By Myles Palmer
Arsenal 1 Newcastle 3
Pires 20, O’Brian 60, Shearer 85 pen, Robert 90
Three incidents were largely ignored in Wednesday’s coverage of Graham Poll, Thierry Henry and the Sol Campbell-Laurent Robert penalty incident
Kanu missed two sitters.
The first was a header from Wiltord’s cross. A six foot five international striker can’t head into a goal eight yards wide and eight feet high? From four yards?
It’s pathetic, but we know Kanu can’t head the ball.
The second chance, he could have hit it first time. Having controlled it, he should have sidefooted it in.It was an open goal to a player of his ability.
But he took an extra touch and went for a grandstand play, a flashy finish. And he jabbed it over the bar.
What an appalling miss! A turning point in the game.
A moment you just knew would come back to haunt the team. If Kanu had scored, and Arsenal got a second, it was over and they were top of the table.
Thousands of Gooners think Kanu is a circus act. A Harlem Globetrotter.
It was pub defending. It was totally dopey defending. Such an unnecessary goal to concede.
Lua Lua takes a quick,flat corner to the near post.
AND THERE IS NOBODY IN CHARGE!
Stuart Taylor is still organising at the far side of his goal.
Van Bronckhorst is on the near post. And Henry is strolling back, the nearest player to O’Brian.
ANDY O’BRIAN HEADS THE BALL IN FROM TWO YARDS !
WITHOUT JUMPING !
HE HEADS THE EQUALISER FROM TWO YARDS WITHOUT JUMPING !
IT IS A STANDING, LEANING FORWARD HEADER!
BOTH OF HIS FEET ARE ON THE GROUND!
AND GIO AND THIERRY WATCH HIM HEAD IT IN!
GIO BOTTLES IT, THIERRY ISN’T PAYING ATTENTION !
It wasn’t bad marking. It was no marking.
And THAT was the biggest turning point – not the red cards, not the penalty.
1-0 up with ten men I thought Arsenal would win. Ten v ten I thought they would win.
At 1-1 I still thought they would win because Pires was the best player on the field and Bergkamp had come on.
Very, very disappointing to see Ashley Cole feign a punch in the mouth. Bellamy’s arm caught Cole on the neck but he went down as if he had been punched.
He wanted to get Bellamy sent off and Poll obliged by giving Bellamy a straight red for violent conduct.
The Sol Campbell tackle on Robert was a corner,not a penalty.
A good ref looks at where the ball goes and this ball went in the direction that Sol’s toe sent it in.
It was the best tackle of the season and Poll gave a penalty for it. Moron! If you are not 100% sure you can’t give a penalty. It’s like l.b.w. – you can’t give it if you’re not 100% sure.
Even after the penalty, at 2-1 down with six minutes of stoppage time left, I still reckoned Arsenal would save the game.
Having looked at the video, Parlour’s arm did catch the face of Dabizas.But it was a free-kick, not a yellow card. A word in his ear, not a caution.
The foul on Shearer was a free-kick, not a second yellow.
Silly, self-defeating tantrums by Thierry at the end. His histrionics were embarrassing and redundant.
Most people think he will get a three-match ban.Ginola got four matches for gently slapping the fourth official’s face the other week.
Overall, Arsenal were the more talented side, playing phenomenal football for the first half hour, but they lost 3-1.
A superstar team was beaten by a workmanlike team.
Why? Because the workmanlike team took their chances and defended in a more organised way.
Newcastle were much more focused and purposeful than Arsenal in the last half hour.
That’s football.You lose and you have to live with it and go on and win the next game.
When the final whistle goes, it’s over.
Yes, Graham Poll had ruined the game.
And his quotes the next day were arrogant:I was right!I made all the right calls!
Poll should be struck off the Premiership list. He will cause a riot one day if he goes on like this. But the referees supremo Philip Don keeps backing him.
Football, for all its faults, deserves better refs than Poll, who loves to put himself centrestage.
Sunday at Anfield?
Michael Owen again. Michael Owen showing Europe why he is European Footballer of the Year? I wonder.
20th December 2001.