As was made clear in the previous article, Arsenal beat Newcastle despite playing badly and managing to win ‘ugly’ for a change. Arsene Wenger admitted that he had to feel sorry for Steve McLaren’s team but he was more than happy with the Gunners mental strength to take the points.
Theo Walcott believes that it was the team’s dedication and work-rate that kept Arsenal in the game, and he pinpointed the performance of Laurent Koscielny as an example of their new never-say-die attitude. “He joked that he only scores against Newcastle, but he does produce massive goals at massive moments,” Theo said after the game.
“There was a sense that he just lifted his game in the last 30 minutes. I could tell how hard he was working and how much he wanted the team to win. The fact that he goes forward on every corner shows how much of a massive threat he is. He got the goal he deserved and then we managed to hold on with our back four, so it’s another clean sheet for Petr.
“A lot of games have been like that this season. The Premier League is starting to open up a little bit and a lot of teams are ready for the battle this year. The performance wasn’t there to be honest, but the work rate is always there and when you have work rate you always get the success that you need, want and deserve.”
We certainly needed the work-rate from the players, because the skill seemed to be missing all over the pitch, especially in the front three of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud and Walcott himself. If it was ever obvious how much we need Alexis Sanchez to return to the team, then this was a prime example. Thank our lucky stars that we have defenders like Koscielny, Bellerin and Monreal around to do the attacking for us……