I dont usually write a blog so close to the end of a game. I usually wait for all the weekend/week games to help give a more objective view, but I can’t let the debacle of the Newcastle game go without some fresh thoughts.
It was the Arsenal Jekyll and Hyde we saw in spectacular fashion. Championship winning 45 minutes in the 1st half, and I don’t know how to describe the performance in the 2nd half. This is not the first time we’ve only showed up for part of a game, but even at 4-0 we all thought job done.
To lose a 4 goal lead (first time in EPL history) is unforgivable. I have blogged my views on our fate this season but even I was left dumbfounded by our capitulation. With Djourou going off injured, what a surprise AW reluctance to buy re-enforcements is going to cost us.
Why did this happen at St. James’s Park? A few factors:
1. We can’t defend – we can’t even see out a game leading by 4 goals! How can AW not have bought a CB in the window – criminal.
2. No leader – I love Cesc but he isn’t the leader we need in this team. Someone else needs to step up/AW has to buy someone in. We need someone who could have grabbed the players by the scruff of the necks and haul them over the finish line to ensure we win. This is the 4th time recently we have let good/big leads slip – Spurs 4-4, Wigan 2-3, Spurs 2-3 and now Newcastle 4-4 – we need a big leader. Chelsea and Man Utd would never let a sizable lead slip.
3. Diaby – just because he looks like Vieira I think we all give him a chance. Well, sorry Abou, this latest incident could mean the end of your brief, stuttering Arsenal career. But can you blame him? He was certainly a silly boy, but if you watch the tackle,given previous history with his glass legs, I don’t blame him for reacting: http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xgwj72
In this day and age you simply can’t react. Barton’s tackle was a leg breaker.And if Diaby was to be sent off – then how did Nolan stay on the pitch when he got Chesney in a head lock when our GK wouldn’t give the ball back? It was OK though, Dowd adminstered punishment – he booked Chesney!
4. Last but not least, and although I have a lot to say on this point, it is only 1 ingredient of a bad Arsenal mixture at Newcastle, Phil Dowd – supposed professional referee.
Twice in 2 weeks I can honestly say we have had the worst 2 ref performances I have seen in this country.
It wasn’t looking good when this Barton ‘tackle’ in the 1st half went completly un-punished: http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xgwiyk
He went straight through AA, but it was OK because he got the ball.
Next was that Barton tackle on Diaby that went un-punished, but for me, the final insult was the 2nd penalty decision for Newcastle (the 1st was dubious as well) – http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xgwjhq – how on earth is this a penalty?
Again, I am not laying complete blame for this debacle on Dowd’s shoulders but he certainly didn’t help our cause!!!
Finally, I want to raise something that I heard on the Radio 5 Live’s commentary of the game in the first half that left me appalled. Danny Mills, co-commentator, said that he thought Newcastle defender Coloccini should not have allowed Theo to get past him for the 1st goal – he should have tugged his shirt or pull him down and run the risk of a red card. How can such a view be allowed to be aired publically – Mills said that Coloccini should have cheated in order to stop Theo. No wonder English football is in a state if anyone else agrees with this.
Our only bright spot so far is that United lost meaning we actually gained a point on them and keeps our Invicibles immortal for a while longer. I hope they remain immortal forever!