There is very little to be happy about this morning after that defeat at St James’ Park last night. Very little indeed.

Firstly, Arsenal simply did not do enough to win this game. Another key cog in our team was taken out pre match with the absence of Martin Odegaard and in his place we replaced the Norwegian with Kai Havertz, who once again showed very little at all in an important game to suggest he was worth anything like the £65million we shelled out on him. The “£60million down the drain” part of the song is echoing through my mind louder and more pronounced than anything else right now.

Then we have players like Eddie Nketiah, who I wonder whether he will ever score away from home again and who, if I’m honest, is looking like the kind of flat track bully player that Arsenal do not need. It’s wonderful to see him bag hat tricks and goals at home to the likes of Forest and Sheffield United when the sun is shining on a Saturday afternoon, but he offers little to nothing in other types of games. Especially away from home.

And then to the goal itself, in which I’m going to look at Arsenal’s defending before we go in to all of the other stuff; it was pretty poor. I’ll come to the sh*stain joke that is VAR and the refereeing yesterday evening in Newcastle in a minute, but the Arsenal defence switched off for that goal and having been pretty resolute up until that point, it was shoddy play all round. Ben White stops as Willock chases the ball, Raya flaps (again) as it’s put in to the back post, then Gabriel probably could have been a little stronger when you watch the goal in real time.

Having said all of that, how we are talking about that as a goal this morning is really quite staggering, to the point that I am still pretty narked about the officiating even this morning. Firstly, the ‘out of play’ bit. The ball looks quite clearly out of play. And when it looks out of play, why are you erring on the slim percentage chance that it isn’t out of play? If you have a camera angle to suggest the ball is out of play, then unless you have one that shows it IS in play, surely the answer is to conclude the most logical response = that is a goal kick. That is EXACTLY what happened in the Man United game a few weeks ago, where the ball looked more on the line than last night’s incident. Yet that was given as ‘no goal’.

There’s one reason to call this back.

But even then, in this era of people going to the monitor to ‘have a look’ and slowing things down to see the move, why was he not going to the monitor to look at that? Because much like many decisions made when you slow things down, if the referee is asked to look at that again, then it is quite clear that Joelinton pushes his hands on Gabriel and that impacts his ability to head the ball. I have already said above that I thought in real time that he could have been stronger, but in this era when things are slowed down and looked at, it is a foul on the player. It is soft, but it is still a foul.

There’s your second reason.

Then, a smaller and minor point, but still a point nonetheless, Joelinton actually handles the ball.

There’s a third reason.

And finally, one which I’m not really sure I understand as much but I’ll go on what others have said, Anthony Gordon is actually OFFSIDE! Apparently because of the position of Raya and the number of players in the incident.


But no, Stuart Attwell – who refereed the joke of a game against City on New Years Day at the Emirates a couple of year’s ago, you’ll recall – decided with his cronies in Stockley Park (Michael Oliver, from Ashington, Northumberland, just north of Newcastle – my wife was born there so I know the area very well indeed – who decided not to send Kovacic off two week’s ago at the Emirates), that there was ‘nothing to see here’ in that set up.

What an utter joke. A disgrace of the highest order and so far this season we have had:

  • Tomiyasu sent off for a farcical second yellow
  • Kovacic not sent off against City
  • Last night’s goal for Newcastle
  • Penalty on Saliba for handball – looked worse when slowed down – which they were more than happy to get the referee to look at
  • Gabriel Jesus smashed in to by Sanchez at Chelsea / Tomiyasu shirt pull in the box in the same move – ignored

That’s just the one’s that I can remember off the top of my head. Oh, and I haven’t even come to the biggest joke of them all last night:

Bruno Guimaraes.

By the time he went in to the book in the second half, he had already:

  1. Lunged in two footed, then immediately afterwards,
  2. Elbowed Jorginho in the head – very deliberately
  3. Booted the ball at Kai Havertz
  4. Barged in to the back of Jorginho off the ball.

We can – and should – acknowledge that Kai Havertz went in too hard on Longstaff and was at the top end of a yellow card, but any Newcastle fan trying to justify Bruno still being on the pitch after all of his antics yesterday, is delusional to the highest degree. And as for their muppet of a manager Eddie Howe, who said:

“I was frustrated – not so much with Bruno. With the decision as Bruno was ahead of the player and he was away and he gets booked for it.

“I need to see it again. But my natural reaction was that wasn’t a booking and I thought there were a lot of needless yellow cards today which in our position is tough as we have very few players fit and available.”

HAHAHAHAHA. Mate, your guy literally ran around the pitch with impunity for almost the entire game and you’ve got the brass tacks to drop a soundbite like that? Do me a favour, you absolute hypocrite.

The truth is, as I said at the top of the blog, we didn’t do enough to win the game, for sure and we have to start asking questions about us in an attacking sense (Kai and Eddie chief culprits, but Saka’s form has also been a slight concern), but we certainly weren’t helped by a clear home bias in refereeing, with the home fans laughably booing us when they got one of the many decisions go their way last night.

Back tomorrow for another chat with you guys.