As we expected Newcastle set themselves up to try and frustrate Arsenal and try and hit us on the break and they managed to hold us off until Alexis Sanchez challenged for the ball in the Magpies box and the headed clearance fell sweetly onto Ozil’s left boot who sent a perfectly weighted volley into the top of the net. Sanchez had looked as bad as usual up to that point.
Not 5 minutes later Bellerin could have made it two but he can’t control his volley like Ozil!Even Xhaka got in on the act with a long range shot but it sneaked past the post. Arsenal looked fully in control at that point and it looked like it was just a matter of time beforre we doubled our lead but Newcastle finally gave Cech something to do, with a searching ball into the box. Iwobi is also looking flat and his passes are rarely reaching their target. Lacazette got the ball on the edge of the box and was dragged down, but with no whistle the Frenchman jumped back uup, nutmegged the defender and only another Magpies defender rushing in stopped him getting a shot off.
Newcastle had no choicew but to go for an equaliser and they are giving the Gunners loads of space to counter attack. Ozil and Lacazette got a lovely one-two but Ozil waits too long to shoot and went too far down to the line. Next up was Iwobi, who copied Laca and nutmegged his defender but went too far when he could have passed…
Arsenal looked comfortable going towards the break but Newcastle forced yet another corner and Monreal went down with a clash of heads but got up okay after a minute and we all limped into half time. The only surprise is that Arsenal haven’t scored more…..
We started the second half on the front foot again and a few minutes in Laca ficked on a ball straight to Alexis in the box but he took to long (again)bto get his shot off and the block was easy. And again Wilshere got a great ball to Alexis but the Chilean dithered and it ended up with Iwobi, whose control seems to have gone walkabout. Wilshere is definitely getting into foward positions a lot more at the start of this half.
Lacazette tried a solo effort but yanked it over the bar, but then Newcastle had two cgood hances in quick succession, one was skied but Cech got down well for the second one. It is not looking so one sided at this point….
on the hour marl Lacazette wasvleft one on one and it would have been a beautiful chip to put us two up but it sailed over the bar again. We really needed to put the game to bed with Newcastle looking more dangerous in this half…
Iwobi got another good chance but instead of shooting tried to walk it into the net again but got nowhere near testing the keeper. It is starting to look like Wenger’s thought that the strikers are just toooo desperate to score at the moment and we could have a hairy last 20 minutes if they don’t calm down soon.
This is when Wenger makes his subs and (of course) Olivier Giroud comes on for Lacazette, who is not very happy about it, and Iwobi is finally taken off. Maybe Welbeck can control the ball better…..
Arsenal suddenly look more lively and are going for a second. Yet again Wilshere gets a lovely pass with a free shot at goal but he shoots straight at the keeper. He really needs to stop trying too hard like the rest of our strikers. Another chance to put the game to bed goes begging.
Giroud has only been on for 5 mins when he gets a big knee in his side and lays down just a little too long for my liking and the referee has to stop the game. Straight away Newcastle are driving forward again and a good shot luckily gets deflected away for a corner by Koscielny and there are still another nervy 10 minutes to endure. How many chances have we created again with no end product?
Newcastle looking more likely to score now and a free header goes over Cech’s bar to everyones relief. The whistle can’t come quick enough for Arsene Wenger now. They say attack is the best form of defence and Arsenal are trying to get in the Newcastle half, and Wenger slows it down on the 88th minute by bringing on Coquelin for Alexis. Another blank game for Alexis goes by…
In extra time Xhaka gives away the ball and ywet again earns himself a pointless yellow card as he tried to make amends, but Arsenal are still looking goal shy and hardly looked impressive against a team that are in the relegation zone and can’t buy an away win!
I am now worried about Klopp’s Liverpool coming to visit next week, but look on the bright side we are back into the Top Four with Burnley drawing and the Spuds about to play at Man City….