It was overall an exciting game but for Arsenal fans it would have been a heart thumping second half as the Gunners held on to a slender one goal lead to claim all 3 points.
Coming into the weekend, Arsenal were only one point behind 2nd placed Manchester City but after the Citizens 3-0 win over 10 men West Brom earlier in the day, the pressure was on the Gunners.
Newcastle started the game on the upper hand and pressurised our defence for the initial 10 minutes but from then on we slowly started to take the game under control. Sanchez and Welbeck were impressive in the initial exchanges but couldn’t find the back of the net.
The pressure finally paid off in the 24th minute, when Cazorla sent in a beautiful free kick which was deflected by Welbeck only to find an onrushing Giroud, who finished it coolly past Krul. We continued to dominate and should have extended the lead, but Welbeck mishit a volley from inside the box. However it didn’t take much time for Arsenal to make it 2-0 in the 28th minute, as Giroud muscled past his marksman to head the ball into the back of the net from a Cazorla corner.
With the scoreline reading 2-0 before half an hour many Newcastle started vacating their seats as Arsenal continued their onslaught for the remainder of the first half. It was quite surprising that we didn’t extend our lead before the lemon break, as the Magpies were quite disappointing throughout the half.
Many felt the game was done and dusted in the first 30 minutes itself, but they were in for a rude shock as the Magpies made a flying start to the second half and got one back through Sissoko, who found the net from just inside the box. It was all Newcastle from then on and they truly dominated the remainder of the game with Arsenal just being restricted to one or two rare chances.
Wenger made some defensive substitutions bringing on Flamini and Bellerin late in the game. Newcastle had an astonishing 16 shots with majority of them coming in the second half, such was their dominance. We finally held on to the lead and credit should be given to David Ospina who made a couple of world class saves to deny the Magpies.
Coquelin was brilliant in the first half but struggled in the second half after his nose bleed. Chambers was disappointing, while Monreal failed to emulate his recent form. Ramsey and Welbeck were also pretty average, while Giroud is continuing his fairy tale run.
It was a game of two half’s for Arsenal, as we were brilliant in the first half and below par in the second, mainly owing to the physical drain caused by the midweek game against Monaco. Many would feel that it was a below par performance, but some might feel that the determination shown by Arsenal was just great, it all depends on which way you see it.
We are now just a point behind City, with Liverpool visiting us next after the International break, which will give the players some much needed breather. What do you think about Arsenal’s performance against Newcastle?