Arsenal v Magpies: Great day out and three precious points – rest will come!

Early kick-off in Newcastle. It has been a long wish to watch Arsenal at St James Park and the experience definitely matched expectations. Now that I live in the south of Scotland, I am just two hours away, so this might become a regular occurrence over the next few years. I took the 9.38 Scotrail train from Carlisle to Newcastle, expecting to find a dozen or so Magpies to travel in the same direction….

When I arrived at the station I was amazed to see hundreds of barcoded shirts everywhere. Not a single Gunners shirt around me. The 85 minutes journey to Newcastle had to be done in a ridiculously small train – just three carriages – for at least 400 passengers, and I was lucky to get myself a seat.

The train full to the rafter, off we went to Newcastle. The atmosphere on board was great: Boxes of Budweiser on tables and cheap beer flowing freely almost everywhere, one table with four young lads all looking like a young Gazza – with nr.1 shaved lower heads and lots of hair product in the top bit,  fake tans and full of life – playing cards and sharing a bottle of Buckfast tonic wine, everybody talking and engaging, strangers speaking to each other encouraged by the effect of alcohol on hardly awake stomachs and the prospect of pecking the Gunners to bits today, and all this whilst we are rolling through the gentle, green, timeless slopes of the very north of England, and through fabulously named places like Hexham, Haltwhistle, Wetheral, Haydon Bridge and Prudhoe. I observed it all whilst checking the comments on Bergkampesque and reading the sports sections of BBC and the Guardian and keep schtum as much as possible.

The ‘fear word’ I could hear all the way through the train was…. Giroud. They all expected Ollie to start and to score at some point in the game…

I met up with my mate E and his wife D at the station, and we had a beer and a good chat about life, football, Arsene and you name it in a too posh bar at about five minutes’ walk from the ground. We spoke to a nice, older gentleman there with a brilliant local accent who did his best to speak slowly so we could understand him 🙂 . Lots of mutual respect and we went through some of the greats who donned the Magpies shirt: Keegan, Shearer, (our very own) Supermac, Gazza etc. We also spoke about the true gentleman that is Sir Bobby Robson – how a cancer unit in the hospital is named after him and how we should have a look at his statue on our way up the away section in the stadium.

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That we did and then we walked up the never-ending steps all the way to the top of the stadium. Most of us were panting our heads off whilst laughing hysterically at the ordeal we just went through. In the ground I was so high up I had to check myself not to fall forward whilst watching the game, but the view of the city was brilliant and I was in fine position to study the game.

The game

We started well and played the Magpies off the pitch. They did not like it and started to put heavy tackles in… Mitrovic got rightly sent off and then it was 11 against 10 for 4/5 of the game. It did not help the game but we were not complaining of course. The omission of Ozil and Giroud meant we had a lot of possession but not much bite, resulting in not many well worked chances. However, we had some good opportunities from both fast attacks and hard drives from distance, and on another day Theo would have had a brace.

The second half saw more of the same. Theo was running around the box a lot but the defence dealt well with him and he just cannot offer the hold up play of Giroud. Alexis and the Ox tried to work the wings and get behind the defence but we did not crack the solid looking Barcodes’ parked busses. Without Ozil we struggled to get near and in the box enough to really get into the areas were we could hurt them.

So we started to shoot from distance and in the 52nd minute we pin-balled it in with the final shot by the improving Ox coming off the leg of Coloccini. After that we should have finished it with a second goal but we never looked sharp enough to do so, even with Giroud on the pitch who, just like Theo, wasted some good opportunities. We also seemed to like to keep possession and see the game out, making use of our numerical advantage.

Our defence looked good and the Barcodes were never allowed in to this game. The sending off did not help them of course but we still had to finish them off, which we just about did. The three points are very welcome and we can build on this going forward, especially now that Pool, Chavs and Mancs all dropped three points in their games this weekend.

This team, just like all top teams except the Northern Oilers at the moment, is working hard to find form, which is a combination between playing with urgency, control and composure, and ability to finish off our chances. Once this is there the goals will come and a good run can begin. The next mini-journey starts in two weeks, against Mark Hughes’ Orcs: an excellent game for rediscovering our mojo. Bring it on!

The journey back was uneventful, but travelling with three points in the back made it easy for me, especially with the news coming in that the Chavs – Alan Pardoe we love you! – were losing and Pool were getting hammered.

By TotalArsenal.

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19 Responses to Arsenal v Magpies: Great day out and three precious points – rest will come!

  1. The Cockie Monster says:

    Sounds like you had a great day out , Totes !.
    I`ve copied and pasted this from another site and is an account of my normal match routine as you well know . 😀
    I watched the game in my normal mode of waiting until the end of the game then asking my missus if we won ( no score is mentioned ) then sat in front of screen eating goodies with no stress watching the recording !…………bliss !.
    I thought we were excellent in dictating the game from start to finish even before their player was sent off and the stats back it all up, yes, we could have had more goals but it`s not easy against a ten man defence….superb performance imo .

    Lets look at the aforementioned stats :

    Possession
    Newcastle 26%
    Arsenal 74%

    Shots
    Newcastle 1 ( 0 on target )
    Arsenal 22 ( 9 on target )

    Corners
    Newcastle 0
    Arsenal 9

    Fouls Newcastle 15
    Arsenal 8

    Now I have put these up for good reason, after watching the game I did the normal thing of reading all the comments and those from newsnow, well obviously I must have been watching a different game……….apparently we were shit !.
    Lets look at the stats from another game which must have been played in secret, well under the radar !……………………..Stoke versus WBA !

    Possession
    Stokealona 49%
    WBA 51%

    Shots
    Stokealona 13 (5 on target )
    WBA 15 ( 5 on target )

    Corners
    Stokealona 6
    WBA 5

    Fouls
    Stokealona 4
    WBA 9

    A pretty even game you would think !…..no !……Stokealona had 2 players sent off after just 30 mins !……….2 sendings off from 4 fouls ! hahahaha

    I know what they say about stats and damn lies, but I watched the game and the stats were right and our performance was a lot more controlled than WBA`s against only 9 men……………….or maybe Newcastle were just piss poor at keeping the ball and attacking, but no !……..they were applauded from every pundit orifice for their brave rear guard action !……………………..although from where I sat they just couldn`t get hold of the fcuking ball from our excellent ball players !. So there you have it , one bus sent off and ten parked tighter than a nuns fanny and we played better than WBA !
    Now that I have bigged up our brave little soldiers for an excellent performance I can now go on the doom front !.
    This relates to Allezkev`s comment on the previous post and I`m seriously concerned !. It`s not an attempt to piss anyone off, but when the top dog says such stuff then it`s serious to me and effect`s all our hopes of a level playing field of competing for the EPL etc`.
    Something has gone a little under the radar ….. as surprising as John Terry passing a team mates open bedroom door with said team mates wife tied up and gagged with a blue neon light flashing the words……….” fcuk me John !, as Cesc is down the chav chapel crying to the virgin Mary that Arsene blanked him !”…………. something that has crushed my hopes more than Transplants neck by his ex-missus`s thighs !………..the failing of FFP !. I thought we were at the point of competing with the other big clubs and FFP was working, but Arsene has come out and said that it is over !……..we cant compete with Mansour City ( he did mention the Chavs, but they are about as close to Mansour City in wealth as I am as close to shagging our most famous supporter ! ).
    I thought we were on a level playing field with the “big clubs”, especially after Mansour City had their wrists slapped and The Chavs selling players to buy players ala Arsenal over the last few years, but no !…….UEFA have bottled it and we now face the high possibility that we are only ever going to win a domestic cup as Mansour City can spend as much as they like…….already spent over £100M on 2 players !.
    Yes, we might win it some day like Atletico Madrid winning La Liga, but they could be about as common as a shiny thing in N17 !.
    Here is the link and I would love an Arsenal supporting accountant to try and say it`s OK, but our glorious leader has a degree in economics, so you will have to go against his grain and as far as I know most of the AA ( Arsenal Accountants ) are AKB`s !.

    Troubled times ahead I fear and if I`m honest, I wish we could have Uzzy or someone richer take over the club and be the only owner so we could compete with the aforementioned clubs. Some have said in the past that they would turn their backs on Arsenal if that happened, well good luck with that, easier said than done !……..due to the stress that this Arsenal love affair has caused me over the years I`ve tried it, but it`s in the blood and I cant walk a way….it will never happen so I`m not one of them, I have no principles and would sell my wife`s soul to the Devil for same sort of trophy cabinet that Chavs have had since they were formed in 2005 !…..anyway here`s the link !……will it still go under the radar or are you all hiding behind the sofa hoping it just goes away ?.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/11831675/Arsenal-manager-Arsene-Wenger-denounces-FFP-saying-club-can-no-longer-compete-with-Chelsea-and-Man-City.html

  2. njk84sg says:

    17ht sorry was already asleep when you replied.

    For Ollie and Rambo swap i am referring to reverting to 4-4-2 formation with theo and ollie up front. It gives us options in passing to not just one forward in the central area, but two.

    My motm will be Alexis, lively as ever. If Rambo is as accurate in his shooting as Alexis does he will be my motm.

    For the other comments, i will remember it. Sometimes my enthusiasm takes over and i find myself writing weird sentences. Will work on it. ☺

    TA, i agree with you that without Ozil we struggled to get close enough to make definite goals. Just paraphrasing there. And Ollie has good hold up play that we missed until he came on.

    Cheers,
    JK

  3. njk84sg says:

    And ah the week is good to us. Manu** lost to swans, meaning that our opponents bar the northern oilers lost their matches this week.

    Cheers,
    JK

  4. Gerry says:

    I’m late this morning, having awoken early then went back to sleep …

    Great report TA. I like the build up stuff. It is a long time since I have been to a ‘live’ game, and in that time the big, multi seating stadiums are about everywhere. Yet from the TV viewing it has never crossed my mind that you could be so high up so as not to recognize the players.
    However, I guess it was good to see how the tactics are played out?

    My first hope is that referees do not back track after this weekend. Perhaps something has gone on behind the scenes, post Ferguson, that some have woken up to the fact that players are valuable assets, not just cannon fodder?
    Note, I am only talking about the over-the-top stuff. We do not want it to become a non contact sport.
    I did not want to get into the Ozil thing, as we will never know what difference he might have made, and had he played someone else would have missed out. Where I do think we could have done more was in that 30 minutes before half time, whilst they were rattled. Much as I hate agreeing with the commentators, the fact that we were still playing the same against 10 as we were against 11, and they were now more compact, it did seem that they were right?
    A few tweaks here and there might have made something happen in the middle. Bringing on Giroud earlier being the obvious one?

    I thought Coquelin was immense, being the recipient of more than one dangerous foul. I am pretty sure any sign of a retaliatory foul would have seen red, such was the crowd’s pressure on the ref. Instead we stood firm and continued to play our pass and move game.

    Cockie missed out the one stat that has got to change, and that is our conversion rate. it is only 5%!. New striker or no new striker, improve that, and keep it at at consistent high level and we will keep tabs on Man City. The head to heads might decide how close, because at the moment it is not looking good. Add in KdB, and they look in good order for an unbeaten season? Let’s hope we can end that in our first meeting.

    Another thing that will be interesting to see how GP5 and Kos partnership do against a side with more attacking threat? I was glad Kos kept his left sided position, as it could be a pairing for the longer term. With Stoke our next game, and two players banned, it may be they keep their places? I got the feeling AW is very annoyed at Per over medical treatment (or lack of?), but I still think he was wrong to divulge that to the media?

    That’s my piece done.
    Cheers

  5. allezkev says:

    Great write up Total…
    I’ve been up there a couple of times, the last time ‘Up in the Gods’ in the away fans section.
    Got the same sensation on that steep terrace of almost falling forward, it’s too far away tbh, but there ya go…
    Like you, I cannot believe some of the criticism Arsenal are getting from our own fans.
    Only Man City are playing anywhere close to their best form.
    They will drop points and we will improve.
    If Arsenal are in crisis, as some in the media will have us believe, then what of Chelski?
    And Liverpool and Man Utd who have both spent considerably more than Arsenal…

  6. allezkev says:

    Cocker, I believe that UEFA bottled it because of threats to take them to the Civil Courts…

    So that’s that then, FFP is dead in the water…
    The next few years could be interesting as far as transfer policy is concerned…
    Do we join in the madness and compete?
    Or accept that we’re the poor relations for the duration?
    Luckily for me, I’ve always enjoyed the League Cup… 🙂

  7. The Cockie Monster says:

    Yes Gerry, our conversion rate is abysmal ,but is it just me in thinking that we have been shooting more from distance so far this season, most which are not troubling the keepers.
    Hi Allez.
    As I`ve always said, I would love us to have owners similar to Mansour City and Chavs as you wont find any of their fans complaining about the trophies they have bought !. Yes, we can take the moral high ground, but it`s a bit lame when all I( and plenty of others) want is to celebrate us winning trophies on a regular basis. I think we are strong for the next few seasons but it is the future which worries me when Mansour City reap the benefits of spending what they like after being given the go ahead by UEFA.
    The EPL could turn into another La Liga / SPL with only the rich winning it and only a once in a blue moon a team other than Mansour City/Manshafter Std or Chavs winning it !…….yes I know Chavs and Manshafter are not that brilliant at the moment, but their wealth will turn it around somewhere along the line.
    2004 since we last won the EPL and the winners since then back up what I`m saying. Only FFP gave us a hope of competing and up until this season with Mansour City having UEFA sanctions imposed and The Chavs following Arsenal`s blue print after being investigated did I think it was working. So unless we follow suit we will be an under tier team.
    Also !…it would not surprise me if once the Spuds are up and running with their new stadium that their owners ( being Spuds supporters…Lewis, Levy ) either start spending like the above teams or sell out to a mega money oligarch and then it will be time to have an intravenous drip speed dial to the Samaritans…………Dennis help us !.
    Not so much dooming, but more a concerned Gooner .
    Kroenke out !
    Rich Bastard In !.

  8. allezkev says:

    Cocker, there’s an interesting piece in the Irish Times about sports pay-TV.
    You might find it interesting?

    Having watched TV, via one of those TV internet boxes, that open you up to a world of free TV, including football, I wonder if the impending EPL TV deal could be one of the last of its type?

    Nothing lasts forever…

    But Cocker, if the EPL TV deals shrink, I wonder how long the Super-Rich will hang about?

  9. njk84sg says:

    Allezkev, if there are no more or a drop in tv deals, that will mean we will go back to the age where there will be no more northern oilers and manc sh**y will be a second tier team. Think the 80s english football scene.

  10. allezkev says:

    84, I actually think that Mansour is in it for the long term…

    He doesn’t need the TV money does he, it’s more of an ego thing with them I suspect.

  11. njk84sg says:

    Allezkev, but the issue is oil will deplete. Its not forever full. Sounds like i am talking about the environment here..

    But yes its became an ego thing since Mansour bought the team.

  12. The Cockie Monster says:

    Sorry Guys , but at my age I cant wait for all this supposedly oil running out and no TV deals shit !……………..I want to see us win the EPL in my life time !. hahaha

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks guys. Fine comments and all agreed re FFP. The money Citeh are spending is ridiculous and I hope they don’t win anything again this season. CoyG! 🙂

  14. The Cockie Monster says:

    They just put a stat up on Sky Sports news that with the signing of Martial for £36M ( a record for a teenager ), Van Gaal has spent over a quarter of a billion pounds since taking over !………It`s all gone fcuking mad !…………..add them to the list of not winning anything !.
    Can you imagine if Arsenal win some silver stuff and only spending a net amount of £8M !…………..please make it so !. hahaha

  15. FLO8 says:

    Great write up TA! Took me back 10 years ago when I was touring the UK following Arsenal and had the privilege of watching them play at St James Park! Certainly beats watching the Gunners at 1am in Australia.

    I really enjoyed your below commentary 17 on what Arsenal needed to try from an attacking sense versus Newcastle post the red card. Some good suggestions for future future matches when Arsenal are facing packed defences.

    ‘For me, it was clear that Newcastle–after the sending off at least–had zero intent to play our attackers offsides. As such, 1 v 1 and quick 1-2s are the only way past defenders. Otherwise, sending in crosses is another way to cause chaos but can lead to breaks the other way. Or shooting from distance or high angles can cause rebounds.’

    Whilst I implore Arsenal’s persistent and patient effort to probe Newcastle’s rear guard, and similar team’s who pack their defence with 10 players, in an attempt to craft a presentable goal scoring opportunity, I believe Arsenal need more variety in their attack to complement their primary attacking strategy. Whilst it appears as though hopeful crosses into the box is their backup attacking strategy, I would like to see more long range goal scoring attempts from their attacking triumvirate playing behind the central striker. With the likes of Rosicky, Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey, Ox viable options to play in those three positions, Arsenal have the players with the necessary attributes to be effective at long range shooting. Furthermore as was demonstrated during the Newcastle matches, Arsenal created its best goal scoring chance (Theo’s close range miss and Ox’s goal) off the back of long range goal scoring attempts.

  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    Quick one here…but I wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading that one TA… It sounded like a truly fine day out! I’m envious of both your getting to see the matches live and your great attitude about the football. Keep it up!

    Enjoyed the story of the Cockster’s day in, too… 😀

    Cheers FLO8… Indeed the shots from distance yielded the best chance (Theo’s shinner) and the put back for the goal…

    Anyhow, not much time to comment here, but I think the result–esp. as other big clubs had trouble with theirs–softens just about everything. Like Theo (and others) are saying, at least we’re making chances…Soon enough they’ll start going in… Like most analysts are saying we shouldn’t take too much from the match–except maybe that we looked good early on, kept our heads as the Toonies lost theirs (Le Coq, as Gerry points out, did particularly well in this regard) and then controlled the match from there on in. Yes, more goals would’ve been nice, but we snuffed things out nicely whenever they got a moment of possession. Gabriel has looked very tidy in his couple of appearances, IMO…

    I don’t know what to say about the transfer stuff except that it’s just absurd, Actually, I wrote something about it yesterday (a post for deadline day) during the lopsided So’ton match, so maybe tonight I can look that over and publish it. Otherwise, we probably need to just carry on, keep the stiff upper lip, etc., etc…

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers guys 🙂

    Freddie, nice to know you live so far away, yet you have been to see the Magpies 🙂

    seventeenho looking fwd to your post. 🙂

    Great posts Cockiest Cockie. 🙂
    We might still sign an attacker before tomorrow 6PM, fingers crossed. Surely Wenger did not let the Pod go and send Sanogo and Akpom on loan without a plan… 😕

    Key is though that we are not selling our top players and keep growing from within.

  18. njk84sg says:

    Arghhh the torture window has just saw other teams finalising moves but we havent!!! Should we sack the person involved in discussions? Or should we bring in the person involved in blotting the man** keeper transfer?

    Anyway, 17ht,
    Yes, same as TA, very looking forward to your post on the TW.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post, new post

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