I was hoping that the squad rejig against AFC Bournemouth would have given the team the jolt it needed to get over the disappointing showing at Southampton and return to the first half performance that saw Manchester City blown away by a hungry and committed yet depleted Arsenal side.
Unfortunately the rest for Flamini, Monreal and Koscielny did not make much of a difference to the team. It may well have been a different performance if Arsenal took one of the early half chances fashioned by the men in red and white. In the opening 10-15 minutes or so I thought we looked very bright and very dangerous working the ball down the flanks for mostly Bellerin and Oxlade-Chamberlain to exploit.
Steve McClaren had set his team up to block our passing lanes in the middle of the pitch and that is why we found early joy in wide areas. Without watching the game a second time, it is difficult to know why we stopped making so much ground down their left but they continued to stop us playing through the lines and we could not speed up our game to pull them apart.
Newcastle United started to grow into the game and wrestled back control of the ball. I thought we massively missed the two footed Santi Cazorla who would get on the ball from deep, tiptoe his way past challenges and slide balls into Mesut Özil.
Our attacking players were not sharp enough to cause Newcastle enough problems and we went without a shot on target for a long time. I was hoping for a collective improvement after the break and when that improvement did not arrive I began to worry.
I kept thinking about all the times I laughed at Tottenham for losing at home to this Newcastle side. I really thought that was about to come back and bite me on the Arsenal.
Weirdly Newcastle started to waste time when they had the bit by the teeth in the second half. I found that really strange. They were playing well and were the better team at that point but they were not brave enough to really take advantage.
Petr Cech was largely to thank for this also, making a wonderful block on the charging Wijnaldum who was sent through by the talented Ayoze Pérez. When you look at the replay, Cech narrowed down the angle so quickly and made himself so big in such a short space of time.
I couldn't see where our goal was coming from until Oliver Giroud powerfully won a header from an Özil corner and Laurent Koscielny snuck around the back to put the ball in from close range. Koscielny with yet another important goal against the Geordies. Giroud might look like he needs a breather but lets not forget this was his second important assist in a row as well as his important goal on the stroke of half time against Manchester City, so the big man is playing his part.
It was a hugely important victory but the performance is worrying, at least from a short term perspective. At this stage of the season it is important to keep the performances up because there are a lot of games ahead of us and you can only go so far, against certain opposition playing at 70%
As Arsène has said many times, good results are a consequence of good performances. I am more than happy to take this performance on the chin and whisk away the three points but our fixture list isn't very kind in the next few weeks, most of our post Man City performances are unlucky to deliver the victories we desire.
The Watford/Manchester City result later that evening was a real sickner. I was just preparing myself for a tweet about how a 6 point gap before our tough fixtures might come in quite handy and then Yaya Toure went and nonchalantly volleyed in an equaliser before Sergio Agüero headed in a late winner.
How we could do with a winter break at this stage. While it would benefit all the teams in the league, I think it would be massively beneficial for us right about now. I get the feeling that we are not physically ready for some of the games coming up while City with this win under their belts have winnable games. So if I was a betting man, I would predict Arsenal to drop a place or two for now but with players coming back or coming in from the transfer market I suspect we will find another late run of form as we have done so often so we will come back again for the home straight.
That said I would much rather we did it the easy way and collected 10 or 12 points from Liverpool (a), Stoke City (a), Chelsea (h) and Southampton (h) but that is a tough ask right now.
If we cannot rediscover our attacking groove quickly then I hope we double our efforts defensively as a team.
But before any of that we have the FA Cup match with Sunderland next weekend. I loved winning the cup for the last two seasons, how I'd love to do it for a third time but I really hope we rotate heavily for that game. The players quite clearly need a break and we have to try and inject some life back into them before our tough run of league games. Fingers crossed we have Mohamed Elneny signed and ready to start that game because we need bodies and quickly.
I'd be well up for all change at the inn for next week.
Ospina, Debuchy (probably not), Gabriel, Chambers, Gibbs, Arteta, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide, Campbell
Load the bench with Özil, Alexis and Walcott and hopefully only use Alexis from that list for 20 minutes or so in preparation for Anfield only four days later.
Anyway that is all to come. The Arsenal Vision post match podcast should be recorded tonight and will be with you tomorrow morning.