Sunday 22 March 2009

Toon destroyed

Like Arseblogger the poor quality stream made it tricky for me to get a great picture of the first half, I was also rather compromised by something a little closer to home which meant I had to be in close proximity of the toilet, I won't go into too many details on that front though.

The thing that stood out for me though, other than our scintillating attacking football in the second half, was Mark Halsey's truly pathetic refereeing. Some people seem to think that it's good common sense refereeing to never get your cards out, but frankly these people are nothing other than morons. Halsey is completely unable to control a football match. His reluctance to punish serious foul play and numerous cynical fouls allowed Newcastle's cheating to prosper, making this a much trickier game that it should have been with the rules properly enforced.

Halsey's prolific incompetence was perfectly demonstrated by his failure to get any card out for a quite deliberate forearm smash by Steven Taylor on Andrei Arshavin's face, replays show rather conclusively what a premeditated and unpleasantly violent act this was, however the great Halsey saw the offence and kept his cards firmly within his cowardly pocket. In fact almost every single time an Arsenal player got past a Newcastle player they were tripped or yanked back, this was demonstrated perfectly when Ryan Taylor cynically tugged back Clichy twice in quick succession, again a free kick was given but no card, it's simply incompetent to allow this kind of cheating to go unpunished.

The first half was a rather bitty affair on many fronts, the fact that Newcastle were allowed to play the man as a ball routinely made it rather hard to retain possession. Other than a rather soft penalty decision Newcastle didn't create much clear cut, while Bendtner and Van Persie both forced excellent saves from Steve Harper.

The second half came to life after Bendtner scored with an excellent header from the free kick following Clichy's recurrent attempted shirt removals. Newcastle equalised pretty much straight away, Gallas failing to clear and Martins expertly poking the ball into the bottom corner leaving Almunia with no chance. Then our class told, there was a certain poetic justice that the filthy Steven Taylor had limped off to the touchline to leave Newcastle with just ten men on the pitch when Diaby strode clear after a slick one two and finished clinically into the roof of the net. It didn't take long for Nasri to slot a stinger past Harper's near post to make it 3-1.

It could have easily been five of six in the end, Harper made a couple of excellent saves, while some rather annoying selfishness from Van Persie saw him twice ignore Bendtner who was in a much better position to score, Diaby also had time to crack a fierce left footed drive firmly against Harper's left hand post. Overall a convincing win, but being a bit of stubborn git I was left happy bit a bit frustrated at Halsey's rank incompetence and inability to control a game of football. Most of the time the better side will come through games like this, however idiots like Halsey do inevitably mean that cloggers like Newcastle have a much better chance of getting something from games like this than they should do. As has been noted elsewhere Newcastle's 'great supporters' were somewhat absent by the end of the game, it does leave one to wonder what these fickle fans have done to deserve their esteemed reputation?


K man said...

Great result, decent performance.

Good news that Bendtner and Arshavin are continuing their good form. Even better news that Cesc and Eduardo are back in training and Walcott is only facing a couple of weeks out. That means that all 3 should be in contention for our next match - Man City at home on 4 April. It's looking like 2 games a week throughout April so great timing to have some choice in the squad.

With everyone fit (except Rosicky obviously) it's going to be interesting to see what our first choice team is.

For what it's worth, mine would be (assuming Arshavin can play i.e. it's not CL):

Sagna Gallas Djourou Clichy
Arshavin Song Cesc Nasri
RvP Bendtner

Subs: Fab, Ade, Ebou, Edy, Theo, Kolo, Denis

Still leaves: Gibbs, Silvestre, Vela, Jack, Rambo and Abou

Anonymous said...

Perfectly written. This report says everything I wanted to say.

It's reassuring to know that the points I see as I watch the matches are shared by others who have watched the match as well. I sometimes wonder if I'm a bit blinkered because of my perspective on matches, until I read another who posts a similar perspective.

I was growling at the TV all match about Newcastle's dirty tactics that were meant to disrupt our play. We see it every week from our opponents, and I have no issues with teams that want to play us that way, so long as the referees punish the offenders properly.

Too often they don't and we end up not getting a fair result. It could have gone that way yesterday because of Halsey's incompetence. I was elated that we fought through that and stuck it to those cheating buggers and everyone that loves to defend that style of play and those that love to see us lose.

Oh, and Hull lost 1-0 to Wigan. Ha ha. Wonder what excuses and accusations Phil Brown will purport today?

1979gooner said...

Congratulations Rhino,

you must be as blinkered as me!

Seriously though some sides get results against us very fairly and completely within the rules of the game, for example Fulham's win and draw this season, Hull's win at the Emirates and Villa beating us at the Emirates, and you have to hold your hands up and admit defeat to a better side on the day.

However some sides get results against us that have been significantly related to the low quality cowardly refereeing on offer, for example the Stoke and Man City away games.

It's interesing to imagine what the media would be saying if an Arsenal player had behaved like Rooney yesterday or if the Arsenal team had lost their discipline in such a manner?

Also I'd imagine if an Arsenal player had done what Taylor did to Arshavin then they would be getting some serious criticism in the press, not the watered down vagueries that Taylor is getting currently.

Anonymous said...

WOW! That's great, yes.. That means that all 3 should be in contention for our next match......

Obsinho said...

Caught the MtoTD highlights from Craven COttage on the old Virgin Media and tried to re-play the ROoney incident a few times.What are the rules for swearing at the ref?

I am pretty sure his exact words were;

"that's fucking bullshit you *****, I was throwing the fucking ball back". Sadly I can't quite work out what he calls the ref - my scouse isn;t too strong. However, there are rules and he clearly broke them.

Taylor clearly lamped Arshavinh. How long was Thatcher done for braining Mendes, and that was on;y increased after-the-date when the severoty was noticed. If Arshavin wasn't used to wrestling bears in the Tundra and not some floppy-haired Portugese she-male then he could have been seriously uhrt as well. Taylor hit him in the face - simple as. Again, there are clear rules that have been broken.

Fabrgas has clearly not broken a rule that doesn't exist (spitting on the floor of the tunnel) and is still being accused.

Where is that prick off Talkshite saying "I would rather be punched across the face in a clear show of good old Brittish honest aggression by Stephen/Ryan Taylor than have some foreigner spit on the floor near me with his filthy Catalan spittle". The whole media world is festooned with perverts and reprobates. Fuck 'em all.

Ted said...

I agree all round, including K-Man's team selection (who is Denis?Bergkamp is a bit old, but I would stick him on the bench as well..)

I know 1979's dislike of all referees is legendary, but even I lost it with Halsey.

Plus I can't remember who was the ref in the Villa game, but am I the only one who thought all 3 Gerrard goals came from soft decision? Giving Brad Friedal a red card for trying to get out of the way of Torres was unbelievable. Yes, Friedal exposed himself to a risk, but it was hardly a deliberate block.

Plus Liverpool's ability to score from enormous punts straight down the park is truly gobsmacking. I thought it was the 6 nations highlights on MOTD.

If we only win one more game in the league this year, I want it to be at Anfield.

Obsinho said...

Liverpool are definitely way out ahead in the referees favourite ever team. The decisions that go in their favour are sometimes stomach-turning - it's ok to give a penalty for the dive, it was Stevie G so he's allowed to by law.

I bet before every game, the refs give a little interview in which thy say "I've always been a liverpool fan since a little boy, and it's a dream come treu to be able to ref in front of the Kop and give a penalty for nothing".

The Robbie keane one of those was brilliant, as the moronic spuds elcomed him back as a messiah, not the wedge headed scouse-loving failure he had accidentally revealed himself to be.

1979gooner said...

Liverpool do get their share of dodgy decisions, however yesterday they deserved their win.

The first pen was a penalty. While I do agree that Friedel never should have been sent off, Torres played him, at least liverpool do not routinely intimidate officials to the same level that Manu do.

Gerrard is a great player, however he is an utter scumbag, he clearly gets away with murder cos he's good old stevie g, the diving and leg breakers are ignored because of this.

I'd love to see the scouse chav sent down for affray.

Ted, good point about their hoofing, maybe makes a good case for Djourou starting at Anfield.

My current first choice side would be (assuming Fabregas still out injured and Eduardo not fully fit):

Sagna Gallas Djourou Clichy
Walcott Song Nasri Arshavin
RVP Bendtner

It's not easy to choose though and that's the great thing, we now have some competition for places and a real decent strength in depth.

(cue numerous injuries on the international break)

Ted said...

I don't believe it. Diaby has his best game for months against Newcastle, and 1979, the Chairman, Chief Executive and sole member of the Diaby Is Great fan club drops him from his team. Chicken.

Here is my Glory Midget XI:

Eboue Toure Gallas Clichy
Walcott Arshavin Cesc Nasri

Its not that unlikely....

Anonymous said...

Ted, that's wholly unfair on 1979 as I am a member of the "Diaby is Great" fan club (DIG?) and acting Vice-Chairman. And Treasurer (please send donations ;-] ).

Although, I found myself more frustrated with his performance on Saturday than any other to date. I started to get really frustrated with his inability to accurately pass the ball 5 yards. He is an enigma. One moment he can lunge in and take the ball elegantly from an opponent and the next moment he can lose it trying to beat 3 men or misplace a pass to a team mate.

He improved in the second half, but his first half had me feeling like he wasn't properly prepared to play the match and should come off. Fortunately, I think his weaknesses are fixable. He needs to learn that a CM in the Premiership has to play with more commitment and aggression (not illegal challenges though). And he needs to learn to take one or two touches and move the ball on accurately. I am confident he can and will do so.

Having said that, I thought our midfield did not protect our back four sufficiently against Newcastle. It appeared to me that Denilson and Diaby play to closely to each other. In our half and in the opposition half they seem to be trying to do the same things and take up similar positions.

Several times on Saturday I noticed a Newcastle player go past one of them or pass the ball by one of them, and both Denilson and Diaby were then behind the play because one or the other was not position properly.

We are playing much better now and I recognize that. I am delighted by it in fact. But I seemingly always can pick holes in our performance if I don't tell myself to bite my tongue :-) I will say this in closing - when we got Villareal in the draw, my first thought was "Senna might dominate our midfield by himself" and that could make this tie a more difficult task than we think.

P.S. Another good performance By Bendtner on Saturday (I'm in his fan club too). Keep it up Nicky! Can we now flog Ade like we should have done last summer???

Ted said...

(I'm the ceo of AIG. Ade Is Great)

1979gooner said...

I agree Rhino, I also accept the accusation of choking from Sir Ted.

Probably the most pragmatic pairing in the midfield is Song and Diaby.

Diaby has come on a lot recently and although still inconsistent, he has become more consistent and disciplined in recent weeks, showing that he may have what it takes if he can continue to work on his weaknesses.

The defence has been left too unprotected in many games this season, and I think we really need to improve this aspect of our game if we are to challenge for the title next season.

Although it would be nice to play Nasri, Theo, Arshavin, RVP, Bendtner, Ade, Eduardo in the same side it wouldn't work and we have to compromise some of our attacking play for a bit of balance and solidity.

This will sound very controversial indeed but selling Fabregas has to be an option if a club comes in offering big money.

Ted said...

Accept £30m for Ade or Cesc? Now that is a good question.

My vote? Accept neither offer. But if you have to accept one, then its goodbye Cesc. And thank you.

Diaby has had more good performances for Arsenal than Cesc this season.

In fact, I am going to get on the random stat generator now.

Ted said...

And here is it. So far this season:

15 games with Cesc: w8 d4 l3 - 28 points

15 games without Cesc: w7 d6 l1 - 27 points.

Damned stats. Looks like Cesc is staying...

K man said...

Let's sell Diaby for £30m instead

I'm the Chairman of DIC by the way (Diaby is Crap), but not the lot trying to buy the Scousers

1979gooner said...

The problem with selling people is that it doesn't come down to solely how good they are.

Even if a player is shite (not that cesc or ade is shite), if they have a big reputation then selling them makes us look a small time club and it may not be good for retaining our other big name players.

On a purely playing perspective I'd be keener to sell Ade as he doesn't put the work in anymore, if he can change that then keep him, otherwise bugger off you big lazy bastard.

Anonymous said...

Sell Ade. Make room for Jay Simpson.