Arsenal 2 Newcastle United 1: The Magpies get “Verminated”
This weekend’s fixtures epitomized everything the Premier League stands for and can be best described with two words: unpredictable and unforgiving.
Mark Hughes and his Queens Park Rangers team were on the end of some daylight robbery as well as heartache. Kenny Dalglish and Twitchy Ol’ ‘Arry suffered three defeats on the trot while Roberto Mancini got the true meaning of the word “Liberty” from a Welsh perspective. The chewing gum eating knight showed why his team deserves to be Champ19ns and it might take some stuffing to displace them off the summit of Mount Premier League.
Arsenal had a lot of incentives to play for before taking onto the pitch to host Newcastle United. Chelsea secured their fourth win in 13 games to go level on points with the Gunners while a win for the Gunners would have put them a point below Tottenham.
Arsenal had been on fire at home recently, smashing in 15 goals in their last three home encounters. Arsene Wenger gave the Ox the nod ahead of Gervinho with the regulars back in the squad.
Arsenal almost went off to a flyer but Theo Walcott’s inviting cross was beyond Robin van Persie’s reach. Arsenal pressed Newcastle high up the pitch and this tactic was executed by Robin van Persie as he did well to close down Davide Santon much to the delight of the Emirates.
Against the run of play, Newcastle took the lead when Thomas Vermaelen lost the ball high up in midfield to Cheik Tiote. The mohawked Ivorian teed up Gabby Obertan who laid a pass to Hatem Ben Arfa. The Frenchman shimmed Gibbs before drilling the ball past Szczesny in his near post.
Arsenal pegged Newcastle back when van Persie showed off his technical prowess to get an equalizer in timely fashion. Sagna and Rosicky were brilliant on the right hand side before Theo Walcott’s drilled cross arrived at van Persie’s feet. Arsenal’s captain guided the ball past Williamson before smashing his attempt past Tim Krul.
Late in the first half, the Ba Ba Black Senegalese sheep caught Laurent Koscielny on the shin and it was a cause for concern as the crowd held its breath in silence. Judging from the club’s defensive injury woes, losing Bosscielny would have been disastrous. Walcott spurned the final chance of the half with a tame effort.
Koscielny began the second half with a clash of heads with Ba. At the other end of the pitch, Rosicky showed great awareness to get on the end of Walcott’s cross but Krul was equal to the challenge.
The Ox showed a great piece of technique to send his effort over the bar when he had a fraction of a second to make contact with the ball. Rosicky was on fire again as he turned into a puppeteer and pulled all the strings in midfield by splitting Newcastle’s defense with a peach of a through ball for RVP but the Dutchman’s effort was blocked by his compatriot in goal.
Rosicky was also on the end of a delightful move with Theo Walcott but he failed to put the icing on the cake as he lashed his effort wide off the mark. He was replaced by Aaron Ramsey while Le Forehead came in the Ox’s stead.
Late on, van Persie and Gervinho wasted their efforts and it seemed like it was going to be one of those days. Thomas Vermaelen gave Tim Krul a sign of things to come when his header was fisted over the bar by the Dutch goalie.
With basically the last attacking move of the game, Arsenal had one final surge that saw van Persie and Song combine well before sending Walcott through on the right. The pacey winger sent in a sumptuous cross into the box that fell kindly to Arsenal’s mechanical replacement for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg, the Verminator.
With the goalie closing in to make a save, Arsenal’s mechanical center back slammed his effort in and uttered the famous words,
Asta la vista, baby.
The Emirates erupted into raptures while my screams from Lagos, Nigeria could be heard on the Moon. I jumped and shrieked louder than those blokes in the Heineken advert that screamed for joy when they were in a room filled up with those green bottles.
Things I do for Arsenal.
Szczesny (7.0) had a boring day at the office and in my opinion, should have done better in covering his near post well.
Sagna (7.5) was a beast on the right and supported the attack well.
Gibbs (7.5) put up another amazing shift and almost handed an assist to van Persie that was spurned.
Koscielny (8.0) was bruised and battered for his team but Bosscielny continued his consistent form with another stellar performance.
Verminator (8.5) turned sad Arsenal faces upside down with a spirited effort right at the death. 🙂
Song (8.0) protected his back four well and supplied his fair share of “ammunition” to van Persie.
Arteta (8.0) worked his skins off in midfield and closed his opponents down like a beast hell-bent on a kill.
Rosicky (9.0) produced another incredible performance that was “orgasmic” to say the least. Good to know that he has two more years to strut his stuff at the stuff.
Walcott (9.0) sent in a series of delicious crosses into the opposition’s box and made fools out of a number of Newcastle’s defenders with key tactical dribbles.
The Ox (7.0) continued his fledgling Arsenal career with another dedicated performance.
Van Persie (8.5) proved again that “he can score when he wants”.
Le Forehead (6.5) was a bit disappointing off the bench and capped it off with poor finishes in the box.
Ramsey (7.0) dwelt on the ball and did do enough to displace TR7 next week. Good to see him back though.
At the business end of the Premier League when results shape the destinies of various clubs, Arsenal has finally stepped up the plate to maintain a high level of consistency to prove why they deserve to be in Europe next season.
Like true championship materials, they grinded a result right at the death to give them some breathing space off Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool.
The quote of the week goes to @qed14:
“@qed14: Tottenham, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”
Arsenal is now a foot away from St. Totteringham’s day.
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