By Walter Broeckx
Again a few changes compared to the side that started the midweek match. Arsène Wenger makes three changes to the side that beat Monaco 2-0 on Tuesday.
Calum Chambers comes in for Bellerin who had some cramps at the end of the Monaco match and Gabriel comes in the place of Per Mertesacker in the heart of the defence.
Further upfront a big miss is Özil. Özil is sick and so Ramsey comes in his place in the starting line. This will mean that Cazorla will play more advanced in midfield.
The team that starts the match: Ospina, Chambers, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Alexis, Cazorla, Welbeck, Giroud. On the substitute bench we had : Szczesny, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott.
Arsenal with the ball first and Giroud trying to set up a teammate to have a shot but Newcastle with a quick counter but luckily a few Arsenal defenders on hand to put in some blocks. Newcastle dropping deep to defend hoping for a Lucky break. Ospina has to be alert to head a ball away that bounced off a Newcastle striker and ended up in no-mansland.
A first chance for Arsenal but a few Newcastle defenders on hand to block the shot from Alexis in to a corner. But Newcastle also looking dangerous when they can start a counter from time to time.
Giroud then with a ball to Ramsey but he couldn’t curl it around Krul and the chance was gone.
Newcastle needing a lot of small fouls so far to stop the Arsenal engine from starting to roll. And from one of those fouls Cazorla delivers the free kick, Welbeck heads it further and Giroud “knees” it over the line. 0-1 to the Arsenal after 24 minutes.
And hardly a minute later a great attack from Arsenal. Alexis with a great turn and laying it off to Welbeck who misses his volley. And another chance for Arsenal but this time a defender can head it in to a corner. But no problem as Cazorla takes the corner and who else but Giroud is on hand to head it in to the bottom corner. 0-2 to the Arsenal after 28 minutes.
Ayoze going down wit no contact but getting a free kick for Newcastle but the Arsenal wall is on hand to divert in to a corner. Welbeck with a promising run but he couldn’t get in a cross at the end. Ramsey then getting an arm in the way when Giroud was going to pull the trigger to score a hattrick. Krul just in time to snatch a ball away from the on storming Ramsey seconds later.
Arsenal then losing the ball a bit too easy at right back and leading to spell where Newcastle look threathening but again Kos and Gabriel manage to block any attempt of a shot before it could lead to Ospina having to make a save. Ayoze running offside twice for Newcastle.
Some up and under football in the closing minutes with both teams losing the ball too easy. Arsenal then try to play a bit more football leading to Ramsey beinc called back from an offside which was wrong. But a good 0-2 lead at half time for Arsenal.
Newcastle looking a bit sharper in the second half and an attack on their right flank leading to a low cross and Sissoko can fire it in from around the penalty spot. 1-2 after 48 minutes. And a minute later a dangerous shot just curles wide from the far post of Ospina. We better wake up now.
Colback pulling Alexis down but no yellow card. Finally a good ball forward from Arsenal but Janmaat on hand to stop a lob from Giroud and divert it in to a corner. Newcastle get anotger chabce but the shot goes straight at Ospina. Giroud then being flattened by an arm in the neck but the ref sees no foul.
Worrying sight when Cazorla is limping. More Coquelin also got a knock on the head without the ref stopping the game. A corner to Newcastle and a great stop from Ospina on the line to keep us in front. Coquelin could return again with a new shirt after his nose had been bleading again.
Giroud being called back but he was level with the defender.
Flamini and Rosicky making themselves ready to come on in the place of Alexis and Cazorla who was limping for a while. Still 20 minutes to go. Arsenal losing the ball but luckily a defender can take the sting out of the shot and it gets an easy ball for Ospina.
Some very tired looking legs in the Arsenal team. Welbeck with a great sprint on the left but the angle was too narrow so Krul could make a block. A pull back might have been better. A dive from a Newcastle player in the penalty area waved away by the ref. Rightfully so.
More and more pressure from Newcastle in the closing minutes and Ospina can get a foot to a diverted shot. Ospina who was blocked at each corner by the way. And the one time he wasn’t he could make an easy catch. For Arsenal Welbeck came off and Bellerin came on.
Gabriel getting an arm in the face but no foul says the ref. Giroud doing excellent in winning a free kick that leads to Bellering getting a chance but Krul can stop his cross before it reaches Giroud.
After a second half full of tired legs we hung on to our lead and took the so important 3 points. Hats off to Newcastle for the brilliant fight and hats off to Giroud once again.
A hard fought 3 points and now off to a deserved rest for some players. Some clearly need it after a hectic run in the last week.
6 wins in a row. The first time this season and that without Özil, who when not playing one could see what he brings to the team when it comes to keeping the ball flowing and keeping it in the team.
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