Arsenal started off in brilliant style and Newcastle had great trouble even getting a touch on the ball. Theo Walcott had a few promising chances in the first half, but most of the action came from the referee’s card pocket!
Sissoko was the first in the book and Newcastle came close to more yellows until Aleksandar Mitrovic was sent off for a clear stamp after just 16 minutes. Arsenal carried on the control but Mbemba and Thauvin were both given yellows in the next ten minutes, and we had a clear penalty ungiven when Bellerin was scythed down in the box.
Krul responded well to the Arsenal pressure and despite all the possession the Gunners couldn’t make the extra man count and we went in to the break at 0-0.
Just five minutes into the second half and Newcastle had already picked up two more yellow cards curtesy of Anita and Wijnaldum, while Cazorla was given a consolation booking for the Gunners!
Finally Arsenal’s pressure paid off but there was a smidgeon of luck when Coloccini turned Chamberlain’s cross/shot into his own net in the 52nd minute. The Gunners kept on attacking and Krul stopped shots from Sanchez, Ramsey, The Ox and Cazorla until Wenger decided to switch the tired Walcott to bring on Giroud, who scored four goals against Newcastle just last season. Sanchez seemed to increase his energy levels and came close a couple of times, and Cazorla had a long range free kick easily saved by Krul.
Arteta came on for the Ox with ten minutes to go to shore up a defence that shouldn’t have needed it if the strikers had done their job better. As the commentator said, Petr Cech could have brought a book with him and despite the Newcastle fans chanting “1-0 to the referee” Arsenal fully deserved the three points.
They could have been a bit more convincing though…..