I bet there are a hell of a lot of relieved Arsenal fans out there that are glad there were no fans allowed in to watch last nights FA Cup match against Newcastle, as there was little to cheer or write home about.
As both teams limped to the end of a bore-draw in normal time, suddenly Newcastle sent in a corner which bamboozled the Arsenal defence, and left Andy Carroll with the easiest chance of the game, which would have sent the Toon through to the next round.
Luckily Bernd Leno somehow managed to stop the ball, and so allowed the Gunners to reach extra time and go on and win the game.
Arteta singled out Leno for extra praise after the game: “We had to patient,”
“They are a team who are well-organised and make it hard for you. We had the chances I think, very big chances to score much earlier but when you don’t do that, the game is open.
“If you don’t do that in your box, you need your keeper in a key moment – like it happened after the corner kick on the counter – to save you.
“Bernd did it in a magnificent way and at the end we scored two and deserved to go through.”
To be fair, we are used to seeing Arsenal to struggle through in early rounds of the FA Cup, but we always seem to raise our game as the competition goes on. As the man says: ‘You gotta be in it to win it!’