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A few thoughts on the Newcastle League match.

March 22, 2015

After the death of English football in Europe for this season it was back to the domestic scene. A victory for Arsenal currently lying in third place would be welcome at Newcastle as many of the other top seven sides save Manchester United and Liverpool pretty much had bankers wins on the cards.

Saturday : Manchester City were first up at home to West Bromwich Albion, which they won 3-0 taking them four points clear of Arsenal. Of the three o’clock kick-offs Tottenham won 4-3 at home to Leicester and Southampton beat Burnley 2-0 at home.

Arsenal : Ospina, Chambers, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Coquelin, Sánchez (Flamini), Cazorla (Rosicky), Welbeck (Bellerin – 89), 12 Giroud. Chambers in for Bellerin. Gabriel in for Mertesacker.Ramsey in for Ozil.

I had a feeling, like many this match was going to be tough after the work Arsenal put in mid-week against Monaco and so it turned out. In the first half Arsenal were lively and had quite a few chances to make better of some good moves which lacked an end product. Welbeck put a great chance wide after being set up superbly by Sanchez and he should have done better.

Welbeck’s chance was sandwiched in-between two Giroud goals in four minutes. The first from a Cazorla free kick that was headed on by Welbeck and went in off Giroud’s knee. The second was a header from a Cazorla corner. A game that up till half time Arsenal dominated and maybe should have had more than a couple of shots on target even though both ended up in the net.

Then then proverbial game of two halves took place as Newcastle decided to make a game of it with Arsenal wilting a bit from the Monaco match. Newcastle came at Arsenal and it only took a couple of minutes into the second half for Sissoko to reduce the arrears by doing exactly what Danny Welbeck should have done in the first half with his shot.

Perez wide. Gouffran with a back pass to Ospina. Sissoko again with a back header and reflex save by Ospina. Janmaat shot wide. Danny Welbeck had Arsenal’s best chance outstripping Williamson and pulling off a save from Krul. Final real chance of game was from Perez whose low shot was saved well by Ospina. Newcastle couldn’t muster another shot in the last nine minutes and Arsenal run out 2-1 winners. I often feel that sometimes what looks pressure it not always real pressure.

I could only watch extended highlights on Sky match choice, but what I saw was Newcastle pouring forward but not really creating too much in the way of real chances and apart from their goal, the chances they did have were well saved by Ospina. In other words like Arsenal in the first half a lot of piss and wind and no end product. The way I see games is not to piss my pants every time out opponents cross the half way line or have a few long shot that go wide.

Even when Arsenal are dominating a team you’ll normally find during a match our opponents will have a few chances. It’s part of the game. After the whistle went the facts were Arsenal dominated play the first half yet ended with three shots on target and Newcastle had the better of the second half and had four shots on target. I thought as Arsenal were looking tired from mid-week they could not press Newcastle in attack after half time, so the second half turned out to be a let’s keep them out ploy. Defending and keeping Newcastle to mainly long-range shots. Had Arsenal attacked and threw the game away, we no doubt would be having the usual Arsenal debate of the team being naïve and not playing the game out correctly.

I have seen many fans who want us to be more aware of our opponents and us the correct tactics as each game requires. yet even when we do it still somehow doesn’t seem enough for some supporters.

Myself! I’m not going to lose sight of what is currently happening by looking back at a poor start. No! I’m looking forward. I’m enjoying the victories and the FACup run. I’m not going to sink into the pit of doom & gloom and look to find negatives. Yes there have been some, there still are some, but there are also a lot of positives.

Three away victories in fourteen days against Manchester United, Monaco and now Newcastle. Surely that’s a positive and how we approached each game. It does look like the injuries are subsiding and the team are learning. Sixteen wins in nineteen matches and no draws. That’s cracking form.

Sunday : Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield and Chelsea scraped a 3-2 away win at Hull. So it was a very important win for Arsenal this weekend. So after the weekends matches it leaves Arsenal Third in the table still. Seven points behind Chelsea, though Chelsea do have that game in hand as well. One point behind Manchester City. One point in front of Manchester United. Six points in front of Liverpool. Seven in front of Southampton and Tottenham.

Arsenal have eight games left with only three away and five at home. Second place is definitely on the cards?

Cheers

@harlowgooner

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