Arsenal 0 v Newcastle United 1

Lukasz Fabianski’s inability to collect a routine free-kick cost Arsenal as Andy Carroll rose to head past the error prone Gunners’ keeper on the stroke of half time for a shock Newcastle win.Make no mistake about it, this was a poor Arsenal performance and it would appear that the Gunners have not learnt from the home defeat to West Bromwich Albion, or is it that Arsene Wenger’s side just don’t like black and white stripes?

Ten men

Arsenal were reduced to ten men late on when Laurent Koscielny was shown a straight red card for impeding substitute Nile Ranger.Whatever is going on off the pitch, on it, it is apparent that this Arsenal team think they can just turn up, string a few good passes together and win with ease.


That seemed to be the mentality,as Theo Walcott, Marouane Chamakh and Cesc Fabregas – yes the Gunners capatin too – played without any desire. Fabregas has not recovered sufficiently from his troubled hamstring injury and Wenger should not be picking him if the 90 minutes he produced at the Emirates against the Magpies is anything to go by. Walcott is at his best when used as an impact player, coming off the bench when opponents tire and as for Chamakh, he was Carroll’s marker for the goal, but the Moroccan just did not put in any kind of aerial challenge to attempt thwart the Newcastle striker.


The visitors kept well behind the ball, defending deep in numbers, which came to frustrate an Arsenal side who did not have what was needed to prize open their stubborn lines. Fabregas struck the bar from his early free-kick, with Tim Krull then twice saving onto the woodwork from firstly Fabregas and then Samir Nasri as he latched onto a pull back from his captain.


With half time approaching, Jonas Gutierrez won a free-kick that Joey Barton swung in. Carroll jumped the highest and as Fabianski came for the ball, it had been headed beyond him for a shock opener.


Arsenal emerged early for the second half and upped their game. Jack Wilshere was showing the watching Fabio Capello that he is of international calibre, and his reverse pass that he placed into Walcott’s path was perfect, but as the Gunners’ 14 shot and beat Krull, the ball hit the crossbar.


Wenger brought on Andrey Arshavin for Nasri and to the loudest cheers, on came Robin van Persie for Chamakh. Time was ticking away for Arsenal however as Nerwcastle continued to defend in numbers. Fabregas saw his header from Arshavin’s cross find Krull’s hands, and Wenger’s miserable afternoon was to be complete when Koscielny was shown a straight red card after he tangled with Ranger.


This was a very poor Arsenal performance and on this evidence, Wenger will not only have to re-instill the winning mentality, but also – and without fail – get in a quality ‘keeper. The sooner the better one would think.