4 Thoughts From Arsenal’s 1-0 Win Over Newcastle

By on December 29, 2013

Arsenal held out for a crucial 1-0 win over Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon. Here, Gunner333 gives us some thoughts from the game.

Tomas Rosicky

In the Gunners’ final game of the calendar year, Newcastle were the opposing force looking to prevent Arsenal from snatching three points, which would put them top going into 2014. Every side top at New Year’s Eve in the past four seasons have gone on to win the title – a sentiment Wenger’s side would be keen to continue.

With Özil’s absence, Tomas Rosicky came in to fill the ‘number-ten’ role, whilst Laurent Koscielny returned from injury to replace Vermaelen; who was suffering from illness.

Both sides conducted a game of real physicality in a very tense atmosphere but it was the Gunners who were gaining a real foot-hold in possession during the early exchanges, without really testing Tim Krul.

With the first-half failing to provide many chances, both managers would have ultimately expected more pressing from their sides in the second half and Newcastle almost drew first blood as Gouffran was just inches from meeting Debuchy’s fine ball, with Sagna the saviour getting a low header on the ball-in to clear his lines.

Moments later and Arsenal struck from out of nowhere. Walcott took the set-piece from distance and found Giroud who was on hand to nod home the opener. The Frenchman converting his eighth of the Premier League campaign.

Despite some more pressure from Newcastle cultivating in Szczesny nearly gifting Remy an equalising goal, Arsenal held on to secure perhaps the most solid result of the season so far.

Here I will now analyse four stats/ facts from our victory:

1) Reliable Gibbs

Kieran Gibbs has really blossomed in the last year or so. He appears to have put his injury problems behind him and has now cemented himself as a first team regular in Arsene Wenger’s starting eleven.

He may not be the greatest going forward, but after a tricky start today he was able to shut down any trademark Debuchy run and shackle the Frenchman’s threat. If more focus is put on his crossing and final ball in training perhaps he could even be on the plane to Rio next year.

2) No Goal Rush!

In recent years some of our games with Newcastle have been goals galore, with two games in the past three seasons ending 4-4 and 7-3. In this game however, we showed strong a back-line to grind out a result when playing well below our usual standard – the hallmark of a Championship-winning side.

Our midfield is now far more influential in the defensive part of the game and is capable of breaking down attacks efficiently. The ever blossoming centre-half partnership between Koscielny and Mertesacker is also paying dividends to our one-goal victories and we are more aware of defending leads, meaning no-more four goal comebacks!

3) Adapting to Opposition Strengths 

More recent games have thrown up incredible statistics boasting vast improvements in the Gunners’ aerial ability (these include aerial dueling, long pass percentage, cross percentage, etc.) but today these statistics decreased, perhaps due to the physical opposition we were facing.

Of course against a side of this stature you should play aggressively but it never hurts to allow opposing sides to play ‘their’ football. We made just 11 crosses with 9% of our passes being long and had a far smaller victory percentage in aerial duels. We adapted our game to combat Newcastle’s strengths and came away with a vital three points.

4) Rosicky Can’t Replace Ozil

Our German magician looks set to be sidelined few our next couple of games with a shoulder injury. Arsene Wenger decided to deploy Tomas Rosicky in the ‘hole’ against Newcastle and while the Czech international worked hard, I feel he lacks the mobility to play in the role behind the striker.

He struggled to create any clear-cut chances today and was frequently closed down by the Magpies’ holding line which prevented him to link up with Giroud. More chances came from the flanks in this match, so perhaps we could stick Rosicky there and play Cazorla down the centre to increase our success in link-up play.

Thanks for reading, Happy New Year and feel free to comment below.

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9 Comments

  1. biola6270

    December 29, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    lewandoski will be an arsenal player soonest

    • ElCid

      December 30, 2013 at 4:45 am

      I disagree

      The real reason Arsenal struggle offensively is due to Arteta. He has now unfortunately become a liability. He is not good defensively and offers little support going forward.

      The stronger the team… the more this stands out. We effectively play with only 10 men going forward. The one extra player is a key difference.

      Also.. Arsenal really must look at playing a 4-4-2 again. This would give Giroud some support in helping to close down opposition teams which like Newcastle sometimes are given touch time to make their passés up field.

  2. bc

    December 29, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Just a shame that Wenger doesn’t have the nerve to start Walcott giroud and podolski together.

    • NW

      December 30, 2013 at 1:21 am

      I am puzzled by that too.

      Walcott – Podolski- Cazorla send in a load of goals last year. These guys can work together with Giroud.

      Either Wilshere or Roisky should start behind this group. Other combination does not work as well.

      • Manamongst

        December 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm

        No way in hell you can play Walcott and Podolski together because their work rate is embarrassing…I can at least identify with Podolski because he is less mobile and really should NOT be playing on the wing. But Theo is ridiculously LAZY, we all know it. He doesn´t track back, he doesn´t pressure up front when he does it´s brainless scurrying about.

        I like them both as players but lets be real here. If we had a sneaky player like a Willian, that is a hard worker out of principle…

  3. Richard

    December 30, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Defensively that’s our eighth clean sheet this season. Your analysis of rosicky’s game today is a little harsh he did well though I would have had him on wing more because cazorla covering back is a bit laboured. 1-0 to the arsenal is fine and dandy by me. Of the top 7 teams we have taken 8 points out of a possible 18 but the bottom 13 teams we have taken 34 out of a possible 39. We now have to be considered title contenders, of course Chelsea and city have more depth in their squad but we are in pole position looking at our seasons in sections last season we achieved 36 points in first half of season and 37 in second half this half we scored 42 points an increase of 6 points. Today was more about grinding out a result than anything. We have joint best defensive record and third best attacking record in league. Let’s be honest in first half of season other teams slip ups have helped us but we can only do what we can. I think utd are out of title race and in reality this could now be a three horse race and the winner wil be the most consistent over second half of season. If we get 15 points from our next 5 games we will be in with a great shout Chelsea have utd and city in next five games city have Chelsea. I take Chelsea to get 12 out of fifteen points and city to get fifteen out of fifteen.

    • NW

      December 30, 2013 at 1:25 am

      Roisky is the best compare to Cazorla and Wilshere who is the worst of the three.

      Cazorla did contribute to defending during the second half. Not the first half. I think he should be subbed because those big guy try to come after him all the time. I would prefer to have Podolski in there for the last 15 minutes or so. The team needs someone who is energetic, more physical and a finisher for counters rather than a small, tired but creative player.

  4. 4midable

    December 30, 2013 at 5:46 am

    It’s true dt Rosicky should not be deployed in the hole,and statistics can prove that. Compare his ‘chances created,goals and assists’ to that of his midfield colleagues,and that pretty sums it up. But he did well yesterday due to his pressing and energetic display. The only person who truly had a shocker of a game yesterday was Cazorla. He was woeful. And in trying to criticize my analysis of Cazorla’s game,u may try to explain his impact on the field last afternoon. He lost possession far too often,he misplaced incisive passes when we broke forward,and I couldn’t remember any duel he won

  5. Ayo

    December 30, 2013 at 11:41 am

    We need a player in the mood of lewadosky or defoe will still be preferable.giroud, bendtner and podosky are not the tym of players we can relly on.to me defoe will be preferable and his cheap.

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