Newcastle vs Arsenal match report: Theo Walcott blazes easy chance over bar, but Fabricio Coloccini own goal sees Gunners win

Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1: In the starting XI, Walcott's blushes saved after dreadful miss

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The Independent Football

Disbelief: it was the emotion of choice in the north east yesterday. That and outrage. You could not move for the sense of outrage.

Context is always important in these situations.

The Newcastle forward Aleksandar Mitrovic was sent off in the 16th minute for a stamp – a word used by his manager Steve McClaren in the “defence” – that started on Francis Coquelin’s shin and ended up on his foot.

It was quick and initially hard to spot and it was early in a game. These elements inflame a sense of injustice and horror when a referee, as Andre Marriner did, immediately produces a red card.


Mitrovic himself looked on in amazement and it took time for him to leave the field, but that is perhaps only at the colour of the card he was shown.

Context. Mitrovic was on the field for less than 20 seconds on his debut for Newcastle following his £12.7m signing from Anderlecht, and the ball had been in play for less than three of those 20, when he took out Southampton’s Matt Targett. McClaren said then he could have been sent off. A stray elbow later in the same game would floor Maya Yoshida.

Within 90 seconds of coming on as a substitute at Swansea he was shown another yellow card for lunging in on Neil Taylor. Finally, in his fourth Premier League appearance, came the red that would define this game.

Coquelin would fall to the ground following the challenge.

His afternoon would be played out to the backdrop of cheat; Marriner’s to an endless cacophony of jeers that because more vociferous with each of the six yellow cards (to add to the single red) he brandished at Newcastle players.

There was a veiled attack towards Marriner from McClaren, for being too influenced by his forward’s reputation. He was also unimpressed with Coquelin’s reaction to the challenge.

“Maybe refs are too busy watching Match of the Day instead of assessing their own game,” he said. “That can be a problem.

“I don’t think it was a dangerous challenge. I think it was clumsy. It was a very harsh red card. I’ve seen it over and over, it came over his head and he was looking at the ball, there was no intent or maliciousness, it was coming down and he kind of stamped on his foot. The referee was a bit too soon.”

Newcastle's Aleksandar Mitrovic is sent-off by referee Andre Mariner

Newcastle were robust, a point Arsène Wenger, who said he initially missed Mitrovic’s challenge, agreed with.

“We had to keep our nerve and not to go and become a bit aggressive as well. We did that well.

“Honestly, I didn’t see it (the challenge). I’ve seen it on the television, unfortunately it was a red card, he didn’t play the ball at all. Maybe Mitrovic was unlucky. Did he do it on purpose? I don’t know.”

It would be left to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to strike a low shot in the 52nd minute that deflected past Tim Krul off Fabricio Coloccini’s legs into the Newcastle goal. It did not help the feeling of injustice (six yellow cards and one red) on Tyneside.


Newcastle: (4-2-3-1) Krul; Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Haidara; Colback, Anita (Perez, 72); Sissoko (Cissé, 78), Wijnaldum, Thauvin (De Jong, 87); Mitrovic.

Arsenal: (4-2-3-1) Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arteta, 81), Ramsey, Sanchez; Walcott (Giroud, 70).

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: Cazorla (Arsenal)

Match rating: 6/10