Newcastle Vanquished With Some Style

Newcastle United 1 – 3 Arsenal

0 – 1 Bendtner (57)
1 – 1 Martins (58)
1 – 2 Diaby (64)
1 – 3 Nasri (67)

An amazing burst of positive thinking has engulfed the world of Arsenal following the weekend’s matches. Whilst Liverpool’s drubbing of Aston Villa extinguishes the faint hope of second place, the defeats of the two teams directly above and below Arsenal consolidate the long road into the top four and perhaps even the top three.

The victory at St James Park was achieved through a mixture of determination and some scintillating football. Chief protaganists were Diaby and van Persie. The former had another immense performance away from The Emirates, providing a directness in the centre that even Arsene likened to Vieira-esque after the match, a comparison that he had previously been at pains to avoid making this season. Diaby dominated the centre of Newcastle’s midfield, Butt and Nolan were chasing shadows for most of the afternoon.

van Persie meanwhile was at creative best, his finishing might not have been up to his high standards but that was largely due to Harper and Taylor performing heroics. He was the chief provider with two assists, as the statto’s like to note. Commendable also was Bendtner’s performance, rewarded with a well-deserved goal. Unable to hit a barn door since the visit to The Hawthorns, I did wonder that had Walcott been fit, I doubt Nik would have started. As it was he rose well to meet Arshavin’s flighted freekick to break the deadlock. Prior to that he had set van Persie twice for sights on goal.

A curious refereeing performance though. If Almunia conceded a penalty following his flap at the ball, Sagna equally conceded one when he bundled over Duff earlier on. Whatever the rationale, it did not matter as Martins proved that having a crap penalty technique is not sole preserve of the English national team, Almunia moving smartly to save a ball placed too close to his body and underhit. Can’t think of any more criticism of the penalty.

Where fans get overly annoyed is the inability of referees to produce consistency from game to game. The only defence that can be offered for Taylor’s forearm smash on Arshavin was that neither Referee or Assistant saw it, in which case it is incumbent upon the Football Association to act for the red card should have been shown to the Newcastle defender. It was a pity in some respects that he should mar his performance with thuggery because up until that point, he had been the major barrier to Arsenal taking the lead. Reverting to the stereotypical thuggish acts when he had proved that it was possible for a typically English centre half to play without consistently resorting to foul play. May be Taylor could teach John Terry a few lessons on that front.

The second goal was the epitomy of everything good in Diaby’s game. Picking the ball up in the centre circle he played it off to van Persie whose touch was perfect as the Frenchman strode into the path of the return pass to drive home from the edge of the area, ten seconds from inception to completion and proof perhaps of how good a fit Diaby could be.

Completing the win was Nasri’s drive inside Harper from another van Persie lay-off. The woodwork and Harper denied the scoreline from being more emphatic but nonetheless deserved. The only downside was the nature of the Newcastle goal. It was slovenly defending all around, something like fifteen seconds after the restart following Bendtner’s opener. Gallas is being criticised for failing to clear properly but credit should be given to Martins for the constant pressure he put Gallas under and the controlled finish he put in.

But I’m not dwelling on the negative, for some have had a Damascene moment and are believing that all is not as bad they feared and harped on about since day one of this season. ’til Tomorrow.

188 thoughts on “Newcastle Vanquished With Some Style

  1. Passenal says:

    AIC, what was Arshavin doing at 21? I will not disagree that he is more experienced so able to do more with his talent at this moment in time. We have some exceptional talents who in time will only get better as we’ve already seen even during the course of this season.

  2. London says:

    Are we really unbeaten since Cesc got injured? That is a staggeringly brilliant statistic.

  3. Paul N says:

    Agree Passenal, Arshavin is more the finished article.

  4. Frank says:

    ..yep in the league it is, London….22nd Nov 2008 was the last time we got beat in the league…

    ….since then we have only been beaten by Burnley in the Carling Cup and Porto in the ECL Group Stages….oh and the second leg against Roma (but we won that really didn’t we)…

  5. Poliziano says:

    It’s slightly hysterical to talk about bones being shattered. The elbow in the face deserved a red card, but it didn’t badly hurt Arshavin. If it had, Arshavin would have gone and kicked the sh*t out of the c*nt.

  6. Consolsbob says:

    I read a truly incredible statistic today, the last time Rooney was sent off in the Premier league was 198 games ago.

    Credit Ian Tevitt for that one.

    Funny thing was, I thought he was a bit hard done by on this occasion. Mind you, I think he should be sent off in 50% of the games I see him play.

  7. Frank says:

    …Cesc was injured just before Chrstmas 2008….and we haven’t lost since then except for Roma away which does not count…

  8. Paul N says:

    50% seems low to me Mr. Bob, at least 70%.

  9. Consolsbob says:

    Maybe I’m feeling a bit mellow after the weekend Paul.

  10. Paul N says:

    I think so, the bliss at Arsenal will do that to you.

    Wow, isnt it amazing how this thing has turned around! It was only a matter of time. Not only are we beating teams but we are “beating them up!”. We are winning in a convincing manner. That CL penalty shoot out has done more for the team that if we just won it in regular time!

    Confidence is high but it is good to know that the team can deal with the pressure, even from their own “fans”, this is a recipe for greatness!!!

  11. Blog Head says:

    Rooney was a stone wall sending off, Ronaldo should of gone too.

    There cracking abit aren’t they, Ronaldo seemed like he’s started the first stage of engineering his ‘dream’ move

  12. Gunner4Ever says:

    CBob, how did you waste time on a blank post? Did it take you that long to read? 🙂 Are you drinking aged Cider again?

  13. Paulie Walnuts says:

    It seems as if Simpson`s early promise at WBA was short lived.

    Unless we sell he won`t get a look in next season

  14. Ponyboy says:

    Agree with Passenal. 3.31pm. Oh and every other time, too..

  15. Ponyboy says:

    It’s noy Simpson, or his Mohican – simply that he’s a cut (sic sic) above the average.
    How can a kid learn Arsenal football at WBA ??
    Arsene will know, naturally…….. 🙂

  16. FunGunner says:

    @ Paul N
    For me, the crucial change between now and three weeks ago is that we are in control of our own destiny again.

  17. Gunner4Ever says:

    . (This one is for CBob)

    Why do we have to classify our players into the poor & rich brackets? Arshavin is a good player….if he wasn’t, Wenger would not waste our money. But to say he’s better than the players around him? Do you guys mean in other teams or players in the Arsenal team? Why is he better than Clichy? They both play in different positions, but they are both equally good at what they do.

    There is a difference level of experience that’s for sure but most of our players have similar basic characteristics because they are all picked to Wenger’s standards of a player…their differences are in their specific position requirements.

    I noticed Diaby’s great performance in the second half, but it seems that yet again the “Quiet One” went unnoticed by many. I think Denilson cleaned up neatly behind Diaby, and becoming closer to a Gilberto….Quiet, Silent, Efficient, and Selfless midfield engine.

    Most people want a huge scary midfielder, but they don’t realize that an elephant can get scared sh!t of a mice. It’s not how big you are, it’s how smart in getting the job done. People were saying we need a big strong defender, yet complained about Senderos being clumsy!

  18. Alex Ice Cream says:


    I imagine that Arshavin was playing football at 21.

    The point I am making is that at this moment in time he is better than the other players. Whether they will be better when at the same age is anybody’s guess and also irrelevant.

  19. FunGunner says:

    Was it Eduardo’s return which triggered this feel-good factor?

  20. Poliziano says:

    It’s good that Arshavin is receiving praise; but when that praise carries an insuation that before his arrival we had no good players, it is actually a subtle (but not very subtle) form of denigration.

  21. Consolsbob says:

    Yes Pz, the same denigration that pundits made when they argued that by signing AA Wenger was admitting that his ‘experiment’ had failed.

    There was no experiment of course, he was just building a team in a way that the pundits do not want to recognise.

    AA is an excellent player though and he has made a difference. Why wouldn’t he? 25 excellent players are an improvement on 24. Another piece in the jigsaw.

    As for you G4E. I always try to see the point of your posts even though their meaning is often unclear or even absent. As was indeed the case today. Although, now that you have mentioned it, it may very well be a good time for a glass of the golden brew. That was an excellent point.

  22. Alas I'm Crass says:

    “The point I am making is that at this moment in time he is better than the other players. Whether they will be better when at the same age is anybody’s guess and also irrelevant.”

    his experience is not relevant as better player than a younger inexperienced one?

  23. Frank says:

    …I see we are back in the realms of utter nonsense again….why do you need to compare AA with other Arsenal players….many of them are at a similar level…and the others are not far away….he fits in with the team which says a lot about him AND the team….his experience means that he has been able to settle quicker…his teams mates have been able to help him assimilate and get used to the prem…….it is a team thing…football is a team game…constantly playing one off against the other is puerile….

  24. Gunner4Ever says:

    I’m just trying to find an excuse for you to have a sip of that tasty Cider man 🙂

    I just thought I would change the way I put my point out there by making it “clear”….I geuss that confused people (Including me)….change is hard, I understand.

  25. Consolsbob says:

    I think that you have cleared that point up G4E. Thank you.

  26. Passenal says:

    I’ve just been watching the replay and wanted to comment on something I’ve noticed recently but more so today. Nasri’s defending has improved significantly since the start of the season. He has made really good progress all round in a relatively short space of time. For his first season in the PL and with Arsenal, he has been fantastic.

  27. Passenal says:

    “why do you need to compare AA with other Arsenal players….many of them are at a similar level…and the others are not far away….he fits in with the team which says a lot about him AND the team….”

    I agree Frank. This is the point I was trying and failing to make.

  28. Gunner4Ever says:

    Nasri is class Passenal, it’s no surprise he’s tipped to be the next Zidan, although he has a long way to go.

    I would say if he is the direct replacment of Hleb, we are so much better off if you compare Hleb’s first year to Nasri’s first year.

    And how much did we pay for him 20 million?

  29. DukeGoonem says:

    Im better then the guy who sits next to me at games you know!

  30. Consolsbob says:

    Yes, but is he younger Duke and how good will he be in five years with the experience of sitting next to you?

  31. Consolsbob says:

    I think Nasri was in the region of £14 million G4E.

  32. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Nasri`s first season reminds me a little of RP7 who also had to learn the more defensive aspects of the game.

    What I like about Nasri is the way he`s embraced that & his unselfishness & awareness. He settled in immediately which for someone of his age (new county & all that) has been somewhat overlooked.

  33. FunGunner says:

    @ Passenal

    ” Nasri’s defending has improved significantly since the start of the season. He has made really good progress all round in a relatively short space of time. For his first season in the PL and with Arsenal, he has been fantastic.”

    Hear hear. To the extent that it’s hard to imagine us without him.

    @ anyone who is interested

    Re the youth policy – the plan all along was to buy super class and experience to go alongside the young ‘uns – if such players were available. AA was available and AW nabbed him.

  34. Consolsbob says:

    Had to read a bedtime story to my chickens tonight, by the way FG. I hope that you are satisfied.

  35. FunGunner says:

    @ consolsbob

    “Had to read a bedtime story to my chickens tonight, by the way FG. I hope that you are satisfied.”

    Good move. Lull them into a false sense of security…

  36. Passenal says:

    I agree FG, Arsene wasn’t to know that experienced players would fall prey to long term injury or the lure of the Barca bench!

  37. Blog Head says:

    Arshavins a class above Nasri or Rocisky though aint he, he’s top drawer, am gutted you lot have him

  38. Gunner4Ever says:

    Any one watching the reserve game against the Chel$ks? Still 0-0 I think

  39. Consolsbob says:

    You are heartless and conniving FG.

  40. Gunner4Ever says:

    Come on CBob..she is just being realistic 🙂 We all know what happens to chikens…It’s even unfair that Hector might be saved so he can have his way with the new generation of chickens…

  41. FunGunner says:

    @ Consolsbob

    “You are heartless and conniving FG.”
    I know – fabulous, isn’t it?

    Seriously though, if things start looking bad for Arsenal, I’m sure we can count on you to do the right thing.
    (Sinister music, evil half-smile playing about the lips…)

  42. Ole Gunner says:

    ” Nasri’s defending has improved significantly since the start of the season. He has made really good progress all round in a relatively short space of time. For his first season in the PL and with Arsenal, he has been fantastic.”

    I amost wet myself on Saturday seeing how much he’s doing the defensive work now. It’s amazing because just a couple of weeks I thought he was still far off from being trusted to put in his share of defensive work.

  43. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Nasri has done very well and will be better next season. He has shown that he can handle the pressure and has 7 goals. He has also played out of position on the left and still done well.

    He dos look better in the middle though but we have so many players whose prference is to play there.

  44. Matty says:

    All this chitchat of Pires and Nasri comparisons is making me really really look forward to seeing RP7 at The Emirates. A true Arsenal legend.

    I actually think Nasri is ahead of Pires in terms of where they were at this stage in their Arsenal career. Pires took at least 6 months to show any signs of his class, I think the pace and physical aspect of the EPL really staggered him at first.

    Saying that, if Nasri has half the career Pires had for us, then he will do brilliantly.
    2001/2 – Pires – golden moments. What a player, a great at his peak.
    That lob over Schmeichel v Villa, I am getting butterflies just picturing it.

  45. Paul N says:

    Nasri, will be frightening in years to come, its unbelievable how young and talented this Arsenal team is!

    NO FEAR!!!

  46. DukeGoonem says:

    Andrie is the new Pires! Nasri is the new Lyungberg!! Song is the new Viera! Denilson is the new Petit!

  47. Arse Shovin says:

    I know there is logically no connection…

    But my personal fortunes have mirrored those of Arsenal’s over the last 5 years.

    More specifically, I haven’t felt so happy for a long time but these last 3 weeks have been incredible and they will only get better now.

    Implausible, I know but coincidence is a funny thing.

    I just hope this coincidence continues.

    These are the greatest times for me. May they be the greatest times for Arsenal. More plausible.

  48. Ponyboy says:

    Why is Nasri so cool and so good ?? He looks like he’s just stepped out of the school-gates.

  49. Paulie Walnuts says:


    I couldn`t agree more. The media always seem to give more accolades to Henry , Bergkamp & Vieira but for me Pires was right up there alongside them. In 2001 / 2 he was incredible.

  50. Matty says:

    Even the disbelievers are seeing the light :

    in todays Daily Mail ….. no other than Jamie “Sit on the fence unless it’s about Frank Lampard and then I come in my pants” Redknapp writes – “There’s not much of a queue forming to join me on this one yet, but trust me ; Abou Diaby is going to be a top player. He has long legs, height, power and driving strength, injuries have delayed his impact, but watch him come good.”

  51. Ponyboy says:

    FG –
    We talk glibly abut headless chickens.. but Consols and i both know how freaky they are!! Seen them jump (leap ? freak ?) way over my head…
    Am glad i follow the Path of Peace these days, and kill nothing but humans.

  52. Hola Hard says:

    Nasri, Arshavin, Walcott, Diaby, Denilson, Fabregas, Van Persie and Eduardo.

    Need I say more?

  53. Ponyboy says:

    ok, yep..but there’s always a ME in there.
    “Trust me etc”. Piers ‘ego’ Morgan wrote a funny-ish piece about permatan, but had to preface it with how he’d met him..and such a megastar too. Even Simon Barnes, one of the lesser evils, has to let us know he’s on nodding terms with men in shorts. Pshaw!!!

  54. Matty says:

    Paulie W, you’re talking to a bloke who named his only son after Robert Pires (the Robert bit, not the Pires bit !)….. he was just on fire that year.

    That was also the year when I nearly got the crap beaten out of me in a pub for cheering for France when they played England. They had Pires, TH14 and Vieira playing for them, it was a no brainer. I was saved by a fellow Gooner.

    Ponyboy ….. re 8.56….. he has a cool swagger about him, agreed – but i’m not having those highlights. 50k a week should get you a decent hairdresser shouldn’t it ?

  55. Gunner4Ever says:

    Does any one know the result of the Reserve game?

  56. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Respect on the son naming Matty.

    Jamie Redcr*p always states the obvious. I don`t really care what he `finks` but Diaby has certainly improved & like most of this team he`ll get even better.

  57. Gunner4Ever says:

    Thanks Passenal, I want to beat the chel$ks in every competition but I guess it wasn’t to be today….

  58. Gunner4Ever says:

    Diaby’s runs are scary…actually very scary…his strides are like 3 yards/second….and now he comes up with the ball in the majority of his tackles.

    Now all he needs is a run without injury. I’m just not sure where would he play when Cesc is back? Unless it’s in a 5 man Midfield.

  59. Passenal says:

    I didn’t see much but apparently we played well first half and could have/should have scored a few. Second half Chelski played better, but given that we’ve lost our last 2 reserves matches, a draw is probably a good result.

  60. Poliziano says:

    “Abou Diaby is going to be a top player. He has long legs, height, power and driving strength.”

    I’m sure his conclusion is correct, but his reasons leave a lot to be desired.

  61. Passenal says:

    I was thinking the same thing too Poliziano. Didn’t Carlton Palmer have long legs?

  62. Poliziano says:

    It might as well be a description of the Stoke team. I can’t wait to see who he buys in the summer.

  63. Poliziano says:

    I presume Redknapp struggles to discern the merits of Modric.

  64. Matty says:

    Actually Poli, Jamie was raving about Modric as well. Saying not only is he great on the ball, but that he works very hard too.
    Not really a shameless plug for his dad, cos his dad didn’t buy Modric.

    AW didn’t rate Modric enough to buy him a year before the Spuds did, for a third of the price too.
    I’ll take AW’s judgement over a Redknapp, senior or junior, every day of the week.

  65. Gunner4Ever says:

    Diaby’s interview is on

  66. Alex Ice Cream says:


    Using Jameeee’s logic Arshavin, Cesc and Messi must be sh1t then.

  67. Alex Ice Cream says:

    I do like Diaby though. He has pace, strength, dribbling ability and can shoot.

    I am not sure he can play as Cesc’s partner though but I would like him to stay fit enough so that we could find out.

  68. Passenal says:

    I just watched Diaby’s ‘spotlight’ interview on ATV G4E – he comes across well

  69. Gunner4Ever says:

    He is Passenal, his English got a lot better since the last time I heard him talking 🙂

    Most of his goals are memorable too, now that I saw the A. Villa goal he scored….it was an awesome goal.

  70. Passenal says:

    I was also interested in his comments about Kolo being a leader in the team – quite a few players have said that about him.

  71. Ponyboy says:

    Love it when Kolo decides to go on a run.. you think he’s going to mess it up..but no..
    But has his Arse stopped growing ? It’s hard to tell ~
    Kolo: “Does my bum look big in this ?”
    William: “Just a bit, Kolo”
    Robin (laughing): “It’s art, Kolo!”
    Arsene:” I couldn’t possibly comment!”

  72. Gunner4Ever says:

    I think Kolo can be a great leady, he just needs to grow into the role….But I guess it’s not going to be for long since Cesc is back, and Kolo will be the backup.

    What I was really impressed with. is Wenger giving the armband to many players this season. They all have to feel the importance, they all have to share the responsibility. It’s makes you not only think of yourself but the rest of your team too.

  73. Passenal says:

    No Ponyboy, Arsene would say “I didn’t see it”!

    G4E – I think the point is that the other players already think of Kolo as a leader as Diaby is not the first player I have heard say that about him.

  74. Poliziano says:

    Perhaps you’ve hit on the reason Wenger never sees anything.

    I’ve never really noticed that Toure has well-developed glutes.

  75. Ponyboy says:

    Passenal..heh.. true.. Last Post: Am noticing a (disturbing ?) resemblance between Manuel Almunia and a Die Hard1 Bruce Willis..

    Just love the way AW brings players onwards and upwards.

    Manuel is / very very soon will be, the best PL keeper. Love his hair too… it’s a shame the pressure has turned it white, but, hey…that’s life at the top.

  76. Passenal says:

    Last post for tonight from me too Ponyboy – he also sounded very bullish in the post Newcastle interview – this team means business!

  77. Poliziano says:

    Bruce Willis? I’ve always thought he looks like Leon.

  78. BentleyThe FlyingSpur says:


  79. Blackstock says:

    Last night’s reserves game was fairly dull, lots of fouls, no rhythm, etc. There were some good fleeting moments of football from both sides though. If Diaby is the new Vieira, then Jay Emmanuel Thomas just might be giving Diaby a good run for it too… Only 18 years old and already a giant in size, he stood out against a Chelsea side which included Mineiro, Stoch, Malouda and Di Santo. He seems to have this natural ability to conjure up something special out of nowhere. When other players look under pressure or out of ideas, Thomas is unaffected. Give him the ball and almost instantly Arsenal become resurgent. I really like that, and it shows why he is so respected by his team-mates in the youth team.

    Right-back Eastmond also looks impressive, perhaps he’s a bit under-rated. Chelsea’s Di Santo was awful, he did absolutely nothing. Silvestre had a good game just simply keeping the back line calm and out of trouble – now let’s see if he can do that for the first team!

  80. Blog Head says:

    The only problem with Diaby is waiting in the tunnel before the games, it gives him a bad back and affects his performance, poor lad

  81. Frank says:

    …so whats with the cheap f*cking advertising….

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