Half time: Magpies
0 Gunners 0
65mins Vurnon Anita looked to have been fouled in the shadow of the East
Stand, but play continued before Tiote was penalised for clipping Santi Cazorla
outside the area.
An innocuous looking free-kick was chipped forward by Walcott and the merest of
touches by Giroud was enough to beat Tim Krul in the Leazes goal, although the
Magpies 'keeper got a touch to it. At first glance the vain attempt Mike
Williamson made at reaching Giroud made him look like the culprit, but replays
showed that he was otherwise engaged and Fabricio Coloccini had failed to mark
Full time: Magpies 0 Gunners
"There was definitely a foul before then (the goal) on
Anita, without a shadow of a doubt; there was a foul on Sissoko that he (the
referee) didn't give. In terms of the breaks of the decisions, I don't
want to say the referee had a poor game, but sometimes he sees those calls
and they go your way, sometimes they don't.
"Against Stoke, we had all the calls go
our way and today, perhaps we were on the other side of it. It's just
frustrating, a little bit, that we have not got something on the scoreboard in
terms of a point, no more than that.
"We needed a bit more offensive
presence (meaning Ben Arfa came on) I knew with this crowd and kicking
that way, we could start cranking it up.
"As I say the goal came literally as he
entered the pitch which was a shame for us because I think we could have got
them on the back foot and maybe won the game. But the goal gave them something
to fall back.
"You could argue we should have started
a bit more positive - itís very difficult to beat Arsenal. You canít let
them dictate the game and dictate the midfield. It was a real, feel each other
out in the first half - almost like the first three or four rounds of boxing
when you are finding your feet.
"We knew we had assets on the bench,
stronger assets but unfortunately we have come out the wrong side of it.
"It (the goal) came at a good
time for Arsenal. We were just starting to crank it up like we do at home and it
gave them something to fall back on.
"It was a tight game and a very
tactical battle. We were as good as them and certainly didnít deserve to get
beat. But it was mistake from a set play that we should have defended better
although it was a good quality ball in.
"And then some moments at the end when
we had a chance to get ourselves a point. We came out with our confidence
renewed even though we lost.
The defending at a set-piece was very disappointing - we have not really been
guilty of that this season and we have to make sure it doesnít happen again.
"Iím disappointed for the players and our fans because I donít think we
did much wrong, but weíve got a defeat against our name.
"It was a very even, keenly-contested game. My overall feeling is that
weíve come out on the wrong side because a few breaks went against us in terms
of decisions, and that was probably the difference.
"But we have 33 points, weíre seventh in the table and I think we can
better that in the second half of the season.Ē
"We played against a good team who
made it very physical for us. They tried to stop us at any cost and we
controlled the game technically quite well until we scored the goal.
"After that we had a chance to score the second and then suddenly we have
refused to play and just wanted to protect the score. But we did that with
another aspect of our team, the solidarity, togetherness and fighting spirit.
"Everybody threw their bodies in and I'm very proud of the players. What
I'm especially pleased with is the mentality, the spirit, the hunger of the
team. It's a pleasure to work with them and despite the fact that we play
against great teams in the league, if we can keep these qualities in the squad
we have a chance.
believe in ourselves and we are determined to give our best, absolutely, and to
turn back on the season at the end and think we have given our best. I hope it
will be enough, of course, but it's a long way to go. It's too early to say
"We believe in ourselves and we are
determined to give our best, absolutely, and to turn back on the season at the
end and think we have given our best. We have come out of very difficult games -
we have played Everton, we have played Manchester City, Chelsea, at West Ham and
"We have dropped some points, but I
felt it was more down to the heavy schedule and the short recovery time we have
had than to the difficulty of the games, but we have to show it on the pitch,
and that's what we try to do.
"On Yohan Cabaye, we don't look for a midfielder. We didn't have Mesut Ozil
or Aaron Ramsey and we still had three good midfielders and Mikel Arteta on the
United suffered only a second home loss in
ten Premier League games: won 5, drawn 3, lost 2.
In the same time period last season, that home PL record was: won 5,
drawn 1, lost 4.
Halfway the lads - NUFC last five PL
seasons after nineteen games:
2013/14: 33 points, 8th (scored
29, conceded 24)
2012/13: 20 points, 15th (scored 23, conceded 30)
2011/12: 30 points, 7th (scored 26, conceded 25)
2010/11: 22 points, 13th (scored 28, conceded 29)
2008/09: 22 points, 12th (scored 25, conceded 27)
2007/08: 26 points, 11th (scored 26, conceded 29)
Avoiding a booking for the eighth successive game means that the threat
of immediate suspension has been lifted from Moussa Sissoko, as
PL yellow cards are set aside on December 31st 2013.
Newcastle have now failed to score against Arsenal at SJP in three
games, the last registered being "that" goal from Cheick
Tiote here in February 2011 in the 4-4 draw.
A year on from losing 3-7 in North London, just five of the
fourteen players on duty that day were also involved today (for the
Gunners that total is nine)
2012: Krul, Simpson, Santon, Perch, Coloccini,
Tiote, Bigirimana, Cisse, Marveaux, Obertan, Ba,
Ferguson, Sh.Ameobi, Tavernier.
2013: Krul, Debuchy, Santon,
Tiote, Anita, Sissoko, Cabaye, Gouffran,
Remy, Haidara, Sh.Ameobi, Ben Arfa.
Gunners in Toon - Premier League era:
2013/14: Lost 0-1
2012/13: Lost 0-1
2011/12: Drew 0-0
2010/11: Drew 4-4 Barton 2, Best, Tiote
2010/11: Lost 0-4 (LC)
2008/09: Lost 1-3 Martins
2007/08: Drew 1-1 S.Taylor
2006/07: Drew 0-0
2005/06: Won 1-0 Solano
2004/05: Lost 0-1
2003/04: Drew 0-0
2002/03: Drew 1-1 Robert
2001/02: Drew 1-1 Robert (FAC)
2001/02: Lost 0-2
2000/01: Drew 0-0
1999/00: Won 4-2 Speed 2, Shearer, Griffin
1998/99: Drew 1-1 Hamann
1997/98: Lost 0-1
1996/97: Lost 1-2 Shearer
1995/96: Won 2-0 Ginola, Ferdinand
1994/95: Won 1-0 Beardsley
1993/94: Won 2-0 Cole, Beardsley
Total record against Arsenal:
NUFC's year ending results - Premier League era:
2013/14 Arsenal (h) lost 0-1
2012/13 Arsenal (a) lost 3-7
2011/12 Liverpool (a) lost 1-3
2010/11 Spurs (a) lost 0-2
2009/10 Derby County (h) drew 0-0
2008/09 Liverpool (h) lost 1-5
2007/08 Chelsea (a) lost 1-2
2006/07 Everton (a) lost 0-3
2005/06 Spurs (a) lost 0-2
2004/05 Arsenal (h) lost 0-1
2003/04 Blackburn (h) lost 0-1
2002/03 Spurs (h) won 2-1
2001/02 Chelsea (h) lost 1-2
2000/01 Manchester United (h) drew 1-1
1999/00 Leicester City (a) won 2-1
1998/99 Liverpool (a) lost 2-4
1997/98 Liverpool (h) lost 1-2
1996/97 Spurs (h) won 7-1
1995/96 Manchester United (a) lost 0-2
1994/95 Norwich City (a) lost 1-2
1993/94 Chelsea (a) lost 0-1
Newcastle ended 2013
with only their second defeat in ten Premier League games, Arsenal moving to the
top of the table after a somewhat fortuitous win. A simple header from Olivier
Giroud ultimately separated the two sides, with the under-fire Frenchman left
unmarked at a Theo Walcott free-kick.
However United were a shade unlucky not to claim a point for a strong and
competitive display, in stark contrast to their 7-3 Emirates drubbing exactly 12
months earlier. With Cheick Tiote returning from suspension, the Magpies soaked
up pressure from a Gunners side who had registered three goals in each of their
last three away games - crucially restricting them to long-range efforts.
Chances at the other end were equally scarce, with few sights of goal for either
Loic Remy or Yoan Gouffran. Meanwhile, our ploy of picking out Mathieu Debuchy
as he arrived at the back post twice came close to fruition - one mis-control
denying the full back the opportunity of a clear shot.
Having failed to get any power on an 18th minute header, Moussa Sissoko almost
sent United in with a half time advantage after unleashing a blockbuster effort. Vurnon
Anita's interception led to Yohan Cabaye's shot being blocked, Sissoko seizing
on the rebound to bring a fingertip save from Wojciech Szczesny before Debuchy
headed against the bar from the resultant corner.
By that point, the visitors had roused the largest SJP crowd of the season into
life with their diving antics - culminating in two allegedly stricken Gunners
requiring attention in different areas of the field on 35 minutes. An
unconvincing attempt by Theo Walcott to claim that he'd been elbowed by Cheick
Tiote was also met with widespread derision, as Arsene Wenger's side looked
slightly rattled and out of their comfort zone.
The second period saw both sides press on in an attempt to break the deadlock,
referee Lee Probert attempting to maintain the flow of the game and allow some
robust challenges from both sides to go unpunished. Attempting to take the
initiative, Alan Pardew had Papiss Cisse, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi and Hatem
Ben Arfa limbering up on the sidelines before opting to replace Gouffran with
Ben Arfa just after the hour mark.
Before he'd got up to speed though, the decisive blow came when Tiote was
penalised for clipping Santi Cazorla outside the area. An innocuous looking
free-kick was chipped forward by Walcott and the merest of touches by Giroud was
enough to beat Tim Krul in the Leazes End goal, although the Magpies 'keeper got
a touch to it.
With Debuchy clearing a Walcott effort off the line soon after, Shola Ameobi
appeared to replace the improving Anita before Massadio Haidara came on for the
tiring Sissoko and went to left back -Davide Santon appearing as an extra man in
right midfield as Ben Arfa moved inside.
What proved to be the closest thing to an equaliser came when Remy attempted to
chase down a back pass, only for Szczesny's clearance to strike the Toon man in
the face, rebounding just wide of the unguarded Arsenal goal. Ben Arfa wasn't
quite in the same mood as he had been against Stoke with some of his
decision-making open to question, particularly one dribble into the box that
ended with his pinging a low shot wide of the near post.
Two late corners failing to bring any joy despite the presence of Krul in the
area, while other half-chances were made and missed: Shola shooting meekly
before failing to connect with a cross and Debuchy going down under challenge
from Mathieu Flamini in the box.
Mike Williamson almost capped another sound defensive display with what would
have been a first Toon goal - only for the ball to drop too far in front of him
to make contact and test Szczesny.
Almost but not quite then: in many ways the story of this game for Newcastle,
who approached it with more care than the slack opening that Stoke duly
It's no coincidence that the same starting XI selected for duty in the win at
Old Trafford appeared today. Discipline and restraint were again prize
commodities, as United tried to show some patience and stay in the game until
opportunities presented themselves.
Despite seeing his side drop to eighth, Alan Pardew rightly took pride after the
game from the fact that they had come close to matching title challengers
Arsenal, and United can look forward to the new year with a level of optimism
that seemed scarcely credible just weeks ago.
But while the Gunners have Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey to come back in, looking
beyond United's matchday 18 underlines the lack of genuine alternatives -
Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan both now firmly out of the picture and
Jonas Gutierrez the subject of speculation regarding his allegedly uncertain
(It's reported that Obertan made a sharp exit from SJP when discovering that he
wasn't in the matchday 18 - given his lack of direction, he probably set off for
the Tyne Bridge and ended up on the Town Moor....)
Whether the owner has any interest in building on the progress made recently
remains to be seen, especially with the Europa League campaign of last season
and the consequent domestic cost to us still fresh in his mind. Hopes are
high that this squad won't be weakened in the imminent transfer window (although
a couple of exits are likely) and while that's a comfort, it remains to be seen
whether any strengthening moves are authorised.