Arsenal clinch victory in ET but performance was dire

Arsenal have limped over the line after a dreary 120 minutes of very little action against Newcastle.

Our side may have been distracted in the warm-up by the loss of Gabriel Martinelli, who was participating in the rondo prior to kick-off before keeling over, and appears to be holding thigh and ankle, which appears to tell me the pain was from movement of the knee…

Arsenal started the match in good spirits however, dominating much of the possession, and having very little to do in defence. The Magpies were equally comfortable in defence however.

Martin Dubravka had little serious work to do in the opening 45, with Andrew Carroll’s work in the box dealing with plenty of the Gunners efforts, while Martinelli’s late replacement Reiss Nelson was our strongest threat in the final third.

In the next half, the visitors decided to to push up the field, and our side didn’t really react. The manager opted to bring on both Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka to try and force things, but little changed.

Newcastle were most likely the best team for much of the second-half, and will kick themselves when they re-watch their two efforts in the final minutes of the match.

The Toon should have finished the game off, but Bernd Leno managed to spread his body enough to deny a debut goal for a young Elliott Anderson.

In the dying minutes the referee brandished a red card. Emile Smith Rowe stood with his hands on his head in disbelief after the referee’s decision two minutes into injury time, but thankfully VAR was at hand to show the official of his wrongdoing, and the card was reduced to a yellow.

With neither side able to break the deadlock in the 90, extra-time followed.

The game brightened up slightly in ET, with Arsenal breaking in behind the rivals defence, but they were still lacking that final ball to unlock things at the crucial time.

Lacazette came on for Pepe for the final 15 minutes, meaning we return to the front four who started the 4-0 win against West Brom last week, and it didn’t take long for three of those to combine for the opener.

Bukayo Saka chips over his rival onto Laca, who nods over the defender for an in-runnning Smith Rowe to nod down and place perfectly into the far side netting.

It may have been written in the stars after his red card was overturned that he would find himself as the hero come full-time, and while Newcastle upped their energy in the final 10 minutes of the match, it was another goal at the other end which settled it.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended his goal drought as he put the final touch on a sublime team goal, after Kieran Tierney put it on a plate for him to tap home inside the box.

There was a late penalty shout at the other end, but there was nothing in it, and we will now look to the draw for the next round.

This match certainly wasn’t the most entertaining 120 minutes of my life, but the result went the right way, and Mikel Arteta’s 100% record in the competition as a manager remains in tact.

Does the display show how limited Arsenal’s squad is? Which players are simply not good enough for regular first-team football at present?


Tags Arsenal v Newcastle Emile Smith Rowe Newcastle


  1. The match showed the importance of Lacazette-Smith-Rowe-Saka combination and Xhaka’s left foot for our passing flow in a double-pivot formation. Having two right-footed DMs in 4-2-3-1 would likely make our passing imbalanced

    1. That is true GAI. Xhaka haters will not acknowledge the beautiful pass to Tierney for the second goal. He simply has to play as he’s the only left footed CM in the team

      1. Xhake is great against average teams and should be starting against these teams. He is usually poor against top opposition in high intensity games.

        Certain scenarios suite certain players

        1. He did well against chelsea though, chelsea is a quality opposition, i think he only need to be consistent with his game, he can form good partnership with Partey for years to come

      2. Onyango I can assure you that you will not see anyone say anything about that Xhaka pass. He gave the same kind of pass against Chelsea.

      3. It was a great pass for sure but I don’t understand why a right footer couldn’t have made that pass?

    2. God bless your brain Gotanidea, that’s exactly what I came to post!
      In midfield FOR NOW, Xhaka is needed, in attack Lacazette should be UNTOUCHABLE!

      I am not impressed but happy we won, if that was a premier League game, we would have dropped 2 points AT HOME AGAIN!

      The players that were given chances today failed woefully, I resist the urge to mention names. But boy, with Arsenal hard way is the way….Thank you Leno and on to the next round. COYG!!!!

    3. it doesnt Matta Mo quality is just too shaby and Willock? both of them hold unto the ball far too long whereas Xhaka is always playing it almost immediately

      1. Arteta’s left overload tactic didn’t work well when the two right-footed DMs passed the ball to the left side slowly

        1. you are right, since the time of 343, he seems to favour that left side and provide better cover to enable Saka and KT attack. however, Elneny hasnt be good on the right either, probably Partey come back soon to give us balance

      2. thats right playing it back sideways or to a player in a more limited position than him ,,, even a broken clock tells the time correctly twice … yes it was a nice pass but that doesnt make up for a clueless footballer who has no and i mean zero capacity to dominate and control the middle of the park and assiduously looks for positions where he CANT receive the ball … there is not a worse midfielder in the EPL when it comes to sense of space … the longer he stays and plays the longer we languish as a has been club

  2. Leno was my man of the match. He kept us in the game.

    ESR had emotions when he saw red, thankfully VAR rightfully over ruled the red card. Good goal from him and nice assist from lacazette.

    Glad aubamenyang scored. You could see his team mates wanted him to get the goal..

    Tierney is turning to be the buy of the season for arsenal. What a player….

    Good win, clean sheet… not the best performance but we are into the next round..

  3. Poor performance for 90 mins and some very laboured passing again. Luiz and Mari played really well, Pepe did well, Tierney was brilliant again but it hast to be said that Lacca Saka and ESR gave the game impetus that was clearly lacking. Willian was a disgrace.

    1. Pepe tried hard, but he still can’t get past the opponent to go to the byline. Saka should still be the main RW, because of his understanding with Lacazette and Smith-Rowe

      1. i support your idea. for me Pepe is regressing fast, he is becoming too rigid, when you think he is not holding unto ball any longer , he make one or two wrong pass or runs past his position making himself choke to get a pass from his teamate

      2. Pepe on the right isn’t going to the bye line. I thought he was the bright spark going forwards and if the team was up for it tonight could have created a few goals. Im not saying he was brilliant, far from it but he was ok among a sea of mediocrity.

    2. Agree Reggie👍Willian must have no professional pride, based on his defrauding of Arsenal for £200 per week.

  4. It was worth the wait 😂
    Croydon de Bruyne didn’t disappoint!!
    Couldn’t ask for more – Leno kept us in it. Young guns awesome again!
    Instant impact from Laca… and Auba scored – beautiful 👌
    We’re through!! Hurrah! Hurrah!

    1. Great talent Sue 😄 my favourite player in this Arsenal team is definitely Kieran Tierney.. what a player that man is, a true professional👊😄

        1. Said it before we signed him Sue when some thought he would struggle in PL 😄 let’s hope KT, and big Mari can keep Zaha quiet on Thursday 👊🔴⚪

    2. Hahaha. I really pray he has no setbacks in his development so he could really attain that level. I have loved that boy the first time I ever saw him play.

  5. Willock,Nelson, Willian should never wear the shirt again.

    Tierny needs a good rest, possibly use AMN to cover for a game

    Xhaka is really good against average opposition…he should start these kind of games and sit bench for higher intensity games

    Laca showing how he’s actually just been missing good players around him, players that pass and move

    Happy for Auba, hopefully this sparks an attitude shift

    1. i hope lacca new found form isnt to buy himself contract renewal, because this has fast becoming the culture in the club

      1. @Nifty AMN and Partey….that midfield partnership would be fantastic. Can both defend, both extremely athletic and eigher can push a bit higher when we are on the front foot.

        Add ESR infront of them and you have a deadly core, my opinion anyway.

        1. A very dangerous core indeed… Which is the real injection of pace & power. 2 make it deadlier, add Brandt or Bundia plus Bissouma & we have a midfield that’ll rattle any team there’s power & pace

      1. What has maitland Niles got to do to get game time.he should be first choice right back most of the time.belerin ain’t great.not 3rd choice. Hes a better midfielder than most that play ahead of him.would be better on the wing than Willian or Nelson.come on pick the right players

        1. 👍 AMN mustn’t have any incriminating photos. What does he have to do to to get opportunities? At his age, based on his performances in the big FA Cup games, AMN has a bright future at Arsenal, with his fellow young players. I am worried he will be forced to request a transfer in the summer.

    2. Yes, Wilock, Nelson and Willian is a disgrace. They are just championship material. I wonder why Arteta could not see this.

  6. Anyone of you really gon tell me it’s the coach’s instructions that’s limiting our team?
    It’s obvious these guys called senior players are no good and they keep showing they ain’t up to it.

    Also anyone who really insists Xhaka is of no good really don’t wanna appreciate him. Xhaka improved our midfield madly.
    Xhaka is our best midfielder after Partey.
    If we can’t get another midfielder like Partey, or better than Xhaka, then letting Xhaka go would be plain stupid.

    Still our usual rescuers. The difference was totally clear.
    Same tactics, same formation and the senior players were poor again.
    ESR,Saka and KT as usual carrying this team.

    1. i have said it severally that Xhaka in our mf make things to work, his passing ability, physique are better than other options we have presently,

    1. Sue what a save also… was out of my seat for that volley from Granit. Seems a different player atm…👏 earned my respect after all the downs to come back the way he has!! Leader.

    2. A very big win, reminds me of the same kind of performance against Leeds at this stage of the competition last season.. So hopefully we will improve as the competition progresses..Leno, Mari were fantastic..Need I make mention of Tierney? that guy is class act.

  7. COYG!!! We move

    Its Now official, Saka, ESR and Laca are our top players ATM.

    And hats off to Leno. OMG. That was unbelievable. For that save, he was my man of the match

  8. Leno kept us in it
    Laca provided
    ESR delivered(this dude is has serious potential)

    But my MOTM issss TIERNEY(old school❤💯)

  9. special shout out to
    Luiz- since his new contract has been ok whenever call upon
    KT-improved tremendously and has learn to be precise in across /also play more passes
    Xhaka-since his red, has been very consistent and without him our mf lack direction
    ESR- one word, incredible
    Mari- deserve joint man of the match

    Pepe deserve my abuse but ill spare him, am one of his fans but his lazy nature has overshadow his quality. a simple pass to his is difficult, simple things to do is always looking difficult with him

    1. So you are a fan of a player you admit is lazy! A fan despite him failing to do simple things too.And who also deserves youR abuse. Rather sad really for you I’d suggest. Interesting take on how being a fan works, in your case. Remind me never to adopt it!

      Would you care to rewrite the whole post and this time think first and write after thinking, not before!

      1. I think its all about opinions, and Mr. Adajim has written a pretty sensible post. You might be nitpicking too much. He said he is disappointed in Pepe’s lazy nature.

        1. Are you a VICAR OR SOMETHING SID? Cos you are definitely a snowflake old son! I am in fact vtrying to point out to SOME fans like him for insyancde how silly an unthoughtb through post makes him look. I am trying to help him, but not in a “there there, you poor diddums” fashion! All fans who post should at least think first. Or don’t you agree?

          1. Fair play Mr Bandwagon you are a pleb .
            A Simple question Jon Bandwagon Fox .
            Did you say if football came back in May last year that you was completely done with football and would never watch it again ?
            Because from my memory that is what you said ,but here you are being as loud as you have ever been ,and being a self proclaimed Realist and believing in non truths I would have thought you would close you’re massive mouth and back up what you .said

    2. Come on man. Nobody deserves to be abused. You can criticize him as hard as you want you can call him out for his half-hearted performance but to abuse someone…nah, that’s down right disgusting

    3. KT hasn’t improved, he’s just been used correctly in a bCk 4 instead of playing a CB in a back 3….he’s always been this good

  10. Don’t care about the performance it’s a cup game, it’s another clean sheet, another win.. can’t ask for more than that.. bring on Palace COYG 👊🔴⚪

  11. Willian was appalling, nuff said!
    Xhaka was a revelation when he came on.
    ESR is in the first team for good and will save us £60 million.
    Tierney must be the most valuable fullback in the league.
    The game was shit.

  12. Xhaka has cemented his place along side Thomas as his left foot balances the midfield with Parteys right, he actually does what Laca does and plays off these youngsters who are making space and runs all the time.

    Teirney is the best LB since Cole and I believe hes going to be better and those balls he keeps whipping in are going to get plenty of assists. Mari I do like the calmness of alot and Cedric was okay also.

    Saka & SmithRowe are a breath of fresh air at the club and Willian, Pepe, Willock and maybe Nelson are all not up to the task at Arsenal.

    Aubas face when scoring that goal and the whole team surrounding him shows what that meant. Maybe hit form as Martinelli looks like he could out again for abit with an ankle injury… speedy recovery Gab.

    Terrible game just looking at some of the positives. On to the next game!!

  13. Good ET performance but Willian and Pepe need to be moved on immediately. The 90 minutes display was dire and it’s clear we need two player to replace the two mentioned above. Aourar and Depay for £50 million and Pepe might do the trick. The rest of the team is fine until the end of the season however I would be tempted to recall Guendouzi and terminate the Ceballos loan. Furthermore if we could get 20 m plus for Nkietah or Niles we should sell.

    1. I think Guendouzi along with Partey, Granit and a new signing after Elneny, Torreira are moved on.

      Willian & Pepe both sold, funds for new winger. Zaha?

      SmithRowe cant do it all on his own and will save us a fortune we need another creator after Mesut goes also.

      1. Yes, once Saint MESUT goes and leaves us befeft of all his constant assists and goals plus his dynamic workrate we will badly miss him. I copied the above from a comment I wrote back in 2014. A lie of course but it makes the point!

      2. Sell Pepe and Keep the headless chicken Guendouzi? A Guendouzi that has no pace. Who slows down our attack. I have never rated Guendouzi. He is a player whose ego writes cheques his body cannot cash. Guendouzi is not good enough to play for Arsenal.

    2. i doubt Guedozi is willing to play for arsenal ever, except we fire MA or he is unable to attract a favourable suitor. He badly want out

      1. Guendouzi is not good enough to play for Arsenal. He should be sold in the summer. People keep saying we should sell Pepe. I dont get it. It was not his fault that he was bought for 72m. Comparing Pepe at arsenal and Eden Hazard at Real Madrid, Pepe is a better signing. Eden Hazard is a big flop. We should support our players.

    3. If you put AMN in a Barca team he wouldn’t look out of place, the guy can do everything. Sad he doesn’t get to play enough

  14. William,Willock and Pepe should be sold in this window none of them should be anywhere near the 1st team please get shot of these fakes!!

  15. Cheer up everyone, I thought it was entertaining match,
    We have no right to think we can just beat any team that we deem smaller than us, Newcastle played well, IMO .
    One thing is for sure, we are a formidable cup team just need to bring that into the league on a consistent basis….

  16. I don’t care how we win, as long as we win! Not the best performance but who cares!

    I have to say though, Willian was awful, Nelson seems very moody and wasn’t the best either. ESR. Saka, Laca and Leno were brilliant….and Tierney…take a bow son! What a player!

  17. Again it showed for me how under appreciated Luiz is .Once again he showed the quality he possesses brilliant forward play and always looking up and playing in runners ,his passing range is second to none .
    Would have liked to have seen Tierney rested but him along Luiz was my 2 MOTMS .
    Big ups to all of the Defence though .

  18. A very shoddy performance in a match which was notable for the lack of quality on both sides.While I have never been a great fan of Xhaka he brought some balance and control to our midfield which was pitiful in the first half.Certain players who were given an opportunity by Arteta merely confirmed that they are never going to make the grade, and I’m afraid Joe Willock is one of them.Pepe tried hard but he seems incapable of retaining possession under pressure and needs to be moved to the left side of the park where he can cross on the run.Significantly his most effective piece of work was a good cross from the left which Willock should have buried.Saka ,Xhaka and Lacca made the difference and Tierney was once again, excellent throughout.

    1. Grandad, the partnership of Partey and Xhaka in midfield may work, with hopefully Xhaka show the form he does for Switzerland.

  19. Watching Pepe is painful because he’s is actually trying too hard to impress. He played his way into the box beautifully and rather than play a simple pass across the box, tried to beat one too many and got tackled. Had he slipped that ball to Auba, we’d all be talking about that move.
    Someone mentioned he makes the simple things look so difficult and I agree – he’s always in two minds whether to turn it on and go on a run or just lay the ball off and it slows everything down and allows defenders to get in position. Still maintain there’s a real player in there but he needs to sort himself out

    1. It’s an African mentality. We always try to do too much. If you watch any African football you’ll see that turning someone around or nuttying someone is held in far higher regard than scoring a team goal or a good passing sequence.

      Watch how many times Pepe beats a defender and then slows down to try beat him again, giving time for defences to get back. Very common in amateur and pro leagues all over Africa

  20. I guess the Xhaka fan boys have a point if you watched only the thirty minutes of extra time like I did, but judging him on five years of frustrating unproductive football would be a better assessment. He looked good today but who are we comparing him to? Willocks and Eleny both of whom are championship standard players. Arsenal deserves better. How did it get to this that we actually start a game with such second raters.

    1. Was going to say something similar on Xhaka. See how he does the rest of the season. He’s similar to Bellerin – can be great at times, but there’s not enough consistency. It was like this with Walcott, he’d go missing for months but just when people started to bring it up he’d score 3 or 4 goals and everyone would forget

      1. Well said. I categorize Bellerin and Xhaka the same. Patches of good form is not enough to be starting at Arsenal though. Not if we want to be good. Not if we want to get back to UCL. The more immediate problem are the players that NEVER perform, I suppose.

  21. The match was unexpectedly became very tough and difficult for Arsenal to win it. But when Arteta finally decided to do the needful to make the necessary substitutions in the match to bring his team to resemble the one that beat Chelsea in the PL at the Ems a few weeks ago, it is then that the Gunners found a way round the Magppies to put them to the sword in the game. And claimed a deserving 2-0 home win over them.

    So, let us Gooners thank God for this victory that He Has given Arsenal over the unrelenting hard fighting Newcastle team tonight. For, it hadn’t been easy for Arsenal in the game until they made it look easy in the final minutes of the game.


  22. All we needed was our winning team and we won…Hope arteta finally knows his winning team…most of the guys that played 90mins could have gotten us relegated.

    Things I realised from our recent matches:
    1. Saka must play RW ( it balances our attack , reduces his urge to cross but cut in and shoot more, he will score a lot goals there)
    2. Xhaka balances our mid as a leftfooted cm

    3. Laca hold up play is too important for us going forward.. Auba doesn’t offer that at all

    4. Mari balances the defence, he seamlessly partners other defenders…luiz looked solid as well as holding….I feel for Gabriel cuz he’s good too but mari is another class… Calm and collected.

    5. Tierney is the best LB in the league…

    6. Smith Rowe is the discovery of the season..the lad just has to play..adds that swiftness to our attacks
    7. Our spine has finally been discovered..

    We would do very well this half of the season as far as arteta sticks to this new found spine just like klop does…

  23. Another warning for those who wants laca out of our club.
    Pepe, Nelson and Willian were not there with the standard

  24. A difficult game to watch but good on the lads tp clinch it with good performances at the end. Good substitutions by MA, could have been a tad bit early but were good. Overall decent performance and onto the next we go.

  25. I would not get too carried away with the performances of Luiz and Mari who both did well tonight.They are both very good on the ball and Mari has excellent positional sense.However we must remember that the Newcastle front players are lacking in pace and against the likes of Saha, I’m afraid our centre backs may struggle. It will be interesting to see which CB’s are selected against Palace.

  26. The W is what is important at the moment while our squad struggles. pepe and Willian are real problems. They aren’t even adequate backups. We are stuck with Willian until his contract is done. Pepe, we need to move on as soon as possible. He seems to care about his career so I think it is possible. ESR, Laca, Tierney, Saka yet again being the important members who actually make a difference to this team. Auba struggled this game but hopefully getting him on scoresheet again will up his confidence. Its been a hard season for him and I do hope fans stick with him. His first time struggling with us since he came and he needs backing. Overall, we powered through, but squad deficiencies were on display again.

  27. Pleased to see Xhaka getting some praise as he really made a difference today. Frustrating player as his psyche suggests he should be a consistent performer but sometimes just seems to dial it in. Looking forward to seeing him and Partey on Thursday.

    Shout out to Luiz as well. He was solid and his long passes were a constant threat.

  28. All of us need to appreciate that Arteta has to use the players he has. It is therefore unfair to criticise him for selecting some players. As long as they are in the squad they must be engaged in some games. We can criticise him for signing Willian but he did it in good faith basing on his Chelsea performances. He is not a prophet. Let every player be given a chance to prove themselves until they prove incapable of any good performance.
    I don’t think last night’s performance was very poor considering our opposition. Newcastle is a premier league team which you could not take for granted. It is, therefore, good that in the end we won the game. We should learn to be more civil with our players and not always bash them for no justifiable grounds. When we win we should be happy like other teams. Is it not ironic to lament after winning! Does it matter how you play? How many times in the past did we play well and lose? Would you rather we lost after playing well or win ugly? We should be more objective and give credit where it is due.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs