Deja vu for Newcastle!

By Lee Ryder on Jan 29, 08 09:39 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED are still searching for their first win under Kevin Keegan after enduring a 3-0 defeat once again at the hands of Arsenal.

On a night of little cheer for the travelling Toon Army the Gunners went back to the top of the Premier League to leave Newcastle without a Premier League victory since December 17.

United boss Kevin Keegan made just one change to the team that lost 3-0 in the FA Cup on Saturday with David Rozehnal replacing Jose Enrique after the Spaniard picked up a knock at the Emirates a few days ago.

The reshuffle meant the Czech star played in the holding role in the centre of midfield while Charles N’Zogbia dropped to left-back.

Joey Barton was also back in the fold and started on the bench.

Watching United from the stands for the first time was new executive director Dennis Wise with the former Chelsea man flanked by player recruitment supremo Tony Jimenez and technical co-ordinator Jeff Vetere.

Newcastle started the match in solid fashion in North London with neither side able to create a real chance in the opening 15 minutes.

Newcastle almost fell behind mid-way through the first half when Emmanuel Adebayor tried to close down a loose ball in front of goal with Shay Given’s unorthodox backheel flashing past his own post.

The Togo star then latched on to a right wing cross from Mathieu Flamini with six minutes of the first half left but his powerful volley was hit high over the bar.

Two minutes later though the same combination opened United up as Flamini’s identical cross was pounced on by the African who made no mistake a the second time of asking to head home.

United’s best chance finally arrived a minute before the break when Duff released Milner but the Yorkshireman’s shot was deflected clear for a corner which was wasted by Newcastle.

Arsenal were full value for their lead at the break but United were desperate to score the first goal of KK’s third coming.

United applied some early pressure on the Gunners in the second period and looked much more of a threat to the home side.

And Keegan introduced Barton on 57 minutes with the Scouse midfield man appearing for the first time since the home clash with Derby County on December 23.

Unsurprisingly Barton was taunted by Arsenal fans as he replaced Rozehnal.

But Newcastle still maintained their bright start to the period and the only shot that troubled Given came from Flamini who drove when straight at him on 67 minutes after an Adebayor left flank cross.

With 18 minutes left though Flamini was on hand to add Arsenal’s second when he received a pass from Fabregas before unleashing an unstoppable 30 yard shot into the top corner.

Newcastle responded when N’Zogbia laid it off to Duff but the Irishman’s long range effort flashed wide of the post.

But it was 3-0 when a long ball from Gael Clichy found Bendtner who rolled it to Fabregas before the Spanish ace rattled home to finish off United with 10 minutes left.

With three minutes left Smith won a free-kick on the edge of the dee and Nicky Butt came so close when he cracked the bar before Arsenal scrambled clear.

ARSENAL: Almunia, Diaby (Gilberto 76), Sagna, Fabregas, Senderos, Eduardo (Bendtner 72), Gallas, Hleb, Flamini, Clichy, Adebayor (Walcott 82)

Subs: Lehmann, Hoyte.

UNITED: Given, Carr, Rozehnal (Barton 57), Cacapa, Taylor, Milner (Ameobi 73), Butt, N’Zogbia, Duff, Smith, Owen.

Subs: Harper, Edgar, LuaLua.

Ref: Mike Riley


James 09 said:

This is not overacting to the two 3 nil defeats (expected we'd lose both)- but we are in considerable trouble in our league situation. We are getting pulled towards a genuine bottom of the table scarp.

We have yet to "entertain" Man U and Chelsea, travel to Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham, and Villa. Many points in that lads and lasses?
With our record against such teams I'm not confident about Boro, Fulham, Brum, Reading, and Sunderland either.

Simply – we NEED to beat Boro.

Oh and the Wise appointment – is anything really that surprising with NUFC? Yes I know a trophy would be somewhat of a fright, but I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if Dame Edna was signed bright and early tomorrow.

William P said:

Hi Lee, you will not believe this but Deja vu is the exact word I said as soon as they scored their third! I wonder what odds the bookies were giving on this score line... Ain't no mountain high enough! I think the song goes,,well believe me this mountain is! I don't see us going down but after watching this performance last night no passion no guts, The look of loosers was writing all over everyone our lads faces "I know these are harsh words but it's the truth. I think KK needs to take hold of this lot by the scruff of the neck and give all a good shake.... Come on Kev" you can do it.

Duncan Baines said:

I think 3-0 to Arsenal must have been quite short odds given how predictiable it was we'd get thrashed.

Anonymous said:

Desperate lack of creativity in the midfield and we're suffering from a narrowing of options up front - apart from the careless defending that we're used to.

Jonathan said:

a disappointing night but it was never going to be anything more than a draw at best was it?

Keegan has still only just started at Newcastle and I am personally sick and tired of the national press trying to pick us out as nothing more than a joke club. That kind of attitude gets you nowhere and doesn't win you friends. This is the last thing that any club needs.

Even though we've still to score under Keegan we had to go to Arsenal twice in 4 days. That is hard work for any team and for me was somewhat harsh.

Even so we still need to pick up a win against the Boro and i'm sure the lads will give a good account of themselves.


gav said:

I am absoloutly inscensed by particularlily the southern media saying there is already trouble brewing at newcastle united with king kev ! jesus the guy aint been in the job for one month and they are already trying to ruin us . It's bad enough that the southern press a certain two papers already think we are a joke but its like they are deliberatly trying to start trouble . Give us a chance to turn it around we all know there are problems with this club but are we supposed to turn it around in a instance , it aint possible . This is one man that we have to give time ! i believe that most of the fans are behind him but we just have to be patient , this club has gone through a lot of painfull times leading up to this point which has left it a mess right down to its core , it is a massive rebuilding project and do we really think that mr mike ashley bought into this club to turn it into a failure , i personnaly dont and all the talk of dennis wise being a bad signing well why ? whose to say he wont do his job well why do we have to jump on the media band wagon and try and question things that we dont think make sense that makes us as bad as them. I dont like the look at the table as much as anybody and it doesnt take a genuis to know that we could run into trouble , more trouble, but we have to give them all time things can only get better !!!!

medan said:

Lee I believe fans have are waking up to the reality of being in a relegation fight the way this team is playing. As I said before if KK does not sign one or two impact players to wake up this team since just his charisma is not going to win us games.

It is a bit shocking how a team that started out quite well in the begining of the year could play such gutless and irresponsible football.

We need to stop playing players that are either not in form or are not fit enough to play.

I would have started Lulau over Rozeland, Butt can only play effectively for 45 mins sub him with Barton eraly. I would have started in attack with Caroll and Ameobi at least they have hunger something to prove instead of the ineffective combination of Owen and Smith.

Hopefully in our next game we will have Emre and Barton in Center midfield.

I would start an attach combination of Owen and Caroll and if ineffective by half time replace Owen with Ameobi.

Geordie John i Ireland said:

I have followed NUFC for 40 years and I am so depressed at the latest events I am thinking of forgetting the toon to concentrate on my grand-kids and golf, we bring in million pound a year directors when the team is begging for reinforcement and KK states Ameobe is world class we are the laughing stock of world football,what is going on in my beloved toon? I am so sad.

Phil said:

A few strong fast players added to the squad, and the return of Beye, Faye, and Martins will be a shot in the arm. It only takes one or two weaknesses in a chain to snap it. It's going to take time for Kevin K to use his savvee and fix things. The qualities of a successful team today includes: athleticism ...youth...pace...power...skill on the ball...unselfishness...a balanced team...confidence...lots of scorers. The game is very dynamic now.
We also need an inspirational striker to lift the team - a player who can make a "goal out of nothing" such as the way Macdonald could do, and Adebayor does for Arsenal. Wenger vividly described his dream striker as having many facets to his game, which lifts the rest of his team. Kevin Keegan is in a difficult position if Owen doesn't perform. I'm not laying the blame solely on Owen, but Michael doesn't quite seem to make things happen now, and without his pace is so reliant on other players. I hope he finds his touch, but before we're in the Championship. He's not been inspirational despite the massive financial outlay. I still think we have too many small players who are too easily dominated. It's become a bit of a track meet out there today. We are in good hands with our leadership today-football wouldn't be the game it is if success could be achieved instantly. The jigsaw puzzle begins!

iain nicolson said:

didnt expect anything from arsenal and thought a draw was always possible against bolton being sams old team.

the sense of deja vu im feeling is that im beginning to wonder whats changed at nufc, seems to me the same old hollow promises, we will do this but we never do, we wont do this but we always end up doing it etc.

not one quality player on the horizon this month, if keegan thinks there isnt one player he can bring in thats better than what we have then im affraid he maybe is out of touch with football and thinks that smith and butt are the players they were 5 years ago.... message to keegan there not even pl class anymore.

i watched the pl arsenal match highlights on sky and smith was a disrace, his performance said why should i bother, he wasnt even running around making pointless bad tackles like he normally does.

i think carr/smith/butt/ameobi would be lucky to get another pl club.

keegan was brought in now i assume to begin rebuildin gand give every a lift but why bother mid season if he inst going to be buying anyone now.

i hated big sam but the club would of been better off keeping and letting him sign diarra and someone else before binning him in the summer.

since keegan has about 4 people above him now scouting for players, couldnt they have come in now and started doing so for the arrival of a new manager.

the only reason to sack sam now was to stop him spending money and let someone else spend it. now we cant even do that.

Dave B said:

Well said gav – my feelings exactly. I remember not so many years ago searching in vain for any mention of NUFC in the London based media. Having the misfortune of working in London in the early 90’s I recall struggling to find any NUFC info at all. Accessible internet was some way of and I used to get the Chronicle/Journal back pages posted down to me to satisfy my fix. I sometimes look back now and think that wasn’t such a bad thing.

Now of course we’re treated nationally as a circus, a curiosity. We are the entertainment as opposed to the entertainers. But this just makes me smile because behind every loud mouthed bully lies a coward. Believe me they shout and scream and point and laugh because deep down they’re terrified. They’re terrified of what this strange bearded lady of a club could achieve if it got the basics right. They’re like the fan who boos the skilful winger. We have the potential to upset the established order and they hate us for it (so near in ’96 but yet so far
). Will we ever get it right? Well it’s the meteor striking the Earth analogy – it will happen it’s just a question of when.

So for now I’ll play the game. I’ll be a member of the circus. I’ll be one of the black and white jesters that everyone laughs at. I’ll do all this in the sure knowledge that our day will come and when it does I’ll be on the front line with Gav and the rest giving it back with interest. Does this make us as bad as them? – probably but by hell we’ve earned the right.

Keep the faith.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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