"It's Too Perilous" - An Instant Reaction to Arsenal 2, Newcastle United 1

We've always got to have one of these, don't we?

There were times during the second half of this match that I questioned who Newcastle were playing for, because it looked for all the world like they were sent on a mission from Tottenham and/or Chelsea to go forth and force Arsenal to a draw. The game started off just fine, with Newcastle pressing the issue, just as they promised pre-match, but it seemed that as soon as Hatem Ben Arfa scored with his left foot in the 15th minute, they let off the gas. Indeed, less than two minutes later, a poor play from Davide Santon led to a cross that Robin van Persie will always bury, especially if Mike Williamson is going to lay down a welcome mat in the box and let him twist and turn any which way he pleases. There was some more promising possession in the first half, but it was clear from the get-go after the break that the Toon were going to try to sit on their point for 45+ minutes...and it almost worked.

I'd like to be really mad about this match, and it's true that I'm not happy in the slightest, but to be honest, teams that play negative football like Newcastle did in the second half today deserve to be scored on at the last second. There's no real reason Danny Simpson should try to be wasting time in the corner when the team has a numbers advantage in the box, and there's sure no excuse for falling down and refusing to get up, hoping Howard Webb will give you a pity whistle. Yes, I'm angry, but not at the result. It's as if the team has arrived at the last quarter of the season and has decided that instead of going for broke, they're going to try to sneak into the seventh spot one point at a time. Good teams don't play this way.

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