As Newcastle welcomed the visit of Arsenal to St James’s Park on Saturday it became apparent that the match day was in fact sponsored by the colour yellow as Andre Marriner took the spotlight.
It was only a matter of 16 minutes before the first card which could arguably be the only correct decision of the day. A lack of composure and a brainless challenge saw new striker Aleksandar Mitrovic see red as he was sent for an early bath.
From then on in it was more than obvious that the game fell from Marriner’s grasp as a chorus of boos echoed around St James’s Park throughout the 90 minutes.
The first half saw four cards issued by the referee, many of which were highly influenced by the over dramatic antics of certain Arsenal players who seemed to be finding hidden pockets filled with springs under the surface of the pitch.
The game seemed to lack any real flow as card-happy Marriner brandished cautions when any player in a striped shirt attempted to win the ball back.
Dutch boys Vurnon Anita and Georginio Wijnaldum joined some of their fellow team-mates into the referee’s book just 10 minutes into the second half which just added fuel to the fire as the fans in the stadium chanted “one-nil to the referee” as an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shot deflected off Fabricio Coloccini’s leg to find its way past Krul.
But let’s not take any credit away from Newcastle United, despite playing the majority of the game with 10 men the players that remained on the pitch displayed a professional attitude and did well to contain Arsenal who dominated from start to finish.
It seems that McClaren has given the team a new found mentality which has been clear to see in the opening four games of the season. Many teams would have crumbled in similar circumstances but Newcastle dug in their feet and seem to be a tough team to break down at the minute.
A 1-0 defeat and a shockingly bad refereeing display, but still fans showed their appreciation to the remaining 10 players as the chorus of “we love United” covered my body with goosebumps as Marriner blew the final whistle. A very refreshing sight after the chaos of last season.
Gallowgateshots.com is a South Tyneside-based Newcastle United fan website