Arsenal opened their Premier League campaign today with a 0-0 draw against Newcastle.
The Gunners started brightly and created the first chance for Tomas Rosicky whose shot from the edge of the box went not far wide.
New boy Gervinho looked lively, often getting behind the full back, but failing to find the final ball. It was a half in which Arsenal dominated possession but failed to really create a clear cut chance.
At the other end Wojciech Szczesny was commanding in goal, claiming and punching well as Newcastle looked to expose Arsenal from set-pieces.
The best chance of the half came with just a couple of minutes to go, Arshavin scooped a lovely ball over the top of the Newcastle defence, but van Persie couldn’t quite get it under control and the home side got it clear.
The second half wasn’t much better, Arsenal again dominating possession but creating little. Alex Song was lucky on the hour mark to escape a straight red card when he clearly stamped on Joey Barton after a midfield clash. It was stupid from Song, especially as he was on a yellow card already, and he could yet find himself punished retrospectively.
It was a taste of things to come, but Theo Walcott had Arsenal’s best chance of the half when he shot straight at Tim Krul from 8 yards out in the 64th minute.
The away fans were clearly frustrated with their team’s lack of cutting edge and chants of “spend some fucking money” could be clearly heard, directed at Arsene Wenger.
Then the incident which will be the main talking point. Gervinho went down in the box after being clipped by the defender. As referee Peter Walton failed to give the penalty and waved play on, Joey Barton lost his temper and dragged Gervinho up off the ground in an aggressive manner, wheeling him around by his shirt.
As the players came together Gervinho appeared to slap Barton, perhaps in an attempt to freee himself from the clutches of the scuttery fuckpig, and the aggressive snarling bully went down as if he’d been punched in the balls by Mike Tyson. After the melee, Walton sent off Gervinho and only booked Barton, the cowardly little prick.
The Ivorian will now miss three games, although Arsene Wenger didn’t rule out an appeal after the game. The rest of the game played out without too much incident, neither side making a real goalscoring chance but Arsenal defence stood up well when tested under Newcastle pressure.
Again, as the game headed towards the final whistle, the Arsenal fans could be heard singing for the club to spend money on new players.
Overall it was a solid enough performance, and a point away from home is not bad, but Arsenal were worryingly lacking in creativity without Barcelona bound Cesc Fabregas.
Newcastle: Krul, Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor, Simpson, Barton, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Shola Ameobi, Ba
Subs: Forster, Williamson, Lovenkrands, Gosling, Best, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Rosicky (Frimpong), Song, Ramsey, Arshavin (Walcott), Gervinho, van Persie
Subs: Fabianski, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Chamakh