Newcastle v Arsenal Review – The true meaning of a game of two halves!

Arsenal fans are used to our team being disgraced away from home since January, and at half time today, Newcastle looked so dominant that it was only a matter of time before they took the lead. As the Guardian said….

Midway through the afternoon Unai Emery was quite possibly bracing himself for the sort of uncomfortable post-match scrutiny with which Arsène Wenger eventually became so wearily familiar. Emery’s Arsenal ended the first half seemingly barely able to string two passes together and apparently struggling to grasp their new instructions to advance with intricacy right from the very back.

At that point Newcastle United were pressing their guests into increasingly flustered submission and Rafael Benítez was clearly winning his battle of wits with Wenger’s successor.

Arsenal barely looked interested in the first half. No matter how much Unai Emery gesticulated on the touchline or how loudly he shouted at his players, Arsenal remained sluggish; a team playing without any sense of urgency or clarity.

The Magpies were not much better, but they probably shaded the exchanges before half time without really creating a clear chance.

But then it all changed in the second half, and this time I will show you what the Independent said…..

Arsenal did not just take the lead when Granit Xhaka scored a sumptuous free kick just after half time, they ripped the heart out of Newcastle United; shattering their confidence, destroying their self-belief. It was not a goal, it was more like a dagger cutting through a vital organ.

Until that moment, Newcastle had more then held their own, but once the ball had left Xhaka’s boot and nestled nicely in the top corner, the visitors dominated with a degree of ease that embarrassed those in black and white stripes.

Ordinary for so long, Arsenal were transformed, performing at their dazzling best, as they passed their way through a bedraggled Newcastle midfield and repeatedly opened up a flimsy backline.

I am hoping that the second half improvement was down to Unai Emery’s dressing room chat during the break, but maybe the Gunners just got the break they needed to feel more confident. Once we were 2-0 up it looked done and dusted but of course we couldn’t keep a clean sheet as we gave them a consolation at the end. We have only had one clean sheet in our last 12 away League games, and that was at Huddersfield, so the defence is still a big worry.

But three points is three points and we’ve moved up to 7th in the table. Another win next week at home to Everton will maybe see our fans feeling just a tad more positive?

We won didn’t we?

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  1. Uzi ozil says:

    Torreira introduction in the second half did the team a lot good.

    I enjoyed lacazette chasing the ball.

    Good win
    Wished we kept the Clean sheet.

    Newcastle have now lost 2:1 to manu, Chelsea, spurs and now arsenal.

  2. gotanidea says:

    Benitez must have thought he could use the height of his players against Arsenal, like in the past with Crouch, but luckily it didn’t work in the second half. Arsenal won again against another mediocre team, but Emery still has plenty of things to be fixed, before they face a top EPL team:

    – Lacazette: I like his spirit and work rate, but he suffered because there was no good support from the creative midfielders and other attackers

    – Ramsey: Ineffective again as a no 10 and I’m not sure whether he could grow in that position or not

    – Aubameyang: Worked hard, but there is no penetration

    – Ozil: Ineffective again as a winger. No penetration, like to drift inside and did not mark the opposition’s fullback well in the first half, but good goal nonetheless

    – Xhaka: I think it was his shining statistics that made him always start, despite his seemingly lack of contributions. He had the most passes, the most forward passes and maybe the most ball retrieved? Great free kick goal though

    – Guendouzi: He was everywhere as usual, but no end product like Wilshere

    – The fullbacks: Balanced in both attacking and defending

    – Mustafi: A fatal error, but did very well throughout the match

    – Sokratis: He is not as sluggish as his pre-season. Defended very well

    – Cech: Nice catches and focused

    1. kev says:

      Emery is clearly getting the team selection wrong.Also clearly favours some players than others and refuses to play those who deserve to be.How is a player like Xhaka allow to play poorly for about three matches and still be in the lineup at the expense of others?It’s not fair else I don’t see why a player like Ramsey is criticized by fans who also state he should be out of the line up.
      The only wingers we have are Mkhitaryan,Iwobi and to an extent Welbeck.How none of them start is beyond me.He had better not get sucked into this Auba-Laca thing as it won’t work.
      Also been to other forums where people overrate this Xhaka-Torreira partnership.Give it three games and the question marks will be back.

      1. gotanidea says:

        As I said, it might be because of Xhaka’s excellent passing and air duel statistics

        1. kev says:

          But if you’re playing bad for long stretch of matches you need to go out of the team.If he was world class I’d understand but he’s not.
          Can’t wait for AMN to come back from injury.I also have high hopes for Kelechi Nwakali.These two players will rule pur midfield for years to come.

          1. Angus says:

            Xhaka has been quality last 3 games, some people.

          2. kev says:

            Shocking comment tbh.The bias for some Arsenal players is clear.It’s a good thing the likes of Iwobi,Welbeck and Mkhitaryan aren’t on the pitch.

          3. ozziegunner says:

            Kev, you have to be honest and agree with the Guardian that Xhaka’s goal changed the game.
            Ramsey should not be allowed near the first team unless he signs the contract on offer. He is trying to hold Arsenal to ransom. Also he is creating nothing as a #10.

      2. Nnamdi says:

        I don’t think you got your analysis right. No one plays more forward passes in this team like Xhaka. True he has a lot of deficiencies but balancing him with a tidy passer and great marker of the ball like Lucas is key. Lucas Torriera makes Xhaka far better than when Xhaka is paired with Matteo. Unai Emery is doing well as we can begin to see his DNA in this team. it’s coming slowly but surely. We didn’t win back to back away games all of last season and we hadn’t won any until Cardiff city in 2018. Please give unai time. it will certainly pay off.

      3. Raphael says:

        I think you are a negative fan, xhaka gave the goal and an assist you just can’t critic him based on this match

      4. Goonerboi says:

        Surely you can put your bias aside like I can and commend xhaka. He was flawless in this game. Spraying the ball everywhere not lunging into anyone and capped it off with a stunning strike but I must admit I aIree that he is ridiculously inconsistent although it looks like we’re going to see a purple patch of form coming from him. Myhkitarian should play No.10 instead of Ramsey. He’s been rubbish last 5 games

  3. Lupe says:

    Torreira is such a brilliant player, we’ve needed a dm like him for years, xhaka looked better with a real dm behind him and that free kick was brilliant, sokratis was solid, covered well for mustafi who made a few mistakes but was ok in general. Lacazette worked hard, held the play up well but aubameyang was a bit disappointing with some chances, ozil was ok too, at least he scored. Ramsey was ok i guess, nothing special. Overall, first half was terrible while the second half was solid up until they scored their goal. The substitutions where good but the starting line up needed torreira so emery needs to get that right soon. Thats two away wins in a row so we should be happy considering how poor our away form was last season.

  4. Sue says:

    Congrats to Nelson for scoring for Hoffenheim

    Another away win…. Ozil scored the winner… Yes that’s right people Ozil scored the winner!
    Level with the spuds now…. funny how they’ve all gone quiet now ?

    1. gotanidea says:

      I wonder why Arsenal did not keep Nelson to compete with Mkhitaryan for the right wing position

      Because Ozil usually sucks as a winger, especially on the right side, and Nelson is pretty good in one-on-one situation as an RW

      1. kev says:

        Even Gervinho will be loved in this team.Why?Not because he’s good but at least he can beat his man.As average as he is even he had the most dribbles in the EPL at a point in time in 11/12 season.Our RW and LW are dead if Ozil and Auba start.You shouldn’t expect anything different.

        1. gotanidea says:


          I hope Arsenal decide to strengthen their squad with a new winger in January

        2. Goonerboi says:

          Gervinho was our best player for 10-12 games then he lost his confidence and it never came back

  5. kev says:

    As I said last two weeks,Auba and Laca in the same team will not work unless we play with two strikers which in our case means defensive suicide since our team is not even good defensively.Today,even last week, vindicated me.Auba can’t dribble,is not good in build up or lacks creative ability.He’s not our best RW but definitely a world class CF.If this is against Newcastle I just imagine him against a top team.
    Also I don’t buy into this Torreira-Xhaka thing.As far as I’m concerned Xhaka is average and as I always say people should never confuse form with class.Thus the likes of Mustafi and co will keep showing average performances from time to time.
    Flattering result tbh and the defence us still shocking positioning wise.

    1. gotanidea says:

      Your assessment about Aubameyang is correct, but at least he marked Newcastle’s fullback well, worked hard and he could cut inside in the previous match

      I personally prefer another player there, the one that can get past the defenders consistently like Zaha, Hazard, Willian, Isco, Bale, Traore and Pedro

      Because Xhaka scored, I believe Emery would reward him again by starting him in the next EPL match

      1. kev says:

        Now the impatient fans might think he’s average.
        Auba is all about intelligent use of pace to position himself 1v1 with the keeper.He likes those kind of things and hates to get involved in build up because he’s not that kind of player.Even in Dortmund,at the wing he was normal to me and I didnt know what was so special about him until he was moved to CF where he showed intelligence with his pace.Hoping Emery doesn’t make the same mistake again as a repeat of this kind of performance is more than likely to kill his confidence.It must be Auba or Laca from now on.We must face reality.

        1. Durand says:

          First Bundesliga can’t compare to Premier league.
          Second when Auba played as a CF beginning of season he was quite sterile.
          I know it was against City and Chelsea; I refer back to first statement.

          Auba and Laca link up well together, and we need chemistry wherever we can get it with new manager and new system.

          Ramsey can go already; continues proving he’s not worth the payraise or the start. Drop him start Torreria, and I think we’ll have more traction going forward.

          1. kev says:

            He might have been sterile but became a far far better CF than he was at RW.When he’s was at RW for Dortmund he wasn’t that good at beating players and decision making in a creative sense we very suspect.I’d even argue Aubameyang would never have been a starter for a top team apart from Dortmund if till this day he was played at RW.If Auba should maintain his place at RW for Arsenal for most of the season that tells me more about how bad the other players in our team are.He should be played at where he’s regarded as world class and that is at CF.

          2. Durand says:

            Kev I’m not disagreeing with you about Aubamayang on the wing. Please understand what I said about them playing together and chemistry. It helps open it up a bit more for Laca, rather than getting double teamed by defenders with Iwobi or Welbeck playing on wing.

            Auba is more dangerous than any other player we currently have on the wing. At a minimum opponents have to mark him for his pace and intelligence like you said. I agree we have no other good options currently.

            I’m in agreement with you about the need for a true winger. Hope Nelson next year is good enough, otherwise I fear we may need 2 wingers.

            Currently Lacazette would beat out Aubamayang to start at CF, but would be isolated and just as sterile up top as Auba was beginning of season.

            I think Emery doing best he can in the attack with the players he has to work with.

            However in midfield, Torreria over Ramsey hopefully coming soon.

    2. AndersS says:

      Yes, there are things to be improved.
      But why not look at the positives??
      This was a more convincing win, than the 2 previous ones.
      It was another away win.
      We are crawling up the table.
      Torreira and Xhaka worked well together. Ôzil had a very good game.
      Rome wasn’t build in a day.

      1. kev says:

        A win in itself is a positive no matter how it comes.You need to correct your mistakes match after match and that’s how you improve.Emery must play the right starting eleven and in their correct positions too.This is clearly not our best eleven and I still hope Emery sees this sooner rather than later.

        1. mobella says:

          Can you please get your across to the Emirates instead of bothering what you have said or having said. Is it not a shame that arsenal didn’t employ you when you know so much how how our team should be set up.

          1. kev says:

            Its people like you who get me angry.You speak as if you’ve never criticized a coach’s decision before.If you think all is right with the team selection then I won’t even bother.

          2. mobella says:

            Calm down angry bird. What I’m saying is…if you have any meaningful contribution on how how to make the team better tell them to who need them and not coming here to say the same thing on every article and every time. That is lunacy. It is only a madman that says the same thing evey time to people that have no use for them. So go to British embassy in Ghana to get your visa and i will raise a fund for ticket to travel to England and have a talk with Emery on tactics. After all you are doing us a great service on JA.

          3. kev says:

            Lunatic?Go through your comment again and I think you’ll see who’s more deserving of that word.I don’t blame you though.It’s life so all this is normal.

          4. GunnerJack says:

            EVERYONE on here has their own idea about the team and who should play where so why just pick on Kev? He’s only exercising his right to state things as he sees them, just like everyone else, including me. Hopefully we’ll never see YOU give YOUR opinion as that would be going against everything you’ve just said. It will be fun watching you try to make comments on here WITHOUT REFERRING TO THE TEAM.

      2. Sue says:

        That was a beautiful goal from Xhaka! Nice for Ozil to score on his 200th appearance! Very happy Gooner here ?

        1. mobella says:

          And he made that goal look effortlessly. Cool and calmness typifies him.

        2. GunnerJack says:

          I think Xhaka had a good all round match – for a change! – especially in the second half. Hope Emery plays Torreira from the start in future but at the expense of Ramsey, not Guendouzi.

  6. sol says:

    T for Torreira

  7. AndersS says:

    Another step in the right direction.
    If we keep improving bit by bit, we just might come good.
    Two away win in a row in the PL! Must be quite a while since that happened.

  8. Alldwayfromafrica says:

    I was gonna say the same thing@SUe….another 3 points …level with stups…and all some people here can do is point out how we win away to a “mediocre” team we won alot ot them last season….good win…sure we can do better…cool goal from xhaka too.

    1. Sue says:

      We’re heading in the right direction!
      The Europa league on Thursday ?

  9. Durand says:

    Xhaka seems to perform better with Torreria on the pitch. Not sure why that kink hasn’t been worked out yet.
    Maybe Torreria’s communication in english is the problem?

    Ramsey shows why he is not worth the money he’s holding out for. Don’t think we’ll miss him; whethered benched, sold, or on a free.

    Another 3 points; don’t care about opponents, only the points.

    I understand it’s work in progress; so long as we progress. I’ll focus on the points, cha-ching! Add 3 more.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      ? Durand, so far 2 more wins than in the first half of 2018.

  10. Fkhalifa says:

    Nice observation Mr Kev..

    I’ve always been in Concord with your view of Auba and laca starting together, Auba was poor throughout the game, but fans are turning a blind eye towards it, had it been iwobi or welbeck, heavens would have fallen on them..

    Auba and laca are best playing the cf position, we can rotate like Pep’s Aguero and Jesus, but fans seems to have that fantasy of what only looks good on paper..

    I remembered how Ozil and Carzola turned out to be, Carzola’s attacking stats dropped after being shifted to the wings and the deep lying CM position. He was arguably the best AM with lots of goals and assists from his both foot, but we had to accommodate our then record signing with him.

    Also xhaka I agree is bang average, long range shots and left foot passes ain’t enough for a midfielder in a top6 club in modern day English football..

    I hope Emery learns from this and stop acceding to fans fantasies.

    1. kev says:

      Thank you very much for the observation too.Just can’t stand it when what seems obvious it made to look like rocket science.

      1. Break-on-through says:

        Well, do you know what else is obvious. If we put either of Laca or Auba on the bench for allot of fixtures then whichever one sat in reserve will not be sticking around for next season. Aguero and Jesus are different, one of them is on his last legs and the other is a kid that was trying to break into the team. It’s easier to sit a kid on the bench, or to rest an aging player. Auba and Laca are very different, Laca needs to play if he’s ever gonna get into the France team, Auba is at an age that he can’t be biding his time. And that’s before you consider that our options out wide are limited. I can see why Auba would play games ahead of Iwobi, and you’re right it certainly isn’t rocket science. I’d be more worried about getting Ozil off that other wing and taking Ramsey away from the playmaker position.

  11. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    Laca under Unai is amazing. Wenger was just trying to turn Laca into OG but under Unai he is turning into an all action forward.

  12. Sue says:

    Just checked the Watford score… Sanchez has been subbed… it said not the Chileans best game, he didn’t do a lot! That’s just the norm isn’t it ???????

    1. Robin Vanpayslip says:


  13. Joh Legend says:

    Has any of our players scored more than a goal this season?

  14. Grandad says:

    I cannot believe anyone could suggest Mustafi played well?He has to be replaced otherwise we will never improve defensvely.

  15. gearoid de burca says:

    i am actually delighted for ozil. i know i am not his biggest fan by any means. but when he ticks then so does the team . the only pity is that he seldom turns up.

  16. Fkhalifa says:

    The best midfielder last season and so far this season is that watford guy “Doucoure”. I was hoping morhino would have sold pogba to buy that guy from watford. He plays like a combination of kante, David Silva plus modric all in one body. I’ve been watching watford matches since last season cos of him. He’s too brilliant.

    This above is a post from a manutd fan on doucoure after today’s game and I seem to angry with him..

    The guys has what it takes to succeed in English topflight football, tall strong,energetic, covers ground, confident,covers,defends,very mobile amongst many other qualities.. I’m a big FAN of his, I hope we get him as he will be an upgrade over xhaka and partners Toriera and Matteo v.well.

    It will be sad if we lose him to a rival as I can’t Still forgive Wenger for letting Wanyama,kante,Mane,Dembele moussa all slip away from us with just little penny to our rivals.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      I am also a fan of Doucoure. Someone we should have got!

  17. Break-on-through says:

    Emery is very different to the other managers. He talked about wanting to win the next two league games the Europa game and Brentford in the cup. They usually say one game at a time but not Emery. The fact Torriera wasn’t starting, it worked in his favor because the performance levels went up soon as he got introduced. Played from the start of every game it might not have been as noticeable. Emery knows what he’s doing, he eased him in and he’s gaining allot of importance to our team. I also like how Emery does not give a crap about players feeling by hauling anyone off who he thinks should be giving more out there.

  18. New man says:

    Since we got a win, everyone is willing to ignore the fact that Auba is a total waste on the wing. Him and Laca just can’t work together unless they’re playing up front.

  19. ArsenalGR says:

    Wtf is going on with Ramsey? How can he be starting matches and messing up our lineup like that? Gouendouzi isn’t always the solution, he has a lot to learn still, put on Torreira along with Xhaka and we have a balanced midfield. Put Özil on the no 10 role already, and play either Laca or Auba, not both together cause it doesn’t work with the latter on the wing.. Introduce Iwobi back to the team and buy a proper winger in January. Oh and Cech is no De Gea so bench him at last and bring on Leno ffs!
    My preferred starting line up would be:

    Or play with 2 strikers:


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