Newcastle 0-0 Arsenal, frustration mounts, indiscipline rife…

The season has kicked off and football is back in a big way.

Yesterday’s game left a sour feeling amongst all Arsenal fans, whilst not trying to be overly negative, my honest feeling yesterday was a feeling of failing to correct the problems from last season, a lack of ideas and a lack of leadership. It was very frustrating to see the team play out the game yesterday – we seem really low on confidence and personally, lacking fitness – I saw most of the Newcastle team beat a lot of our players for pace – we did look leggy.

  • Physical condition, 80%
  • Mental condition, 50%

At least it means we can improve! And we have to – with Udinese on Tuesday, we really have to improve. If we play like we did against Newcastle, then I don’t think we’ll beat Udinese… Okay, back to the game yesterday, and let’s take a look at the starting line up:

Szcznesy

Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Gibbs

Ramsey – Song

Gervinho – Rosicky – Arshavin

Van Persie

With a bench of Fabianski, Djourou, Frimpong, Walcott, Oxlade, Chamakh and Jenkinson

The summary of the game can only be described as the opposite of last season’s game. In terms of performance, we concentrated well in defence, although at times, the positioning of Koscielny was very worrying!

Style

The style of football wasn’t as free flowing as we’re used to – as mentioned above, the fitness levels didn’t seem quite there – perhaps a sign of our tour not having the same impact as the previously pre-seasons. We kept the ball down but a lot of our passing was misplaced. Newcastle’s physical approach meant we didn’t get any time on the ball and when we did, the wrong decisions were made. We did opt for quite a few long balls during the game, which is an unusual for us but also a sign of panic.

Quality

Without the likes of Nasri, Cesc, Wilshere, Diaby – we did lack the spark of creativity and calmness and for that reason we lacked quality in attack. Robin Van Persie shows signs of skills but mentally, he wasn’t at the races – the departures of key players, surely having an effect on his physci. Our new signing, Gervinho looked good in spurts but lacked the final ball. He did well in the dribble and did well linking up with the rest of his team mates – he has a big future at the Arsenal, but unfortunately, he will now miss the next three games.

Discipline

One thing that was noteable, was a high level of frustration in the team, which exerted itself in misplaced passes and fouls across the pitch. Alex Song should have been sent off for his horrible stamp on Joey Barton and Gervinho’s reaction to Barton’s throat grab was not what we want to see – Barton was wholeheartedly in the wrong, but slapping or punching a player is a red and we have no excuses. Arsene needs to instil discipline into our squad – with the squad thin bare, big players sold and injuries always mounting, suspensions is the last thing we need. The refereeing was harsh and unfair, Barton should have also seen red.

Arsene commenting: “I think I saw two yellows or two reds but not one yellow and one red.”

And on the game, he said:

“I thought we had a solid performance and were in control. Newcastle had last season’s 4-4 more in their mind than we did. They organised not to concede goals, defended well and it was very difficult for us because we played a team who was highly focused to defend. We missed something, the regret is that we missed something in the final third and in the speed of our passing. But, overall, we had a good performance. I can’t remember giving Newcastle a chance at goal and, away from home, you have to give credit to our team for that.”

There are positives to be taken, and Gervinho, despite his sending off, was a bright spark – Theo is back and played well on his return to the team – we looked good defensively overall. Arshavin was in the press via his own site yesterday and said this:

“Arsenal was dominating the pitch, held the initiative. In my opinion, the opponent didn’t have a single scoring chance. Perhaps, in some moment we were not quick enough. Maybe, in general, we lacked a little sharpness. Up until the last minute of the match I believed in our win.When the referee showed him the red card, I had a feeling strikingly different from the one I had experienced last season. A year ago I would have thought that now we could concede. But this time, on the contrary, I felt that we would manage to press on and win in the minority. Of course, now we are upset that we didn’t get enough points.”

And finally, a shout out to Gary Neville, who despite his background of being United’s right back for the last 10 years, which means he’s never sat well with Arsenal fans. Neville is now a pundit, and I expected a lot of anti-Arsenal and pro-United speak in his punditry, but I  have to admit, there has been quite a surprise in his comments. If you haven’t read this, then please do….

“If you buy a house, you’re investing for 20 years of your life. And in those first few years, when the mortgage payments are a bit tough, unfortunately you might have to cut down on your holidays. That’s the equivalent of what Arsene Wenger has done these last six years.”

And courtesy of @ArsenalChina, this is how you say Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in Chinese: 阿莱克斯·奥克斯雷德-张伯伦. Anyone up for putting that on their shirt?

  • Bonathan

    Well, we never looked liked conceding. that is true. i thought we played pretty well first half but no cutting edge. second half was a bit of a null affair. poor.

    good to have TV at the back. KOS looked good as well but i’d love to see TV paired with cahill. i think it’d be pretty formidable. Gibbs did ok and gives us a bit more height than clichy. Let’s hope he can reamin injury free. I think he has a better delivery than clichy as well.

    Ramsey looked good as well.

    Gervinho looked pretty good in the first half but i thought he struggled as the match went on. This is to be expected with your first taste of the pace of the premiership and his body will adapt. I thought wenger should have beared this in mind with his substituions and should have replace gervinho rather than arsharvin. i thought that was a bad decision. What is it with subbing arsharvin every single game anyway?? does he not think he can last the 90 mins?

    I actually thought walcott was poor when he came on. Everybody knows what he wants to do and his delivery was poor whenever he did get to a position to cross. He needs to drift inside more and have a bit more to his game. even just look for a pass a bit more rather than kicking and running all the time.

    Rosicky looked ok first half but was another who drifted out of the game second half. that was our problem, our attacking players weren’t really at it. rosicky, gervinho went missing second half and arsharvin was taken off and replaced by the one trick pony walcott.

    who knows, perhaps we’d have got a goal if gervinho hadn’t been so stupid, but he was, and we didn’t. I don’t think our wide players come inside enough and there’s not enough runs for the midfielders to get up with RVP. he still seems to isolated to many times.

  • jackisthefuture

    @ Bonathan:
    I think Walcott needs to play alongside VP in a 442 – Rosicky didn’t add much to the play – we don’t need Rosicky & Ramsey in the same side as they both occupy the same space…

  • jackisthefuture

    @ devday:
    Agree – we looked off the pace and off the pace in mindset too – I think we will improve.

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    i reckon song had a good game to be fair yeah the stamp was wrong but lets not dwell on that. What would improve the line up would be wilshere and song together, moving ramsey into where rosicky played, then gervinho on the left and walcott on the right, with obviously RVP the spearhead. If we do get Jadson though, he would deputize in the position where rosicky played and id go with song and wilshere in the whole with ramsey to come on, i also think Ryo Miyaichi and AOC could do a good job on one of the wings but due to their inexperience and being young i’m sure Wenger will make them earn their chance at being in the starting lineup through substitute appearances. All in all, i’m happy with the point we GAINED because we kept a clean sheet and didn’t necessarily have our strongest team out. Looking forward to seeing if we beat Udinese on Tuesday

  • Kodjo

    Interesting and balanced view from Gary Neville…not my favourite player in his days but certainly a player who used his head and made a great career inspite of his limitations.

    There was no need for Song’s stamp…Tiote certainly swiped Gervinho’s left leg…did he go down too easily, yes…but there was contact…refs need to stamp out provocative behavior…having said that Barton is a marked man for the rest of the season….mark my words!

    @ Gervinho…welcome to the premier league!!!!

  • CON-MAN

    players should of warned gervinho about barton, that said the g neville quote is very accurate. However going on 7 years no holidays is horrible. Can we at least do a weekend in Bournemouth?

  • AmriGooner

    It is official everybody, Cesc Fabregas has left the Emirates.