Is this all you can conjure, Saruman?


Now, at this point, I don’t know if “Saruman” is a reference to Newcastle, the PGMOL, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, or Stuart Attwell, or to some unholy conglomeration of all them and then some. We went into St. James’ Park know that this would be one of our most-difficult fixtures, and our hosts needed a goal so dodgy that there were three VAR checks, not to mention a player who should have been sent off for any number of bookable if not straight-red offenses, to escape. On balance, I’ll take it.

First, the goal. It seems clear to anyone who isn’t Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles that the ball had rolled out of bounds before Joe Willock could keep it in play. That’s one. For his cross, it seems clear that Joelinton shoved Gabriel with both hands through his back. That’s two. Anthony Gordon clearly scored from an offside position. That’s three. Any one of those should have been enough to disallow the goal. The fact that VAR considered all three and ruled in Newcastle’s favour suggests that there is something rotten in the state of, well, I was going to say Denmark, but that wouldn’t really make sense.

Second, Bruno Guimarães. He really should have been booked it not sent off for shoving Rice with a hand to the throat, blasting the ball at Havertz from a dead-ball, or putting his elbow to Jorginho’s head with no attempt at playing the ball. How he managed to stay on the pitch for the full 90 is anyone’s guess.

In the end, we went into one of the toughest fixtures we’ll face all season, and we gave as good as we got. Considering Attwell’s performance, we gave more than we got, quite a bit more. Going into this one, I had hoped for a draw, given the injuries to Partey, Jesus, Smith Rowe, and Ødegaard. I know that Newcastle had their own injury-woes, but they were the hosts. The fact that we came up short, and did so in such controversial manner, has to stand as a positive.

We weren’t just up against a strong XI supported by legions of fans. We were up against a strong XI supported by legions of fans and a referee who seemed to think he was overseeing an Aussie rules match. That we came away with nothing to show for our efforts misses the point. We came away with a grim realization, one that we should have been carrying with us all along: it’s all up to us. We’ll get no help from referees or from VAR of from any other source. That, however, is nothing new.

What is new is that our opponents—for as much as they may celebrate this result—will have to reckon with the fact that it took one hell of a dodgy goal to defeat us. I’d wager that those at Old Trafford, Anfield, Topspur Stadium, and even the Etihad will have noticed the marker that we laid down on this day. You can hold us at arm’s length, at least for a while, You might even beat us back…for a bit—but in you, there has to feel an increasing sense, a gnawing fear, that the Arsenal, despite being far from their best, is gathering strength.

Underestimate us at your own risk.

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8 thoughts on “Is this all you can conjure, Saruman?

  1. Positive pete

    Excellent & fair report.Actually should have been FOUR var checks.Handball wasn’t checked.Embarrassingly corrupt.Arteta is right.
    Should call for an enquiry like Kloppy & the mousers.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Ah, yes – I overlooked the handball. In the end, we weren’t good enough to win but to lose in that manner is harsh. We can only hope that there will some similar SNAFUs to our rivals’ campaigns. Whether it’s corruption, bias or ineptitude, the outcome is the same.

  2. A Simple Truth

    another blunt instrument performance…no more anomalous outings, like the father/son-like silver platter match which saw Eddie somehow pot 3…this is what we are, a plodding, sideways-dependent, boring outfit, with exceedingly little creativity on offer in the final third and even less clinical finishing…two games running with negligible shots on target and only one last second meaningless goal to show for it…I swear to god the Havertz deal will be MA’s and our undoing…instead of redressing our most pressing needs up top, we spent a fortune on a reclamation project, who thus far looks like a headless chicken wearing steel-toed boots…don’t get me wrong, I really like Rice, but since his arrival we look more like his Hammer’s from last year, style-wise, than a team who almost challenged for a title…what a waste of resources…just can’t help but imagine what a real manager might have done with that level of backing, considering the blue chippers MA inherited

    MA and his brainwashed minions will rant and rave about the “official” missteps, but nothing they did or didn’t do will ever expalin away the fact that we managed but one shot on target, especially after that mid-week stinker…we all know that Bruno should have been shown a red, but the very fact that he didn’t get tossed is likely the only reason why Havertz didn’t see his second yellow for another long distance reckless slide tackle in the second half….as for the kerfuffle surrounding the winning goal, there were certainly several issues worthy of debate, but like I said above it’s difficult to complain when you’re so ineffective in the business end of the pitch…so much so that in the waning minutes of the game we had another illegal throw-in and 3 corner kicks in which Tross couldn’t find a way to get even one over the first line of defenders…that’s some amateur hour shite

  3. Welsh Corgi

    I feel like Ive been robbed. That the game is rigged. Its corrupt and whats the point?

    Seriously considering stopp following Arsenal and BPL. Find another league, another team, because this is enough. Theres just no other explanation that mitigates these 4 blatantly wrong VAR calls. No other as that they all were to Newcastles advantage and its blatantly clear they wanted Newcastle to win.

    Clearly they dont care that we have eyes to see with it, replays and lines which makes the corruption all too clear. Its quite obvious and yet they seem to think that, “we´ll get away with it”.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Hey, Corgi – take a deep breath. While it’s probably worth supporting another, smaller club where the stakes are lower, we should also be careful not to pin too much of our happiness to a bunch of lads we’ll never meet just because they wear the right kit. I’m upset too, but there’s still a lot of footy to be played. Others will drop points in similar ways in due time. We’ll bounce back with a vengeance, I’m sure of it!

  4. jw1

    ‘and a referee who seemed to think he was overseeing an Aussie rules match.’

    Late-70s talking to my dad on the phone.
    He sez, have you seen that new sports channel ESPN?
    I sez yeah.
    He sez, they show a lot of that game Australian Rules Football. Have you seen it?
    I sez, no dad I hadn’t.

    He sez, there appears to be only one rule–
    He sez, looks like– you can’t hit the other guy in the back of the head…


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