Jake’s imagination

Monsieur Salut was sitting in Pete Sixsmith’s seat today as our regular correspondent had travelled south to see his home town team try to get to the last eight of the FA Vase. But M Salut has one of these fancy internet phones and so was still on hand to receive the manager’s post match personal e-mail. Once more MON praises the players’ efforts and the fans’ backing but once again the team has nothing to show for it. Post match discussion on Radio Newcastle divided supporters into those who saw positives in the second half and those who reflected on the negative display witnessed in the first forty five minutes. Make up your own mind but here’s what the manager has to say.

Dear Colin,

It was a fantastic game of football.

The early chances at either end set the pattern for the rest of the game.

Arsenal are a fine side and they caused us a few problems – we tried to deal with them as best we could.

It was a fantastic effort by the team in the second half.

We couldn’t get the ball over the line, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

It was a fantastic performance and I couldn’t ask for anything else from them.

The crowd were fantastic, they kept with us to the very end and we looked as we’d find the breakthrough at some stage but it wasn’t to be.

Obviously as we were pressing they had an opportunity or two to put the game beyond us – in that aspect we had a bit of luck, but at the other end we had none.

I think Simon Mignolet made some good saves for us and their goalkeeper was a tower for them in the second half.

That’s why Arsenal are playing Champions League football in the coming days and weeks; they’re a fine side with lots of pace.

They have a lot of very good players and they’ve added a bit of strength to their side too. They’re always formidable opponents.

I thought today we did just about everything to try and get a goal.

All the best,

Beware of forgeries


Martin O’Neill

Born in Hetton le Hole, deputy editor Malcolm Dawson's first game at Roker Park was the three all draw with Leicester City at the beginning of the 64-65 season. Having spent more than thirty years living in the East Midlands, he was Chairman and Information Officer of the Heart of England Branch of the Supporters' Association but has now returned to live in County Durham.

9 Responses to “Martin’s Musings: formidable Arsenal frustrate Sunderland’s fantastic effort” Subscribe

  1. Tom February 9, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Anyone who says this Arsenal team can’t defend need to watch this game. They were Lions in the 2nd half. If I were honest, they should’ve won by about 3-4 goals. Not sure what O’Neill is on about in his press conference. We were battered in the first half and even with 10 men they created 5 clear chances.

  2. Ian_SAfc February 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Arsenal were unstoppable first half. They dominated midfield and were very slick.
    We were sadly lacking in quality in the final 3rd. I thought it was going to be an Arsenal whitewash at one point.
    But when Wilshire went off the game turned. And when they had a player sent off we looked most likely to score for a long time.
    We deserved a point, but it wasn’t to be.
    We put a mamoth effort in and I can’t really fault our team on that. Good to have Catts back and NDiaye told to make fwd runs. Fletch had a few chances which he normally would have burried but their keeper had a good game (as did Mignolet)

    A consolation is that no team around us (including N’cle) won.
    I agree with Johnson what he said this week. He’s longing for a 4-4-2 so he can hit two players in the box instead of one surrounded by 4 opposition!

  3. A T Hedley February 9, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    A good report and response but please explain to an old dodderer why it takes our manager so long to bring on a second striker and go all out on the attack when the opposition have gone down to ten men and we are at home?

  4. Alan February 9, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Again again again how many times have we got to put up with the rubish that comes out of MON mouth his report at end of game was we were unlucky the first half we wernt on the pitch we could have been 4 0 down at half time we didn’t get a shot on goal and if they hadn’t gone Down to ten men they would have been bood off at full time still 5across the middle with no skill and what has colback got that I am missing coz I only see can’t tackle can’t head the ball he’s got no pace not skillfull so how does he get in the side what I missing as for MON go now and take your negative playing with you

  5. GoonerDave February 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    Arsenal fan in peace –
    That was a great game today, it had everything!
    It just goes to show how entertaining a match can be when both sides play with total commitment. I thought we left our shooting boots at home today if Im honest, but credit to Mingolet for the shots that did hit the target. He looks a reliable keeper.
    No complaints about the red, total brain fart from the inexperienced Jenko.
    Sagna and Szczesny were fantastic I thought.
    MoN has an excellent track record as a manager, but I wonder if his style is now becoming obsolete? The passing game seems to be pushing out the traditional tactics.
    Best of luck for the rest of the season.

    • Ian_SAfc February 9, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

      We’re not a long ball team (Allardyce/Pullis style) by any means. Its just that MON , for me, is a bit too negative and likes to get bodies behind the ball.
      And thats worked well against the likes of Man City for example.
      However, he continues these tactics against lesser teams when he should be playing a 442, or telling his midfield to break faster and actually get in the box.
      Thats our problem,- we just don’t get our players making many forward runs or get bodies in the box.

  6. Ian_SAfc February 10, 2013 at 1:52 am #

    Just another point,- I’d have slung on Kader Mangane for the last ten mins and told him to play near the centre forward and win headers/flick-ons for Fletch and Graham.

  7. CSB February 10, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    MON and I must be watching different games these days, first half Arsenal totally bossed the game and should have in all honesty been 2- 0 up by half time. Sunderlands first half performance wqas typical poor quality tactically, very poor ball retention, no end product which is par for the course for us these days whether we are playing Arsenal or Reading.

    Statrting with Catts was a risk, lack of mattch practice and fitness, late challenge, in the book after two minutes, contribution to the rest of the game totally negated by booking. Ref could have been a bit cleverer and given him talking too, but the book came out.

    Second half slight improvement but still not the required quality which i am afraid runs right through the midfield.Appalling service (and I use that word guardedly) to Fletcher. Wilshere off, there down to ten and we still can’t make the breakthrough.

    After the luke warm transfer window I would give MON another season to start showing signs of life in the team or it may be time to start thinking about a more up to date tactician at the helm because it quite clearly not working now. I know we still have essentially the vestiges of Bruces signings but MON has now presided over three transfer windows so using SB as an excuse is wearing a bit thin. We need key personnel changes, on the pitch and in the coaching set up, and they had better be in place for the start of next season otherwise we are going to be served up more of the same where Premier survival is all we can realistically hope for, after our outlays I was expecting a little more than that. Effort and endevour bereft of a modicum of ability is not good enough for the Premier League or modern game.

    • William C February 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

      Very good post IMO. I’m beginning to fear that MO’N has no plan B. A manager in any business has to be adaptable and to think on his/her feet. Top managers start with a game plan, but adapt and change it according to circumstances. O’Neill is simply too predictable, or as GoonerDave says, maybe past his sell by date. I hope I’m wrong.

Leave a Reply

Gillingham vs Sunderland prize Guess the Score: can the Lads keep it going?

Click Jake's image to enter

Time once again to guess the score. Fourth top and unbeaten in League One, albeit after just three games, Sunderland […]

Gillingham Who are You?: the Nyron Nosworthy Appreciation Society

Click Jake's image to see all this season's Who are You? interviews so far

Monsieur Salut writes: games come thick and fast in League One. We’ve hardly had time to celebrate the emphatic home […]

The North Eastern Programme Club: (2) class acts for George Honeyman to follow

Monsieur Salut writes: long ago, Pete Sixsmith and I were the owners of a would-be business empire we called the North […]

Sixer’s Scunthorpe Soapbox: Iron can’t cope with the hard press

Sixer's Soapbox (featured image)

Malcolm Dawson writes……..two weeks ago we celebrated the first win of the Donald/Methvyn/Jack Ross era in a way that was […]

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team: Scunthorpe United

Salut Banner3(featured image)

John McCormick writes: Scunthorpe itself probably predates the Norman Conquest as the suffix “Thorpe” in a place name indicates a […]

Sixer’s Sheffield Wednesday Soapbox: not enough to pass the test but A for effort

Sixer'sSoapbox(featured image)

Malcolm Dawson writes……..there were plenty of positives to take from last night’s game, both on and off the field. Off […]