My fellow Positivitas, another Sunday has rolled round and with our fourth game of the PL season, has settled. I think we are all now a little more confident and able to raise our eyes to look forward and upward.
The game yesterday was predictable in form.
We dominated possession, pushed the home side back throughout the 90 minutes and rendered them impotent (in any genuine football sense), and earned our expected three points. All Toon had to offer was stout defence, which was to their credit, and mindlessly stupid attempts to boot their way back into the game, normally through Coquelin’s shins, which was not. At one point it appeared the Toon players had lost their collective minds as Marriner had to pull out card after card. Had they found themselves down to nine men, or less, then they would have had only themselves to blame.
“Professional” footballers? Don’t make me laugh.
Some comment has been made concerning the sending off and that it had a significant influence on the outcome of the game. I don’t think so. We had dominated the game before the Serbian got his marching orders. We dominated the game exactly the same afterwards. Newcastle were pinned like a butterfly on a mounting board before the 16th minute, they remained pinned to the 93rd minute. I would agree that there are some games when a sending-off can be pivotal, just not yesterday.
Credit to young Francis. I suspect he was targeted by McLaren on the basis that, as a young player, he would lose his head and retaliate. He kept a commendably cool demeanour and let Marriner do his job. I say that maturity and good sense is another indicator of how far, and how fast, the young Frenchman has developed since his return from Charlton.
As for what I thought we did well yesterday I was hugely impressed by the work of both full backs. Defensively they had almost nothing to do but both worked tirelessly to support the attack, to offer an outside option around the Barcodes’ banks of four, and Hector was unlucky to miss out on the penalty that his excellent touch had caused. Both Nacho and Hector used the ball sensibly, passed carefully. A pleasure to watch. Against the lesser sides the attacking contribution of our full backs can be crucial. I would like to see both taking a few pot shots as well.
Good performances from Santi and Aaron, Gabriel sharp and ready to go as a starter, if required.
I hardly need to point of the finishing, with Theo and eventually Olly not converting chances that on another day would have given us a far more comfortable afternoon. To be fair to both, only one was a wild miss, with Krul making two good saves for the others. Our lack of quality finishing concerns me, it concerns Wenger, I have no bloody doubt it concerns Theo and Giroud. Hard work needed in training and Danny back after the International break offers the answer, I suspect.
What the opposition did well?
Colloccini is such a good centre back I wonder what he has done wrong to have had to play for Newcastle for the past seven years, especially when you see some of the talentless donkeys signed by CL clubs in England, Spain, Italy and Germany in the years since 2008 (Yes Pepe I am referring to you among others). Coloccini was a rock yesterday in the air and on the ground. Excruciating that the Argentine was the one that deflected in Ox’s shot for the winner yesterday.
I salute you Fabricio as a worthy opponent.
On the “looking upwards” vibe we have slipped into fifth in the table on the strength of probably playing about 85-90% of our potential. Citeh remain the team to beat. Interesting next round of PL games though. We have Stoke at the Ems, assuming they still have 11 players eligible to play.
Elsewhere Manyoo at home to Liverpool, Chelsea at Goodison and most intriguing Citeh travel to Selhurst Park. Both Mancs side face tricky games, and if Chelsea are going to revive, then they face a battle against Everton and a pissed off Martinez after their behaviour with Stones.
Small steps in a long campaign.
*Sir Bobby Robson (as if you didn’t know ) 18 February 1933 – 31 July 2009