MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1, St James’ Park, 29/Aug/15, KO: 12:45, Premier League. Att: 50,388.

by • August 30, 2015 • Match reportsComments (23)2330

The narrative of this game will be of course be the performance of Andre Marriner and his officials. The general football public will have their opinion formed largely by the highlights show Match of The Day. The tabloid football press, with its one dimensional view of the game will, as ever, focus on a few highlights, post-match interviews and fail to highlight the inconsistencies and failings of a Premier League referee and his officials who were rank throughout.

For the record, yes, Arsenal should have had a penalty in the first half as they attacked the Leazes End where Thauvin accidentally clicked the heels of Héctor Bellerín. Accident or not, that was a penalty.

Dealing with the main incident of Mitrovic’s sending off and you cannot separate it from the yellow card Marriner gave to Sissoko only minutes earlier. Both were for the same offence but one is a yellow and the other a Red. That’s a nonsense! Both were fouls of that there is no doubt. But why the Red for Mitrovic? This is a problem of referees hArsenalhome15.16aving their heads filled with the nonsense of football’s chattering classes and their knee-jerk desperate need to provide click-bait for their advertisers. For evidence of this, I recommend you have a read of Steve Stammers’ lamentable match report in The Mirror, which isn’t even one-dimensional. It might have been written by someone on the top deck of the No.40 trundling up Barrack Road at 1:30. It’s a complete load of shite.

The narrative of Mitrovic as a hot-head who has picked up two yellow cards in his first two cameo substitutions and who had a colourful career in Belgium! None of these experts are really clued up about Belgium so just stick to the two sub appearances. In the interests of their pathetic agenda, forget about his excellent performance at Old Trafford last week when he led the line brilliantly and was on the end of some really rough-house treatment from the Man Utd backline. Ignore that though, it doesn’t fit with the narrative.

I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever had the tackle been from Walcott on say Sissoko, there may not even have been any card given at all. This is the nature of refereeing in the Premier League in 2015. We will see plenty more of it this season.

The highlights show will not demonstrate Marriner and his officials getting so many of the basics of refereeing plain wrong. By way of example in the run up to the Arsenal goal, the ball had been out of play on the Milburn side, Gallowgate half. I know because I was one of the thousands howling at the linesman for his error and I know he wasn’t even looking at the ball as it went out of play. As was Steve McClaren who saw exactly what every person in the Milburn saw and a fair chunk of the Gallowgate. A matter of seconds later it’s in the back of our net. There was another incident when the ball had again gone out of play at the Gallowgate End and that was missed by the Referee and the linesman. There was another incident similar in the first half across at the East Stand, Leazes half but I’m not 100% sighted on that.

What will also go without mention is the diving and blatant feigning of injury by Arsene Wenger’s team. For all the LeazesSoulsupposed physicality of our United team, I don’t think I saw an Arsenal sponge on the pitch all game. I don’t think they lost a player to injury or made any substitutions for that reason.

There will also be little analysis of Marriner’s complete and utter failure to punish Arsenal’s series of professional fouls as we broke forward and had players checked and pulled back. What advantage we gained in several of those moments is open to debate but any half-way decent referee would have followed them up by pulling back play and issuing yellow cards for cynical foul play. Marriner is far from a decent referee.

For the record, Arsenal’s play was excellent. They are a million miles better than us at playing possession and passing football. They are a team who are really good to watch and on the balance of play I have no complaint to them picking up three points.

There were several reasons however at the end of the game why the vast majority of the United faithful stayed to the final whistle and applauded the team off. One was because many of us felt we had been the victims of unjust and incompetent refereeing but had failed to crumble and fall on the end of a good hiding as we unquestionably would have done had Pardew and especially Carver been in the dug-out. I was happy to applaud the team’s spirit and resilience.

I believe the home support recognised McClaren’s progress with this team. As was demonstrated at Old Trafford last week our team looks more defensively organised this season than it has for a number of years. Remember in successive weeks Man U and Arsenal have failed to score against us. The Arsenal goal was a speculative cross goal shot that unfortunately caught the heel of Colo. That is something to view very positively because last season defensively we were shambolic.

There are also individual performances that are worthy of mention as well.

Tim Krul looks more like the ‘keeper he was eighteen months ago and appears now to thriving again in a post-Woodman era. He looks confident, agile and as well as getting the basics right, he’s also pulling off saves that keep us in games. You might point to less than perfect kicking but the glass is far more half full than empty as far as Krul is concerned.

I had thought our Capitano’s powers were on the wane and God knows what games were being played in the summer GallowgateSoulregarding his future. But he’s put in successive performances against top level opposition which show his previous intelligence, anticipation, authority and organisational skills are far from gone. It may well be that the anxiety caused by the UXB that is Mike Williamson and the arrival of Chancel Mbemba and return from injury of Steven Taylor have given Colo a new lease of life. I don’t know really but I do know I enjoy watching one of the finest defenders I’ve seen in 40+ years watching United back to something approaching his best.

As a unit our defence already looks light years better than what it has been in recent seasons. I’ve enjoyed watching our team forming a solid, tight, hard-working unit which for all their possession Man United and Arsenal failed to break down. Lots of us (myself included) identified the left-back spot as one that might needed strengthening and while that may well be the case it would be churlish not to recognise the two good games Haidara has just had.

Thauvin has already done more in his young United career than Cabella did the whole of last season and in Wijnaldum we have a player who already looks like he belongs in the Premier League and who I expect will become stronger and stronger.

I’m also happier with our bench than at any time over the recent years and it’s a real positive that we can bring Ayoze Perez off the bench with Siem De Jong. I still think we are short of creativity and goals but it would be plain silly to fail to recognise the improvement in quality available for selection this season as opposed to last.

We will spend the international break in the bottom three and we know goals could be in more plentiful supply as could creativity. This is a team that is showing positive signs though I don’t believe it is anywhere near to achieving Mike Ashley’s target of a top 6 placing this season without additional investment over the next few days. But there is reason to believe things are getting better and why McClaren is earning our confidence.

Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Daryl Janmaat, Chancel Mbemba, Fabricio Coloccini, Massimo Haidara, Vurnon Anita (Ayoze Perez 72), Jack Colback, Moussa Sissoko (Papiss Cisse 78), Georginio Wijnaldum, Florian Thauvin (Siem De Jong 87), Alek Mitrovic.

Unused Subs: Gabriel Obertan, Chieck Tiote, Karl Darlow, Steven Taylor.

Man of the Match: Fabricio Colocinni

Our Fans: 8/10: Solid. Defiant.

Their Fans: 6/10: Good numbers. Dull. Quiet.


MICHAEL MARTIN – Follow Michael on @tfeditor1892 TF_INITIALS_LOGO

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23 Responses to MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1, St James’ Park, 29/Aug/15, KO: 12:45, Premier League. Att: 50,388.

  1. Kev Connolly says:

    Well done Michael. That report matches up with the game I witnessed yesterday. Watching MotD you’d think Arsenal didn’t make any tackles themselves. It was especially annoying when you see an example of blatant cheating go unpunished, when the lad leapt clear of a challenge by Thauvin, rolled around in “agony” then jumped to his feet when the ref (for once) gave nothing.

    • Rob says:

      Amateur theatrics seem to be a completely fine part of the game no: no pundit ever singles out a player for trying to get another professional sent off. Absolutely horrible behaviour.

  2. Pat Hughes says:

    Agreed – spot on report. Didn’t watch MOTD because I couldn’t be bothered to get cross with their blinkered opinions – I know what I saw. I’ve always liked Arsenal but their remit yesterday was to flounce around like fairies, maximum rolling with facial agony and then get up, limp for a second or two and race off at great speed. Hated the theatrics and tactics from the visitors but loved the determination and support from our lot.

    • Davey says:

      Pat, they’ve been that way since Wenger turned up, before that they were far more dirty and aggressive than anything we were supposedly guilty of yesterday. The sports media as a whole in this country is at an all time low in terms of agendas and pandering to a specified target audience, Christ, they can’t even label up the correct names of some of this countries sporting institutions for fear of upsetting the ‘brand’ name of the two biggest Manchester clubs.

      • Pat Hughes says:

        You’re probably right but I am so sick of double standards, pandering to the rich owners, Sky etc, the word ‘sport’ should be reported to Trading Standards! Just caught part of the Swans / Man Utd match on R5L – didn’t catch the incident itself but the commentator said ‘it’s more a case of head too low than boot too high’ – says it all really. Wish I could remember when and why but I complained to the BBC about comments made on MOTD a few years back. They did reply but it was more a pat on the head, there there, you’re not that important, you’re deluded now go away

  3. SteveP says:

    ‘For the record, Arsenal’s play was excellent. They are a million miles better than us at playing possession and passing football.’
    And for that precise reason, that is why they won’t win the league in the near future, they just wouldn’t have a shit at times.
    The favouritism and incompetence of Marriner and his assistants requires no comments for that is exactly what their performance was

  4. SteveP says:

    That should of course say, take a shot!

  5. Ian Summers says:

    Comparing anyone on the top deck of the no. 40 bus to the prejudiced media responsible for the shite written and spoken about our club is out of order Michael? Following the match from afar on the BBC website was revealing. Most of the media have their reports ready before the match has started it seems.
    McLaren and his coaches has done an impressive job getting his squad organized so quickly and results will follow, referees permitting. The new signings are impressive and the likes of Perez can only benefit from the competition within the squad. I hope Mourinho doesn’t drop Ivanovic when we play them because we could have a field day there? 25th of October should be interesting too.

  6. Bob says:

    As for MotD we have seen the one sided comments many times before and just goes to show you cannot trust the other matches highlights/comments on the basis that they are also likely to be as lopsided. Didn’t expect Keown to say anything else and for that reason he shouldn’t have been allowed to.
    They should be reported to the tv ombudsman. It will be interesting to see if the referees officials take any action.

    • Lofty says:

      Good point about Keown Bob. How can he get away with condoning the harassment of referees? I haven’t forgotten Lee Dixon’s appaling treatment of Ginola in a League Cup QF many years ago. That’ll be OK though…

  7. tom Bates says:

    I though it was a debatable red card but Mitrovic could easily have been sent off against Soton and got away with it so hard to have much sympathy. He is far from the first player to fall foul of inconsistent refereeing and the likes of Cabaye for us in the past and Stephen Taylor have got away with murder. McLaren has said previously that Mitrovic needs to calm down so it isn’t just motd’s fault . On the plus side it is good that fans are recognising that we haven’t been anywhere near as bad as 2 points from 4 game’s would suggest. Apart from the Swansea game they have aquitted themselves well without the luck needed to get results from tight games.

  8. SteveP says:

    Oh, and 8 forgot to mention this…
    ‘I recommend you have a read of Steve Stammers’ lamentable match report in The Mirror’
    So much for the ‘preferred media partner’, you’d have thought they’d at least tried to put a positive spin on it

  9. Andy bee says:

    Great report spot on. Gotta get little Perez in the starting line up somehow his cameo at old Trafford was majestic he’s a joy on the ball and a devil without it……fantastic work rate!
    Agree with all of the organisational comments we have reason to be positive and definitely no point looking at league position after four games. Wembley and Derby wins ahead.

  10. Matt Flynn says:

    I’ve got a more dispassionate eye nowadays and was cringing at our supporters reaction to a very mundane display from the ref. Mitrovic knew what he was doing, Mbemba committed two cynical blocking fouls in the space of twenty 15 minutes. Let off for the first, booked for the second. Thauvin had no control of what he was doing when he lunged in and Wijnaldum was obviously mouthing off. Colo was unlucky to be booked but overall the ref was far more professional than a lot of ours players.

    The pattern of the game before and after the red card was virtually indistinguishable. If Walcott (shit footballer) hadn’t been playing up top we’d have been stuffed.

    Four games in we are second bottom having scored two goals in four games. Early days yet but my money is on us being a very boring team this season.

    • Rob says:

      Four games in and we’ve played Southampton, Swansea, Arsenal, and Manchester United. A pretty tricky start for a side with a new manager, new players, and trying to put 3 years of poor coaching and lack of tactical nous behind us. I wouldn’t ascribe too much competitive significance to our league performance this season to be honest. It won’t be popular to say, but providing we don’t go down, this season is all about beginning something of a rebuilding project. It’s about McClaren being given time to implement his ideas, along with the lads on the coaching team, who seem a lot more progressive than their predecessors. I think having Steve Black on board is a sign that we’re approaching things more professionally than we did under Pardew.
      I’d much rather we were a boring team with some semblance of tactical vision than an exciting one that folded at the first sign of trouble.

      • Matt Flynn says:

        A fair analysis. NUFC were in an almighty mess from top to bottom when he arrived. It will take time to implement a better mentality on the training ground, but football is all about momentum and tricky start (or not) results need to improve soon.

        SM might not be Pardew but nor is he Renus Michels. There is no great masterplan in the background, no tactical philosophy underpinning the future. He’s a mediocre manager at what is now a mediocre club. That’s it.

        • Rob says:

          I think McClaren does have a tactical philosophy. Comparing him to managers like Rinus Michels or, in the modern day, Guardiola, isn’t entirely fair because you have to compare him against his competitors. We could never attract a manager like that under this regime. It’s like comparing us at the moment to a Chelsea or Man City. When you compare him against the men he was *apparently* in the running against, I would rather have him than either Galtier or Garde, as both would have represented huge gambles. Would have loved Tuchel but he’s hardly going to choose us over Dortmund.
          McClaren is a step up from Pardew I think.

          • Peter Davis says:

            Not being funny like but, if SM is a step up from Pardew, how come Palace are flying at the moment, and looking better than we do?

  11. Andy bee says:

    Mediocre club Matt? Go support someone else!

  12. GARETH'S DAD says:

    To all detractors of our manager/team, a solution – if you want to watch boring, tippy-tappy football, managed by a whingeing,excuse laden manager and played by a team of screeching,cheating wimps then settle in front of your sky channel and watch as your glory boy teams qualify for Europe etc.Otherwise, like 40,000+mags on Saturday who appreciated that the 10 men were giving their all and supported them accordingly get behind them and be realistic.A further message to Arsenal fans – singing” your support is fucking shit” to us is laughable,so back to the”library” and boos/Wenger out when you don’t win at home – and speaking of Wenger,”Newcastle were physical” indeed, like Adams,Bould,Keown,Dixon,Winterburn etc.were ball playing gentlemen. Like me, as he gets more senile he loses the plot.

  13. Bob says:

    Pardew has obviously found “his” club. Some managers fail at a few clubs but find a home somewhere where it just works for some reason. Sometimes they make a mistake by moving on to a “bigger” club. Let’s see how he does over a few seasons. Most of the Palace players were there already and they had a coaching set up. His biggest signing was a player well known to him so no gamble there. Telling that he only came back for the keeper coach.