Main Page

Quick Links

The Rest
   Club info
   Last Season
   Unlikely Lads
   A-Z Index



Season 2002-03 
Match Report 2002-03 - Arsenal (a) 

This report is brought to you by Ginsters


Saturday 9th November 2002, 3pm

Venue: Highbury

Conditions: Autumnal sunshine but the travelling fans suffered from that  SAD syndrome - Seasonal Arsenal Defeat... 


Arsenal 1 - 0 Newcastle United


24 mins Thierry Henry slipped a ball through to Oleg Luzhny on the right of the area adjacent to the toon fans. A slow Dabizas played everyone onside and when Luzhny squared it to Sylvain Wiltord he just needed to tap in from inside the six yard box. Any suspicion of offside was dispelled by the TV replays - Luzhny was well onside and Wiltord was behind the ball before receiving it. 0-1

Half time:  Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0

Full time:  Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0

We Said

Sir Bobby said:

"We just didn't conjure up enough chances to deserve a point. I'm disappointed but we came up against a high quality side with a point to prove because they've lost some games recently that they didn't expect to lose.

"But at the end today they wanted the final whistle and we didn't. We fought like tigers and were magnificent at the back but Arsenal have this power and pace which makes you feel glad to get out of it without being massacred.

"We certainly weren't and I'm proud of the players and thought young JJ was outstanding, but Arsenal always had the edge. I know we won here last season but this was one of our better performances against them today.

"I would think they are just about the best in England at the moment. They've certainly had a wonderful day with Liverpool and Man United losing. That's why they were jumping up and down at the end."

They Said

Wenger said:

"I know we could have scored more but it was still an outstanding performance. Two weeks ago our confidence was low and it is difficult to bounce back, but we are doing it.

"Sometimes when you can't take your chances, you have to make sure you will 1-0, but I thought we had a very solid performance.

"There were 11 good performances out there and we always looked solid."

Match Stats

We were the last side to stop Arsenal scoring in a league game, when the two sides played out a tepid 0-0 draw on Tyneside in May 2001. Since then they've scored in 52 consecutive Premiership matches including this one.

This was our 150th game against the Gunners in all competitions, making them our most frequent opponents (Man City were next most frequent on 148). We've beaten Arsenal more often than any other club with 64 successes, apart from Manchester City with 66.

Played: 150 Won: 64 Drawn: 31 Lost: 55 For: 222 Against: 210


Coping with seven games in three different competitions in a three week period is a test of any side, and with more big matches still to come, our resources are being stretched to breaking point at present.

Quite simply we were running on empty when we got to Highbury - we put our foot on the gas but there was nowt in the tank. The stark facts are: no shots on target, no corners won. No points, no chance.

We were one behind here last season at half time with the home side threatening a rout - but we all know what happened thereafter, with the O'Brien leveller at the Clock end coming from a corner. 

This time we didn't even have the corner to cheer, never mind the goal.

United never showed the determination or the belief to repeat the feats of last December  and our performance was more reminiscent of the meek FA Cup replay surrender of March 2002. Or the Cup final a couple of years before.

Defensively we did our best to restrict the sharpshooters in the home side from getting a clear sight at goal, and that combined with a lack of quality from Henry in particular kept the score down, on an afternoon when Given didn't have that much to do.

In the midfield though we struggled to contain the perpetual motion of Vieira, bursting back on to the scene after an absence through suspension and also suffered from the attacking forays of Luzhny, who had little to do at the back.

Speed and Jenas toiled away, but Solano and Viana never got themselves involved on a regular basis and Dyer flitted hither and thither without achieving
anything memorable. 

Without Bellamy to cajole, prompt and generally make a nuisance of himself, Shearer looked a forlorn figure at the head of the attack. It's also fair to say that the unique skill set of Robert would have been greatly appreciated had he been available. He may have his faults, but more often than not something happens when he's around.

The belated appearance of Shola at least gave him a semblance of support in the latter stages, but the inability of the rest of the side to get anything remotely resembling a cross over made it all a total waste of an afternoon.

In particular fellow sub Bernard appeared to be on a different planet, twice failing to deliver from left wing set pieces in the last few minutes. A half-decent delivery then might just have brought a goalmouth scramble and the chance of an improbable equaliser, but we couldn't even get the damn ball into the area.

As he had for most of the game, David Seaman stood idly by and watched his defence smother our occasional thrusts, and still somehow managed to strain his groin. Perhaps he was having a fiddle downstairs when Viana's shot flew past him en route to and from a collision with the crossbar and wrenched something. 

Certainly nothing else we did caused him any bother, unless he hurt himself laughing at us.   

We can only hope that this forgettable misadventure was as a result of keeping our powder dry for the trip to Rotterdam. If we had any fortune though, it's that we didn't exit down the Holloway Road with our tails well and truly between our legs, having been buried by an avalanche of goals. 

For Arsenal, it was a further step on the road to domestic rehabilitation after recent wobbles, and on that basis we were the perfect guests - polite, unassuming and never likely to derail proceedings.

Regardless of what happens in Europe in the interim , it's imperative that we approach our next domestic away game in a more positive frame of mind than we did this one  - a victory at Old Trafford is within our power, but not playing like this.

Best forgotten. As Captain Sensible once said....Glad it's all over.


Back to Main Page

Page last updated 14 July, 2016