Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal: Super Signing ‘Own Goal’ Does it Again
Newcastle 0 – Arsenal 1 (Coloccini o.g. 52′)
After playing the last game of the previous week, the FA, in their infinite wisdom, decided that Arsenal was going to open the proceedings this week with an away fixture against Newcastle. Steve McClaren’s side was still buzzing after securing a priceless point at Old Trafford and I wondered whether Tim Krul was going to continue his heroics against the Gunners.
It didn’t take long before Krul picked up where he left off, making a close save from Theo Walcott, that had started in place of Olivier Giroud. The game was cagey affair but it was meant to spring to life when Hector Bellerin was clearly impeded in the box. For some strange reason, the ref turned a deaf ear to Arsenal’s appeals for a penalty and the game progressed. The ref was under the spotlight again when Aleksandr Mitrovic stamped on Francis Coquelin, and without thinking twice Andre Marriner brandished a red card to the Serbian forward.
With the home side losing a man, McClaren adjusted his tactics for his side to play really deep and they did their bit to smother the Gunners and deny them any space whatsoever. A window of opportunity arrived when Alexis Sanchez fired a shot that was parried by Krul, Walcott used his blistering pace to get to the ball but his shin lofted the ball over the bar, much to the dismay of the Arsenal faithful watching the game. By his huge standards, that was some miss.
From then on, the game had an erratic feel about it, with the Gunners wasteful in possession and playing without any urgency, despite having the numerical advantage. The breakthrough finally arrived early in the second half when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired a shot that was deflected into the net by Newcastle’s skipper, Fabrizio Coloccini. Own Goal has been a vital signing for the Gunners these days, scoring winning goals against Crystal Palace and now, Newcastle.
Ox would have had another chance to make it two when Nacho Monreal provided a superb cut back but he failed to get the ball under control.
Wenger made a couple of substitutions to alter the flow of the game but in the end, Arsenal went back to North London with three points in the bag, as well as propelling up fifth place in the table. From an attacking standpoint, the game was a disappointment for Arsene Wenger’s side as they failed to provide any cutting edge to put Newcastle to the sword. Yes, the Magpies defended really deep but there were moments when the Gunners should have at least, let one rip from distance but they stuck to their intricate passing philosophy and that didn’t reap much fruit.
Another talking point would be that blatant penalty that was denied by the referee. The standard of officiating in the Premier League keeps dropping with each passing season but that would go down as one of the key decisions that would have turned the game on its head.
However, I’m grateful for three valuable points and the Gunners can go into the international break feeling much better about themselves.
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