Dec 29, 142 days ago

Arsenal 7 - 3 Newcastle – Match Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 7 - 3 Newcastle

After a week of rest, Arsenal hosted Newcastle at the Emirates stadium, looking to establish a solid position closer to the top four. The Magpies were never going to make easy prey, and they put up a stern fight. However, the Toon Army were eventually out-classed, and out-gunned.

The first half was largely dominated by Newcastle. Tiote was imposing himself heavily on Cazorla & Wilshere in particular, and slipping through useful passes for Demba Ba up front. Arsenal looked dangerous on the break, but were struggling to muster up any real fluidity.

Despite Newcastle controlling the game possession-wise, in the twentieth minute, Podolski spotted a brilliant run by Theo Walcott down the left flank. The Englishman raced into the box, considered his options, and curled a beautiful finish into the far bottom corner. It was Henry-esque.

“The second half turned out to be a real rollercoaster, and Theo Walcott was the man at the controls.”

As good as Walcott’s goal was, it was undeniably against the flow of play. Newcastle were controlling the game and were attacking with purpose.

Two minutes before half time, Bacary Sagna fouled Obertan on the edge of the box. Demba Ba stepped up, and struck it fiercely against a ducking Jack Wilshere, who had decided to create an extra one-man-wall. The deflection took it away from Szczesney, and Newcastle were level.

The second half turned out to be a real rollercoaster, and Theo Walcott was the man at the controls.

Despite Newcastle’s best efforts, Arsenal slowly but surely began to regain control of the game. Theo Walcott & Lukas Podolski in particular were ripping the Magpie’s defences wide open time and time again.

In the fiftieth minute, Cazorla played the ball across the edge of the box to Oxlade-Chamberlain, and thrashed the ball into the bottom corner from distance. It was a god finish, and Arsenal finally looked to be pulling away.

However, just nine minutes later, Gibbs had left Marveaux unmarked at the back post, and the slick Frenchman tapped the ball over the line to level the scores. Sagna was too easily beaten by Obertan for the cross, and Gibbs was completely unaware of Marveaux’s presence.

At the other end, Jack Wilshere made a piercing run through the middle, taking the ball to the by-line. The attack looked stifled, but the Englishman chipped the ball high towards the far post, where Collocini headed on to the bar. Lukas Podolski, who had worked tirelessly, headed home to make it 4-2 to Arsenal. Manic.

Arsenal had now let two separate leads go. Surely they wouldn’t do it a third time? Demba Ba certainly tried his best to do so. Kieran Gibbs was yet again caught out at his back post, as Ba peeled away and finished off a brilliant cross past a helpless Szczesney.

Arsenal now had the advantage, but the football was frantic. The next goal was vital.

“Arsenal have treated us to some high-scoring games this season, but this one in particular was full of fluidity, counter attacks, pace, power and eventually, sheer joy.”

In the seventy-third minute, Kieran Gibbs crossed a searching ball into the Newcastle area, which was picked up by Walcott with his back to goal. He was surrounded by oncoming Newcastle defenders, yet somehow managed to coolly turn on the ball, and place his shot into the top corner.

Olivier Giroud was the introduced, and what an introduction it was. The big Frenchman was now the striker, with Walcott drifting out wide. n the eighty-fourth minute, Walcott curled in a fantastic cross, which Giroud met with an excellent diving header. At 5-3, the game was finally safe.

But Arsenal weren’t finished there, and neither was Giroud. It took him just three minutes to follow his first goal with a great run into the box, followed by a drilled shot into the bottom corner of Krul’s goal. Arsenal were now really enjoying their football.

However, there was still one more joy to behold, as Theo Walcott completed his second hatrick of the season. And what a goal it was. Theo skipped past Obertan on the left flank, and danced his way into the box. Obertan then slid in rashly on Walcott, bringing him down for what looked like a sure penalty.

But instead of appealing, Walcott used his fall to barge through Tiote’s challenge, with the ball. He sprang to his feet to be met with Tim Krul. Theo then produced a spectacular close range chip finish, sending the crowd crazy. His hatrick summed up the Arsenal performance. Slick, classy and efficient.

Arsenal have treated us to some high-scoring games this season, but this one in particular was full of fluidity, counter attacks, pace, power and eventually, sheer joy.

Arsenal Player Ratings

Szczesny: [6.5/10]
Wasn’t to blame for any of the goals. He did however collect quite a few dangerous crosses comfortably. Still needs to work on his distribution.

Sagna: [5.5/10]
Out done on numerous occasions by Obertan, who shouldn’t cause a player of Sagna’s ability any problems at all. Needs to sharpen up if he is to keep Jenkinson out of the team. At fault for two goals.

Koscielny: [7/10]
Filling in the the sick Mertesacker, Koscielny did well against Demba Ba. He won most of his aerial battles and stopped a few crosses.

Vermaelen: [7/10]
Defended well individually, but needs to do a better job of organising his defence. Not at fault for any of the goals.

Gibbs: [5.5/10]
Offensively Gibbs did well, but this was perhaps his worst defensive performance of the year. Both Demba Ba & Marvaeux exposed Kieran’s poor awareness at the back post. Each time punishing him with a goal.

Arteta: [7.5/10]
Did exactly what his job description outlines - nothing spectacular. Arteta’s job is to sit infront of the back four, defend, and distribute the ball efficiently. And that’s exactly what he did.

Wilshere: [8.5/10]
A contender for man of the match. Jack worked hard all game, making runs both on and off the ball to create chances and space for his team mates. His cross for Podolski’s goal was fabulous.

Cazorla: [6.5/10]
As brilliant as Santi is on the ball, I could have told you before the game that he would have no impact today. Cazorla is almost non-existent when up against physically imposing players. Tiote kept him quiet, and stopped him from creating anything of any value. Subbed.

The Ox: [7/10]
Alex had another great game out on the right wing, enjoying his playing time. His goal was well struck, and will help keep him in Wenger’s plans. Subbed.

Podolski: [8.5/10]
Another contender for man of the match. Lukas has been critisised (by me, mainly) for not doing enough off the ball. But not today. He worked tirelessly, defending and attacking with real purpose. He was at the heart of three goals, as well as claiming his own. Subbed.

Walcott [9/10]
MOTM. Theo has now played three times as a striker, netting four times. He produced some Henry-esque finished, touches, and celebrations to boot. He is now a real contender for first choice striker, and it is absolutely vital that we sign him on a new, greatly improved deal.


Giroud [8.5/10]
Came on for the last ten minutes, yet was inches away from his own hatrick. Giroud took his diving header beautifully, and showed a different sie to his game when he smashed Arsenal’s sixth goal into the bottom corner. In the dying moments, he sruck a close range effort into the underside of the crossbar. Great to have him back fit.

Ramsey [6.5/10], Coquelin [N/A]

Walking the Walc

After an unconvincing win at Wigan, Arsenal needed to strike Newcastle hard to regain some real confidence going into 2013. And strike hard they did.

Theo Walcott was the spearhead of almost every Arsenal attack, and all of his goals were oozing with class. His first goal in particular was a classic Thierry Henry finish, who ironically was watching from the stands. Arsenal now need to take this emphatic win into the new year, where Southampton awaite on New Years Day.

What did you think of the Arsenal Vs Newcastlel Match? Should we be looking into a 4-4-2 formation to combine Giroud & Walcott? Share your views in the comments section below.

  • Steve Whiddon

    Hard to fathom how a game locked at 4-4 could go on to finish 7-3 but there you go. Theo was good but in your enthusiam to praise you cloud the fact that he was wasteful and selfish at times as well. The fact that Giroud was a coat of paint away from his own hat trick in only 20 mins puts perspective to the events.

    • Admin

      @Steve, Theo was indeed wasteful at times. Particularly when he lazily ‘passed’ to Cazorla in the first half. But his positives yesterday far outweighed the negatives. His mistakes however ensured that my rating for him was 9, and no higher.

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