It was almost a case of deja vu as Arsenal pinched all the points in stoppage time after Vermaelen made up huge amounts of ground to get into the attacking third and tap the ball in the back of the net from a Walcott cross. While Newcastle started the brighter of the two teams after scoring in the 13th minute, Arsenal’s instant equaliser by Van Persie shifted the balance of power to Arsenal for the remainder of the match.
Before the match, Rosicky officially signed a new deal at the club and today he did not disappoint showing hunger as well as exceptional technical and creative ability. Great pass for Walcott to set up Van Persie for the first goal, produced a number of defence splitting passes and also had a few chances himself. The Czech has had a great couple of months with the gunners and has deservedly been rewarded with a starting spot and a new contract.
The other stand-out player today was Theo Walcott who terrorized down the right-flank. The Englishman gave Pardew no choice but to hook Santon off at half-time, although his replacement Perch had no answer in stoppage time after Walcott put in a measured cross that found its way to Vermaelen in stoppage time. Set-up both goals with great crosses and was deservedly awarded man of the match. Hopefully he can build on this and improve his consistency.
We now look forward to the upcoming match against Everton who sit 10th on the table. The toffees themselves will be on a big high after beating Tottenham, but also may suffer some fatigue after having to play a midweek game against Liverpool.
on setting a new Premier League record…
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That is the best response to something that has been questioned sometimes this season. I believe that shows we have quality, we have spirit, which I have never questioned. It was a relentless effort again tonight from the first to the last minute. The tempo was absolutely top level tonight. We kept going until the last second and just managed to win the game.
Certainly the fact we have done it before helped us. Even when we were 1-0 down we just kept going and we feel now at the moment in the team we just have that complete and total commitment to do as well as we can and give absolutely everything. That gets the crowd behind the team and you saw a very entertaining game tonight against a very good Newcastle side.
on Van Persie’s altercation with Krul…
I don’t know, is it history from Holland? Is it just today’s story? I don’t know, they both looked a bit nervous. I have not spoken to Robin yet. I will find out but I am happy it stayed yellow and did not become red. He is absolutely committed and he gave everything again tonight. He got us a quick equaliser. But the whole team played very well and Walcott also had an exceptional performance tonight.
on the potential to overtake Tottenham…
We played recently against Tottenham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sunderland who are all very difficult to beat and we won all of these games. We know every time it was very tight and we won in the last minute in three of them. There is definitely complete commitment in every single game. Where we finish is down to how we keep going and if we put that same amount of effort into every single game.
on whether Tottenham will be concerned…
I don’t know, I don’t focus on Tottenham. I feel what is at stake for us is our commitment and that’s all we want to do.
on cutting the gap to one point…
I don’t compare us to any other team, I just think we have rebuilt confidence and belief and that will be vital in the race until the end. It can change very quickly because as soon as you lose a little bit of urgency you are in trouble in this league. So let’s focus on keeping that and after we will see when we finish.
on the importance of third place…
At the moment I maintain that because we have gone through some difficult periods and it’s very important that we keep our feet on the ground, keep our complete focus and give absolutely everything until the end. We have done that recently because we produced a great game tonight, we produced a great game against Milan and we produced a great game against Tottenham. That has to be our real target.
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Rosicky Chamberlain
Van Persie (c)
Wojciech Szczesny | 6.0: The Polish goalkeeper will be disappointed after being beaten at his near-post by Ben Arfa for Newcastle’s opening goal. For the remainder of the match he was relatively untroubled.
Bacary Sagna | 7.0: Very solid performance from the Frenchman defensively and also piled on the pressure with his marauding runs down the flank. Put in a number of great crosses to keep Toon on the back-foot.
Laurent Koscielny | 6.5: Solid performance by the Frenchman who kept Demba Ba under wraps for virtually all the match. Was shown yellow though for a rash challenge.
Thomas Vermalen | 7.5: Took a gamble and made a massive run from the back in stoppage time and was greatly rewarded. Scored a great last minute-winner that secured Arsenal all the points
Kieran Gibbs | 5.5: Was good on offence, but was to blame for Newcastle’s goal after letting Ben Arfa cut inside him far too easily and shoot at Szczesny’s goal.
Alexandre Song | 7.0: It was a very tidy display from Song. Had a great hand in the final goal after releasing Walcott down the right flank.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 6.0: A relatively subdued performance by the young Englishman who was quiet for most of the match. Showed rare flashes of brilliance, but nothing more before being withdrawn for the ineffective Gervinho. It’s a shame he isn’t allowed to finish a match as he can make the difference.
Tomas Rosicky | 8.5: Another great performance by the Czech. Had exceptional hunger, passing, creative ability and even tackling. Great game by our number one attacking midfielder.
Theo Walcott | 8.5: A brilliant performance by the Englishman, man of the match and deservedly so. Grabbed the assist for Van Persie’s equaliser and set up the winner with another well-weighted cross. He was constantly a threat and has shut up the critics spectacularly.
Robin van Persie | 7.0: Captain Vantastic was at it again with a well taken goal to square up the match. He was close on a couple of occasions and was his usual self worrying the defence. Caught up in an unnecessary altercation with Krul, lucky the Dutchman wasn’t provoked into doing anything too stupid.
- Notable substitions
Gervinho | 4.0: Wasn’t involved at all, Chamberlain should have remained on as he was far more effective.
Ramsey | 6.0: Marking his return from injury the Welshman added an extra spark after Rosicky started to tire and was substituted. Will claim the assist for Arsenal’s winner, but still has a lot to prove to oust the Czech from the starting lineup.