Arsenal 4 (Giroud 15, Cazorla 54, Giroud 58, Cazorla 58 (pen)) – Newcastle 1 (Perez 63)
Man of the Match – Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)
Arsenal built on their 4-1 win in Turkey over Turkish champions Galatasaray by trouncing Newcastle by the same scoreline in a rather comfortable outing at the Emirates. Like Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey did in Istanbul, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla emulated their teammates, by scoring a brace each.
With Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal out injured, and Callum Chambers serving a 1 match suspension, there was no choice for Arsene Wenger but to start with former Newcastle defender Mathieu Debuchy at centre-back alongside Per Mertesacker. Young Spaniard Hector Bellerin started at right-back. With a glut of injuries in midfield, including Mikel Arteta, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, the perennially injured Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky and now Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pushed backwards to play alongside Mathieu Flamini in the centre of midfield. The in-form Santi Cazorla and Alexis started with both Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud, as Lukas Podolski dropping to the bench.
Arsenal picked up from where they had left off in midweek, starting brightly and the first contentious moment of the match came when Cheik Tiote’s high foot struck Alexis, rather painfully in the chest. The referee decided not to award even a yellow card for the offence for the Ivory Coast international.
A minute later, Arsenal almost took the lead. Per Mertesacker rose above the Newcastle defenders only to see his header thump against the underside of the bar, with stand-in keeper Jak Alnwick, only an onlooker. 8 minutes later, Arsenal opened the scoring with another thumping header. Olivier Giroud collected the ball after the enterprising Hector Bellerin won the ball in midfield. Giroud fed Alexis, who crossed in for the Frenchman. Giroud couldn’t be stopped as the ball crashed into the back of the net. A goal that was so familiar in the 70’s and 80’s.
Seconds later, the stadium erupted again when Danny Welbeck had cheekily put the ball in the back of the net, from an acute angle but the referee disallowed the goal as he thought the England international had impeded defender Daryl Janmaat in the process. Television replays proved that the decision was a wrong one. Arsenal continued to make more chances, and should have had a penalty when the all-action Cheik Tiote appeared to have fouled Olivier Giroud in the area. Hector Bellerin, industrious all night made a wonderful run all the way from right back only to see the ball taken away from him at the decisive moment.
Another chance went begging when a deliciously scooped ball by Alexis was met by Welbeck, who turned and shot, but it went narrowly wide. Newcastle’s first real attempts on goal came soon after, when Wojciech Szczesny was forced into a double save. First, from a freekick by Jack Colback, then a reaction save from Papis Demba Cisse. Arsenal again should have won a penalty late in the first half when Alexis was fouled by Paul Dummett in the penalty area, but more dodgy refereeing resulted in a freekick just outside the penalty box.
Newcastle started the second half brighter than the first, but Arsenal doubled their lead 9 minutes into the second half. Alexis collected the ball and fed Santi Cazorla, who overrode a challenge from Argentine defender Fabricio Collocini to curl home a shot past Jak Alnwick. It was the Spaniard’s second Premier League goal in a week. Alan Pardeux then bought off his misfiring strikers Papis Demba Cisse and Sammy Ameobi, and replaced them with the dynamic French duo of Remy Cabella, and Emmanuel Riviere.
It did little to thwart Arsenal, as a low cross from Bellerin on the right, was poked home deliciously by Giroud. 3-0 to the Arsenal, and the stadium was buzzing, a world apart from the mood last week. But, as is with Arsenal, they conceded immediately afterward, when Giroud conceded a freekick. A small touch from Ayoze Perez was enough to peg the Gunners back at 3-1. Arsenal, however, were in the mood of more goals.
The electric Welbeck was excellent all night, as he set up Alexis and Cazorla, before a volley from Gibbs went wide. Lukas Podolski came on for Olivier Giroud before Danny Welbeck and Alexis found themselves in a 2 on 1 situation, which was squandered due to Welbeck’s indecision. Francis Coquelin, recalled from Charlton, where he was on loan, came on to replace Alexis Sanchez, as Arsenal looked to close down the game, in the 86th minute.
The Gunners sealed the win, when, in the 88th minute Danny Welbeck was fouled in the penalty area. After long, the referee decided to favour the decision to Arsenal. Santi Cazorla stepped up and scored to make it 4-1 on the night, and a brace to mark his 30th birthday. Anisley Maitland-Niles was called late on for his Premier League debut as Arsenal sealed their second 4-1 win of the week.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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