Newcastle Utd 4 – 4 Arsenal: how the who the what the?!

February 6, 2011 29 Comments by Sian

Alright so it’s been more than 24 hours since the mentalness that was Saturday afternoon’s match at St James’s Park. Footballing cliches can go die in hell usually, but ‘a game of two halves’ was definitely a phrase dreamt up by a couple of old gits donkeys’ years ago, who knew they’d one day witness a match like this.

Four nil up walking into the dressing rooms at 3.45ish, four-all walking into the dressing rooms an hour later. That just doesn’t happen. In fact, before this weekend it had never before happened in the Premier League. But you know what oddly enough, I’m not all that surprised that we were the first to break that record.

I missed the first couple of goals, ridiculously early as they were, while trying to find somewhere to watch the match. When I heard Theo had scored in the first minute, an annoying little voice in the back of my head went “Oh bollocks, this can only end with you throwing things at full time.” When we then scored another one, two, three more, however, I didn’t think that would be the case any more.

But this is Arsenal. And for as pretty and lovely and wonderful and exciting as we are, we also have this incredible propensity to balls things up like no other. There’s little point dissecting the match as hundreds of blogs have been busy doing this since Phil Dowd called time but clearly the turning point began as Abou Diaby was dismissed for being an idiot shortly after half time.

Joey Barton was put on this planet to be vile. The last thing on earth you want to do is get angry at him and react because then Joey Barton’s purpose in life has been fulfilled. I can see why Diaby might be a little touchy given the injuries he’s suffered in the past but honestly, I hope he went to bed with no dinner on Saturday. In any case, the idea of talking about ‘Barton’s tackle’ is making me feel a bit green around the gills so let’s move swiftly on.

Diaby was rightly sent off and then the Newcastle comeback began. Basically, the stats read like this:

Walcott (GOAL, 1); Djourou (GOAL, 3); van Persie (GOAL, 10, 26); Djourou (OFF, 49); Diaby (OFF, 50); Barton (GOAL, 68, 82); Best (GOAL, 75); Tiote (GOAL, 87).

It was like seeing one of those little line graphs you make at school that makes a massive ascension at first then plummets after reaching its pinnacle. Or watching the heart monitor of someone who was, you know… dying.

Since then we’ve all been stewing in our big fat melting pot all united by a love of 11 men in red and white and searching for answers. The pain was somewhat eased by the fact Manchester United went on to lose 2-1 to Wolves later in the evening and that Chelsea and their brand spanking new striker lost 0-1 to Liverpool on Sunday (baaaaahahahahahahahaha!) but it was still a hurty weekend overall.

In the grand scheme of things the result wasn’t actually a nightmare. We made ground on league leaders United and getting a point away is not the worst result in the world. Plus, people saying we shouldn’t be drawing with newly-promoted teams obviously have only been watching football for about a year. Newcastle will never be a Championship side and three points is never a given at St James’s Park. Yes, they were in the Championship for a season but we all know that it shouldn’t have happened.

It was definitely the nature of the result that hurt the most. The way I see it, the team can now do one of two things: they can go all wobbly and clammy-palmed and think “Well if we buggered up a four-nil lead how can we ever feel safe?” or they can think “It will never happen again. Teams in general will never make a comeback against us again.”

Please God it’s the latter. I got laughed off the planet after full-time when I mentioned that two years ago, just after the soul-destroying result against Birmingham, we went on to beat AC Milan at the San Siro. Yes, we plummeted after that but it’s a fact. We’re just over a week from Barcelona now. The A Game is required then for sure but hopefully this result will have not so much been a shock to the system as a little mini nuclear war on the nervous systerm.

Djourou’s injury is a massive bugger. Please God it’s not too bad because I don’t think I can stomach us playing a second-string side at the Camp Nou… again. And Squillaci is still a step up on Silvestre. Yeeouch, I just cut my finger on that straw as I grasped it!

I know that sometimes my undying positivity can be a pain in the arse, but honestly if you don’t like it, pause as you’re typing the URL in next time. The clue is actually in there, Sherlock. It’s not ‘From a Girl who doesn’t mind the Gunners’ at http://iwouldliketothinkarsenalcansometimesdoOKontheirday.arseblog.com. Don’t ever expect me to give up on the team completely because I just won’t. The sheer volume of fans who do and who really can’t WAIT to pile in there with their criticism makes me sick. Criticism was deserved this weekend but when you read the same comments week in week out as soon as anything, no matter how small, goes against us, I think it starts to say more about you than about the team. Ya miserable toads.

Also muchisimo discussion about the referee (again). I stand by the comment I made in this blog a few months ago about there being a need to keep some kind of referees’ league. Coupled with last week’s Saha ‘goal’, it makes you wonder when things will start to swing back in our favour. That said, Newcastle had a perfectly onside goal disallowed so… meh. It was awfully disturbing watching Phil Dowd stand there and ACTUALLY CROSS HIS ARMS WHILE LOOKING ON as Szczesny was bundled to the ground by Kevin Nolan. If Diaby’s off, so’s Nolan. And Szczesny wasn’t ’not giving them the ball’. How the hell Nolan got away with what he got away with and Szczesny got the yellow is baffling. Especially when both the assistant referee and Dowd had a perfectly good view of proceedings.

I’m sure there’s some kind of referees’ gathering where they get together and snack on pillock juice with berk biscuits and the fact that number one topic of conversation throughout the week within the referee brotherhood was Cescgate probably didn’t help us, but if decisions were made based purely and simply on the circumstance of each incident, we’d have a lot of different outcomes each week.

Let’s not look too hard at the referee though (even though their second penalty was a JOKE), because we still shouldn’t have shipped four goals in 45 minutes. The team must first look at itself.

Mega-ly disappointed, but not as disastrous as it could have been given other results. Hope this blog hasn’t been too long and winding but it’s difficult to sum up what happened succinctly.

Now we have to beat those giant-killers Wolves. Both teams will be wanting to make a statement. Let’s make bloody sure we make our statement louder and more obnoxiously forcefully.

29 Comments

  1. Treez
    2334 days ago

    Once again you managed to make me laugh when I was certain there was nothing remotely funny about the shambles which was the second half yesterday. It was the bit about the referees meeting and their diet of pillock juice and berk biscuits. Lovely imagery!

    I think your idea about the refs league is becoming more and more necessary. Our season could be completely screwed if the dodgy decisions continue. Having said that, Diaby definitely deserved to go to bed with no tea.

    Reply

  2. Tricia
    2334 days ago

    I like your positivity. It reminds me that I need to be sometimes. I was gutted after this match. Just when I thought we were getting better. I just hope that this doesn’t do anything to our confidence. The worst thing will be for us to implode because of this.

    Reply

  3. Girl Gunner
    2334 days ago

    It angerd me to watch the 2nd half of the match,4 goal lead is just too much to give up! The ref actually watched on arms crossed as the thug gang threw young chesney??? Diaby should learn to practice self control! The ref angerd me alot,that thug nolan should have seen red!! For fairness sake Phil Dowd should be shown the door! But its done,all we can do is keep our heads up and do to wolves what they did to Man u! Great blog,thanks for making me laugh!

    Reply

  4. Alan
    2334 days ago

    I’m with you, Siany. Diaby was a stupid ****, Barton a niggling little **** and Dowd was the **** of all ****s, but it was the fallingapartness of the team that annoyed me most. ‘From the sublime to the ridiculous’ should be our new motto, BUT we’re still in a better position now than we were before the game – fact. Learn from this, boys and it may all be worth it come the end of May.

    Reply

  5. Bosk
    2334 days ago

    My 6yo son said to me, “maybe refs need to get red carded Dad.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Reply

  6. z
    2334 days ago

    Perhaps you could give Diaby some slack. He’s been on the end of similar tackles quite often, with disastrous consequences. So it’s only natural he went a bit mental.

    Reply

  7. z
    2334 days ago

    Erm, was that ‘cut some slack’ instead of ‘give some slack’? My bad :)

    Reply

  8. 1NilToTheArsenal
    2334 days ago

    Sian,

    Wonderful again. You refuse to to capitulate to the whining and whinging and finger-pointing of other blogs and chose a balanced view that shows your support of the club by refusing to let them off the hook for a perfectly appalling 2nd half of football.

    I’ve said this elsewhere and I’ll say it here again. We are THE ARSENAL. We are the most technically gifted but perhaps the most mentally weak team in the Premier League. That necessarily means that all the other 19 teams have their knives out every time we step onto a pitch, including the many goons and thugs who have injured many of our players over the years, sometimes horribly. Throw in referee bias, other injuries and whatever else, and it’s a huge challenge to make it through 38 domestic league games, 2 cup competitions and the Champions League. Yet there are teams that do it year in and year out, including Gunners sides of the past. Today we all breath a sigh of relief. We are still the only Invincibles of the modern era (hats off to Preston North End and a big thank you to Wolves). How would that edition of the Gunners handled a 4-0 lead at half-time? It would have taken a lot more than Phil Dowd or Joey Barton for that team to give up 4 goals.

    We could not retain possession in the 2nd half. We gave away the ball cheaply, we were intimidated, and we just couldn’t keep our heads as exemplified by Diaby. Total rubbish. We can only hope as you’ve articulated, that lessons will be learned and that we say to ourselves “never again”.

    How can Arsenal, 2nd in the league, gaining a point on first place, somehow still make it painful to be a Gooner? Many songs into one’s head: “Love Hurts”, “My Favourite Mistake”. Oh to be a Goonah (sigh),
    1NTTA

    Reply

  9. Football formation creator
    2334 days ago

    I agree. Diaby was rather stupid at 4-0 up. Truly crazy game!

    Reply

  10. Sebastian
    2334 days ago

    I think you’re the first one to notice the “arms crossed” stuff. Yes, I agree, our players’ fault goes first and foremost. I can’t stop thinking there’s something fucked up on the refereeing, though (and by that I mean beyond the line of human capacity to make an honest mistake).

    With that being said, the optimistic point of view is refreshing. And very much appreciated :)

    Reply

  11. The Song
    2334 days ago

    Optimoomer !

    Reply

  12. Daniel
    2334 days ago

    Great read, pretty much says it all…

    There is no way we can say “hopefully we’ll learn from this” because we’ve said it enough and I learnt this lesson on the playground at school.

    The ref was shocking but you have to question Rosicky running in with his arms up towards the man and also standing still and keeping Best onside for that disallowed goal. Koscielny shouldn’t have been swinging his leg in between Best’s earlier on for first penalty either. Then Diaby… we are often the most brainless team in the league.

    I won’t even go into the Djourou injury because our lack of bringing someone in in Jan could cost us and it’s just a bit of deja deja vu vu.

    BUUUUT…. The way I see it is that if we’d have won, United would have gone into their game far more focused and would have beaten Wolves and we’d still be five points adrift. I won’t be convinced otherwise!

    COME ON YOU REDS

    Reply

  13. Daniel
    2334 days ago

    Ps. although Diaby gets some heavy challenges on him, he hasn’t exactly been a saint either. But hey ho!

    Reply

  14. El Greco
    2334 days ago

    Sian, thanks your insight.
    Just a thought: If he wasn’t protected by the game (by that I mean supported by his management and his ‘toon army’), sociopaths like Joey Barton would have been locked up a long time ago!

    Reply

  15. Georgie
    2333 days ago

    Nice article, let down by one sanctimonious paragraph criticising people for moaning! No need!

    Reply

    • Sian
      2333 days ago

      Not sanctimonious in any way at all. Fed up with the miserable bastards is all.

      Reply

  16. Sam H
    2333 days ago

    @sebastion – some match fixing allegations have been made. Although I’m not sure entirely whether you should read into them. All made up apparently: http://bit.ly/dFrtCs

    Reply

    • Sian
      2333 days ago

      Yeah I didn’t bother mentioning them as they’re almost entirely made up as far as I’ve been informed.

      Reply

      • FootballFarrago
        2333 days ago

        I think it could have just been that a lot of people bet on a draw at 4-2 with Arsenal down to 10 – which probably showed up as irregular betting as not many people bet on a draw when a team is two goals ahead and there are 10 minutes left.

        It won’t let me add my URL for some reason – it’s http://www.footballfarrago.com, not sure why it said it’s invalid! Perhaps the computer’s got a low opinion of my site!

        Reply

  17. Attractedfern
    2333 days ago

    Good Blog!!

    Reply

  18. theo van Nasrigas
    2333 days ago

    Hello there,

    I’m sure I sound like a broken record but I enjoy your blog so much. Some of the best and most entertaining reading on Arsenal is right here. Well done again.

    Shocking ref to be sure, but 4-0 up at the half and getting only a point? I don’t think so, even with a man down. Anyway, ’nuff said.

    We have a real opportunity now to show some character after this and go into next week with the mettle we’ll sure need to face Barca without some of our best players. Yes, we all know Barca isn’t Man U, but if Wolves can beat an undefeated 1st place team, surely we have more than a chance. I’m not forgetting Wolves on Saturday, but next week is what we’ve been waiting for ever since the draw and it’s almost upon us.
    ARSENAL, HERE WE GO….

    Cheers,

    Theodora

    Reply

    • Sian
      2333 days ago

      I love your comments Theodora!

      Reply

  19. irishgray
    2333 days ago

    Sian, very good posting as always. Was absolutely devestated at the result as I had to stop watching the game at halftime and go to the hospital to visit a friend. Need less to say I went feeling rather smug and happy, later that same evening not so much :( But C’est La Vie!! So long as we beat Barca I will forgive anything, well maybe not Barton.

    As for your post being too long. to quote you “MEH”!! No such thing Sian, the longer the better :)

    Reply

  20. Ponyboy
    2333 days ago

    I’m beginning to love this blog..always positive, always humorous – for anyone who doesn’t know it, Untold Arsenal is worth a look, esp. for humour and genuine refereeing stats, done by a Belgian pro-ref. Cheers Sian – brighten the day!

    Reply

  21. Arsenalist
    2332 days ago

    United getting a point made an absolutely shit day slightly less shittier. Can’t help but think what could’ve been if we had hung on. I’m gonna hate it if we lose the title by two points.

    Reply

  22. irishgray
    2332 days ago

    Hey Sian, if I remember correctly you mentioned in an earlier posting a while back how you thought we needed a new song to lift the crowd at the beginning of a game. I think this could be what you where looking for, hope you like it!!

    Reply

  23. irishgray
    2332 days ago

    Reply

  24. Irishgray
    2330 days ago

    Oops my bad!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPkHtqWqr8g

    Reply

    • Sian
      2325 days ago

      Just seen this, brilliant!

      Reply

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