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"Plucky" Newcastle United Dominate Second Half, Lost to Arsenal 2-1: Instant Reaction

It should have felt a lot worse than this. The fact that it doesn't maybe gives rise to hope for the derby.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

We're used to Newcastle putting forth two different performances in the two halves of a match.  It was an Alan Pardew hallmark and has continued under John Carver.  Rarely, though, has it been this drastic.  In spite of dropping three points and against all better judgement, the feeling at the end of this match was one of encouragement.  A performance that is probably just short of being able to be called dominant in the second half almost makes you forget how terrible we were for large sections of the first half.

Frankly, if we had been able to focus for the 5 minute stretch in which Olivier Giroud scored the match-winning goals, there may just have been more in it for Newcastle on the day.  In fact, there was some evidence of tactical decisions made by John Carver (making a point of playing the ball out from the back instead of hoofing it up all match long).  There was heart from the players and fight and spirit and everything that the club has been missing for so many months.  Lee Ryder famously referred to Newcastle United as "plucky" multiple times during the match.  He of course took some stick for that and I take exception on this level:  "plucky" suggests that Newcastle were clearly the lesser of the clubs and were completely over matched.  On the complete balance (in spite of how bad we were for stretches of the first half), this was not the case.  Newcastle deserved to be on the same pitch with Arsenal and deserve every nice word said about them in the post match.  It was a performance that, if we can kick on from it, will maybe (just maybe) allow us to feel decent about heading into the derby.