Newcastle (0) – (0) Arsenal
St James’ Park, Newcastle
Well where do I start with our opening game of the season?
The main talking point will be the sheer idiocy of Joey Barton. Seriously, that guy is a complete c*nt and his disgusting attitude and behaviour has no place on a football pitch.
When you consider the country was virtually on its needs with mindless thuggery with the riots in major cities, Joey Barton is just a disgrace. If he wasn’t a footballer he’d be rioting like the rest of those muppets.
His antics started when he scythed through Alex Song when attempting to get the ball. Song responded by treading on the back of Barton’s leg and that set him off. I would have far more sympathy if it wasn’t Joey Barton but in that moment my respect for Alex Song grew immensely. Unfortunately, he went down in my estimations almost immediately when he was seen laughing and hugging Joey Barton after the Gervinho sending off.
What the hell was that about?
The game on the whole was surreal. Gervinho looked very bright but his final ball was lacking. Unfortunately I think he’s spent far too much time with Arsene Wenger and he’s obviously been told that you can’t shoot and have to walk the ball into the net, in typical Arsenal fashion.
Despite the lions share of possession, it was the same old story when Cesc isn’t in the team. Arsenal severely lacked in creativity and failed to really make a clear cut chance, which against a Newcastle team who have lost Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique, was disappointing. The game was stale and neither side looked like they were going to score.
The only real positive was that we looked solid in defence but over the coming season we’re going to face far tougher challenges than Shola Ameobi and Demba Ba.
Szczesny looked commanding in goal and confidently came for crosses, which is another positive.
But in midfield, without departing Nasri and Cesc, and injured Wilshere, we lacked urgency, penetration and creativity, which are hallmarks of Arsene Wenger sides. Apart from the Walcott chance late in the second half, the only other moment of creativity was when Arshavin looped a through ball into the path of Van Persie, who failed to make any telling connection.
Another thing that was also disappointing was the lack of discipline shown by the players. Alex Song must realise that the game is televised so to stamp on Joey Barton is just asking for trouble. Joey Barton is a despicable person and by retaliating to his idiotic behaviour is exactly what he wants. I don’t blame Gervinho for his actions however because it was hardly a punch and his actions must have been instinctive. After all, what the f*ck would you do if some tw*t drags you from the ground and looks like he’s going to beat the sh*t out of you? You’re going to try and defend yourself.
The referee was also a disgrace, and the way he bottled sending off Joey Barton was pitiful.
But that doesn’t hide the fact we failed to beat a very poor Newcastle team. They are having troubles of their own and without any creative spark we struggled, badly.
Do Arsenal still need to play 4-3-3? The system was implemented to accommodate Cesc’s creativity but without him, or even Nasri, we will struggle. Reverting to 4-4-2 would surely give Arsenal a more solid base to work from and share the creative load. And it would also leave us less susceptible to conceding goals on the counter attack.
The screams of “spend some f*cking money” could be heard around the ground and it’s hard to argue with that sentiment, if we are going to challenge at the top of the league this season.
Wojciech Szczesny: 8/10
Commanding in goal and came out confidently for crosses and set-pieces, which is something an Arsenal goalkeeper needs to do. Didn’t really have a save to make but keeping a clean sheet is a good start to the season for him and can only give him confidence.
Bacary Sagna: 7/10
Up and down the right hand side again but his crossing was not great again. But solid at the back and made a number of important interceptions.
Thomas Vermaelen: 8/10
Solid, commanding and sorely missed at the heart of Arsenal’s defence. Makes a big difference and hopefully he can remain injury free for the rest of the season.
Laurent Koscielny: 8/10
Coped well and kept Ameobi and Ba relatively quiet. Is he the man to partner Vermaelen for the rest of the season? Only time will tell.
Kieran Gibbs: 7/10
Solid performance and looks like he actually talks to his back four more than Clichy does. Good start to the season for him.
Alex Song: 7/10
Defending the back four well but his lack of discipline is worrying. Could have easily been sent off for his stamp on Barton and that would have put Arsenal in all kinds of problems. And hugging the c*nt isn’t going to endear you to the Arsenal fans.
Aaron Ramsey: 6/10
Looked a bit lost without Wilshere to play off. If Arsene sees him as the long term solution to our former captain’s departure, then we will have to give him time.
Tomas Rosicky: 6/10
I like the guy but I’m not sure how he gets into the side sometimes. He is committed which is all you can ask but just lacks that half a yard and bit of quality needed at this level.
Andrei Arshavin: 6/10
Not really in the game and whether that was due to a lack of determination or lack of movement from the rest of the team is debatable. Looks like a shadow of the player that first joined Arsenal.
Looked bright throughout the match and was Arsenal’s most dangerous offensive player. But his final ball was lacking but that will come with time. Eventful debut with the sending off but he will be an important player for Arsenal this season.
Robin van Persie: 7/10
Isolated and had no service. 4-3-3 with Van Persie only really works with Cesc so Arsene needs to seriously consider changing the team’s formation.