Before the first minute of the match had even ticked over, Jorginho received his first pass of the game and moved the ball on to Gabriel, but a second after the ball had gone Calumn Wilson ran over and shoulder barged Jorginho to the ground. Jorginho raised his hands as if to say “what the fuck??” and the referee, of course, called nothing.
That would be the tone for the entire match: Newcastle United players running around shouldering, slapping, and studs-up tackling Arsenal players while referee Chris Kavanagh called literally nothing. Newcastle wouldn’t even get a yellow card until the 73rd minute, when Dan Burn went in studs up on Saka. They got their second yellow card when Fabian Schaar (part time footballer, full time stiff) tried to pick a fight with Eddie Nketiah in the 93rd minute. It was, to be blunt, an absolutely disgraceful performance from the Saudi backed team.
Only one team showed up yesterday to play football, Arsenal. Joelinton, Wilson, Shaar, Burn, Guimares, and Trippier came to scrap.
Joey Barlinton hasn’t really played football for a few years now. The former striker turned midfield enforcer (because, let’s face it, he’s shit with the ball and also can’t score) just runs around shouldering people off the ball these days. That’s all he did today.
Calumn Wilson wrecked anyone near him any time he could, right from the start.
Fabian Schaar went in like a wrecking ball on Jesus and Xhaka on one play, which, you’ll not be surprised, led to a big chance for Arsenal. He also scored an own goal for Arsenal, which was funny but had he not scored that own goal, Ødegaard would have had a tap in at the far post.
Dan Burn was the king of the studs up tackle, got himself a yellow card for it.
Bruno Guimares scraped his studs down Saka’s ankle “on accident” and wrecked Jorginho in the 2nd half.
Trippier tried to fight Gabriel Jesus and literally Jesus said to him, “ok, then, come on” and demanded the throw in, he won the ball and passed it to Nelli, who passed to Øde, and forced a huge save from Poep. Right after Jesus won the ball and passed it Trippier threw Jesus to the ground.
It would have been comical stuff if it hadn’t all been so serious. As Arsenal supporters we are well aware of the supposed reputation for a “soft underbelly”. Teams are often told to go out and rough us up. Tony Pulis would whip his players into a frenzy before the match, like some bald, four-eyed Orc king. And while Taylor didn’t intend to break Eduardo’s leg, the tackle itself was intentional, the Birmingham boss (Alex McLeish) absolutely told the players to leave one on Arsenal early, let them know that they were in for a contest, “make them earn the right to play”, and all of that other nonsense that shit coaches tell their shit teams to do to Arsenal.
And that’s fine. We stood up to it. We won. We beat Newcastle at their home, playing actual football, while they played Stoke-ball. And the fucked-up thing is that they could have gotten a result from this game, if they’d tried to play a little football. They have a ton of talent on that team and Isak and Shaar nearly scored a goal each, while Ramsdale was called upon to make several saves and Xhaka had to clean up Kiwior’s mess with an astute tackle. If they had even remotely tried to match Arsenal, to press Arsenal high up the pitch, I think they could have gotten something from this game. But they were too preoccupied with trying to play physical, rather than play football.
The funny part of all this is that their shit fans booed the referees after the match. Lol. Fucking lol. Referee Chris Kavanaugh literally let them run around punching and kicking and did nothing. And their shit manager complained after the match that Arsenal were time wasting. Lol. Fucking lol.
After writing these blogs now for almost 16 years I can tell you definitively that I have seen literally hundreds of managers who waste time, who slow the game down, whose players will feign injury, who will foul constantly, and then turn around the very next match and complain when the opponent does the same. I’ve seen it so much that I don’t even think it’s hypocritical anymore. I’m guessing it’s something that they teach new managers in the first few weeks of “being manager” training.
When Newcastle came to Ashburton Grove, they spent the entire 90 minutes trying to negate play. It was one of the most laughable performances I’ve ever seen from a team backed by literally trillions of dollars. So, yes, of course Eddie Howe complained about Arsenal “timewasting” or “diving” or whatever.
What those two performances prove to me is that Eddie Howe is afraid of Arsenal and Mikel Arteta. If you’ve ever played the game, you know that those are the tactics you apply when you are outclassed. You simplify the game, you go physical, you try to hit on the counter. Jose Mourinho, Sam Allardyce, Eddie Howe: football 101. But the thing that makes them coward’s performances is that Newcastle have a hell of a good team. They aren’t Stoke City or Bolton, they are a well-funded team with incredibly good players. If their coach was any good, he’d have had them playing excellent football by now and they wouldn’t have been afraid to match Arsenal on the pitch, instead of the wrestling ring.
All it proves to me is that Eddie Howe will be out of a job as soon as his Saudi overlords can tap up Roberto De Zerbi.