Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal: Happy St. Totteringham's Day!!!

It is only fitting that a German word would sum up the day's events, given the utter domination of the sport by the Bundesliga's best this season. Naturally, that word is schadenfreude, and there was no shortage of it to go around come the 94th minute of this contest.

I'm late to the recapping party here (which is also fitting, given that I didn't stumble into the Pig until the 16th minute...thank you, Johnny Walker Black!) so it probably doesn't make that much sense to dissect the match in detail. We all know what happened, unless you have been living in a cave somewhere in the mountains of Tajikistan. Should that be the case, then ассалому алейкум and welcome back to the world! Here is what you missed:

  • Papis Cisse blazed a shot over the bar early on. The home side would arguably never have a better chance.
  • Mikel Arteta limped off injured, to be replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
  • Arsenal tore out of the blocks in the second half and should have taken the lead earlier than they did. Steve Harper - the ever-present reserve goalkeeper for Newcastle ending his 20-year spell with the Magpies - made a mess out of a routine clearance. Theo Walcott was on it and should have scored, but Harper repelled the shot. Luckily for him, a defender got to the rebound before Santi Cazorla did.
  • A few minutes later, the Gunners took the lead off a set piece. You know, like we do. Theo took the corner, Per Mertesacker headed it on, and somehow the Geordie defense let Laurent Koscielny slip through to get on the end of it. Poor old Harper blocked the shot with his face, but it still found its way into the net. As a keeper myself, I feel a bit for the guy. If circumstances weren't what they were I'd even be properly gutted for him. Not this time, though.
  • Tedium. Lots of it. 
  • Then, Newcastle started getting much more of the ball - they had over 60% possession for one stretch in the second half. That feeling was less "tedium" and more "some sadistic prick playing my nerve endings like a violin".
  • Olivier Giroud returned from suspension for the last 20 minutes, but never found his way into the game. Jack Wilshere also had a late cameo.
  • Gareth Bale scored a late goal, because you know, we weren't nervous enough. If he is truly on his way to Madrid than I suppose Scum supporters can console themselves with the idea that he gave us one last fright on his way down the dusty trail.
  • Theo went on this amazing mazy run in injury time where he looked like Pele dribbling circles around defenders. The finish, however, was of a more Chris Iwelumo vintage. I have to be honest, I thought the sucker-punch was coming for sure after that one.
  • Howard Webb blew his whistle, and we all went mental.

So, the Gunners once again limp over the line to Champions League qualification, breaking the hearts of our nearest and dearest for the umpteenth time. You know, one would think we'd be used to it by now, but I'm not. It never stops being uproariously funny, especially that one point in the second half where Shite Hart Lane lost their minds in the mistaken belief that Newcastle had equalized. Oh, you guys...never, ever change.

I don't want to say that this was a good season, because it wasn't. Once again, the core of a good squad was undone by tactical inflexibility and a lack of quality squad depth. The Bradford and Blackburn cup losses are going to stay with me for a while, as will the first leg of the Bayern Munich tie.

However, all of that is for another time (look for a season retrospective in the coming weeks, which you can translate as "when I can be arsed to write it). Let's just sit back and enjoy the sweet, sweet tears coming from the other end of the Seven Sisters as they look back on another bitter chapter of what might have been.

Always in our shadow. Always.

The Modern Gooner Player Ratings

Szczesny 7, Gibbs 7, Koscielny 9, Mertesacker 7, Sagna 7, Arteta N/A (Oxlade-Chamberlain 7), Ramsey 8, Cazorla 7 (Wilshere N/A), Rosicky 6, Walcott 5, Podolski 6 (Giroud 6)

Man of the Match:  There wasn't much to choose from in what proved to be somewhat turgid fare, a game only given life by the circumstances around it. That said, Laurent Koscielny stepped up when we needed a hero and poked in the a $20 million goal (yes I know it's bloody Euros, I don't have that button on my keyboard).