Saturday, December 10, 2005

Newcastle pip 10 man Arsenal

Newcastle United beat 10 man Arsenal at St James’s Park tonight 1-0 in a scrappy affair.

Gilberto was red carded on 57 minutes for a second bookable offense on Jean-Alain Boumsong, it turned out to be Arsenal’s undoing. Up to that point it was a tense match with Arsenal getting the better chances and also committing most of the fouls.

The match was settled in the 82nd minute though by Nolberto Solano who drilled a right footed shot across Jens Lehmann into the bottom left corner of the goal. In the box, Alan Shearer, a workhorse all game long, held the ball up under pressure and passed across the box for Solano to finish from 18 yards out.

Although Newcastle pulled out the win, at 45 minutes it didn’t look that way, it seemed only a matter of time before they would pull thru and score. Arsenal dominated possession and should have been a goal up on 28 minutes when Freddy Ljungberg laid out a perfect cross for Thierry Henry to tap home. Shay Given denied Henry in what was easily the best save of the match. Minutes later Henry was given a similar chance and scuffed the shot, something that Robin van Persie did later in the match in what looked like a lollipop chance in front of goal.

Arsenal were again troubled by physical play. Beaten by Bolton Wanderers last week, Newcastle used similar tactics to throw the Gunners off stride. It worked to some degree although Arsenal seemed more prepared this time around. No team wants a reputation for being ballerinas.

Newcastle took their share of hits though. Scott Parker, who’d been excellent all night, got rattled by Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann and had to be pulled off. It looked like a broken jaw to me, at minimum some loose teeth. Bravely, Parker played on but when he got into a fight over the ball with Kolo Toure and hit the floor, he called it quits.

Speaking of Toure, I gotta tell you, Arsenal lost, but it wasn’t because of him. He’s brilliant. Playing out of position at full-back tonight he ran the wing and held up his defensive responsibilities like the best of them. Toure has truly become a world class player, and keep an eye out for his brother Yaya who was instrumental in Olympiakos's win over Real Madrid in the Champions League last week. Both are playing in the group of death for the upcoming World Cup and deserve their places.

The win moves Newcastle up to 10th place on 22 points, and they desperately needed it losing their last 3 matches to Chelsea, Everton and Wigan. For Arsenal, dropping to 6th place, it seems their Premiership aspirations have gone begging. While the team is looking better and better each week there are now 17 miles between them and Chelsea.


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Blogger tbh said...

Your only comments about Scott Parker were "brave" and "excellent"? That's amazing. I agree Toure did a good job but Parker produced a barnstorming performance, against pretty much everyone this season. And this is a guy who hadn't played any football at all for, I think, two whole seasons.

(The Guardian named Parker MOTM for both this fixture and the reverse fixture: http://football.guardian.co.uk/Match_Report/0,1527,-55562,00.html)

Pity he's an Englishman – the lad really deserves a World Cup spot.

12/11/2005 6:22 PM  
Blogger FTNChen said...

Parker is truly brilliant. Probably one of the best english anchorman.

His decision to go to Chelsea was unwise, and almost ruined his career. ManUtd should have bought him as the ideal replacement for Roy Keane, but now the Magpies have snatched a quality player. If only the lad is less injury-prone.

Which leads me to another thought, how Chelsea is wrecking careers. Brilliant young men like Glen Johnson and Wayne Bridge, as well as reliable veterans like Cudicini, Smertin and Geremi who should be playing football every week all found themselves rotting on the bench, waiting for their chances. The impact is less for those veterans, but for developing players like Glen, Wayne and Scott, the consequences are disastrous for them as they wasted their valuable years in development - a setback that they may never recover from.

12/12/2005 7:53 AM  

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