Foot in mouth, nail biting, nervous twitch and a mild heart attack – that is what the current Arsenal team to do us. A goal down, a come back and a last minute winner, and we’ve done it four times in a record breaking go now! With the league our only competition left, you would think it would be easier for us to focus on the games, and Arsene looked very focused, and he also handed Oxlade another start ahead of Gervinho.
The very impressive Rosicky remained in the starting line up and we played what could be considered right now (on current form & including injuries), our best eleven
Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Gibbs
Arteta – Song
Walcott – Rosicky – Oxlade
Newcastle are no mugs, and they set up well, playing 4-5-1 with Demba Ba up front – when Arsene bought Nasri from Marseilles all those years ago, it was a match up between buying Nasri or Ben Arfa, and at the time, Arsene chose Nasri. However, the other Frenchman went on to sign for Newcastle, and himself, has been quite impressive since he joined them. One career threatening injury aside, he has shown that he’s a very good player. And it was his trickery and valiant left foot that caught us out, going past Gibbs and Koscielny and slotting in at the near post past Szcznesy… normally an area any keeper would be disappointed to concede through – but the pace and direction of the shot were worthy of the goal. Arsene – here’s an idea, send Benayoun back to Chelsea, sell Park, and buy Ben Arfa. Nice.
53 seconds later, Van Persie got onto the end of a cross from the impressive Walcott, who seems to be doing a few more things right nowadays… and lashed the ball past the annoying Krul (who got more annoying as the game continued)… smack, bang, wallop, goal 33.
After that goal, any confidence that Newcastle had and any frailties we had disappeared. It was Arsenal all the way. Oxlade was marshaled well, making him relatively quiet. This is what happens when you have multiple dangers in your team – the opposition have to mark certain players, giving space to others.
Newcastle did defend well, and sometimes bent the rules in terms of aggression, but as always it’s us to us to try and get the winner and after various different exchanges, an exciting game to say the least, the vice captain stepped up to the plate on the final minute of stoppage time to bundle the ball in to make it 2-1.
Arteta spoke about the winner and said:
“We all kept believing, we were all at it and we had the chances and thankfully in the end we got the points. “It was massive [to get the equaliser when they did] because the longer the game goes on without it, the more frustrated you get. “It was a great move and a great finish again from Robin. Credit to the team because we never give up even when we are losing. The crowd were fantastic again, so thanks to everyone. “We are now only one point behind Tottenham and three ahead of Chelsea, so we are in a much better position than four or five weeks ago. We are really happy.”
And Arsene took time out to talk about one player and one player only… Mr Theo Walcott:
“Theo Walcott was outstanding. From the first to last minute he was great. I feel it was his best performance for us. Against Milan, Theo was hitting top form and he has continued it tonight. He played with intelligence and power. Newcastle gave the impression of a strong team and to come back quickly was important,” the Frenchman added. The equaliser was provided by Walcott. We speak many times of many other players and he deserves great credit this time because he was exceptional.”
Whereas we may find Theo a little frustrating at times – he tally of 13 assists and 8 goals this season has been vital, especially when 11 of those assists were scored by RvP… Theo is only 22 so we can expect more from him, more consistency, but the good thing is that he is coming to some sort of form now….
That’s it from me today – over to Tottz tomorrow for the Wednesday digest!