Arsenal v Newcastle United
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: April 28, 2014 8.00 PM BST
Nothing spectacular was needed tonight, it was a solid performance which yielded a comfortable win for the Gunners. Newcastle have been coasting recently, and this was their 6th defeat on the trot. It was easy to see why when they played the way they did, with very little commitment or passion on display.
Newcastle began the game in a very predictable manner, getting men behind the ball and looking to counter and it looked like it could work early on. The ball was played through towards Gouffran, who initially went for it before leaving it for Dummet. The flag was raised for offside, Gouffran adjudged to be involved despite leaving the ball.
Arsenal’s first real break looked to be a breakthrough one, Cazorla setting Özil free down the right with bodies in the box to aim at. The cross was a poor one though, and it was easily cut out by Coloccini. The German then saw a well struck volley sail inches wide after Tim Krul punched a set piece clear.
Sissoko had a good chance for Newcastle, shooting high and wide after a driving run from deep. The powerful midfielder was then the villain for Newcastle however, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Giroud off the ball, and giving Arsenal a chance to whip a ball into the box. He then lost his marker, allowing Laurent Koscielny to steal across the box and prod past Krul. 1-0 Arsenal.
From then on it was all Arsenal, with the next goal being only a matter of time. Podolski saw two good attempts kept out by the Magpies keeper. First Krul off his line early to deflect the German’s shot wide, then palming away his header off the resulting corner.
Arsenal fans will have been thinking back to the infamous 4-4 draw when Cheick Tiote lined up a shot from distance. The Ivorian struck a powerful shot, which swerved and dipped in the air. It ended up comfortably in the arms of Wojciech Szczesny, but hearts will have been in mouths for those split seconds.
That was the last of the uncomfortable moments for Arsene Wenger and his boys, with the Gunners doubling their lead right before the break. Giroud was played through on goal, and had a fantastic chance to square it Özil for a tap in. He chose to go alone, and saw a tame shot saved by Krul. It fell straight back to the Frenchman, whose second shot was again saved by Krul; this time dropping to Özil at the back post. He tucked it through the defenders legs and into the net. 2-0 Arsenal. Replays showed that the German was narrowly offside, Krul so far out of his goal that it was only the defender between Mesut and the goal.
Cazorla had a chance to make it 3 before the break, some fancy footwork getting him into a shooting position. It was another good save by Krul however, pushing the ball around the post, the referee blowing for half time as the corner was cleared.
Arsenal had numerous half chances in the early stages of the second half, while Gouffran had a chance he really should have buried, but instead rolled it straight to Szczesny. It wasn’t long before Arsenal made one of their chances count however, Ramsey holding the ball up on the left before being overlapped by Özil. He played a reverse pass to the German, who whipped it into the box for Giroud to slam a header home from close range.
There was a late penalty shout for substitute Tomas Rosicky, Yanga Mbiwa bringing him down in the area. It would have been a soft one, but there was definite contact. Newcastle seemed resigned to losing, almost from the first whistle. It was the performance of a team happy to see out the rest of the season in mid table.
This won’t have mattered to Arsene Wenger, another 3 points on the board, 4 points clear of Everton and that much closer to the Champions League next season.
on moving closer to securing fourth…
It is a step forward but we need to make another one because we have another home game [on Sunday]. It is another opportunity to win again. What is important is to focus on our performance. Game-by-game, they look strong and convincing now.
on having Ozil and Ramsey back…
I think they make a difference, but at the same period we had Walcott, Wilshere, Ozil, Ramsey and Koscielny all out. Of course you can sometimes miss one or two, but four or five? Every team feels that.
on it being more comfortable this year…
If we do it, yes [it is a relief] but it is not done yet. I am long enough in the job to know that to get over the line is always difficult. We have suffered enough this season in periods not to be complacent. The pain we went through will remind us to focus and do the final job well. We are in a strong position now.
on one more being enough for top four…
One more win will be top four for sure. It will show that the club has been consistent over the years, but we want more. Overall this season I think we have been 17 times top of the league, but at the crucial period of the season we have lost many players. We have got to the FA Cup final having played against Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and in the Champions League we went out against Bayern with 10 men. We have shown we have potential, but we want more next season and hopefully we can do it. But first let’s finish this season.
on the Wigan game being a turning point…
Wigan was a big game of pressure because the last thing you want is to be 1-0 down with 10 minutes to go of an FA Cup semi-final against a Championship team. It was certainly important on the confidence front.
on regrets this season…
We have to live with reality. We have shown quality but at the moment we have 73 points, we can make 79. Let’s finish as high as we can and analyse after where we can improve, what was right and what was wrong
on the merits of finishing fourth and potentially winning the FA Cup….
It is not down to me to judge that publicly.
on Jack Wilshere….
Jack is training already. It can’t tell you when he will be ready. I hope he will be back this season but I can’t tell you that tonight
They have gone through a difficult period but they have been safe for a long time. It is always difficult to maintain your focus when there is nothing to go for. You need that urgency in the top level
Here are some of the top tweets from today’s game:
“Giroud told Özil to put that in about three different places. Guess Mesut, GUESS!”
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“Sanogo just playing the line, almost played in by Rosicky. Would be nice if he got his first goal.”
“Arsenal fans chanting: “Tottenham Hotspur – It’s happened again. “How Spurs must wish for this level of failure.
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Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Monreal
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