MAN CITY 2 – 1 Newcastle – MY THOUGHTS

4 Oct

Referees take an unfair amount of criticism these days in football. With the help of countless television replays, any small mistake can be pounced upon and scrutinised in unstinting detail. But Martin Atkinson, the man at the centre of the seven minutes injury time scandal last season, had, in my view, a superb game yesterday, making two perfectly correct penalty decisions, both of which contributed enormously to the City victory.

Alas, let’s shrug off that biased facade in search of a more balanced outlook, and it’s clear to see that the Blues got the rub of the green (notice the topical Ryder Cup pun) with regards to Atkinson’s decisions. The much-maligned referee blew his whistle to gift City a spot-kick despite replays showing that Mike Williamson, the Newcastle defender, got the ball and that the foul was committed outside the box. He then went on, in the second half, to deny the visitors a clear cut penalty for a foul by Joleon Lescott. After the derby match last year, Atkinson had been scrubbed off City fans’ Christmas wishlist but after this performance, he may just have snuck back on.

All in all, I feel it’s fair to say that the Blues just about deserved to escape with the three points, having been the stronger of the sides in the second period, but by no means was it comfortable. Newcastle, despite losing the creative Hatem Ben Arfa early in the match to a suspected broken leg (more on that later), displayed great team spirit and a certain amount of quality. If they can maintain that level of performance, they should remain in the Premier League next season.

As for the Blues, three games in a week certainly looked as if it took its toll. The tempo of our play, apart from the opening quarter of an hour, was noticeably laboured until the introduction of Adam Johnson, with Yaya Touré and James Milner particularly cumbersome, although the latter had struggled all week with a chest infection. The defensive partnership of Vincent Kompany and Kolo Touré, so strong and powerful in erstwhile matches, looked strangely ill-at-ease, whilst that edginess spread to the crowd, who made their feelings known at half-time with a cacophony of boos.


My good friend Roberto Mancini’s tactics have often been criticised this season, with his policy of playing three holding midfielders at home attracting the wrath of many supporters. And although I have stood by him in the past, it was evident to see that we needed a bit more attacking prowess as this match went on. The Italian had the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Adam Johnson, Roque Santa Cruz and Jo on the bench, but he left it fairly late to introduce any of that quartet. At the end of the game, it turns out that Mancini was indeed correct again, but I, along with many others, would like to see more offensive players on the pitch. As much as it pains me to say it, we lacked a Stephen Ireland-esque figure yesterday, someone who could break from deep and get into the box.

But as assistant manager Brian Kidd said in the post-match interview, these are the games that City need to be winning. We won’t be at our best every match, and on some occasions, we will need to battle to victory, something we did against Newcastle. The free-flowing football wasn’t quite there, but the result was and we should be content with that.

The final word from this article must go to what will unfortunately turn out to be the major talking point from the game – the de Jong tackle on Ben Arfa. The Dutchman has created for himself a violent reputation on account of his challenge at the World Cup on Xabi Alonso, so the media will pick up on this incident and no doubt blame de Jong to the rafters. But as part of the City faithful that watches him week in week out, I know that de Jong isn’t a nasty player. He’s not someone who takes enjoyment from injuring others.

He’s there to tackle, to disrupt and to be a physical presence, and he throws himself wholeheartedly into tackles with regularity. The challenge on Ben Arfa was no different in the sense that de Jong went for the ball, won the ball and dumped his opponent on the ground. What is different is that Ben Arfa suffered an unfortunate and nasty injury, resulting in him being taken to hospital with a broken left leg. Although the injury will look bad on replays, and the Dutchman will be pilloried for it, he cannot be blamed for the injury. Finally, I would just like to wish Hatem Ben Arfa a full and speedy recovery. Let’s hope the Frenchman can return before the end of the season.


46 Responses to “MAN CITY 2 – 1 Newcastle – MY THOUGHTS”

  1. Mick G 04/10/2010 at 5:53 pm #

    It seems De Jongs national coach and quit a few other Dutch pundits don’t think he is the pussy cat you make him out to be.You may think De Jong is hard done by in the media etc.what if Joey Barton had done the same tackle on Tevez would you still say it was an accident,and I know for sure Barton would have been pillored in the media far more than De Jong.Football is hypocritical always has been always will be.

  2. A Geordie 04/10/2010 at 5:54 pm #

    What on earth are you talking about you utter moron?!?

    2 correct penalty decisions? I suppose Ben Arfa was just play acting to waste time as well eh?

    Go back to judging Barbie competitions you stupid p***k.

    U obviously now NOWT about football!

    • Mick G 04/10/2010 at 6:01 pm #

      A Geordie if you read on he was being sarcastic as far as thr refereeing was concerned,having said that I have never been as angry after a match stil am.3 years ago city would never have had referees on their side,but soon as the billions come in referees are queing up to lick their arses.I do think all the controversy as taken away what was an excellent Newcastle performance.

    • ned 04/10/2010 at 6:05 pm #

      A Geordie
      U obviously dont read more than the first couple of lines moron

      Read the bloody article you embarrasing goon

      Its peasants like you that give the rest of us geordies a bad name

    • CHED EVANS IS MY HERO!!! 04/10/2010 at 7:09 pm #

      It’s ‘know’ mate, not ‘now’ 🙂 If anyone is a stupid p***k, it’s you 🙂

      Are you angry because you lost….awww….HAVE A TISSUE!

  3. CLiNT FLiCK 04/10/2010 at 5:55 pm #

    You are joking of course.
    Newcastle played your over priced goons off the field.
    If it wasn’t for the fact that they were playing 11 men & a coward, you would have lost.
    At least you have the balls to admit the pens debacle, well done on that one. But you are fooling yourself iof you think you played well & deserved a win.
    Lastly, i’ve got to say that i’m saddened by your attitude Re: the HBA leg smash incident. It was clearly a reckless challange that went unpunished. Just hope that none of your ‘superstars’ get the same treatment when they come across the likes of lee tw@ermole or karl henry, whom have been putting players out for the season recently. Oh yea! & good luck with your arduous uphill struggle for recognition, you’re probably gonna need another couple of hundred million & a few back handers more, the way you’re playing. Pity it’s gonna stand for nowt when the new rules about breaking even come in, in the next couple of years-How’s that gonna pan out for you. All the best.

    • CHED EVANS IS MY HERO!!! 04/10/2010 at 7:13 pm #

      The challenge may have been reckless, but it was FAIR…..he played the ball and its the sort of challenge which is fair but an absolute cruncher and that is what de jong is all about.

      We have more recognition than Newcastle that is for sure and we are probably on of the best known clubs now so not sure what your point is really?

      p.s we wont play against cattermole because he is always suspended and de jong can crunch henry anyway 🙂

      • hhCity 04/10/2010 at 7:36 pm #

        I really hate to bring you up on this but a reckless tacke is NOT a fair challenge.
        Doesn’t matter if you get the ball, if the challenge is reckless then it’s a foul.
        Like going off 2 footed, can get the ball but is a red card offence.
        De Jong should have gone……

      • CLiNT FLiCK 04/10/2010 at 8:48 pm #

        Ok ched, chide away, wait ’til you’re on the receiving end of this kind of shit. Big laughs hey mate?
        If Williamson’s tackle was a pen, how come he wasn’t sent off? He was last man, cos the ref bottled it.
        He bottled it again when lescott hacked Ameobi down in the box too.
        Bottled it again when lescott stamped on Perch.
        Bottled it when de mong hacked at another Toon player later in the game.
        Not that you’ll give one, but i guess that’s why you’re known as the manc mackems.

  4. A Geordie 04/10/2010 at 6:22 pm #

    This comment has been removed by View From A Blue. Such language will not be tolerated.

  5. JB 04/10/2010 at 6:26 pm #

    Ah the joys of after match attacks/insults. First A Geordie, who clearly fell for the trap, just showing why so many people make fun of the people up North and then people like Clint Flick, who was probably one of the people at Man City Stadium not seeing any danger in the attack, until he saw some replays which always make things look worse.

    For all you people out there; NOBODY complained when De Jong might his challenge. Where were your Newcastle players to wave cards and complain when de Jong made the challenge? You’re right. They didn’t. Why? They didn’t see Ben Arfa injured, nor did they consider the tackle dangerous. Why? Well, if they did, they’d jump on the ref immediatly, but nobody did! Not even the commentators, or anybody else for that matter, until some people saw replays from different angles, telling a different story.

    Of course, because de Jong is now famous for his clash with Xabi Alonso, another thing that was blown out of proportion, is now the villain. If it had been anybody else, nobody would have given a toss. It is because it is de Jong.

    However, I must point out again, nobody saw it as a rash challenge when it happened, thus nobody deemed it dangerous, else they would have reacted straight away.

    That van Marwijk dropped him baffles me. He just showed that the Dutch media have more control over the squad than they should have. On top of that, in the Netherlands the match wasn’t shown live, or if it was, not on many channels and I feel fairly confident the vast majority of the Dutch population didn’t even see the match and only saw the replays, so whatever comes out of that corner is even more ridiculous.

    As for closing words, please read this article:
    It says exactly what needs to be said and basically tells people to stop moaning. If these tackles are oh so dangerous, then how come they mostly happen in the EPL? Don’t see many broken bones in Spain, Germany (physical), the Netherlands (physical), or France. How teams like Fulham and Arsenal are always playing with half-an-injured squad? Man City had most of their defenders out a few weeks ago and last season Man U had nearly all their defenders out. Seriously, look at your own league first before you judge players. Oh, if you don’t think the Dutch league is rough, try watching a Feyenoord Ajax match and see of de Jong’s oh-so-horrible tackle was really that bad. While you’re at it, go to Youtube and search for Niels Kokmeijer and see if de Jong’s challenge was really that bad as people make it out to be, or an accident. Be sure to compare it to the assault on Kokmeijer. I dare you.

    • View From A Blue 05/10/2010 at 12:54 pm #

      A fantasitc assessment I believe. Check the link as well – a truly superb article.

  6. A Geordie 04/10/2010 at 6:36 pm #

    This comment has been removed by View From A Blue. Such language will not be tolerated.

  7. rob 04/10/2010 at 6:41 pm #

    sorry to say but i would agree with my Goordie boys, this article is a load of rubbish, and it is a justification, to the ridicules state of affairs we have in the premier league, to know that everyone knows one was not a penalty and its given, another was a clear penalty and a red card, was not given, the excuse is this is the beauty of the game, (more like a blatant reason to leave the back door open to manipulate the results).i t is quite clear that the article in question, paved the way for an over priced team, with an average performance, to take the spotlight in winning a game, that was never really theirs. well done Newcastle, keep on at it. man city need to get rid of there manager, and some of those big heads, that will bring the club eventually down, look at Newcastle a couple of seasons ago. dont understand how would any man city supporter take anyglory from such a preformance. but i guess they desprate for a win any win will do!

    • CHED EVANS IS MY HERO!!! 04/10/2010 at 7:15 pm #

      To be honest, you should feel lucky you Newcastle fans because Williamson should have been sent off as he denied a clear goalscoring chance and he was last man so dont go complaining!

      I can name one player for newcastle who has a bigger head than anyone at City…he goes by the name of joey barton….

  8. citypaul 04/10/2010 at 6:54 pm #

    you geordies are bad losers city were clearly the better team ,get over it you sad twats

  9. Siamack 04/10/2010 at 7:03 pm #

    Geordie, However way you look into it i.e overpriced team/Money bags, New Castle angels/heroes, good/bad referee, injustice, justice and … . The end result is ManCity 2 New Castle 1 and that is what matters at the end of day and you can do no squat about it. I am sick of people picking on City because they envy their riches. May be for next game you dress up New Castle players in white like angels.

  10. Siamack 04/10/2010 at 7:43 pm #

    Williamson should have definitely been shown the red card as he denied Carlos a goal scoring chance, this would have definitely changed the game, I assume because City are money bags, they deserve this and should shed tears because poor New Castle did not get a penalty. Unfortunately, because of all anti-city propaganda by most teams , due to City’s rise, no matter what happens it is City’s fault. You win, you do so because you are money bags and you poured $$$$$ to buy mercenaries, You lose, same story Money can not buy success and blah blah blah, you draw a game, blah blah blah.

    • Mick G 04/10/2010 at 7:56 pm #

      Siamack, give an honest answer do you think referees favour you now more than they did 3 years ago, and also do you think if Barton had done the same tackle on Tevez breaking his leg there would have been more of a fuss.I’m no saying it’s city’s fault, I just blame it on starstruck referees, lets face it Fergies mob have been getting away with things for years.

  11. David 04/10/2010 at 7:51 pm #

    First off the ref was terrible, but that happens and I’m sure we will get some dodgy decisions in the future too (I hope anyway!!). As for the tackle on Ben Arfa, De Jong was showing studs in that tackle and even I can’t get away with that in Sunday league football! So no professional footballer should with the Ref as close as he was!!!!! I don’t normally get too annoyed with Ref’s but I am still…. annoyed (add your own swearwords) about his poor decisions and that De Jong won’t face an inquiry by the FA as these kind of tackles should be stamped out of the game.

  12. hhCity 04/10/2010 at 7:52 pm #

    I really hate to bring you up on this but a reckless tacke is NOT a fair challenge.
    Doesn’t matter if you get the ball, if the challenge is reckless then it’s a foul.
    Like going off 2 footed, can get the ball but is a red card offence.
    De Jong should have gone……

  13. Noclasscity 04/10/2010 at 8:27 pm #

    Thought it was truely disgusting how the City players high fived each other and celebrated when they saw Ben Afra has a broken leg, proves that cash does not equal cash. Also he tried to break Tiote’s leg later on in the game the sick f**k.

    • View From A Blue 04/10/2010 at 10:47 pm #

      The City players were not high-fiving themselves. They were applauding Ben Arfa, having already gone over to see how he was, as he left the field. Notice too how the crowd clapped him off.

    • BigMike 05/10/2010 at 12:57 am #

      He Shit himself when Tioté stood over him and basically said ‘what the fuck, dont try that shit with me’ £3.5 million well spent on that guy, got him 80% cheaper than man city would have too :p

      Get well soon Hatem, you will be missed but I’m sure the team did you proud!

  14. Siamack 04/10/2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Words like “Reckless” are purely subjective in nature and there is no way to define what is reckless and what is not? Do we Consider King’s tackle on Kolarov ,when he was trying to clear a corner as reckless, since it resulted in him being out for almost 2 months with a bad injury? As much as I feel bad for Ben Afra, this was just an unfortunate incident and it is part of professional soccer. Unfortunately, this time De Long is being unfairly targeted ,unlike his world cup kung fu kick, where everyone agrees unanimously on being wrong.

    • CLiNT FLiCK 04/10/2010 at 8:54 pm #

      It was as far from an accident as you can get.
      It was a deliberate attempt to stop HBA in his tracks & lay one on him early, put the frighteners on. We’ve all seen it a million times.
      But so long as winning is all that counts & people’s careers mean nothing, then that’s ok.
      What goes ’round, comes ’round.
      At least his dutch coach has got well in & sacked him off.
      If he could see it from a 1,000 miles away.
      Have y’manky win, you’ll be found out.
      Sick cvnts!

      • Siamack 04/10/2010 at 8:58 pm #

        With all due respect, that is what you think and there are other folks like me that think otherwise. So what you think should be done, People like me get to be morality compass or people like you?

  15. CLiNT FLiCK 04/10/2010 at 9:11 pm #

    if a player goes flying into a tackle, high, using a scissor action with his legs, it’s usually seen as a red card any where in europe.
    To even attempt to argue it away is churlish, at best.
    I feel sorry for you.

    • CLiNT FLiCK 04/10/2010 at 9:15 pm #

      if it was one of our players, i’d expect him to be off.
      & i’d be well pissed about it. One for injuring a player & 2 for letting himself & the team down.

      • Siamack 04/10/2010 at 10:20 pm #

        “I feel sorry for you”, You need to feel sorry for yourself that you are using his injury to justify your team’s loss and a way to let out your frustration. If this was not an incident(and was an act with malice) then I am sure FA would take an action against it. Until then innocent (an incident) till proven guilty unless your paranoia makes you think of a conspiracy here for world domination by Manchester city with Arab oil money and a support from bunch of mercenaries with Kung-fu skills and star-struck referees with invisible connections to super-powers.

    • Siamack 04/10/2010 at 10:59 pm #


      “if a player goes flying into a tackle, high, using a scissor action with his legs, it’s usually seen as a red card any where in europe.”

      De Jong did win possession of the ball in the tackle. The follow through with the right leg was inevitable due to physics and not the De Jong attempting to hurt Ben Afra.

      Michael Essien made a similar challenge on Abou Diaby in the Chelsea Arsenal match hours later and the funny thing is no one is crying about that

  16. Geordiedoonsooth 04/10/2010 at 9:39 pm #

    I was thinking that this was a really good unbiased report on the game until I got to the bit about De Jong. I am sorry but if you watch the tackle de Jong is very clever he tackles low with his left leg and as he hits the ball his right leg whips round to catch Ben Arfa on his unprotected standing leg. While I’ll accept that he probably wasn’t meaning to break a leg he was meaning to hurt Ben Arfa. Also De Jong has done this before against the USA earlier this year he broke a players leg with an almost identical tackle and as for his assault on Alonso in the world cup final well enough said. De Jong is a thug with a long history of injuring players he contrubutes nothing to the art of football and the Dutch team manager has realised this and dropped him for being nothing short of a thug. These tackles have no place in football.

    • JB 04/10/2010 at 10:05 pm #

      Oh, he has? Give me that “long” list than. Ben Arfa’s was a freak accident. Get over it. Just because someone’s leg broke, doesn’t mean it was intended. However, I’ll await that list of yours. Considering you state this as a fact, I am curious where you have found the results.

      • Mick G 04/10/2010 at 10:22 pm #

        JB I havn’t any grudge to bear with Man City,but regarding De Jong and is history of bad tackles not only as his national coach banned him because of his constant bad tackles but on a Dutch football programme ex players ,pundits have come out and condemmed his style of play ,also dutch fans are ringing in and saying they don’t want to see him in a Dutch shirt again.Now,with respect they have probably seen more of him over the years than you have.You can continue to show blind loyalty to him,which is admirable,or you can come out of this with a bit of dignity and admit that there is no place in football for his type of play. I’ll admit he isn’t the only moron in the game,and lets face it your team can buy anyone they want so why put up with someone who is going to give your club a bad name.

      • Siamack 04/10/2010 at 10:47 pm #

        Mick G,

        Have you wondered why Netherlands national coach was never vocal on their aggressive and anti-football style against Spain in World Cup? or you are just bringing this up to back up your claim regardless of validity of his claim

  17. Toonie 04/10/2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Its really sad to see a potential good team and supporters defending a player who obviously likes to throw his weight around, regardless of what injury he may cause a fellow proffesional. By all means defend your team and be loyal to your players, but try and retain a little honesty when one of your own commits what was obviously a very poor challange…

  18. CFCEASTUPPERGATE3! 04/10/2010 at 10:55 pm #

    You Geordie’s are such bad losers, You just wait till the chelsea come up north we’ll do your mob.. The carling cup game was just luck, even though we had our ‘reserve team’ out you just about beat us!

    • BigMike 05/10/2010 at 12:59 am #

      11 changes made by Newcastle in that game fella, go back to supporting Man United or whoever you did before Chelsea re-claimed the title!

  19. Mick G 05/10/2010 at 8:00 am #

    Siamac,I agree he wouldn’t bring it up during the world cup, because it didn’t suit him at the time,football is the most hypocrytical sport in the world,and no doubt if DeJong moves on and does the same”fair tackle” on one of your players you will change your opinion of him.Do something that is rare in a football fan and take a honest objective view of De jong ,who knows you could feel better about yourself ,it’s only a footballer ,they don’t deserve blind loyaty,do you honestly think he will care about you if another club offers him a bigger wage?

  20. Ricky 05/10/2010 at 9:38 am #

    Righto, where to start.

    Geordies – calm down. City were poor but took their chances and, therefore won. Newcastle didn’t and, therefore lost.
    Anti-De Jongs – It was a supremely strong challenge but not dirty. It wasn’t as innocuous as the incident where United’s Valenica broke his ankle – again, a FAIR challenge – but it was still FAIR. He won the ball and the angle that he came in at resulted in an unfortunate angle of follow through which coincided with Ben Arfa’s leg.
    May i just make one more request? Please calm the language down. Even with stars or mis-spellings the words are identifiable and this is a FAMILY BLOG.

  21. Bdgr 05/10/2010 at 9:50 am #

    Newcastle fan here….haven’t read all the replies, but thought the article was fair enough on the penalty incidents. Williamson got the ball (in a similar fashion to Beye a few years back at St James) – it was tight and I can see how the ref might interpret it as a foul. However, there must have been enough doubt in his mind to only show a yellow (rather than the red which surely must have followed had it been demmed a foul?), so why give it at all? Don’t think there is much doubt on Ameobi’s pen, although he was half looking for it.

    Felt the article is incorrect in that De Jong’s tackle wasn’t reckless. Look at the stills photos and the ball has long gone but he’s still focussed on Ben Arfa and following through to make sure he gets the man too. The decision of van Marwijk to omit him from the Dutch side is bizarre, but welcolmed by me. I’d never believe he deliberately went to break a players leg, but he used excessive force and I think he meant to let Ben Arfa know he was there. And yes, I would say the same if it was Joey Barton. I have before – his (JB’s) tackle at Liverpool towards the end of the relegation season was truly shameful.

    I also know that the Newcastle players were upset that Tevez stayed on the field. I think he was in row F after he scored the pen, and it’s a long time since I’ve seen that not receive a yellow. Had it been given then his second half challenge would have seen him off, so it’s fair to say none of the big calls went our way.

    Finally, I think Newcastle deserved a point. Although City had a few better chances, Newcastle controlled the middle of the park for long periods and looked reasonably comfortable. It took a moment of great skill from Johnson to win it, but had the ref got it right I feel we were in with a chance, at least to take a point.

    Good luck for the rest of the season. I used to live in Withington with City fans and hope you do well.

    • View From A Blue 05/10/2010 at 10:00 am #

      Bdgr, many thanks for that comment – a fair enough assessment of both my article and of the major talking points. I won’t go into details here about your comment, but it’s a shame that more fans can’t express themselves in the way you managed to.

  22. Geordiedoonsooth 05/10/2010 at 9:52 am #

    I used to like Man C (A firend played for them in the 70’s) & their fans were good fair & loyal. But it now seems that with all their money they are becoming completely biased and unsporting it’s a great pity money has spoiled football and before I get accused of being jealous of course we are jealous every fan in the world would want it to happen to their club. I just hope that they don’t end up like the Chelsea & Man C fans. Sad really

  23. Ricky 05/10/2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Hang on there. I challenge you to find any sport fan in the world that is not biased towards their team.
    As a city fan, i try and see as many decisions as i can from a neutral perspective howeer, i am human and, therefore i have faults – on of them, being biased towards my own teams

  24. Plattsy 06/10/2010 at 4:42 pm #

    I wish I’d seen this match, it sounds full of incidents!
    I agree with you that de Jong isn’t a dirty player – I’ve not seen the tackle but I know that he’s just an old fashioned take the ball and the man tackler, and it’s just one of those things. Admittedly it must be horrible for the lad on the receiving end though!


  1. Blackpool v MAN CITY – Tough Away Trip or Easy Banker? « View from a Blue - 16/10/2010

    […] fair challenge that unfortunately broke Hatem Ben Arfa’s leg (more of which can be read here) referees will be quick to seize upon anything the Dutchman does, so it’s imperative for him […]

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