Happy Sunday folks, hope you’re all gravy, especially after a Saturday in which three points for the Arsenal were had?
It felt like a bit of a slog though, didn’t it? A win is a win is a win, but we made it feel a little bit harder than it should have been, as Newcastle set up to be difficult to break down and so it proved on an afternoon where just the one goal was scored.
But if you’re only going to see one goal in a game, let it be a screamer, which describe’s Mesut’s superb volley from inside the box. A headed clearance after a ball in, the ball seem to take an eternity to fall at his feet, in which he leathered it home past Elliot. Great stuff from a player who looks like he’s giving his all despite the contract saga stuff. Which is more than we can say for Alexis, although he did have a better game yesterday, but is still struggling for form.
As are the whole team and once again Arsene rotated, with a back four chosen and Maitland-Niles at left back, Wilshere and Xhaka in the middle, Mesut, Iwobi and Alexis behind Lacazette. I suppose if you’re going to look at the result you’d say it worked, but in reality I don’t think it really did. We struggled a bit for cohesion and I’m not wholly convinced that Iwobi is the right choice at the moment.
I was surprised by the selection decision though. I’d have thought we’d see Kolasinac back in the team but I suppose after his good performance in midweek Arsene decided to reward Maitland-Niles. And by all accounts he did well. I can’t really remember much about him putting a foot wrong and in the first half he even had a very impressive mazy run that resulted in the ball hitting the side netting. Whether or not he remains in the team for the Christmas period I’m not sure and particularly with Liverpool up txt in the league, I suspect there will be a bit more experience provided at left back, but it has been good to see the youngster prove that with a few games he can cut it as a useful understudy.
I thought Jack followed on from Wednesday’s perforce with a good display too. He drove at Newcastle at the right time, covered enough ground and alongside Xhaka things didn’t look too bad in the midfield, although in the second half he and the whole team looked a little edgy as Newcastle grew back in to the game. In fact you’d probably say that it was Jack that was upping the positive side of the midfield because Xhaka wasn’t amazing yesterday. He gives the ball away at silly moments and he wasn’t able to put his one big asset to good use – his passing range – so it was one of those games in which you wonder what benefit he adds to the team. But when you don’t get that all-important second goal, I suppose these things are bound to happen.
I am starting to wonder about Lacazette though. It must be frustrating for him knowing that he’s essentially only going to get 70 minutes in every game, but yesterday he didn’t really have one of his best, struggling throughout I thought. I’m trying to remember a shot he had and I didn’t really see as much of the movement as we normally get from him. He had a chance in the second half in which he probably should have drilled the ball across the ‘keeper but I don’t really remember anything else from him. We’ve all been speaking about his efficiency in front of goal in that he doesn’t take that many shots but usually takes the few chances he gets, but yesterday he didn’t even take that good chance so you have to say overall it wasn’t one of his best days.
That’s pretty much all there is to say about this game really. We played a pretty poor Newcastle team who are struggling for form, our selection was a bit odd I thought as I thought Arsene would rotate more from Wednesday, but ultimately we got the win so I suppose we should be happy. Perhaps this is what the players need to get the last few weeks out of their minds and hopefully they can reset (again, for the ninth or tenth time this season), so they can start building some form. We need it if we’re going to stand a chance of beating the scousers next Friday.
Right, catch you lot tomorrow, as we all count down the week until Christmas.