EPL 2005: Day 20 (Newcastle 0 – Arsenal 1)

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
December 30th, 2004 • 5:41 am

Good grief. If this keeps up, I am going to have to find another football team to get enthusiastic about. This game must have been the most boring game that the Gunners have played all season. I know that, at this stage in the season, it’s all about the result and the points, but still… If even Arsenal cannot do it with a bit of class and elegance, then who can?

The first half was somewhat entertaining, although the keepers were never really tested. With the help of a deflection or two, Vieira managed to score with a powerful shot from the edge of the box just before half time. It was a rather unusual goal for him (although Patrick is not usually a goal scorer anyway, so it’s hard to find a pattern in his goal scoring), but on the whole it wasn’t undeserved. Newcastle’s game plan was obviously to play a rather defensive type of game, even though they were at home, so Arsenal enjoyed quite a bit of possession. Still, the statistics might indicate that there were a number of goal attempts, but none of them were really clear-cut chances.

In a way, the goal happened at the worst possible time, because there was no real motivation for the Gunners at the beginning of the second half. Since Newcastle didn’t create much either, Arsenal seemed content with resorting to a rather subdued approach. And it worked. But what a bore this second half was!

To make matters worse, Ashley Cole was really having a bad day, and tempers flared up a few times, with the typical involvement of trouble makers like Lee Bowyer and Craig Bellamy. Arsenal collected a handful of yellow cards, but fortunately no red ones. Still, it’s hard to understand why someone like Ashley Cole was so obviously frustrated and ill-tempered. It’s not like he was struggling against challenging opponents and losing the battle. If he wasn’t on top of things, it was purely through his own fault. Taking it out on the referee or the opposition is not exactly a mature way of dealing with it.

Sol Campbell had a bit of trouble in the air with Ameobi, but on the whole the rest of the team did OK. Still, one expects much more creativity and motivation from a team such as Arsenal.

To be true, most of the other games played over the holiday period so far have been of a similar nature, which begs the question: Is this holiday football feast really a good idea? If the plan here is to keep the fans entertained over the holiday season, then this year it has been an abject failure so far. (There is one more series of games on January 1st.) Maybe England should do like everyone else and have a holiday break after all…

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