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Monday, August 15, 2011

Newcastle,Arsenal and Joey Barton haven't changed.

The match at St James' Park on Saturday couldn't have been more different to the equivalent game we were treated to last season. The TV schedulers, desperate for a repeat of last February's 4-4 goalfest, were left disappointed.

But the supporters probably left the ground anxious that the same old failings from either side are still apparent, meaning transfer window activity is urgently needed for both sides.

Prolific Twitterer Joey Barton may see himself as some sort of re-formed intellectual, who won't listen to anyone else's opinion 'unless you've played the game', but it doesn't take an ex-pro to see his old failings are still there.

To balance it out he was, crudely, stamped on by Alex Song, but his later reaction to Gervinho's dive, before diving to the ground a few minutes later, proves he he just can't keep out of the headlines, no matter how hard he tries.

He remains vital though to the way the Magpies play, his delivery, from dead balls and open play, will set up the majority of their goals. However, his success last season relied on Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll converting those expert deliveries. Despite bringing in Demba Ba and Yohann Cabaye – the later of whom did show promise – they do not replicate the triumvirate that proved so successful during the first half of last season. The Geordie fans are right to feel anxious and hope for reinforcements ahead of the deadline if they are to avoid being near the top of the relegation betting tables.

Arsenal meanwhile, continue to demonstrate the same old failings that have hamstrung their bids for trophies in recent years. Easy on the eye yes, but when sides defend in numbers, they lack the zip and drive to break down teams. The game dropped to walking pace at times, with the Gunners still trying to score the perfect goal. I wouldn’t bet on the Premier League coming near the Emirates any-time soon without new signings

Their lack of discipline, stretching back to the days of Vieira and Petit, is also still apparent, with Alex Song surely about to receive a retrospective fine and ban for his ugly stamp on Joey Barton.

With Barcelona set to fill Arsenal's bank account still further with the Fabregas money there can be no hiding for Wenger.

He has the cash, he can see the weaknesses, it is now or never.

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