Arsenal: Szczesny, Bellerin, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Flamini, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis, Welbeck, Giroud
Subs: Martinez, Ajayi, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles, Campbell, Podolski, Sanogo
Arsenal secured their second 4-1 win of the week after a brace each from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla against Newcastle at the Emirates this evening.
As expected, due to all the injuries, Mathieu Debuchy was selected at centre-half with Hector Bellerin at right back. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took over Aaron Ramsey’s role in midfield while there were recalls for Giroud, Welbeck and Alexis meaning Tuesday two goal man Lukas Podolski returned to the bench.
Arsenal started quite brightly but the first talking point of the game was a late, deliberate studs in the chest foul by Tiote on Alexis. It should have been, at least, a 6th minute yellow card but referee Lee Mason did nothing about it at all.
Moments later the Gunners came within inches of taking the lead from a corner. Mertesacker flicked on a header at the near post which crashed off the underside of the bar with the keeper well beaten. It was unlucky, but it was another header that opened the scoring.
The goal began when Bellerin intercepted the ball well in midfield, Giroud took it on, fed Alexis down the right channel. The Chilean crossed it back in, Giroud leapt like a salmon on drugs and loafed the ball into the top corner. 1-0.
Less than a minute later Arsenal thought they’d doubled the lead after Danny Welbeck pulled off an amazing finish after a break down the left, but Lee Mason disallowed the goal for a foul on the defender and to say it was a generous decision for the visitors is understating things.
And when Mason refused to award Giroud a penalty following a foul by Tiote it’s safe to say he wasn’t the most popular man in North London. Arsenal kept probing and Bellerin at right back epitomised the industry of their performance – one run in particular saw him get all the way into the Newcastle area only to be snuffed out at the last minute.
It might have been in the 30th minute. Arsenal held possession on the edge of their box for ages, Alexis scooped the ball over the defence, Welbeck’s shot on the volley and on the turn beat the keeper but went just wide of the far post.
We then had Wojciech Szczesny to thank for keeping the scores level when he made a quickfire double save from a Newcastle free kick. First from a header, then, while on the ground, from the rebound from Cisse before Arsenal scrambled the ball clear.
There were more shouts for an Arsenal penalty when Alexis was clearly fouled right inside the corner of their box. The linesman flagged for a foul but Lee Mason, trying to outdo the ineptitude and twattery of Anthony Taylor last week, naturally awarded the free kick outside the box. From the resulting set-piece Santi Cazorla saw a lot shot deflected wide.
Although Alain Pardiuex’s team had some possession towards the end of the half, the home side took the one goal lead into the break.
The second period began with Newcastle keeping up their tactic of fouling Alexis every single time he had the ball – a safe bet when the referee refuses to book your players. Some Arsenal sloppiness allowed them to build some pressure in the early stages of the half without creating anything clear cut, but there were some warning signs there.
However, it was Arsenal who scored next through Santi Cazorla. Alexis picked the ball up outside the area, fed the Spaniard in the area who took the ball, rode a challenge when he might have gone down for a penalty, and from a tight angle he chipped it across the onrushing keeper and into the far side of the net. 2-0.
Newcastle made an immediate double substitution, taking off Cisse and Ameobi off, Cabella and Riviere on, but it did nothing to stop the now rampaging Gunners as they went further ahead. Hector Bellerin drilled in a low, hard cross from the right to the near post and Giroud poked his foot at it, deftly propelling the ball into the top of the net. 3-0.
In typical Arsenal fashion though, they let Newcastle back into the game after Giroud conceded a free kick just outside the box. The delivery found Perez unmarked, Bellerin found wanting defensively despite his fine contributions at the other end, and the Newcastle man flicked a header into the far corner. 3-1.
It didn’t seem to inhibit Arsenal too much and there were chances to extend the lead again. In the 69th minute Welbeck did brilliant to keep the ball alive, and after attempts from Alexis and Cazorla, it fell to Gibbs but his volley rolled just wide.
Arsene Wenger made his first change in the 73rd minute putting on Lukas Podolski in place of Olivier Giroud, but it was Welbeck and Alexis who had the next big chance, but the former Man Utd man’s movement was poor and the two-on-one opportunity was lost.
At the other end Debuchy made a fine clearance from a low cross while the visitors were allowed foul our players all over the pitch without bookings, until one of them eventually got a yellow card because not even a referee as shit as Mason could ignore ALL of their fouls no matter how hard he tried.
Arsene then put his Coq into the game as the midfielder replaced Alexis on 86 minutes, and two minutes later Arsenal made sure of the game after Danny Welbeck won a penalty. Santi Cazorla stepped up and chipped the ball, Panenka style, down the middle to make it 4-1.
There was time for us to give a debut to Ainsley Maitland-Niles when he came on for Oxlade-Chamberlain but in the end the win was deserved and, for the most part, convincing.
Up yours Lee Mason!