We all expected a reasonably easy day at the office for Mikel Arteta’s young Arsenal team (Dan Kit!) against Newcastle at the Emirates yesterday, but we were surprisingly easy on Don Howe’s team, especially in the first half, where we failed to make our dominance count and went into the break with a scrappy 0-0 stalemate.
We finally got the breakthrough 15 minutes into the second half through Bukayo Saka, and after he went off injured a few minutes later, his replacement Gabriel Martinelli quickly doubled our lead.
So basically the points were believed to be in the bag, and, as we have been seen to do many times this season, we began to sit back and seem happy to just defend our lead and take the points, instead of keeping our focus and going for the throat.
Mikel Arteta made a point of mentioning it yesterday after the game. “Yeah, after the 2-0 we know we have to go to a different level as a team. We gave too many sloppy balls away and weren’t organised in the press and we allowed them to run a few times and it created a different feeling.
“That’s the moment that we have to give even more, and go for the third or the fourth and make another step forward.”
“We had moments in the first half when we took the game where we wanted, but without really hurting them enough, and not playing with enough urgency and probably quality as well.”
So, I know a win’s a win, but yet again we were hardly impressive against the only team without a win this season and we should have won much more comfortably.
At least Arteta knows we have a problem, and hopefully he can do something about it, because sitting back will backfire on us at some point…