I put the blog down with 20 minutes left to get to Doyle’s. Then I started searching for my wallet and keys. Nothing… nope, not here… shit, where did it go? Not in the car, not on the mantle, not in the kitchen, WHERE THE FUCK IS MY WALLET?
Fortunately my girlfriend is a saint. She got up, dug around and got me $20. I grabbed my passport and drove out to catch the first half. I’ll worry about the wallet after the match.
The first half saw Arsenal playing very well, moving the ball, opening up Newcastle’s defense, keeping possession, and shooting on goal. Given was having a whale of a first half so nothing was going to go in. But Arsenal looked great in the first half. Even Diaby was having a decent half — sure he turned the ball over a lot and dribbled too much but at some point he stopped trying to be too intricate and started passing and even had a great shot on goal well saved by Given. Not too sure about some of the commentary saying that Newcastle “regularly worried” Arsenal in the first half: I’d hardly call two shots on goal “regular worry.”
The second half saw Arsenal rip Newcastle to shreds. The first goal came when the ball fell to Adebayor after an Eduardo rocket that hit the post and Ade left footed past everyone and into the corner of the net. Say what you will about him, he is pure talent in front of the goal in my mind.
For the next 30 minutes, Newcastle bumbled around toothlessly attacking and Arsenal looked like to score. Then Wenger subbed in Hleb and Gilberto for Diaby and Theo and the match opened up significantly. Within minutes, Flamini had won the ball and it was moved to Ade who held off two defenders and fired home a powerful side foot past Given that bounced in off some Newcastle defender.
The third goal was an own goal off Butt and well, just icing on the cake. Arsenal looked like to score anyway so it’s not like the goal was undeserved.
Afterwards Keegan claimed that Newcastle outplayed Arsenal in the first half and even Wenger saw that to some extent, but really only very early in the match. By the time I got there (12th minute) Arsenal looked the dominant side and I found myself saying that if every team played Arsenal in this open and attacking style, it seems they would win nearly every match. Since Newcastle came to actually play football instead of act like a bunch of shit-kicking cunts, there was so much space for Cesc to play in, Flamini was allowed to work the midfield and the wing players were given space to run. This in turn opened spaces for the forwards and that led to chances on goal.
Credit to Newcastle, then, for coming to play. Credit to Arsenal for taking advantage of it. Credit to Adebayor for playing at the highest level. And credit to Flamini for providing the engine to the midfield. An all around enjoyable match to watch.
Oh, and afterwards, I found my wallet in the car. So, the whole day is coming up aces. Have a great night!