Toon 1-2 Arsenal
I’m mostly happy after this win, but in part subdued.
We got another away win, but no clean sheet. It seems that clean sheets are a premium for us now – we’ve had immense defences in the past, but now it’s near full circle. The famous back four, and then Campbell, Lauren, Cole, Toure, and now to this. Our defenders individually are good. But organisationally, we’re poor. I’m not being negative, far from it, we won.
But the defensive lapses need to be corrected. I’m confident in time they would be. But this lack of a clean sheet is getting a bit bothersome, and we need to get one very soon. Hopefully, we face our old boy Theo and Everton soon, we can get it. Or the Europa League vs. Vorskla would be opportune.
The overall pattern was that Newcastle was the better in the first half.
They looked to press us, in strict contrast to their performances vs. Chelsea and Spurs.
However, they seldom troubled Cech badly, and our defence held up for the most part. They did manage to run at us though, and we looked not only tactically undisciplined, but our attacking play was weak and limp.
In some ways, the first half was “same old Arsenal”, and had Toon had better finishing, they may have been a goal or two up.
The second half though was different, with Xhaka scoring a well-hit freekick. Ozil got a second with a low drive from 15 yards, and from then we looked comfortable.
The lack of a clean sheet was galling. But overall, it was a worthy performance – or to re-state it was a performance where we turned up the pressure and got the win.
The performance was very mixed today.
We showed many of the same defensive and structural failing in the first half. But we did improve in the second half. This was co-incidental with Torreira coming on, and we upped the tempo considerably.
Toon sat off us in the second half – and this in part allowed us the space to create and score. Our possession in excess of 70% proved this.
Nonetheless, we did enough to get the win, and this is what matters. Emery cleared stepped up at half-time, and it begs the question – why isn’t Torreira starting?
Is he trying to ease him in? But then it will be the sixth game next week. Granted, he got injured playing for Uruguay. Nonetheless, he did well today and provided some good combativeness and steadiness.
The goal at the end for Toon was poor since their player wasn’t being marked or picked up.
But in the second half, we were comfortable overall, and worthy of the win. Newcastle may get relegated, and in the end, they looked poor, however, whilst it wasn’t a classic performance, we did enough to get the win.
Cech – 7 – Looked strong overall, and their goal wasn’t his fault. Howetoday.
Bellerin – 6 – Got forward well, and defending today was OK.
Sokratis – 8 – He’s the defender we’ve been crying out for years, who is no-nonsense and has a bit of bite. He managed all of their balls today, and in parts bailed out Mustafi. He’s also not slow, as per the billing when we signed him.
Mustafi – 6 – Was OK for the most part, but seems to have the occasional brain fart, even under a new manager. I think he will improve, and maybe these brainfarts can be ironed out of this game.
Monreal – 5 – Didn’t do much wrong today, and got forward when required.
Guendouzi – 5 – Was OK, and didn’t do too much wrong.
Xhaka – 6 – Got an excellent free kick, and competed and passed well
Ramsey – 5 – Tried to get forward, but then he his second-half performance saw him link up well
Ozil – 6 – Linked up well in the second half, and his goal was a well-executed finish
Lacazette – 6 – Had very good build-up play, and could have finished better
Aubameyang – 5 – PEA had a muted game. He had a chance in the second half, but then he has been very quiet this season. I think it’s because we’re not playing to his strengths since he needs through balls and pace to score. Hopefully, this can change soon, since we’re not getting the best from him
Torreira – 7 – He brought a new dimension in midfield, and he helped us get the win by controlling the midfield
Mkhitaryan – 5 – Was muted, but looked to take the ball forward when possible
Welbeck – 5 – Didn’t affect much but had a half-chance towards the end
Emery – 7 – He had the skill to enhance the game in the second half, and for this, we warranted the win. Unai has to correct a lot from Wenger. The great man will forever be hallowed at our club, but we saw some of the same deficiencies as we did last season – or the seasons prior. However, the progress thus far has been fine.
Man of the match – Sokratis
His first name sounds like the ancient Greek philosopher. And his defending was as wise as Socrates today.