Match Review - Newcastle United 1 Arsenal 2 - Premier League
As an Arsenal supporter, it is always difficult to know how the team will react after emotional defeat. We have been notorious for dropping our performance levels after losing an important game so it was important that we turned up at Newcastle with a good display.
So it was great to see us start the game playing our fluid passing game without much hint of psychological damage following a draining match in Monaco in midweek.
We were quickly the better team and created chances, trouble was our final pass or finish did not always match up with our approach play. It was great to see Alexis Sanchez looking sharper than he had been in recent weeks. Sometimes he has reminded me of Arshavin, attempting difficult final passes almost every time that do not come off but at St James' Park he found his range. He created chances for Ramsey, Cazorla and two for Welbeck. His flick over the defenders head with not much room to maneuver was fantastic. Welbeck really should have done better with his finish and that remains an area where he needs work. Danny Welbeck is a player I like a lot and I'm always happy to see him in the starting 11 but bite is needed to his chasing and combination play to take him up to the next level.
One player who has added plenty of bite this season is Oliver Giroud. The two strikers combined when Cazorla's cross from the right found the head of Danny Welbeck, via the knee of Giroud and into the net. His second goal was very poor defensive play from Newcastle, what Williamson was doing is still beyond me. Giroud did not need to jump, just to direct it into the corner past Anita Baker on the post for 2-0.
A third goal might have killed the game off. The home support were getting on their players backs and you could feel the negativity in the stadium. But we couldn't get the third and a 2-0 score line away from home when your legs are heavy meant we suffered after the break. Questions will be asked as to why Sissoko was left all alone to finish off a good move only 3 minutes after the break and then it was one way traffic from then on.
21 year old striker Ayoze Pérez won't be there for long if they do not improve as a team, he looks a very good prospect and cause us problems with his movements to the left doubling up against Calum Chambers who did not have a good game defensively.
Francis Coquelin had a performance much like the Arsenal team to be fair. He was superb off the ball, especially in the first half. Winning almost everything and getting us back on the attack quickly. But his passing let him down quite badly, at least from my perception of the game. Can't we just merge Arteta and Coquelin into one player?
Ospina made some important saves and our centre backs Gabriel and Koscielny had performances that were vital to us taking all the points back to London, which is what we achieved, just.
Arsène Wenger was right post match when he spoke of the away matches at Manchester United and Monaco in recent weeks before this game. We've managed to take 3 wins from those 3 games which can only be good for the morale of the team.
International break has come at a bad time for the squad, they have just got into the habit of winning and riding with the momentum.
We have to now hope that our players come back without injury and that we click back together as soon as they return.