1) Three more vital points today at Newcastle, so what did you make of the performance?
@_Arsenal94 - I thought we looked really strong in the first half and Giroud scored two good goals and it looked as if the floodgates could open. The second half was a bit surprising in that Newcastle dominated having been fairly poor first half, then again this wasn't too much of a surprise with our recent european exertions. I thought we defended fairly well on the whole and did well to hold out the lead.
@HighburyJosh - We played some good stuff in the first half and looked to get at Newcastle. As we all know 2 goals isn't enough of a cushion to let your foot of the gas, so I was disappointed with the second half. But at this stage it's the points that matter.
@mattddawson - We weren't at our best at all today but we still looked dangerous in the final third as we have done in recent matches. Our goals weren't really Arsenal type goals but nonetheless we got the job done and got another crucial three points before the international break. However we did seem to leave ourselves quite unnecessarily open at the back and we appeared to be overrun at times in midfield as Ramsey and Cazorla played further up the pitch. I was a bit alarmed at the way we slumped in the second half but luckily we managed to hold on.
@the_jersey_fitz – Well, I’d say this was a game of two halves, but I’m not sure that would do the match justice. The first half was exactly what you want coming out against a team that’s struggling. We pressed them well, created ample chances to put the game to bed before halftime, and never let them get a foothold in the game. The second half was a…. slightly different story. They clearly responded very well to their half time team talk, where we never really got our second half started. We were sloppy on the ball throughout the second half and put ourselves under constant pressure. Luckily, we defended well enough and Ospina was there to make one or two crucial saves that allowed us to hold on. The entire game considered, it wasn’t the best of performances, but three points are always welcome, especially in an away game.
2) Were you happy with the starting line up? Would you have changed anything?
@_Arsenal94 - Overall, I felt the starting line up had more than enough ability to beat Newcastle and it was nice to see Ramsey back in the starting team. I was disappointed to see Ozil out with an illness after how well he had played against Monaco and was a little surprised Walcott didn't start. I thought a few rotations in defence were wise with some defenders having potentially tired legs (Bellerin looked shattered towards the end of Monaco) and Gabriel looked promising again filling in for Mertesacker.
@HighburyJosh - I think the team selection was good, Welbeck and Alexis offering protection down the flanks, away from home I think this is the way to go. I would of started Bellerin instead of Chambers as he seems more comfortable with pace than the young Englishman.
@mattddawson - Relatively happy yes. The only change or changes I would have made from Wenger's selection would have been Bellerin instead of Chambers. Bellerin has played brilliantly recently and to be honest Chambers has been vulnerable at the back for quite a while now which is a shame after the start he made when he first joined the club. I may also have rested Sanchez after the boss had said he'd been looking a bit fatigued.
@the_jersey_fitz – When the lineup first came out there were some decisions I didn’t necessarily like, but I understood why they were made. The biggest one was seeing Alexis Sanchez continue in the starting XI. His performance levels have dropped over the last two months or so, and it really looks like he needs a rest. That said, it was clear we set out to press them from the front, and Theo Walcott isn’t exactly the best at doing that. The other thing that stood out was the omission of Mesut Ozil, but he was sick, so there’s nothing you can really do about that.
3) Who was your man of the match and why?
@_Arsenal94 - My man of the match was Giroud. He scored 2 well-taken goals and held up and linked play brilliantly in the first half. As per most of the team he wasn't as good in the second half but did enough early on. I also thought Ospina had a good game, making two big saves when 2-1 up. I think i'm starting to warm to the idea of Ospina as our Number 1 keeper after initial scepticism.
@HighburyJosh - There's only one man I can give this to and that's Giroud. After coming in for some stick following a poor performance against Monaco at home he's come back with a bang. Not his finest goals but they won us the game and all three points. I can't name a player that does what he does better. Ospina deserve a mention for a couple of top saves.
@mattddawson - Olivier Giroud by far. I slated him after the first leg against Monaco but since then he's been brilliant in front of goal. His form this season has been outstanding and his goal record this season speaks for itself. He's become more clinical and that was exemplary in the instinctiveness of his first goal.
@the_jersey_fitz – Not sure how original this answer will be, but I have to go with Olivier Giroud. That sexy Frenchman just can’t stop scoring, can he? He’s even scoring with his knee now. He clearly tired as the match went on, but everyone did and, considering the shift he put in against Monaco, you can’t really blame him. In the first half though he was dominating Newcastle’s makeshift center halves and topped that off with the two all important goals.
4) Who do you feel were not at their best today?
@_Arsenal94 - I felt Chambers struggled at times, which he has more than once at RB. Whilst I enjoy his play going forward, he is often exposed defensively and I envisage his long term position will be central defence, as his physique seems more suited too. I also thought Cazorla wasn't at his usual high standards today, looking a bit tired and giving away balls unusually.
@HighburyJosh - I think the whole team faded in the second half, not helped by a tough game midweek in which we gave our all. Monreal didn't get going and wasn't at the level were not accustomed too. Chambers was sloppy with possession at times, although by no means the only one.
@mattddawson - I felt like quite a few people weren't at their best. Chambers definitely wasn't and neither was Aaron Ramsey for me. He sometimes tries to over complicate his game and I felt as though that happened today in midfield. Once or twice he denied Giroud what would have been his hat-trick. Sanchez hasn't been his usual self recently and could do with a rest.
@the_jersey_fitz – It’s tough to pick out one underperformer when the team performance drops so dramatically from half to half, but I’d have to go with Calum Chambers. It’s weird how uncomfortable he seems at right back, considering he has come up as a right back. His biggest problem seems to be that he gets sucked in too high up and allow a quick winger to blow past him and get in behind. His positioning was suspect at times and he allowed himself to get beat a few too many times by Sammy Ameobi.
5) We dropped off in the second half, what were your reasons for that?
@_Arsenal94 - As i've mentioned, tiredness after the Monaco game is likely to have played apart. On top of this Newcastle really upped there game (possibly thinking they had nothing to lose after such a weak first half) and looked really threatening. I understand our game dropping off but think before we take our foot of the pedal in future a 3 goal lead would be nice!
@HighburyJosh - As mentioned before, a tough game midweek didn't help. I'm not sure what Wengers instructions at HT were but defending a lead for 45 minutes isn't one of our strengths. I would of liked to of seen us get forward more but with tiring legs it's hard. The substitutions were negative, looking to sure things up which didn't help our rhythm going forward.
@mattddawson - It was ridiculous how after the first half we'd gone from looking to run riot on this Newcastle defence to being put on the back foot for the whole of the second half. I can't remember a clear chance we had in the second 45 minutes and because of the game against Monaco in the week and the amount of effort the players had put in there, I think we just lacked that extra freshness to last the majority of the game. Saying that we did make changes though so it was rather in-explainable that we peter'd off like we did.
@the_jersey_fitz – I’m going to put the second half drop off down to the midweek match in Monaco. While it wasn’t the #MiracleInMonaco we were all hoping for, it did take a lot out of the team mentally and physically. Add the traveling back to London then straight up to Newcastle on top of that and it’s not shocking the players tired.
6) Everyone around us who played today also won, how do you want the Liverpool vs Manchester United game to go?
@_Arsenal94 - This is a tough one to call. I suppose the obvious answer is a draw which leaves us with a cushion above each of our nearest rivals. Having said that, A United win would halt Liverpool's momentum and they still have a lot of hard teams to come (City, Us, Chelsea). The good thing about this game is, whatever the result, our win today guarantees points gained on a rival.
@HighburyJosh - Boring nil all draw, with a few injuries, lot's of red cards and a massive touch line tear up leading to docked points for both clubs.
@mattddawson - I'm hoping for a draw. If not then I'd rather a Liverpool win than a United victory as it would keep them off our toes slightly.
@the_jersey_fitz – I’m not 100% sure how I want that to go. I guess I want a draw so both teams will drop points, but any result is a positive for us. If one team has to win, I think I want it to be United, since they have a few more tough games to drop points in coming up than Liverpool. A drop in confidence for Liverpool right before they play us wouldn’t be the worst thing either.
7) What would be a successful season for you at this point?
@_Arsenal94 - I think i'd count any sort of progress as success. I'd love to win the FA Cup again and would be surprised if we didn't at least make the final again. Anything above 4th would demonstrate progress in the league and i'd like to finish as close behind Chelsea as possible, hopefully giving them a bit of a scare with a few games to go. Unfortunately, I think we're just a few too many points behind to think of the title as at all realistic, then again, if Chelsea slip up in their games in hand, you never know!
@HighburyJosh - I will be gutted if we don't retain the FA cup, for me that's the most important thing. Another trophy plus getting one up on Utd by holding the record for the most wins. I would like to finish higher than last season to show we're moving in the right direction.
@mattddawson - Obviously retaining the FA Cup would be amazing. Top four is obviously crucial and I do think we'll qualify despite having to still play the likes of Liverpool, United and Chelsea. If we could beat Man City to second then that would be great too and would give us a platform to improve on going into 2015/16.
@the_jersey_fitz – At this point, I think top three and the FA Cup would be a successful season. If we make the FA Cup final and get into the top three, I’d be happy with that, but I think another trophy would without a doubt make this year successful.
8) What do you think about Theo's lack of starts?
@_Arsenal94 - I initially thought that his lack of playing time was simply his return from injury and being behind the pecking order to simply superior players in Sanchez, Cazorla, Ozil etc. However, I did think he'd get the nod today, especially with Ozil out and Sanchez supposedly tired. I think one aspect is that he is in fairly direct competition with Welbeck, who Wenger promised a regular starting spot when he signed and who contributes more to defensive efforts. I think when Walcott gets his chances, he needs to rediscover that clinical side he had pre-injury to get more game time. However, all things considered, I don't think he makes our best 11 with Coq, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Alexis and Giroud my preferred front 6
@HighburyJosh - I love Theo and but I can see why he's not starting. He doesn't offer enough going forward at present to warrant the total lack of defending without the ball. I do think he suites being deployed as a striker but with our system and Giroud making himself indispensable there's no chance of that. I just hope he's not fully fit and I have no doubt he has a contribution to make before the end of the season.
@mattddawson - I like Theo Walcott a lot and he's one of my favourite players at the club. Since his return I have found it a bit weird that Wenger has been choosing to leave him out though. On his day he's a very dangerous player and is clinical in front of goal. However at the moment I think Danny Welbeck offers a little bit more to the team in terms of work rate and the change of pace he offers.
@the_jersey_fitz – I find his lack of starts concerning. I’m a big Theo fan, but I don’t think that he’ll get back to his best this season as it often takes a lot of time to get back into the rhythm physically and mentally of playing after such a bad injury. I think at his best he is a huge weapon that I want in the squad. That said, in the position we’re in, we can’t just play him into form. At the moment, we have better options than an out of form Theo Walcott. I do worry this may ultimately spell the end of Theo Walcott’s Arsenal career. I hope I’m wrong (as I often am), but the whole Theo situation gives me a bad feeling.
9) Any other thoughts?
@HighburyJosh - Let's pray Chelsea slip up, I would love to see Jose's face when the 'specialist in failure' Mr Wenger wins his third double just before he get's sacked by Roman. Come on you gunners!
@mattddawson - It was frustrating to bow out of Europe in the week and it's annoying that an international break will momentarily put a hold on the momentum we've built up domestically. Lets hope that everyone returns unscathed and we can grab a result against Liverpool in two weeks time.
@the_jersey_fitz – Not too many extra thoughts. Although if anyone knows a good hypnotist that can get Alexis Sanchez to fake an injury for the international break and get the guy a rest, I think you should get on that. Now. Like right now, he needs a rest.