Full-time - 90'
0 - 0
16:30 +00:00, August 13, 2011
St. James' Park
Referee: Peter Walton
The whistle has gone on a game short on quality but then high on anger in the Gervinho incident that followed Joey Barton being stamped on by Alex Song. That was the key moment in a game short on quality, and Arsenal already look short of the qualities they need to challenge. Newcastle were lacking, but Joey Barton blotted their copybook for getting involved. Gervinho was silly but can consider himself unfortunate.
Van Persie tries from distance. It is wide and weak.
Walcott runs off the end of the pitch in a style that is all his own. Arsenal bereft of ideas again.
Djourou on for Ramsey as Wenger, amazingly tries to kill time. When ambitions are low.
Newcastle with the added-time pressure.
Barton's ball is poor.
Colocinni on the overlap puts in a fine ball and Arsenal have to hack behind.
Free-kick from Barton does not beat the first man.
Vermaelen for a clear tug on Leon Best.
Into added time, of which we have four minutes.
Barton fails to get hold of a Leon Best knockdown as Newcastle threaten. Briefly.
Walcott's touch let him down, Wenger rages on the bench. We will be seeing plenty of that.
Meanwhile, we should be building to a crescendo but are not. 0-0 beckons, with a tawdry tale of gamesmanship as our lead item from this game.
Walcott on the run as a rare break into football. He gets nowhere, the story of the day.
Frimpong, sporting the de rigeur mohawk, on for Rosicky, who has done quite well today.
Barton and Song are now frotting each other in friendship. This is an odd game.
Barton continues to rage, while Wenger looks aghast, a face we are all too familiar with.
Heading contest results in Krul claiming the ball. Tiote goes down heavily after a tackle. And looks in some pain. Cramp is the suggestion.
Barton smashes goalward. Just wide. Now that would have been a story.
Barton to see out the 90, perhaps?
Lovenkrands to come on for Cabaye who has played well.
Barton and Taylor are just as guilty as Gervinho, though if truth were told then at least we have a story to tell of a pallid game.
Joey Barton: We await his tweets with interest, or do we?
The upshot of that is that Barton got involved when Gervinho tried to win a penalty. Barton then feigned a punch as his partner in crime Steven Taylor also claimed an elbow. Poor show from both. Gervinho is a little unfortunate but nevertheless was silly.
Wojciech Szczęsny is booked.
Barton, after some delay gets a yellow.
MAYHEM: Barton gets involved after a Gervinho dive, that was clear. Fists fly.
Cabaye's pass is excellent and Kosielny is forced into a hurried clearance.
A period of slow possession for Arsenal.
Leon Best on for Shola Ameobi.
Long ball for Obertan but his large forehead is not enough to get there.
Gervinho falls to his feet after yet another poor pass. He's lively but lacking in composure.
Will we have a taste of Oxlade soup? Gervinho again surges but again does not find a red shirt. He gets a corner instead.
Cabaye gets space to run but his ball is an Arsenal one, and is intercepted.
Still an air of listlessness here. Arsenal lack a final ball, Newcastle lack the ball.
Gervinho escapes on the right but his ball is a waste. Again. That needs to be worked on or else his other qualities, of which there are many, will be forgotten.
As sure as eggs is eggs and Kieron Dyer is injured, Tiote gets a booking.
Well done, Obertan. Nice bit of determination to keep the ball in. Cabaye stopped at the last. Crowd roar on the new Frenchmen.
Arsenal looking more likely since Walcott's arrival but they do look lacking in the final third, an idea enhanced by Sagna's awful shot.
Walcott is wasteful when swinging his left boot at the ball for no reason in particular.
Steven Taylor stops Walcott's burst with a fine interception.
Confirmed: Walcott for the Russian dissident.
Obertan's flick nearly gets Cabayae in but the ball is smuggled clear.
Barton tells the fourth official to get involved. Instead, that man will offer Theo Walcott on. For Arshavin, we think.
Barton rages. He was clearly stood on by Song, who is on a yellow card. That was deliberate and should have been a sending off. No need for that whatsoever.
Their fans have woken up too. Arsenal play a possession game now. Van Persie is baulked by Colocinni and Taylor. No penalty.
Newcastle's attack wakes up but is thwarted by repeated headers.
Pardew is having a rant. Something better change.
Van Persie takes and loops and curls it goalward, but just over the bar. A shame. That passed for genuine excitement.
Ameobi's flick to Obertan is intercepted and Arsenal are starting to pile on pressure. Sagna fouled by Jonas. Free kick.
Rosicky's burst and then Gervinho piles forward before Steven Taylor does well, as he has done for much of the match.
Ryan Taylor heads behind when failing to find his keeper with a nod.
Gervinho is on the run but outnumbered and rather gets caught under his own feet.
Ramsey fouls Jonas, Newcastle do look more up for it already.
Kieran Gibbs for a loose foul on Joey Barton.
Newcastle play a passing game lesser spotted in the first half before Cabaye surges to force what he thinks is a corner when in fact the last touch came off him.
He is heading for a central role not offered to him at Manchester United. We are back underway.
Obertan is on on on. Here comes a supernova. Demba Ba off, oddly.
Here's some advice from Twitter. Jack Wilshere: "Need to get theo on and attacking the full backs!" His manager must be most pleased to be able to call on such advice.
We shall wait for a second half which must do better. That was end-of-season fare on opening day.
Obertan looks imminent for the second half. Newcastle fans must be licking their lips as their new hero is soon to take his bow. His first kick for Manchester United was a miskick.
Gervinho's burst is promising and Colocinni fouls him. Perhaps harsh.
Sterility rules here. Two added minutes of tedium to come.
Ryan Taylor will take this. And smashes into the wall. That was woeful.
Cabaye's cross is punched clear by Szczesny. Barton wins a foul. Free-kick.
Van Persie fails to control the ball when he fancied his left over his right. A chance begging.
Arsenal attacking in waves, yet still not convincingly. Arshavin's ball is cut out by Colocinni.
Ba is blocked off by a fine Vermaelen tackle. The Verminator has seemingly recovered from that early scare.
A ball from Song to Gibbs asks much, in fact it asks him to equal Usain Bolt's landspeed record.
Arshavin reappears, but his final ball is poor and Krul is calm and collected.
Van Persie was in space but ran into heavy traffic. The moans continue from Arsenal fans. Neither set of supporter is hardly brimming with excitement or optimism.
The mohican looks to be the haircut du nos jours. Tiote has a fine effort, Barton has a nice fringe on his after Raul Mereiles' early tour de force.
Rosicky's ball is poor. Arsenal looking flat now. Perhaps Theo is the answer.
Krul claims when Van Persie is the target for a cross. Not enough numbers forward for either side.
Van Persie does well on defensive duties. Ryan Taylor loops in a cross that veers goalward but eventually wide.
Newcastle corner as Koscielny heads behind. Cabaye takes this.
Free-kick to Arsenal, Van Persie with the honour and Tiote slices behind.
Barton concedes a corner. Rosicky takes. Krul was unconvincing as Koscielny came in. Ball hacked clear.
Ryan Taylor's free-kick causes an element of panic but Szczesny clears.
Song booked for a foul on Demba Ba/
"How long before Walcott is brought on for arshavin?," asks Ross Ginter. Who's to say that Oxlade is not the man.
Jonas ball in. Ramsey is back to clear it.
Shola Ameobi's pass would have found Demba Ba in the clear. It was blocked.
This is not a game blessed with a fervent atmosphere.
Barton fouled. His haircut is sharp, and some of his play has been too.
It is difficult to believe Arshavin is still a Gunner but he is. He has rarely touched the ball. Gervinho meanwhile has been very busy and impressive.
Barton raises the hackles with a tackle on Gibbs. Jonas gets on the end of a cross from Simpson and directs his shot wide. Newcastle's best of the half.
Free-kick for a push on Ba. Barton's kick is looped and easy for Szczesny who still decides to punch.
Gervinho with another surge but his pass is again not enough. Colocinni clears. Composure would surely mean an Arsenal goal.
Arsenal patient where their fans are not.
Sagna to Gervinho who finds space, ball comes to Van Persie after Taylor errs. Right foot shot drifts behind. Corner.
Gervinho's pass is poor. Colocinni lumbers forward, Danny Simpson on the overlap crosses and
Wojciech Szczęsny claims.
All a bit tippy-tappy from Arsenal. They miss the surge of Cesc.
Krul has to clear, and his kick was not convincing but Arsenal didn't press too hard on him.
Rosicky busy, Arshavin appears on the scene, but then Colocinni steps in. Plenty of flickering creativity from Arsenal, and plenty of possession too.
Danny Simpson looks well inked after the summer which looks lucrative for his tattooist.
Ameobi offside from a crisp and brisk Barton first-time ball.
Another cross is aimed into the Toon box. It's aimed at no Gunners, because none of them are in the box.
Simpson lashes away a cross. He had few Arsenal players around him. They are back to their old tricks.
Shola heads on a loping run, and falls over. Vain calls for a penalty but he was neither fouled nor anywhere near the 18-yard box.
Gibbs cuts out a pass aimed at Barton, and Gervinho sets off. Van Persie lurked but then Taylor cleans out the danger.
Thomas Vermaelen seems to have a problem, which is a poor show for Arsenal. He was missed terribly last year. Sagna is recovered though.
Free-kick to Arsenal, Barton's deliverry is poor and it's cleared. Ball goes back in and Sagna feels the weight of Steven Taylor's heft.
Wenger looks almost glad to be getting on the with the football. It's not time for his puffer jacket/sleeping bag just yet.
Arsenal in a familiar rhythm yet with a lack of Nasri, Cesc and Wilshere they look unfamiliar.
Gervinho plays in Sagna but his cross is blocked and cleared.
Early attack from Arsenal. Gervinho gets an early yet unconvincing touch, Rosicky shoots wide with his sidefoot.
The roar goes up as Tiote charges forward, his pass is loose and it abates.
Peter Walton gets us underway with a hearty peep of his whistle....
Joey Barton can abandon his Nietzche and Orwell primers for 90 minutes as he takes his place.
Rebecca Lowe has spoken, the players can take the pitch and it's Howay the Lads as Local Hero rings out.
Carlos Tevez may well be looking on, if the summer's silliest yet possible rumour has it. Get him and my £2 on Arsenal to win the league could be on.
A new look to both teams, as Gervinho takes his place for Arsenal alongside forgotten man Rosicky, while a lack of Nolan and Enrique offers us Cabaye and another lesser spotted player in Ryan Taylor to fill in for the departed.
Arsenal's summer of speculation can be forgotten if they start with a win at Newcastle. A new era in a post-Cesc and post-Samir world for them. Join me, John Brewin - and you can even Tweet me @JohnBrewinESPN if you see fit.
In the meantime, Arsenal fans can read James Dall's season preview here while Newcastle fans can watch a video interview with Alan Pardew here.
Live commentary will appear here from 1730BST.
Ismael Cheik Tioté
Robin Van Persie