Result: Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle
Competition: FA Cup
Date: 9 January 2021
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal: Leno, Cedric, Luiz, Mari, Tierney, Elneny, Willock, Willian, Pepe, Martinelli, Aubameyang
Subs: Runarsson, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Saka, Nelson, Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Lacazette
Goals in extra time by Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-0 to secure a place in the FA Cup 4th round.
The Gunners had to dig deep for victory at the Emirates and were thankful for stoppage-time interventions by Bernd Leno, who made a fine stop to deny Andy Carroll, and VAR, which persuaded referee Chris Kavanagh to reverse a decision to send off Smith Rowe, who’d only been on the field for half an hour.
As the game edged towards a penalty shootout, the Gunners finally worked their way through the visitors’ stubborn defence to make their dominance pay.
Mikel Arteta made seven changes from the side that started against West Brom last weekend. Bernd Leno, Pablo Mari, Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang retained their places otherwise it was a chance to shine for players who’ve been injured, out-of-form or on the fringes of things in recent weeks. Cedric and David Luiz came into the backline, Joe Willock and Mo Elneny sat behind Willian in midfield and Pepe and Reiss Nelson provided the guile on the flanks. Gabriel Martinelli had been due to start but suffered an ankle injury in the warm-up. Four Academy graduates sat on the bench, but there wasn’t room for teenager Folarin Balogun.
Early efforts by Reiss Nelson and Nicolas Pepe suggested Arsenal wanted to take the game by the scruff of the neck but after that early flurry of activity, we found it very tough going breaking through Newcastle’s defensive set-up.
The Gunners had lots of possession but moments of real quality were sorely lacking. Pepe and Willock were both profligate in possession; the former twice overhitting passes over the visitors’ backline trying to find Nelson who’d made intelligent runs into the box.
In the end, it was a long hoof of a ball by David Luiz that created our best chance of the half. The Brazilian picked out Aubameyang in acres of space and the captain charged into the box before firing hard at Dubravka. The keeper parried the ball back into the path of Willian who for some reason shuffled onto his weaker left foot and then shanked an effort into the empty terraces. It was another half to forget for the summer signing who looks completely bereft of confidence.
Newcastle really didn’t offer much in attack. In fact, Andy Carroll saw far more action in his own box making a series of clearances from Arsenal crosses and corners.
Kieran Tierney, as is regularly the case these days, proved himself a very useful outlet on the left flank. On 28 minutes he made brilliant dart down the wing before picking out Nelson with a nicely weighted cutback. The winger’s first touch left the ball under his feet and from there Newcastle pounced, stopping him from getting a proper shot on goal.
A nice give-and-go between Pepe and Aubameyang set the Ivorian free in the box but he overcomplicated things, trying to take on ex-Gunner Isaac Hayden when he should have gone for goal or looked to find a teammate. It was emblematic of much of our play.
The Geordies looked the more threatening of the two sides in the 10 minutes after the break. Carroll sent a tame header wide and also forced Leno into a save with a well-taken snapshot from 20-yards. He then missed an absolute sitter, side-footing wide having been left unmarked at the back post. He was flagged offside but replays showed he was on. Had he found the net, VAR would have ruled in his favour.
Arteta reacted by sending on Emile Smith Rowe for Reiss Nelson and we immediately started to look better. Elneny picked out Aubameyang’s run behind the defence but the striker couldn’t hit the target as he tried to clip the ball over the keeper with the outside of his right foot. Not long after, Dubravka clawed away a Willock header after the midfielder connected with a decent Pepe cross.
Further changes saw Saka and Xhaka replace Willian and Willock. The pressure continued to build. Pepe curled wide from outside the box. Auba sent a looping header goalwards. Our captain then attempted a first-time volley from 25-yards as a clearance landed enticingly in his path. It had Dubravka back peddling but went over. Saka went next, blasting over.
Carroll refused to let us have it all our own way. After a mix-up in the Arsenal defence, he gathered a loose ball and hammered a shot that needed to be deflected wide. From the resulting corner, Hendrick flicked wide at the near post.
We struggled to find another gear in the closing stages but did win a free-kick in stoppage time from which Pepe sent a cross into the box. David Luiz got his head on the ball but Dubravka claimed easily and sprung a counter.
Newcastle worked the ball from the right flank into the middle and Carroll had a golden opportunity to win it at the back post. Leno saved the day getting down brilliantly before nicking the ball away from the striker as he went for the rebound.
Amazingly, the drama didn’t stop there. Just before the game went to extra time, referee Chris Kavanagh flashed a red card at Smith Rowe for a challenge on Longstaff. VAR suggested he take another look and the decision was reversed. It was to prove very important.
After the heart-stopping finale to regulation time, we recovered our composure after a quick pep talk from the boss. Smith Rowe had an effort deflected wide and Xhaka nearly scored a screamer on the volley. He was denied by a fine one-handed save by Dubravka. Playing out on the left, Saka twice got into dangerous positions but his final ball was lacking. Brilliant defending by Matt Ritchie then denied Pepe who’d collected a long ball by Pablo Mari, cut inside and unleashed a left foot shot.
Arteta did his best to keep the troops motivated in the seconds between the switch of ends. Possibly with one eye on a penalty shootout, Lacazette came on for Pepe. It was a decisive change. On 109 minutes the Frenchman cushioned a lovely header into the path of Smith Rowe who took the ball on his chest and, from an acute angle, found the net via the post with a shot across the keeper. It was a fine finish from the young man. On the touchline, Arteta looked bloody relieved. (1-0)
With four minutes remaining, Aubameyang finished the job tapping home a Tierney cross after the Scot had been played behind his marker by Xhaka. It was a polished ending to a scrappy day at the office. (2-0)
Well I think it’s fair to say William failed in his audition to be the backup 10. So pleased for ESR though, great finish (thank god he survived that embarrassing red decision), thought Xhaka actually really added something when he came on too. Tierney outstanding as is becoming the norm and thank you Leno for bailing us out when needed. The defence continues!
Can we just settle on a buyout right now for Willian? He is beyond shite.
Nelson, Willock, Nketiah all need to be sold too.
Yeah, Really feel the bad for them, but when you see what lads like Saka and ESR are doing and to some extent AMN, they’re streets ahead of that trio.
Willian is embarrassing, quite often I’ve seen here people say how Xhaka slow the play down, but Willian doesn’t let us play at all!
Happy for ESR and Auba!
Willian has mentally retired smh when will Arteta learn? cancel his contract cancel his contract get him out NOW January let him go he wont add anything to the team for the rest of the season
Much as he’s been shite, and I’d love to see him go, you can’t just cancel someone’s contract.
a contract can only be bought out; even then, after negotiations
Let’s be honest, we all knew this was a dodgy one. I remember the first article published about the possibility of Willian signing and there was an audible, collective groan from all of us.
This one is on the management and whoever green ticked this clearly doomed deal.
This one is entirely on Edu.
You’ve underlined that so it must be.
Absolutely correct factually. However we can dream…
You do know that’s not how football works. No matter how rubbish the player is. Despise him or hate him we’re stuck with him and we can only hope some miracle transformation happens like it did for xhaka
Sadly stuck with him. Just as we are about to off load 350k a week we are no stuck with this clown on 200k
Its like someone has said to him, sign for arsenal, they pay crazy money you won’t have to do anything, give it a year and they will buy out your contract then off the US.
Someone needs to take responsibility for the shambles that is willian.
200k a week let that sink in for a while
Don’t think Nelson did badly considering the length of time since he last played. Was getting in good positions. Just lacked some match sharpness in my opinion.
Yeah, that air-shot when he went with his right from Pepe’s pass in the first half would have changed the game. Auba was on 6 yard line waiting for the tap in if only he’d used his left.
We could, but where would we get the £24 million or so that it would cost (bearing in mind we’ve just taken out an emergency loan of £120 million to shore up the Covid black hole in our balance sheet)?
Isn’t that exactly where we do get the money to do so, as suggested by Blogs on yesterday’s Arsecast?
Whole point of a buyout is to negotiate a fee the player would be happy getting for DOING NOTHING. Lets say we owe him 24 mil over 3 years, offer him 15 to leave.
Willock did have a bad game! Before SMR came on, not much movement was going on in front of him. The whole team look like shite when auba and willian was playing as the attacking spine.
To be fair, there probably is an SMR at Hale End. 😁
Its harsh but true.
Willian is beat! Done. For the first time, thank goodness for VAR, ESR (and therefore Arsenal) would have been hard done by a fictitious RED. The future of Arsenal is clear
How much did the fuckin ref want to stick to his decision though? Watched it about 20 times! And then they barely look at a very contentious penalty claim with Auba. Madness.
Ah well. All’s well that ends well. ESR has truly transformed us as a team. Not many young lads can do that.
He could really be the darkhorse in this group of youngsters. I’ve been so preoccupied with Saka, Nelson, Willock and Eddie that I hadn’t noticed just how good ESR is. Special player.
That penalty looked nailed on to me. All I can think is VAR didn’t want to overturn 2 big decisions in the same match
As much as I agree there was a trip, the ball was long gone by that point. It was the correct decision imo. Having said that, you know manure would have got it all day long.
I thought the ref was decent and got the calls right.
After seeing them on the tv…
I think it was correct also, but even if “should” have been a penalty, I don’t want every decision, even every important decision, refereed twice. The red card review was exactly how VAR was supposed to work (and rarely has). It looked like a very bad challenge live, but the replay showed the momentum was entirely from the Newcastle player; that’s something a good referee has trouble seeing live.
`kavanagh is the Mike Dean of the 2nd decade of the millenium.
Isn’t this the third decade?
The fact I’ve spelt pedantic wrong has ruined this smart arse remark…
At first I thought that you were trying to somehow combine pandemic with pedantic
Nope. Just thick.
Never mind the first half hack-down of Nelson – Auba got a straight red for a very similar challenge in almost the exact same square metre of the pitch!
Wonder which Spuds fan thumbed ya down mate
Fat Sam, 2 wins out of 29 matches v Arsenal.
And Auba breaks the drought!
Ur confusing the fat men!
Sorry, fat Steve…
I did have memories of Bruce watching on the touchline as first Koscielny sent it to extra time against Hull and then Ramsey won the FA Cup for us.
A comment delete button, A comment delete button, My kingdom for a comment delete button.
No, no, no Johnny. Your decisions, your consequences :]
VAR for comments?
Excellent, but it would take so long …
It will. Especially with blogs handling it , he should just sell the blog to an Abu Dhabi investment fund who would get shit done ASAP …
Willian again was really bad. It’s mad he lasted 65mins. He can’t take anyone on, he seems to dribble backwards if anything and when he does that he almost always loses it, and looks like he can’t be bothered to win it back afterwards! Please no more starts for him Mikel!
If that’s the first thing you think of when one of our academy comes on, changes the game and scores a great goal in a tightly contested FA Cup tie, then I feel bad for you.
Obviously something we already know is more important reiterating than the future of the club coming to the fore. Silly me.
easy tiger! Everyone’s entitled to their take on the game… Trump is done, hadn’t you heard?
Willian is lucky he is playing in an empty Emirates.
Fans would have made him dread coming out of the tunnel by now.
But for the sake of Arsenal’s season, I hope he finds some form. Pepe too.
There is a lot of football left to play: we need them to afford Saka and ESR deserved tests.
I think the best we can hope for with Willian is to use him as a sub in games that are already in the bag. He can come on and give weary legs with more ability than his a rest. Still a waste of money but at least there we’d get some use out of him.
What a signing eh? 3 fucking years at quarter of a mil a week for THAT!
I’m first to trash xhaka but he changed the game when he came on. Credit to him.
That through ball to Tierney was a thing of beauty
He actually made like 3 aesthetically super pleasing through balls today as the defenders only just couldn’t intercept them
… and it meant that the guy marking Auba had to deal with Tierney. The Barcodes wouldn’t have time to re-organise if Tierney played the right ball in, quickly. Which, in true Tierney style, he did!
[I’m not comparing Xhaka and Sanogo] Without Sanogo, there’s a chance we don’t win the Cup in 2014. It’s always nice to get that sort of contribution off the bench.
Honestly, Sanogo or Gibbs should have won us that final in regulation 90 minutes. I guess it was destined that our player of the season would get the winner.
Haha, that’s fair. I was referring more to his trademark “chaos factor” – got us the equalizer, played a part in the winner. Thanks for the memory, I’d forgotten all about that Gibbs chance.
That was Sanogos best game…and another against Dortmund i believe. He was so random he just caused mayhem and chaos.
Don’t forget his super strike either!
Agree that Xhaka was excellent. What a strike too!
Same. Maybe this could be his new role.
A few confidence issues out there (esp. among the starters) but glad to get the win ultimately. Huge goal for Aubameyang’s confidence, hopefully. And the Smith Rowe-Saka-Lacazette axis is starting to look really interesting. Best wishes to Martinelli, I hope he’s ok.
ESR saving Arteta, again!! Its CRYSTAL clear who the A-team and fringe players are.
Kevin De Croydon strikes again
I’ll take the win. Tierney was immense again and genuinely excited by Emile Smith Rowe. Reminds me of Paul Merson when he broke onto the scene.
If Merse had legs.
Merse had pace and an engine on him.
He wouldn’t have survived in a George Graham team all those years if he hadn’t.
I’ve always said, I love VAR… 🙄
Great to see Auba smiling!
Congratulations Arsenal. You have 2 more seasons of Willian. Edu should get the sack for that one signing alone. #EduOut
True, good catch. I will continue to be an unfortunate party to the suffering.
Tierney is the fulcrum of this team. Quite something for a left-back.
Best since Ashley.
Better than Ashley even, I’d vouch.
I tried so hard to give Willian the benefit of the doubt, but yet again he provided nothing.
At least you can see Pepe is working hard and trying to make something happen
if pepe starts using his right foot and loses his iwobi IQ, he’ll be great.
Agreed, Pepe’s first half was encouraging. Loved his through ball to Nelson, shame he couldnt control it. Willian offers nothing
Agree Pepe doesn’t seem to suit how we are trying to play but at least he is positive and tries to make things happen. Willian brings next to nothing
Pepe’s a good player with lots of potential, often the criticism he gets is because of Raul’s dodgy dealings and ultimately his price tag. Will definitely improve and is growing as a player – end product needs some working on though.
William is a spent player with too high a salary, I’ve not yet seen a single thing from him that warrants a starting place.
I like Pepe. Yes we paid way too much for him, but there’s nothing we can do about that now. And yes he’s frustrating and profligate sometimes but the lad has strength and ability and likes to drive forward and take people on. He’s raw but with the right coaching he could be turned into a more lethal weapon than he is now.
Pepe also gets treated accordingly by Arteta. Willian will start next game.
Willian isn’t just useless, he’s actually actively harmful to the team.
Well played Ernie brilliant goal
I said it in the morning and I’ll say it again that ESR is a straight baller.
Could Arteta smile after a goal? I’d like that.
Kudos to Lacazette, he fought hard for that assist and we needed it.
ESR contribution is massive
Willian and Pepe had their chance to shine against an understrength Newcastle team tonight. Let’s hope Arteta understands that they are not the future for this club?
What did Pepe do so wrong today? Never stopped running and made some great passes and created a few chances. He certainly is the future of the club. Willian is a totally different story
Shot on target? Beat a player in a one on one? Didn’t give the ball away a lot? I could go on…? 🙂
No doubt. But please don’t.
I think the difference is the age profile. Also the fact that Pepe looked like he wanted to be there and contribute.
Pepe did fairly well, I thought. He was creating chances, getting into chances and in general working hard.
Willian was utterly useless.
Pepe could still be a valuable member of the team, now that ESR has acted as a creative catalyst for the rest of the team.
But I wouldn’t even employ Willian as a tea lady.
The sooner this club are rid of him, the blue dyed Chelsea has been, the better.
I can’t wait until the fans are back and let him (and Arteta) know in no uncertain terms what they think. The boos will be deafening.
Part of me wonders of Willian would be better playing in front of a crowd. But maybe that’s me still wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt.
He has been useless though…
Fucking boring game but at least we got through. Shame that we needed to bring on the quality to get the result. Willian and Pepe can both go in this window as far as I’m concerned.
ERS and Saca excellent when they came on. But Tierney MOTM.
Nice to keep the winning run going. Now let’s beat Palace on Thursday.
Jesus Fats, it’s Saka not Saca. At least learn our best players name.
Also ESR not ERS
Otherwise, OK comment
Love how ESR was awarded Man of the Match on BBC just ahead of Tierney, and just as the latter put the assist in for the second goal.
It never did make sense to me to award the man of the match accolade before the match is even over.
Fucking lazy-ass comment – make the effort to get the players’ name correct will you? Especially when you’re praising them!
I take better free kicks than Willian and im immensely fucking shit
Few thoughts from today:
1. Mikel Arteta does not particularly have a plan B formation. If he does, it’s not yet clear
2. We probably have just one good team within the squad. Squad size and squad depth are false equivalents in this case
3. The most successful lineup is a team that picks itself, ahead of Arteta’s preferred 11.
4. We invested in experience to motivate the youngsters and yet, the exact opposite has happened.
5. If we drink the Kool-Aid of “footballing reasons” and look at some of the current players, can Ozil really be that bad????
Oh God – it’s 2021 and we got another Santori from Auntie Doris for Christmas!
A bit harsh. This is far too short and lacking in the self-indulgent wankfest qualities that come from writing 15 drafts before posting that we’ve come to love to be in that league. Plus there’s no mention of Xhaka or Mustafi.
I thought Pepe didn’t too bad. He has improved slightly from last year. Looks dangerous when he drifts in field. It’s worth mentioning that Cedric doesn’t always make the best runs forward also. Newcastle played like how WBA were supposed to.
He didn’t score an own goal so I make you right mate.
Good point about Cedric’s runs. We take for granted that Bellerin almost always gets the timing and angle of his forward runs spot on, even if he can’t make them with as much pace as before. Helps the winger out so much
Cedric is a top 10 dumb Arsenal signing
If he gets into that list it’s mainly because of the length of his contract. He’s ok for a backup, terrible for 4 years.
It’s half because he was a total known quantity before he was signed, and obviously not good enough. It’s not a cheap gamble when you already know they’re not very good, right? We didn’t even need a backup RB
Our attack down the right fell apart because he couldn’t get forward properly, that’s not good enough even for a backup. He offered Pepe zero support
Cedric’s only aim when he’s on the pitch is to not be the one that is blamed if we don’t win. What’s the point
I think the Cedric contract was a mistake, and I thought he was bad today. That said, he is absolutely good enough to be in our squad. He has been first choice for Portugal–you know, the champions of Europe.
Yeah but Portugal are one of those nations that always seems to have 70-80% of a brilliant starting xi, and then 2 or 3 carthorses to make up the numbers. Cedric was one of the carthorses
Also he hasn’t been selected since 2018
Willian loan move to China before the window is out.
Nobody’s gonna buy Willian now. Our best option now is to loan him out somewhere and get someone to pay a part of his wages. Nobody’s gonna give him 200k a week so we’ll have to subsidise the move. Either way he needs to fuck off. If we were a proper business then heads would roll over Willian’s signing: any fool could have seen what was coming.
He’s so, so shit. It’s like having 10 men with him on.
A Willian loan move to the fucking moon would be better.
Yeah, and take Ozil with him
Midfield is where we are struggling. Saka and ESR and Lacazette change that but they need support and we need another CAM asap
GET IN!!!…to the fa cup 4th round
ESM & Tierney superb. Laca is our number 9 at present (before Auba). Saka and the maligned Xhaka really good but hey a shout for Mari. Really impressing me. Reads the game, stays on his feet and good passer. Willian worrying as he seems to lack pace and stamina – but remember how Luiz was lambasted. Leno so brave. I actually thought Arsenal played quite well and were patient. Nelson almost tries too hard and makes poor decisions – a goal or two and he’ll be OK same with Eddie N.
Just really hope that Martinelli is OK
Thumbs up for Mari, he’s quietly going about his business and looking good.
Man, I’m trying to see how Willian can improve, but if he is eventually going to, it should not be to the detriment of the team. Why shift to your left foot and sky that shot?
ESR has no backup
Yep room for Ozil and Smith Rowe in the squad. Why do some sensitive souls hate to see his name? He’s an Arsenal player!
Even if he leaves, it’ll be to play football for another club – and a manager who knows what he’s doing.
ESR rightly getting a lot of praise here but without that double save from Leno we’d probably have lost this game.
Great performance second half, here’s to Marine next round.
Kudos to Leno. He stayed strong and brave at the key moment.
On to the next round. Loved how the youngsters affected the game, Laca too, someone should tell him to start raising his head when on goal, after Tierney played him in, Smith Rowe was open in the center of the box but opted to shot from his weaker side, look up and he sees his team mate, otherwise good performance.
Too bad for Gabi, hope he it was precautionary and he is ok.
Willian, oh Willian.
He was in tears leaving the pitch. Hoping for the better news soon.
There were a few missed headers. Maybe we should buy that guy over at Chelsea, Giroud or something, he’s called.
You realise that Borges costs £200 000 per week, it’ll go on 2 more years, nobody mentions his signing fee but it was surely big and Özil gets trashed by his own club and some fans to accomodate this Brasilian, player of Kia.
How the fuck can anyone now choose Willian over Ozil….?
So the poor run of form we are beginning to see quite clearly was not psychological, but simple a deficit of talent and character from certain players who can’t possibly have a future at the club now. We see in Tierney, Saka, and others the heart and talent it takes to be a great Arsenal player, and the club should support them and seek out others of a similar ilk.
Well, it was a bit of a grind, but we got there in the end – as the actress said to the bishop. Not very inspiring but we’re through to the next round at least.
Good result, ESR and Tierney superb, pleased for Auba and Pepe looked a lot brighter. Laca is clearly enjoying his football again and Leno has kept us in the competition with that brilliant save. Unfortunately, the first half was pure LEGO Ball. Boring, tedious and so predictable. The ‘second string’ – Luiz, Elneny, Nelson and Willock – proved themselves once again to be nowhere near good enough for this club. And as for Willian, how on earth this utter waster still gets the nod from the manager is an absolute disgrace. I can only hope the fans – when they… Read more »
Willian should have just signed for West ham if he wanted to be overpaid for years and do fuck all. They love a bit of that.
Lack of Quality in the middle is unreal. I like Elneny but he will always be a 6 out of 10 player. Willock the same his ceiling for improvement is like Nketiah. Its not a bad thing to just say they are not good enough. Does not mean he is trash or poor just not good enough for where we aspire to be. Today was a good example. I thought Willock had a great game but had no effect on anything. Nelson im unsure of, sometimes he looks the best of the bunch but mostly he just plays like today.… Read more »
Maybe a bit off topic but I’m glad Partey didn’t play tonight. Seems he was back in training but if he wasn’t 100% then it’s the right decision to leave him out.
Same, of course I was mad to see him but we are in a much better place now to not risk him. As good as he looks it would of been terrible to be putting the saviour of our season on him coming back. Charles watts said a bit sarcastically that he’ll be like a new signing’wenger esque’ but I believe he will. What did we get 2.5 games out of him before he got injured
What I meant to say was I’m glad we had our revival without him in a way. If that makes sense
Makes sense, hopefully we’ll look even better with him back in the team but good to know we can win without him 👍
Near future team of
Bellerin holding Gabriel tierney
Saka. Aubo. Gabi
Doesn’t look too bad, and to be honest laca works better for now but I’d still fingers crossed hope aubo interchanging with martenelli will get him goals. In defence we have back up for every player apart from Leno. In midfield not so much. Up front I know Pepe isn’t great but in our best 11 I’m sure smith Rowe May help find his runs.
It’s not looking too bad for the future.
Our front 3 actually includes tierney. I have a feeling that Aubameyang is working on his headers in training (not going great at mo but he’s deffo trying) coz tierney can put them on a plate. Does anyone remember when martenelli first burst on the scene last year in Europa and he kept pointing at tierney where to put it and I think he scored a few headers. That could be the future.
Arteta now plays very similar to what Wengers did in his later years, in a 4-2-3-1, with Elneny in Arteta’s own old role as the perpetual backpasser. The match felt a little dull until extra time, but I think Arteta was quite satisfied. This is basically how he wants to play. I think we have some players out there that need to be sold to Leyton Orient. Willian is mentioned by several others. I think Pepe is not up to standard either. They both put in a shift, but it leads to nothing. Elneny has no offensive passes in him.… Read more »
Did anyone else get frustrated with the Newcastle game plan?
Pass it to Carrol, watch him fall over from a phantom contact and then try to capitalise on the set piece