Arsenal can bleat on about injuries and physicality but their players have very little discipline, and thank christ that there is only one Joey Barton and he plays for Newcastle United
Arsenal are indisciplined
Far fewer thrills than the corresponding fixture from last season and deserving of low slot on Match of the Day. The montage of the eight goal avalanche has been everywhere in the build up but Wenger 'mustn't have seen it' because Arsenal clearly haven't learnt their lesson. Monsieur Misery allowed his side to make the same mistakes as they once again let Barton wind them up. Arsenal bleat on about fouls and protection from the referees but their players have very little discipline and get sent off far too often.
There's only one Joey Barton
Which is probably for the best. Barton has never been one to go about his work quietly, he has been openly critical of Pardew and Mike Ashley on Twitter, in the dressing room and at one point, during the middle of a pre-season game with Leeds last month but somehow, after being transfer-listed and made to train alone, he was handed a start. And yes, he went down like a sack of sh**; but hopefully, by reminding everyone of what a horrible little ba**ard he is, he'll deter any other clubs from coming in to sign him. He is so effective for us and I can see him and Cabaye complimenting each other nicely, they exchanged some lovely little one touch passes together at times, when they weren't chasing Arsenal shaped shadows, and both share the ability to spot passes that others don't see. Having two creative Midfielders in the side would give us the tools to play more free flowing football, something we haven't exactly seen a great deal of in recent times at St James Park.
Where are the goals going to come from
Worryingly, we never looked like creating any decent scoring chances, possibly due to the giant chasm that existed between midfield and attack. Pardew made an attempt to remedy this in the second half by introducing Obertan and pushing Cabaye further forward which had minimal effect. Shola and Ba looked liked they had never been introduced to each other such was the lack of cohesion up top and the former desperately needs a goal having had a worryingly dry pre-season in front of goal.
Our new kit looks like a waistcoat
It's our third different home kit in three years and Puma have had a shocker. Bring back Adidas and the three stripes!
We need a left back
Enrique's gone and, with nearly three weeks to go until the transfer deadline, we have to get a real life left back in – no excuses. Ryan Taylor isn't a full back. In the first half his defending resembled a bed sheet flapping in the wind, he did improve slightly in the second half and managed to keep Walcott at bay but he's still a square peg in a round hole.
Gutierrez continued to cut inside and go on his weird runs, but without Enrique's thundering overlaps this aspect of our attack looks thoroughly one dimensional
Pardew needs to get the WD-40 Out
We looked rusty. Tiote in particular looked in desperate need of minutes. The tenacious Ivorian is an integral cog in our team but yesterday he wasn't anywhere near the level we saw from him last season. He was a yard off the pace and looked leggy towards the end when the inevitable yellow card arrived and thank Christ he missed that tackle in the 90th minute. A Tiote-less Newcastle team is something we can do without next weekend when we visit the dark place. You couldn't fault the players for effort but our passing and movement off the ball was very average. Lose the ball to Arsenal and you'll wait a long time to get it back which was confirmed by the possession stats. Our attacking threat down the left has completely vanished. Gutierrez continued to cut inside and go on his weird runs, but without Enrique's thundering overlaps this aspect of our attack looks thoroughly one dimensional. I wouldn't mind seeing Gutierrez playing down the right (seeing as he is right footed) and – call me crazy – put some crosses in. We play too narrow, we've got a bit of a physical presence up front again so lets get some balls into the box.
Obertan looked sharp
He's certainly quick and completely out paced Sagna at one point to retrieve a ball from right back despite giving the French full back a good five yard head start. He can operate anywhere across the midfield and upfront but Pardew chose to play him down the right for the most part. He needs to work out what role he wants him to play.
Our set pieces are pathetic
Still! Why can't we clear the first man with our corners? Barton was on most free kicks and corners and Cabaye also took a few but each knock was accompanied by forty-odd thousand moans and Ryan Taylor must be the only 'deadball specialist' who can't get his free kicks above knee height.
We've got loads of midfielders
Cabaye, Barton, Gutierrez, Tiote, Obertan, Gosling, Marveaux, Smith, Taylor with Ferguson, Ben Arfa and Guthrie on their way back from injury. Unless Pardew has a radical new formation up his sleeve he's got some tough decisions to make. I foresee lots of chopping and changing – nothing new for NUFC.
Other stories you might like...
Click here for more Newcastle United stories
Click here for more Football and Sport stories
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook