When this season is finished and we all start to assess how it has gone, there will be loads of really positive things to say about Mikel Arteta’s side. Sure, we’ll probably have some regrets like the Everton game away, or that we didn’t make more of the Southampton at home (and away too, probably) matches, but we’ll all feel more positive about this side than negative.

There’s also one word that keeps circling around in my head this morning when trying to describe yesterday’s win at St James’ Park:


This team has guts. It has a real level of fight about it and despite two clear points in the season in which we’ve had wobbles (both centring around the time in which we were playing Man City, interestingly enough), the guts of Mikel Arteta’s side have been shown and they have responded to adversity in absolutely the right way. And that is something that I hope we take in to next season. I always used to say about Wenger’s latter incarnation of teams that sometimes when we lost a game we would often get stuck in a rut and not come out of it for a few matches. This Arteta side responds to adversity with fight, guts and the desire to battle out of it.

And yesterday’s game was certainly a battle. I wasn’t able to watch it because I’m still in Reims, but I have seen the highlights and I was keeping track through Twitter and also live text reporting that was available, and it seemed to me that Newcastle wanted to bring a physical approach that bordered on the edges of what was legal. Again, I haven’t seen it, but when you read neutral journos and pundits talking about Bruno Guimaraes’ fourth and fifth foul of the game still not resulting in a yellow card, or how it’s a surprise that the first yellow wasn’t until the 71st minute, then you can tell that they wanted to use the white hot atmosphere and a physical approach to see if they could make the Arsenal players fold.

But our boys didn’t. Instead they rose to the challenge and delivered. It was not without its concerns and Ramsdale made some fantastic saves, as well as having VAR to thank for overturning a penalty, but this Arsenal team battled and fought hard and picked up three points at a place where not many teams have this season. Not City, not United, not the Scum. Only Liverpool and Arsenal have picked up victories at St James’ Park and the Liverpool one was with the help of Pope being sent off, so it shows just how well Arsenal had to play to get that result.

And looks as though Arteta has found a temporary solution to the challenge of Saliba being out. Kiwior has come in and played really well, dominating his spaces, winning headers, duels, as well as showing a composure on the ball that had been lacking before the Chelsea game. Perhaps Arteta will reflect and admit that he might have brought him in sooner, but you can’t blame him too much on that; Kiwior is a young player, new to this league, has had a couple of difficult games. But he’s stood up to be counted in the last two and his inclusion from the start certainly makes me feel more comfortable. You could see that it does for those players around him too.

And we must also give some props to Jorginho too who, when you look at the stats, was the best Arsenal player on the pitch. When the team line up came out I had serious concerns about his involvement against a Newcastle team who like to go from back to front quickly in the transition. That sort of situation is normally a nightmare for Jorginho. But he dealt with everything yesterday and we’re now at the stage in which you’d think there’s no chance Arteta drops him for Brighton next weekend. I tell you one thing I thought I’d never say:

Partey can’t get a look in right now after that Jorginho performance.

And so to the first goal itself, scored by the captain himself and certainly one of our players of the season: Martin Ødegaard. He looked like he was on it yesterday and back to his imperious best. His finish was expertly taken and came at an early enough stage of the game that it allowed us to set ourselves right for the battle that was to ensue because had Newcastle been able to go in front then the home fans’ voices would have been even louder than the boo’s and gripes with the referees and Arsenal players. We scored at an important time because it enabled us to set our stall out to hold on to something and I think that psychology was an important part of yesterday’s win.

The second goal was one of fortune but it was nothing less than Martinelli deserved after creating a few chances and generally being a nuisance for the Newcastle defenders all afternoon.

And so we saw the game out. The howls of rage from the purported time wasting that our players were doing was ironic given what happened at the Emirates in January. To be fair to Eddie Howe I don’t think I’ve seen anything about him complaining about us, but that’s probably because he knows that his team love a bit of sh*thousery and did a world record attempt of it at our home. But the justice was eventually served and we pick up three points that will at least keep Man City from feeling like it’s already done come next weekend. They still have all the advantages, but we’re going to need to keep doing our bit to make sure that they don’t have it easy.

That’s all we can do.

Back tomorrow with more ramblings. Have a good bank holiday Monday folks.