Let’s get the main talking point out of the way so we can deal with the most worrying outcome of the match – namely, Arsenal’s continued inability to break down a half-decent defence without Fabregas or Nasri.
Up until the 76th minute of a dull match, Gervinho had been the game’s most exciting player. He often used his skill and pace to work himself into promising positions, but wasted them all with a poor final ball thanks to a lack of composure. Then he cut inside Tiote in the box, hoping for a penalty, and when he felt contact he went down. Is that a dive? I don’t think so – if you trick your opponent into a lunge and are touched, you are entitled to go down in my opinion. Replays clearly showed Tiote caught him so it should’ve been a penalty. I don’t need to describe what happened next, everybody’s seen it by now, but I have these observations to make:
- Barton dragging Gervinho to his feet by his shirt in an overly-aggressive manner was worthy of a red card. After all, isn’t that what Diaby got sent off for at St James Park last year? Once again we are on the wrong end of inconsistent refereeing.
- Barton going down clutching his face to get a fellow pro sent off is typical of the scumbag. Let’s face it, if he wasn’t blessed with footballing talent he’d have spent the past week looting with his chav family so sadly I’d expect nothing less from such a conniving, weasly runt.
- Steven Taylor shouting at the ref to send Gervinho off by mimicking a swung elbow was disgraceful. Asked after the match what he thought of the sending off, Taylor looked sheepish and said “I didn’t see anything.” Really Steven? Then why did you sprint to the ref to whine that Barton had been elbowed you cheating prick? We know you didn’t see an elbow because there wasn’t one. Shame on you.
- Gervinho is stupid for slapping Barton and by the letter of the law he had to go.
- The whole squad need to learn not to react to provocation. Diaby last year, now Gervinho and don’t forget Song’s cowardly stamp on Barton in retaliation to a hard tackle. We need to grow up and show some maturity – Gervinho played right into Barton’s hands.
Right, now onto more concerning matters, like how the hell are we going to score against Udinese, Liverpool and Man Utd if we can’t create chances against a team like Newcastle? I can think of one save in the whole match by Krul, which was so comfortable even Almunia would’ve caught it.
The sad truth is this – without Fabregas or Nasri we are impotent and our game is easy to nullify by defending deep and waiting for us to run out of ideas. If Wenger doesn’t sign a top quality creative midfielder I can’t see us finishing in the top four.
You dirty little scumbag Barton
Today’s midfield was Song, Rosicky and Ramsey. Song did his job reasonably well but the other two were anonymous and Ramsey is clearly not ready to be first choice. The game’s only moment of creativity came from Arshavin (who otherwise was quiet and disinterested) when his scooped pass put van Persie clear, but the Dutchman’s touch was poor and the chance was snuffed out. In fact Robin looked very rusty and he miscontrolled a few times – we need him to find top form if we’re to get any joy from August’s fixture list.
I’m struggling to find any positives, but Szczesny and Koscielny coped admirably with what little they were asked to do – greater tests lie ahead of course. Off the pitch Liverpool’s draw at home is good news as I think we’ll be fighting them for fourth place. And it was also encouraging to hear our away support chant “Spend some fu**ing money!” at Wenger. The more fan unrest the board hear the more chance they will pressurise Wenger into buying. I’m still not convinced he will sign the players we need but we can only hope.
One final point that made me very angry was the way the Arsenal players hugged and shook hands with Barton at the final whistle. Did you see Szczesny laugh and embrace him like he was an old mate?! I was screaming at the telly “Don’t shake that arsehole’s hand!!” Ask yourself this question – would Keown or Vieira have been so chummy with someone who’d play-acted to get their mate sent off? Or Roy Keane? No bloody way. We need to toughen up and show some more passion and team spirit. That reaction to me showed that the players weren’t that bothered and that’s unacceptable.
Anyway, on a frustrating day when nobody knew how to unlock a massed defence, it’s hard to swallow that the two main keyholders will be sold next week. That leaves just Wilshere now because Ramsey, Rosicky and Arshavin aren’t up to the job.
Welcome to life without Fabregas.
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