Arsenal’s edgy away win in the Premier League today was the epitome of that old saying that football is a game of two halves. Having gone in at halftime leading by two goals, with a very impressive Gunners team looking like they would only add to the tally, we were left hanging on with our fingernails as Newcastle completely dominated the second half.
In his post match interview reported by Arsenal.com the Arsenal boss admitted that his team really struggled in the second half and gave the home team due credit for their impressive efforts to get something from the game. But the Frenchman also declared that it was our own struggles after the break as much as Newcastle’s improvement that made it such a tough second half.
Our manager laid the blame squarely at our recent fixture list, with this being the fourth game in a short space of time for us, with away games in the FA cup and Champions League to deal with while our opponents had only the Premier League to worry about.
Wenger said, “We have played four games in two weeks and three away games at Manchester, in Monaco and here today, and we’ve won all three. The last 40 minutes were difficult because our legs had gone a little bit and Newcastle played very well in the second half, but we had an outstanding second half going forward. We had a fluent game by creating chance after chance and in the second half we just had to show different qualities and hang on.”
He is right in a way but that is what a big club should have to cope with and perhaps why Wenger should have taken the starin off his players by rotating the squad a little more. I’m sure that Theo Walcott would agree. But I also have to say that Newcastle were simply fantastic in the second half and that previous Arsenal teams would not have coped so well done for the fighting spirit and defending today.
The important thing is that we got through this tough test and will hopefully be fresher and ready to go after the international break