Newcastle were well beaten at home to Arsenal in the Carling Cup, it was a flattering result for the Gunners, as both teams fielded virtual reserve sides, with Arsenal’s squad depth becoming apparent.
The Toon gave starts to youngsters Kadar, Vuckic and Ranger, while fringe players were also given a chance, Arsenal also giving a few youngsters a run, yet the inclusion of Bendtner, Denilson, Walcott, Rosicky and Koscielny could hardly be considered weak.
Newcastle had the best chances in the first half, with Ranger beating Djourou and keeper Szczesny to a long ball, before Koscielny got back to make a vital block on his resulting shot in the 14th minute.
Soon after, Alan Smith, who is still to register his first goal for the club, smashed a shot towards goal from well outside the box, Szczesny tipping it onto the crossbar.
Arsenal had most of the possession, and had to make a change early with Keiran Gibbs leaving the field due to injury, first team player Bacary Sagna replacing him.
Eboue was up to his old tricks, diving, feinting injury and being an all round grub and Eastmond wasn’t even shown a yellow for a shocking studs up challenge on Perch.
Lovenkrands had a goal ruled out for offside in the 37th minute, which was the correct decision, before Bendtner had a good opportunity but shot weakly at Krul.
Despite their dominance in possession, the Toon were defending well and had restricted Arsenal to few chances.
However, in the last minute of injury time, Krul fumbled a Bendtner header, with Ryan Taylor heading the ball off the line, only to see his clearance hit the back of the young keepers head and back into the net.
It was a shame for the young side as they had deserved to go into the break even, defending well and looking promising on the break.
Newcastle came out strong after the break, and should have been level, Perch placing a free header from a Guthrie corner over when he really should have scored.
Arsenal then went 2-0 up in the 53rd minutes in controversial circumstances. Bendtner was well offside (by at least 40 yards) yet when a through ball was played to Walcott, play continued and the young England International finished clinically past Krul. The Toon could have felt slightly aggrieved at the decision, as Bendtner also seemingly checked the run of retreating defender Williamson as well.
Hughton made an instant change, with Carroll and Gutierrez coming on in place of Lovenkrands and Routledge. Yet it didn’t change much as Arsenal continued to dominate possession.
The introductions started to make their mark, with Carroll’s presence up front testing the Arsenal defence, and Gutierrez’s positive runs giving the Toon a new avenue for attack.
Fabregas replaced Vela and Barton came on for Smith in the 71st minute, with both players considered the form central midfielders in the Premier League at the moment.
Barton’s introduction really allowed Newcastle to play the ball around with more intent and had a good spell in the next 10 minutes, though the combination of Djourou and Koscielny defending out of their skins.
Bendtner then popped up in the 83rd minute with an absolute bullet after Perch had fucked up and lost possession. 3-0 and definitely no way back for the Toon.
Carroll then missed a free header which he should have planted and shot wide from another opportunity, before Walcott finished off the Magpies in the 88th minute, running onto a lucky through ball and finishing one-on-one against Krul.
The game was a sour point, due to the bizarre nature of the first goal and the controversial circumstances of the second. Though the reserves failed to perform in attack, with Lovenkrands and Routledge increasingly disappointing. The introduction of Carroll and Gutierrez and especially Barton added an attacking threat, yet the game was already lost by then.
The result definitely flattered the Arsenal side and although we’re out of the competition it can’t be seen as too disheartening. A massive response is needed in the Tyne-Wear Derby this weekend however.
Special mention of Vuckic, who I felt had a great game. He looked to have a good touch, good awareness and seemed to make some penetrating runs. Defo one to watch.