How the Mighty is Falling (well today anyway…)

Well seeing as it’s my first blog post, what better time to do it than a record breaking day and the record that has broken is the number of goals in a day in the Barclays Premiership previously 35 and it broke with a goal in the 10th minute of Manchester United VS Wolverhampton Wanderers game. (Which Wolves won and broke Manchester’s unbeaten streak by beating them 2 – 1)

In the 3rd minute of the game Nani of Manchester United scored putting them in the lead 1-0 by making George Elokobi look a fool and making it look like a typical top side VS bottom win. But it was George Elokobi who made up for his mistake by not only scoring the goal that equalized but also scoring the 36th goal of the day and setting the bar for the next record attempt. It would then be extended with my fellow Irishman Kevin Doyle scoring the winner in the 40th minute and making it 3 of the “Top 4 of Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd” beaten this season with that 2-1 win and 1-0 wins against both Liverpool and Chelsea.

However my spotlight was not on that game nor was it on the thriller at Goodison Park with Everton coming back from 2-3 down to 5-3 with former Leeds man Jermaine Beckford scoring and Louis Saha netting in 4 goals to give Everton the 3 points and not even Man City’s 3-0 win over West Brom with a birthday Hat-Trick for Argentinean ace Carlos Tevez.

Instead it was on the amazing (And sure fire candidate for Game of season) 4-4 draw at Tyneside with Newcastle taking on the young and mighty Arsenal who had on Wednesday show an impressive display with a 2-1 win against Everton. Whilst Newcastle were suffering the loss of star striker Andy Carroll due to Liverpool requesting an weighty bid of £35 million in turn making him the highest British transfer ever in losing 1-0 to Fulham.

So with Arsenal’s morale and just all out talent no-one would have blamed me for thinking that on paper this spelt a complete walkover for Arsenal and that’s exactly what it seemed destined to be after 44 seconds with Theo Walcott scoring Arsenal’s first by a run of blistering pace to leave Fabricio Coloccini to watch and hope that the England International would miss but that wasn’t happening at all as his shot had swiftly moved to the bottom corner.

Kenny Dalglish welcomes Andy Carroll to Liverpool FC. ©2011 Liverpool FC

It was then turn of Switzerland’s Johan Djourou to make his mark on the score sheet by rising above the already pitiful defence to receive a ball swung in from an Andrei Arshavin free kick to knock a second goal past Newcastle Keeper Steve Harper making it 2 – 0 with a mere 3 minutes played which was Johan’s first competitive goal for the gunners.

But Arsenal’s dissection of the limp and lifeless body that was Newcastle did not stop there because only 7 minutes later Robin Van Persie made the goal tally 3-0 with an assist from the scorer of the first goal Theo Walcott who fed the ball in from the right side of the penalty area which the Dutchman hammered into the middle of the net leaving the defenders to argue amongst themselves.

But in the 26th minute arsenal’s 4th goal was scored by the man who had scored the previous goal Robin Van Persie who made the Toon defence by getting his head onto Bacary Sagna’s lovely cross into the 6 yard box. Nothing much had happened leading up to half time with most of Newcastle’s fans leaving to get the early train home it seemed imminent that they weren’t going to miss much…….but it never works like that now does it.

I’ll never know what the Boss Alan Pardew said to his abysmal performing players in that dressing room at half time but I can assure it was a few words of encouragement and alot more words that I’m not allowed to say to you.

So with the remaining fans back from their interval pies and beers, the 2nd half was underway and whilst I was covering this game I was expecting Newcastle’s half time team talk to spark a new life into the team… didn’t there was no more goals being let in but there wasn’t any being attempted as it was all in the middle of the park.

But then in the 49th minute Arsenal were shunted with a sending off to the recently recalled Vassiriki Diaby for a reaction to what he thought was a reckless challenge made by Liverpool tough man Joey Barton to which Diaby reached for the back of Barton’s neck and pushed him to his knees in such a fashion that I can only describe as a “Vulcan death grip”.

Even though Arsenal was home and dry Newcastle turned it up to 10. Realising that they were a man up and Arsenal were getting frustrated by making stupid challenges, they started getting into the Gunners half and started to hassle them and try and get some pride back by closing the 4 goal gap.

Tired of Arsene Around: Wenger appealing the Nolan yellow card. © 2011 Daily Telegraph

Which they did with Joey Barton scoring a penalty low to the left hand side slotting it past Wojciech Szczesny. The penalty was awarded for a clumsy tackle on another fellow Irishman Leon Best by Laurent Koscielny kicking at the back of his legs. Then in an attempt to waste time Szczesny pick up the ball that past his body and goal line and refused to give it to Barton who wanted to bring it back to the centre circle as soon as possible. Szczesny would then go on to get booked for time wasting and Kevin Nolan in an attempt to help Barton get the ball back he grabbed Szczesny in such a way that was similar to Diaby’s sending off and of course in the aftermath of finding out that it was a simple yellow card awarded to Nolan. Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger went over to the 4th official and asked why it wasn’t a red and he was just told to sit down and that was the end of that.

After being wrongly disallowed a goal for offside Leon Best closed the gap even more to 2 goals making it 4-2 with a goal after receiving a pass from Jose Enrique in the 75th minute. Calmly placing it to the keepers left with a bit of a scuffed shot but still enough to see it pass Arsenals Keeper.

It was then time to call upon Joey Barton again to score a penalty which he did in the 83rd minute. He got awarded the penalty however it did not seem worthy of one. The ball was crossed and both Barton and French Centre back Squillaci jumped for the ball and they both missed it and made no contact to each other what so ever.

But the final chapter of the book was written in the 87th minute by Cheik Tiote with deservedly the best goal of the game. The relatively unknown man from the Ivory Coast smashed a volley that had all of the 21 remaining men gasping in awe at the attempt but then changed to that of the goal. The ball had been cleared from the box and then Tiote had etched into view to send the ball flying back into the box and into the left hand side of Arsenal’s goal. Ending a game of epic proportions and the ultimate comeback. So judging on that performance the loss of the £35 million striker Andy Carroll does not seem to be affecting the goals and performance of the Newcastle team.

So what is the morale of the story of this game…Well if your team is losing at half time, don’t leave the game early thinking it’s impossible to comeback from the beating…

…Because you might just miss it.