 4 three times in a row, made a Champions League semi-final. But like Newcastle, it was temporary and they soon found themselves relegated.

Tottenham can not be talked about in the same bracket as Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea. These clubs have all won trophies in the last 5 years. Tottenham have not.

They might have a shiny new stadium with all the mod-cons that the newest, most expensive stadium built in England should have, but that means nothing if they do not win trophies.

Tottenham are merely Newcastle of the South. They think they are a big club but do not have the recent silverware to back it up.


Match report: Newcastle United 1 – 2 Arsenal

Newcastle United (0) 1 Arsenal (0) 2

Premier League

St. James’ Park, Newcastle

Saturday, 15th September 2018. Kick-off time: 3.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Ramsey, Özil; Aubemeyang, Lacazette.

Substitutes: Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Torreira, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Welbeck, Leno.

Scorers: Xhaka, Özil.

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 52,165

After a brief hiatus due to international commitments, it’s good to be back at the day job again; this week, the lads find themselves up the road and near the Tyne at a true cathedral of English football, St. James’ Park, the home of our old adversaries Newcastle United.

There surely cannot be another club in English football that define themselves completely by he who wears the coveted number nine shirt, and to be fair, one can see why; Hughie Gallacher, Jackie Milburn, Wyn Davies, Malcolm MacDonald and Alan Shearer, all players that would comfortably fit into any side, in any era. In fact, Malcolm MacDonald did; he played for us for nigh on three years in the late seventies, scoring 42 goals in 84 appearances, an enviable record for any Arsenal footballer.

The cacphonous atmosphere that greeted the combatants today made the arena seem almost gladatorial in its very construction; and indeed it became so as the sound of Blaydon Races resonated around the stadium creating an atmosphere of both tension and intimidation. As the match got underway with the Barcodes wasting no effort in pressurising the Arsenal defence, it was looking as if it would be surely a matter of time before their work would bring an early reward for them. For one reason or another we got out of jail constantly early on.

Time after time we were found wanting, and it seemed at times that our team collectively had two left feet, with the inability to string a series of passes together becoming evident. In fact, the only thing worth talking about from out point of view in the first half was the wasted chance that Aaron Ramsey criminally squandered; if he had played the ball across the six-yard box instead of missing the target completely, then Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would surely have scored. Ho hum.

Anyway, come the break, cometh the man. Mr. Emery must surely have had a word in one or two players’ ears (and a flea in others) because the change in the chaps became obvious. Just four minutes after the break, Granit Xhaka’s perfectly struck free-kick found the back of the Magpies’ net, and that moment onwards, it was Arsenal’s match to win. The dynamic changed when Lucas Torreira replaced Mattéo Guendouzi in midfield, and our confidence just grew. Little more than ten minutes later, a shot from Alexandre Lacazette rebounded off a defender thus finding the feet of Mesut Özil, and the gimlet-eyed little midfielder wasted no time in scoring a goal, which turned out to be the defining moment of the match. As the back of the net rippled when the ball found its one and only true home, the cheers and applause from our supporters became apparent, and at the same time, fifty thousand Novocastrian hearts fluttered, knowing that for them, today’s game was lost. Despite a late raid by the Magpies which saw them score a goal in injury time, the match (and more importantly) three points went back to Islington, for us, a job well done.

Despite a victory, (the third in a row, it should be said) there are points to ponder. The good thing was that we didn’t pick up any unecessary yellow cards; but on the other hand the defence is still rocky. The full-backs charge up the pitch (a la George Male and Eddie Hapgood, or in recent memory Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn) but in doing so leave the centre-backs exposed. It was heartening to see that when in the second half Shkrodan Mustafi slipped, stumbled and fell leaving a Barcode forward to charge in on our goal, Sokratis came across and neutralised the threat, which shows that an understanding is being cultivated between the two men, which is a very good thing. It’s going to be hard to see how Laurent Koscielny is going to get back into this team if this CB pairing gets stronger, which it should. In midfield, it’s interesting to note that Granit Xhaka plays with more freedom when Lucas Torreira is alongside him; it could be that young Mattéo Guendouzi is not ready yet, and this is the line-iup that works. We’ll see. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners.

Victoria Concordia Crescit.


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.