Arsenal 0-1 Newcastle
At the start of last season, it seemed Arsenal had reverted back to the pressing style that was a hallmark of Wenger's successful years. Unfortunately, that was a false dawn.
The Newcastle performance, if not the result, was typical enough of recent years. The whole game was played at a pre-season pace. A complete lack of dynamism or tempo. This happens a lot with Arsenal, but most of the time they get away with it. Not today.
Newcastle were only a notch above average themselves. They were as comptent as they had to be in defence, and did not even make a clear chance- their goal being the result of a trademark mistake from Fabianski. Nonetheless, they were comfortably good enough to repel Arsenal's feeble attacks and at times were allowed to knock the ball around midfield, under barely any pressure at all.
There's been plenty of competition in recent years, but this has to be one of the worst performances of the Wenger years. It pushed the lethargy and complacency to new depths. Some of the players tried, but just looked inept. Walcott made a mockery of the ridiculous comparisons to Henry. Yes, he scored an Henryesque goal recently, but in general style and ability, Thierry Henry inhabited a different planet to Theo Walcott.
Arsenal have now lost AT HOME to two of the three promoted sides. This kind of result can no longer be described as a shock or an aberration. You'd be hard-pressed to find a single positive. Van Persie's return maybe, he showed some nice touches as always. He'll be an asset until his next injury.
It hasn't taken long for my predictions about the MONTH FROM HELL to be affirmed. This makes me, on recent evidence, less of a false prophet than the Arsenal manager.