Not much was expected from our trip to the Emirates this afternoon in what proved to be another heartbreaking afternoon for Newcastle. Outstanding for 55 minutes it was the Newcastle United who played against Liverpool and Chelsea who turned up, only for the typically disappointing capitulation in the second half leaving the Toon pointless and searching for answers as the relegation struggle becomes ever more serious.
Newcastle started the game with a couple of changes from the side who suffered the injury time heartbreak loss against Everton with one enforced change as Anita missed out through injury with Tiote coming in although Elliot was reinstalled to the starting line up in place of Darlow who struggled between the sticks last week.
Elliot, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Janmaat, Tiote (deJong 87), Colback (Thauvin 79), Perez, Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Mitrovic
Arsenal pushed onto Newcastle’s usually fragile back 4 from the first whistle with Bellerin from right back causing a lot of problems on Newcastle’s left hand side.
Newcastle had some real attacking threat though and had the first shot on target as Wijnaldum fired at Cech from distance who parried out to Mitrovic who saw his square ball to Colback tamely hit back to the Arsenal stopper who parried to safety.
Newcastle seemed to be encouraged by this rare foray into Arsenal’s half with the home side having 64% of possession in the first 10 mins. This had unbelievably increased to 51% in favour of Newcastle by the half time. Perez had put a shot wide by that point after some lovely skill Tiote and was lively and proved a threat throughout.
As chances came at both ends wor Jack picked up his usual yellow card on 35 mins before an outstanding block from Coloccini to deny Giroud. Czech then did well again to save from Mitrovic who surely would have scored if he’d put it either side of the keeper, whilst the same could also be said for Wijnaldum.
Newcastle started the second half brightly and were left kicking themselves that first Wijnaldum and then Sissoko missed fantastic chances to put the away side ahead. Firstly only a fantastic save from Cech denied the Dutch International before Mitrovic put wide with a chance he should have at least got on target.
Just as crazy perhaps was that with Newcastle peppering the Arsenal goal it wasn’t until the 50th minute that Elliot had a save to make.
Arsenal then seemed to wake up themselves realising they were going to have to go through more than just the motions to get three points from this one as the game started to swing end to end with both sides pushing for a winner.
With 72 minutes on the clock everything was to change however. A corner not cleared by Newcastle ended with the ball looping in the air and LAURENT KOSCIELNY showed the desire to stab the ball into an unguarded net with the Toon defence as sixes and sevens.
Mitrovic had another great chance to find the net with Mitrovic heading over after more great work from Perez. Wijnaldum then did the same from a Janmaat corner. And as time the clock ticked towards 90 minutes it was becoming more and more apparent that today was going to be just one of those days.
A late substitution from McClaren saw Thauvin on for Colback but it was all in vein.
Overall this is a performance that perhaps sums up everything about Newcastle this season. Playing with passion, pride and desire they seem a match for anyone in the league. Sadly they don’t seem to be able to play like this against the teams we should be picking points up against. Most importantly missing a cutting edge, when presented with so many great chances, and with weaknesses and moments of lapse at the back we continue to find it impossible to pick up the points needed to drag ourselves away from the bottom three.
How many times will you read ’Newcastle can take positives from this game’. Positives is no good. Points is what we need.