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That’s more like it Theo!!!

December 31, 2012

Good to hear that Pat Rice had been awarded the MBE in the New Years Honours list. congratulations Pat!!!

After a run of three successive victories and Arsenal’s Boxing day fixture against West Ham postponed due to Bob Crowe and his cronies at London Underground, Arsenal were back in action last Saturday.

Having won three games on the bounce Arsenal sat fourth place in the table after dropping to tenth. However, due to the game against the Spammers being called off and by the time Arsenal licked off at 5.30 Saturday, many of our rivals had played twice thus seeing Arsenal drop to sixth in the table by the start of the match.

Newcastle were coming to the Emirates off the back of a 4-3 defeat at Old Trafford, so we know they could score, but they could also concede. The team was Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski; Walcott. Subs: Mannone, Djourou, Coquelin, Rosicky, Ramsey, Gervinho, Giroud. Only one significant change from our win at Wigan saw Koscielny come in for the BFG who was taken ill.

So my Son and I set off for the game travelling to the ground in pouring rain. We were looking forward to a good performance, three points and for the lads to make it four wins on the spin.

Referee Chris Hoy/Foy got the game underway and an early chance for Arsenal set up by Wilshere, saw Oxo pull his shot across goal. Arsenal were giving Newcastle plenty of room to pass the ball around, yet nothing really happened in the first fifteen minutes, it was all a bit dull. No crowd reaction, you could have been at a funeral.

I thought when Arsenal came forward, Theo was too static, making no runs or movement thus making easy for the Newcastle defence to mark him and hard for his team mates to feed him. A Newcastle corner saw Ba head over from six yards, but good Arsenal pressure saw him get his head underneath the ball.

Twenty-mins and out-of-the-blue Podolski collected the ball on the wing, Theo finally makes movement, lose him markers for Podolski to put him away on the left. Theo ran towards goal and in pure Henryesque stylie opened up his body and passed the ball past Krul into the far corner to make it 1-0 Arsenal!!!

Arsenal v Newcastle United - Barclays Premier League

Newcastle were still having an awful of possession, which is unusual for a team visiting the Emirates but were doing little with the ball, in fact the game is not really setting the world on fire. The Emirates is still very quiet.

Podolski was having one of his turn up and play days and was playing well, found himself central – played a lovely left-footed pass to put Theo in again. Theo went past the last-ditch tackle and one-on-one with Krul, hit a weak shot right at the keeper, that should have been 2-0. Up the other end Tiote hit a screamer from fully thirty yards that swerved in the air and Szczesny palmed the ball away for a corner. From the corner Arsenal broke and with Theo away with Podolski and Cazorla for company, the right pass and it should be 2-0, but a poor, weak pass from Theo sees the attack come to nothing, Cazorla did not look happy.

Just before half time Sagna fouled Obertan as he cut inside. So many free kicks we give away needlessly. So on forty-three mins Ba stepped up, took the free-kick  and with Jack in no-mans land he ducked (why?), the ball spins off his head and beating Szczesny all ends up 1-1. Newcastle’s first shot on target, well Jack’s deflection was on target. Arsenal punished. Phew!!! Newcastle come again and Marveaux pulls a good save from Sczcesny to stop Newcastle going into the break 1-2 up!!! Ba then headed over from eight yards and the whistle went for Half-time. I think it came right on time as Arsenal were looking shaky.

The start of the second half saw Podolski set up Gibbs but he shot straight at the Krul, when he had Podolski and Jack just waiting for the ball to be pulled back. Fifty Mins Newcastle throw-in is headed by Podolski to Cazorla, who in turn passed across the area to Oxo and he hit a lovely low right footed shot from all of twenty yards past Krul to make 2-1 Arsenal!!!

Oxo 2nd

Arsenal broke and Theo was away with two team mates for company, the right decision here and it could be 3-1. Theo makes the wrong choice and shoots wide. Frustrating again, but Theo is causing problems.

Fifty-Nine mins Obertan! Yes Obertan rounds Sagna as if not there and crosses low and hard, the ball spins off Koscielny, runs nicely across goal where Gibbs should be but gone AWOL and Marveaux makes it 2-2. Sagna and Gibbs were not exactly defending from the manual thus far. The game had livened up, the crowd were livening up. Cazorla made space for himself and hit a lovely low shot towards the left hand corner of the goal where Krul tipped it wide for an Arsenal corner.

Sixty-Four mins Jack wins the ball, jinked he way into the area past two defenders and stood up a lovely ball to the far post where Coloccini under pressure to clear heads it against his own bar and the ball falls kindly for Podolski to head a goal he deserved 3-2 Arsenal!!!

Podolski 3rd

Sixty-Nine mins Newcastle were not dead yet as Marveaux put in a superb cross with the outside of his left foot – Gibbs was in la-la-land as Ba stepped in front of him for a simple goal to make it 3-3. At this stage Alan Pardew was screaming at his players. No more goals!!! Good bit of managerial work there then. I have to say I am not Pardew’s biggest fan, always found him one of the snidey manager types who will always go back to their level. How he managed to get an eight-year contract says a lot about the crazies that sit on other clubs boards.

Seventy-Three mins Podolski put in Gibbs, whose attacking play has been as good as his defending has been poor. Gibbs does the right thing this time and pulls the ball back, Podolski completely misses the ball but it falls nicely for Theo, who has time to put on his slippers, make a cup of tea and read the papers as he swivels and hammers the ball into the roof of the net 4-3 Arsenal!!!. What a second half.

Theo 4th

Oxo went off to be replaced by Giroud. Bigmama had a 25 yard effort but straight at Szczesny. A lovely effort from Theo who side-stepped the Newcastle defender and tried to curl one into the far corner, but hit Perch and went just wide for a corner. Eighty-Four mins Theo collected the ball out wide on right from Sagna and straight away put in the sort of cross forwards dream about getting and Giroud was not going to waste it, his diving header made it 5-3 Arsenal!!! some breathing room.

Giroud 5th

Eighty-Seven mins Theo then runs from the right-wing at the Newcastle defence, loses the ball but it runs to Giroud who controls and hit his shot hard and low past Krul for 6-3 Arsenal!!! And its happy days at the Emirates.

Giroud 6th

Giroud is tackled heavily by Santon a needless tackle when 6-3 down and a couple of minutes left. Santon rightly booked. Ninety Mins From the free kick and quick one-two from Theo with Jack, saw Theo start off on a mazy run past one, past two, Penalty!!! Theo goes down, but Theo is up to his old Chelsea fall over, confuse defence, get straight up (you watching Gareth Bales) and chips the ball over Krul to make it 7-3 Arsenal!!! Three for Theo!!!

Theo 7th

There is still time for Ramsey on the left to slide the ball into Giroud for his hat-trick, but his flicked shot cannons off the underside of the bar, so close to EIGHT!!!.

Full-time 7-3.

Whatever the situation the club you support is in, winning 7-3 is a great feeling. What a way to see out the old year and instill hope for 2013.

I’m not kidding myself we scored seven in a very good win but it was not vintage stuff by any means. When it was 4-3 how many thought we could as easily concede a fourth.

First fair play today to Mr Foy. Took charge of the game well. One booking, not a dirty game and let the game flow as well as he could. Refs take some stick and it’s only fair to acknowledge when the refs has what I felt was a good game.

Felt a bit for Szczesny as he is so often beaten by the lack of cover in front of him. Gibbs and Sagna looked to have abandoned defensive duties for the day, but were a lot better going forward. Arteta was doing all that could be asked of him and does at times look a little lightweight against bigger opposition, but this is Arteta who has been a superb signing for Arsenal. Koscielny and TV5 weren’t at their best but the mistakes for the goals were down to poor full-back defending, so overall playing against two big strong forwards they did alright. Now I know the scoreline shows we conceded another three goals. In the calendar year 2012 over 1100 goals were scored in the Premier league, so obviously this means the same amount was conceded. Defending looks to have taken a bit of a bashing in 2012 and even United, Chelsea and City are conceding for fun. Chelsea 18. City 19 and United 28 and with 19 games gone.

No excuses as we have given away some very sloppy goals, but I still think we need to score more to be sure of at least getting fourth spot. I’ve said it before scoring 7’s. 6’s, 5’s is great, but not if it means failing to score against Villa, Stoke, Sunderland, Swansea, Norwich where one goal in each of those games could have earned us an extra seven points.

Jack, was superb and such a tough little footballer, hard to dispossess and often gets his foot in to win the ball not just to break-up play but to win the ball and get Arsenal going forward. A footballer that is a joy to watch. Chamberlain tried hard, you cannot fault his effort, but once again I thought the first half passed him by. Great start to second half and a very good goal he scored too. Oxo is still young though and will need more time, something he will be given under Arsene.

Cazorla is just such a good footballer and like Jack strong on ball and hard to dispossess. Santi has that great eye for a pass, a good shot and over the ninety minutes I thought once again he played well.  Podolski has an up and down first half of the season, but some of his passing Saturday was superb. Again another player that will get his foot in, not just to win a tackle but to win the ball and start another move. Can scores goals too and will score many more. Theo, Giroud and Podolski have 32 goals between them this season.

Theo was as frustrating as explosive at times.

Bad. Wasting possession – defenders taking ball off him to easily. Lack of movement in first 15/20 mins till he scored. Wasting good chances.

Good.  Once he scored he was a danger every time the ball went to him. Took all his goals very well. (1) was as good as any goal TH14 scored like that. (2) predatory, proper strikers goal. (3) determination, skill, how to dribble and clinical finish. Three goals that show the lad does have it, just needs for him to show it more often. No player (save Messi) will play well in every game, but Theo needs to step up for 90% of games not just 5o%. I’ve been critical of him and I suppose I still am to a point, however, maybe signing him up might be worth ther risk.

Giroud showed that give him service he will score goals. Giroud also holds the play up well, wins headers, strong and willing to put in a shift. I see promise in the current squad. I also see the need for a few more players, along with the moving on of some of our players like, AA, Chamakh, Squillaci. Making sure Bendtner does not somehow make a return. Finally getting Denilson off the books.  Making sure that players get what they are worth and that other are not over paid for potential.

The team is looking more settled right now. The football is slowly getting better and players are beginning to get back on the same wave length. For me it all bodes well for 2013 and the future. All it needs now is for Arsene to go into the January transfer window to sign a few players everyone knows we need. Just that little extra strength in-depth. By that I mean quality players, not polyfilla players.

My highlights of 2012 will always have to be the beating of Spurs twice 5-2 at home…

Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thanks all those that have taken time to read my blogs a very Happy New Year. Hope it’s been enjoyable and fun reading for you.

Cheers

@harlowgooner

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