When you have the mentality to negate an attacking threat by any means possible and offer nothing but obstruction, you can bet your bottom dollar that at some point, the game will go against you and that was pretty much how it was for Newcastle United.
Steve Bruce’s side lacked a sense of adventure in the Arsenal half and for all his bluster that his side were on a par with their hosts, it was almost inevitable that the floor would open up and swallow him and them whole.
The fact that the Arsenal Vs Newcastle United contest ended so emphatically must irk the Magpies boss because the final two goals could almost be considered overkill, but Arsenal needed a tonic after so many days spent counting their bruises and licking their wounds.
Bukayo Saka, who most fans are begging Arteta to resign on an extended contract, was a menace to the Geordies and he was the one player that looked a level above everyone else around him. He has no fear, plays a natural game in an unfamiliar role and is worth a substantial pay increase for his ability to get supporters balancing on one cheek during a match.
His stats were enough to get Arsenal scrambling for a pen and a signature:
- 91% pass accuracy
- 74 touches
- 38 passes completed
- 7 crosses
- 6 take ons
- 1 Assist
- 2 shots
As for the match, the first half was so so at best and it was hard to tell who was better, but there was just enough to keep the wet crowd warm. However, in the second half, Arsenal warmed the home crowd to the bone by racking up the goals and stretching the game beyond a despondent Newcastle United.
Pepe hypnotised the Newcastle defence (54) and for some reason no one wanted to close him down or put in a firm foot. Meanwhile, Aubameyang was permitted with his poacher’s license and was greeted with the same lethargy and lack of diligence. Pepe’s cross was directed past Dubravka by the Congolese hit man and the striker’s grin said it all. Thanks.
The sensational Saka was exhibiting all his tricks to get into the box by nutmegging Lazaro and once again, everyone stood off mesmerised as the youngster provided Pepe (57) with his golden opportunity which he struck firm and low into the Newcastle net.
The promise of goals in recent media stories was looking good and after some close shaves with the woodwork, Arsenal found the net again (90) when Pepe provided for Lacazette, who turned and flicked the ball to Mesut Ozil.
The German watched as his effort tamely bobbled over the line with some assistance from the Newcastle United keeper. Steve Bruce rolled his eyes knowing that his day could have been so much better.
By this time, Newcastle had all but waved the white flag, but they had one more slice of misery to endure (90+5) as Pepe and Willock found the goal shy Lacazette who spanked the ball into the net for a rare and welcome goal.
The three points means that if the Gunners can get back to winning ways, they could chase down Manchester United, Everton and Wolves, potentially within two or three games but let’s not get carried away. Arsenal are still suffering from split personality syndrome in one half of the game and until they can maintain pressure for the majority of a game, results will be hit and miss.