For the first 20 minutes or so of this Premier League game it looked as though Arsenal might do another Monaco in the first leg, as we were a bit off the pace and were being generally out fought and outplayed by a Newcastle team that everyone expected us to beat with ease.
Gabriel, Koscielny and Coquelin were alert though and aggressive in the tackle to help make sure that the home side did not get the goal that would have really made the fans believe and put the Gunners under big pressure. Getting towards the halfway point of the first half we were becoming more of a threat and Wenger was getting frustrated about the persistent fouling breaking up our attacks.
But one of the free kicks from those fouls led to our opening goal after 24 minutes. At first I thought Welbeck had headed Cazorla´s whipped ball straight in but Giroud got a vital touch. And just after some super skill from Alexis had only forced a corner, Giroud headed his second from the resulting set piece to give us clear daylight.
Arsenal had chances to score again before the break but the Magpies were not done yet and also threatened but it stayed at 2-0 at the break.
Arsenal were caught out again after the break as Newcastle came back with renewed vigour and amazing desire. They made it pay this time with an excellent Sissoko goal in the first five minutes after which they just pummeled us for the whole second half.
We couldn´t seem to win a tackle and became penned in our own half. Our defenders and ospina had to be at their best while we rode our luck a bit to hang on for a crucial and hard fought win.