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Newcastle 1-0 Arsenal: Bad Performance, Worse Officiating

Newcastle end Arsenal's unbeaten streak as VAR allows Anthony Gordon's  controversial goal to stand | talkSPORT

Match Report – Match Highlights Post-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Newcastle 1-0 Arsenal (Gordon 64′)

Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Raya; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, White (Zinchenko 73′); Rice, Jorginho (F. Vieira 79′), Havertz; Martinelli, Saka, Nketiah (Trossard 79′)

Last month, I touched on the pathetic level of officiating in the supposed “best league in the world” and it became evident again, as yet another bad bout of officiating took center stage to award a goal that should never have stood in a million years. More on that anon.

Arsenal were licking their wounds after a miserable performance against West Ham in the EFL Cup, and as expected, changes were made with the manager bringing back his big guns for the tough visit to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle United. The team usually picks itself these days, but the only notable changes were Takehiro Tomiyasu coming on for Oleksandr Zinchenko (for defensive stability) while Jorginho and Eddie Nketiah deputized ahead of the injured combo of Thomas Partey and Gabriel Jesus. 

It was a cagey affair from the start but the first big chance arrived for Newcastle when Bruno Guimaraes lofted ball to the ball was knocked down across the danger area by the towering Dan Burn, but Callum Wilson’s attempt sailed effortlessly over the bar. There was a moment of heated intensity when Kai Havertz slid in hard on Sean Longstaff, leading to a serious raucous, as the Newcastle players wanted the German to be sent off but the replays showed that the yellow card was the correct decision. Due to their parts in the altercation, Anthony Gordon, Fabian Schar and Longstaff also received bookings. 

Newcastle continued to threaten and almost fashioned another chance when Kieran Trippier’s cross to the box was attacked by Wilson, towards Gordon’s path but the young forward failed to control the ball well, allowing David Raya to smother the ball safely. Arsenal’s first chance in the rather disappointing half was very tame, with Gabriel Martinelli cutting from the left and firing a weak shot straight at Nick Pope. Before the whistle was blown, Bruno G hit Jorginho with a blatant elbow, which should have led to a sending off, but the useless VAR officials didn’t do anything about it, despite the repeated replays on the titantron, which set the stage for what was to come.

Arsenal had some intricate passing play down the left that saw Martinelli float the ball to the six-yard box before it was headed away but Rice’s glancing bullet header went wide off the mark. Then the moment of controversy arrived.. Jacob Murphy blasted a shot that was sailing wide but Joe Willock bursted a lung to save the ball, however, it went beyond the touchline for a goal kick. That was not stopped. Willock whipped in a cross which Gabriel wanted to clear but he was blatantly pushed by Joelinton. That was not spotted. Gordon was in an offside position when he received Joelinton’s pass. That was not spotted. Then he blasted the ball to the net.

The terrible VAR officials wasted four good minutes reviewing the footage. they didn’t even tell the referee to go to the screens to review it himself. Then the goal was given. In all my thirty-something years of watching football, I have never seen something as unprecedented as this. Three clear decisions that were more than enough to rule out the goal, but for reasons known to Lord Voldemort, Chuck Norris and Onaga from Mortal Kombat, the goal stood. 

A clearly exasperated Mikel Arteta aired his comments when he was asked by the journos after the game,

“We have to talk about the result because you have to talk about how they help these goals stand up, and it’s incredible. I feel embarrassed. But I have to be the one now coming here to try to defend the club and please ask for help because it’s an absolute disgrace that this goal is allowed, it’s an absolute disgrace.

Because it’s not a goal, for many reasons it’s not a goal, for more than one reason at least it’s not a goal. And there’s too much at stake here, we put in so much effort, and it’s so difficult to compete at this level. And it’s an absolute disgrace. Again, I feel embarrassed, I’ve be more than 20 years in this country, and this is nowhere near the level to describe this as the best league in the world. I am sorry.

That makes it even worse, makes it look even worse, it makes it even worse. You just need to see one image, that’s what you need, and you have any doubt you look at the second one. And if this is a goal, okay, that’s fine. I don’t care honestly, I don’t care what they say. It’s the outcome. It’s too late, whatever they say is too late. I don’t want to be in the hands of people.

This is really the question guys, the question is it’s not a goal it’s simple it’s not a goal. Simple. For a goal to be allowed there are certain things prior to that, that the ball hitting one metre from the goal that are not allowed in football, in football in here in China, in Japan, in Spain, in Italy, and in Portugal, they are not allowed. That’s what happens.

I have to stand here now and explain, And we lost three points today, guys. You know what that means? It’s too hard, this league, it’s too hard, there is too much at stake. It’s embarrassing.”

I trust the chums at PGMOL to delve into their apology template and issue one to Arsenal in due course, but it cannot change the fact that valuable points have been lost due to yet another round of shocking officiating decisions. This is the bane of the Premier League right now clearly, it’s not going to stop. All they would do is send the ref for a couple of games in the Championship, and he and his useless VAR chums will be back to destroying lives in a couple of weeks with their pathetic decision making. 

The rest of the game was nothing to write home about with Arsenal trying to probe for an equalizer without any form of penetration, but the big guns flattered to deceive yet again, which is a far cry from how the team performed in their title winning charge last season. The center backs put up their usual consistent showing, quelling aerial threats and winning duels, while Rice was a monster as you’d expect, imposing himself on the proceedings. Our front three, however, were downright pathetic. For some reason, Martinelli and Saka have been very unsuccessful with their take ons, and Nketiah isn’t going to play Sheffield United every week. This was the kind of game we would have gained from Gabriel Jesus’ industry and attacking impetus, but Nketiah is a striker that thrives only on the service he receives.

Martin Odegaard’s absence didn’t help as Havertz offered no creativity in his stead. I’m tired of berating the German, so I’d let sleeping dogs lie. In my honest opinion, he has not justified his big signing, and at this point, I can only hope he comes good and repay the glaring faith Arteta has in him. 

Then there’s Raya. I have had my fill of the Ramsdale vs. Raya drama, but it’s difficult to understand this situation. His distribution has been really bad on some occasions, and for a keeper that has always been lauded for claiming crosses, he has had his fair share of errors. His part in the Mykhailo Mudryk goal was glaring and in my opinion, he could have done better to anticipate Willock’s cross before it spiraled into a big chance that led to the goal.

The only acquisitions that have been worth it are Rice and Timber, but the signings of Havertz and Raya were unnecessary, and have derailed our momentum as a team. With Xhaka leaving, and Partey consistently injured, we could have deployed the likes of Vieira, Trossard or even Smith Rowe in the left eight slot, instead of this lanky German that spends 90 minutes doing literally nothing on the pitch. Ramsdale won the Goalie of the Year award on the back on amazing consistent performances last season, and times without number, he made very big saves for us in games that were going awry. Raya comes from nowhere, knocks him off his perch, and hasn’t even showed why he took his spot.

I’m off to church to pray for forgiveness for what I’ve done to these officials in my mind.


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Newcastle Preview: A Better Performance Please!!!

Odegaard urges Arsenal to keep fighting in title race after vital victory  over Newcastle

Arsenal visit St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle on the back of a very terrible performance in midweek against West Ham. Both sides go into the game with a laundry list of injury absentees, with Arsenal still without Jurrien Timber (knee) and Thomas Partey (muscle) who have been joined by Gabriel Jesus (hamstring) and Emile Smith Rowe (knee). Martin Odegaard (hip) is another player that has been struggling with fitness and form lately, but Arteta has offered some good news regarding his fitness,

“We have tried to offload him a little bit because he had a little issue that he was grumbling with. He felt much better in the last few days. We gave him a few minutes against West Ham, which was good to see, and his contribution was really good. He will train today and if he’s fine, he will be ready.”

Newcastle has a very exhaustive list of injuries – in defense, Fabian Schar has a knock, Sven Botman has suffered a setback on his knee injury, Matt Targett suffered a hamstring injury, Javier Manquillo has a groin injury while Alex Murphy has a knock. In their midfield, Jacob Murphy suffered a nasty dislocated shoulder, Elliot Anderson has a back problem, Harvey Barnes is out for the long term with a toe injury, Lewis Miley is ill and Sandro Tonali has been banned for 10 months after his role in a betting scandal. They are also short of a key man in attack, with Alexander Isak suffering a groin strain.

This game is going to be very physical and I will expect Arsenal to do their bit to match the physicality posed by Newcastle. Due to the injuries to the squad, I will expect a Declan Rice and Jorginho double pivot combination in central midfield, and we will need Jorginho to repeat the amazing performance he put up at St. James Park last season. One change I will like to see will be Takehiro Tomiyasu on the left for Oleksandr Zinchenko, as the Ukrainian has been exposed in recent weeks.

The atmosphere will be tense but I believe Arsenal has what it takes to get a favorable result at Tyneside.

Newcastle and Arsenal Predicted Lineups

Newcastle: Pope; Trippier, Schar, Lascelles, Burn; Guimaraes, Joelinton, Longstaff; Almiron, Wilson, Gordon.

Arsenal: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Rice, Odegaard, Jorginho; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

Injury / Suspension Updates

Newcastle: Fabian Schar (knock), Sven Botman (knee), Matt Targett (hamstring), Javier Manquillo (groin), Alex Murphy (knock), Jacob Murphy (shoulder), Elliot Anderson (back), Harvey Barnes (toe), Lewis Miley (illness), Sandro Tonali (suspension), Alexander Isak (groin).

ArsenalJurrien Timber (knee), Thomas Partey (muscle), Gabriel Jesus (hamstring), Emile Smith Rowe (knee)

Form Guide


  • Last Five Games: D W L D W
  • Last Result: Manchester United 0-3 Newcastle (Almiron 28′, Hall 36′, Willock 60′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Callum Wilson, Alexander Isak (7)

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: W D W W L
  • Last Result: West Ham 3-1 Arsenal (White OG 16′, Kudus 50′, Bowen 60′ | Odegaard 96′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Martin Odegaard (5)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2 – 1 win.

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Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal: Away Day Revenge!

Arsenal keeps slim Premeir League title hopes alive with crucial victory  against Newcastle | CNN

Match Report – Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal (Odegaard 14′, Schar OG 71′)

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; White, Kiwior, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tierney 61′); Jorginho, Xhaka; Saka (Nelson 87′), Odegaard (Partey 80′), Martinelli (Trossard 80′); G. Jesus (Nketiah 87′)

When Arsenal visited St. James’ Park last season, Mikel Arteta’s side lost further ground on their Champions League qualification push, as Tottenham garnered the points needed to oust their North London neighbors to the trenches of Europa League football. The tides have turned this season, with Tottenham trying to even earn a Europa League spot, while Arsenal have moved on to bigger and better things, challenging for the Premier League title. After a bad run of results that saw Arsenal draw three on the spin before losing the potential title decider to Man City, the Gunners got a win over Chelsea to steer the ship in the right direction, but had an all-important clash against Newcastle on the same ground they lost around this time last year. 

The last North London side to visit Newcastle’s hallowed ground were thrashed resoundingly, and with the defeat from last season still lingering on the minds of the players, Arteta had to give them the right level of motivation. In terms of team selection, Jakub Kiwior and Jorginho kept their place in the team, but Gabriel Martinelli was favored ahead of Leandro Trossard.

One of the ongoing themes of the season has been how poorly the Gunners start games with the two fastest goals in the Premier League this season scored against Arsenal, and it was on show yesterday, when as early as just 90 seconds into the game, Newcastle had a breakaway moment with ex-Gunner, Joe Willock, escaping down the left before teeing up Jacob Murphy whose effort clattered the post, sparing the Gunners’ blushes. The Newcastle onslaught continued when Oleksandr Zinchenko was found wanting in his defensive post, allowing Kieran Trippier to cushion the ball to Bruno Guimaraes at the edge of the area. The Brazilian’s weak attempt of a shot smashed Kiwior’s thigh before finding its way to his arm, despite his best efforts to remove it. However, common sense prevailed as the VARs made the right call, ruling out the penalty.

That was a massive let off for Arsenal, but they responded in the best possible way, with Martin Odegaard receiving a pass from Jorginho before letting one rip from 25 yards, between Sven Botman’s legs to make 1-0 to the Arsenal. That was Odegaard’s 15 Premier League goal of the season, showcasing why he was indeed a worthy nomination for a place in the Team of the Season.

Nick Pope has been one of the most exemplary performers for Newcastle this campaign, making save after save in what has been a tremendous run for the Magpies that could see them play Champions League football at the end of the season. His saving prowess was on show again, when Odegaard sent a through ball for Martinelli, whose shot was saved by Pope. Odegaard picked up the pieces with the rebound and fired a fierce strike that was also palmed away by Pope. Moments later, Martinelli found Bukayo Saka, that bore down on goal, but his shot was also saved by Pope. 

Ramsdale wasn’t going to be left out on the goalkeeping clinic, making himself big to save a goal-bound shot from Willock. It was a very physical contest, with the referee allowing a lot to be swept under the carpet, but Arsenal had a glorious chance to go two goals up just before the break when Martinelli found Odegaard in the six yard box and only Pope to beat, but his right-footed shot was saved by the impressive Pope. Call it a poor shot from Odegaard or an outstanding save from Pope, the bottom line was that Arsenal had several big chances to put the game beyond any doubt and failed to capitalize on it. Then when you think about the recent results as well as Newcastle’s strength in front of their home crowd, it was a legitimate cause for concern.

Newcastle came out stronger after the break and almost got the equalizer on two swift occasions. First, a simple dinked cross that was headed to the post by Alexander Isak with Ramsdale rooted to the spot, and a point blank header from Fabian Schar that saw Ramsdale make a super save to keep Newcastle out. 

It was really end to end stuff, as Jesus combined well with Martinelli that went on a slalom run before curling a shot that clipped the cross bar. Zinchenko was getting roasted all game long defensively, and Newcastle focused on his flank, so it was to the relief of everyone connected with Arsenal when Kieran Tierney was summoned to take his place. Arsenal doubled their money when Martinelli went on a mazy lung-bursting run that saw him take all comers before drilling it into the danger area from the byline, but Schar was on hand to toe poke it into his own unguarded net. Late on, Schar tried to atone for his error with a good effort that sailed over the bar with Ramsdale scrambling, but the Gunners held on to go one point behind Man City in this topsy-turvy of a championship race.

Man City had narrowly defeated Leeds on Saturday and have the business of the Champions League semifinals to take care in mid-week and its going to be interesting to see how the next couple of weeks pan out in this pulsating title race. Arsenal has shown great maturity and have gotten their fair share of revenge on some grounds they lost season.

At least, they managed to secure away day revenge against the Magpies.


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