Arsenal Leapfrog Spurs To Go Third

Online Ed: Vital home win v Newcastle

Responsive image

Aaron Ramsey celebrates his opening goal

There’s little doubt that to ensure the best chance of making next season’s Champions League, Arsenal need to take maximum points from their final three home fixtures. It’s a case of one down, two to go after an encouraging display against Rafa Benitez’ Newcastle side in which, at times, Unai Emery’s side played some very decent attacking football.

Celebrations for what was thought to be an early goal were cut short when referee Anthony Taylor blew up for a shirt pull by Sokratis. These kind of fouls will almost certainly not be missed when VAR comes in, but having seen the replay, it was a fair decision. Newcastle were predictably trying to keep things tight, and their record of more away draws than defeats this season before last night’s game indicated that this was not going to be an easy evening.

Emery started with a back five and – presumably due to rotation, left Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang on the bench. Granit Xhaka was not risked due to injury doubts and with Torreira suspended, we had a midfield pairing of Ramsey and Geundouzi. Both played extremely well, as did Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette in front of them. The only players you could argue were below par were Mustafi, who was careless in possession too often for comfort, and Alex Iwobi, who nothing seemed to come off for last night. One suspects Laurent Koscielny was rested because Emery felt he could get away with playing Mustafi in this game. This proved to be the case, although too often, the German raised his hand in apology when a pass had been misplaced. In fairness, there were a couple of key interceptions on the flanks when the visitors threatened.

The opening goal came courtesy of the ball falling to Aarom Ramsey after Lacazette had failed to get in under control. Ramsey almost passed it into the net off the post. It was a key moment and everyone in the stadium knew it. Ramsey has come to prominence since being in and out of the side earlier in the campaign and Juventus must be licking their lips at his current form. It would certainly be a decent parting gift if his contribution returns Arsenal to the Champions League and the fantasy ending is a European trophy in Baku. Another winning goal against Chelsea (who will surely make the final) is the stuff of dreams. Certainly, Ramsey will be a tough act to follow, but the club have lost big stars before and under the current model will continue to do so in the future, especially in the days of player / agent power. Arsenal took the decision to withdraw the offer to the Welshman because, certainly for the foreseeable future, the decision has been taken not to pay any more superstar level wages. There was a brief flirtation with that at the tail end of the Wenger era, but now the club are cutting their cloth accordingly, given they will be posting operating losses for the last two seasons.

Still, we can enjoy Ramsey while he is still at the club, and his goal last night eased the tension for a while in the stadium as a game of football broke out, Newcastle having to try and be more ambitious. They didn't create danger too often, Leno having to make only one save of note, although there were enough corners to ensure everyone remained focussed.

The home side needed a second goal as a cushion, but it was a long time in coming. In spite of creating some good chances, the fear of an equaliser against the run of play remained as long as there was only a one goal margin. Aubameyang came on for the last half hour and eventually, he and Lacazette fashioned a goal between them, with some good running and control by the Frenchman. It’s strange to think that Arsenal’s number 9 is being kept out of the French squad by Olivier Giroud, but who knows what goes on in the mind of Didier Deschamps. I guess his track record of late justifies his decision, and it helps Emery that his player is not turning out for internationals, giving him recovery time as the matches come thick and fast at club level. Lacazette is in great form at the moment, and last night was key for the whole team in regard to the fear that the pre-break momentum might be lost. It felt like they picked up where they had left off.

Most important of all is that Emery’s rotation seems to be working. There is a little less of it in defence, and there were worries last night when Ainsley Maitland-Niles required treatment. With all due respect to Carl Jenkinson and Stephan Lichtsteiner, Arsenal probably need AMN to remain fit for the remainder of the campaign. It was perhaps telling that it was Jenkinson on the bench last night, Lichtsteiner is not officially listed as injured (he played for Switzerland recently) and seems to have disappeared without trace from the first team picture.

There was much relief once Arsenal were 2-0 up, and we could even brush off another disallowed goal (rightly – Lacazette was backing in on the keeper) before the game concluded. Now things get really interesting. Arsenal’s next four away fixtures are against the teams currently lying in positions 7 to 10 in the table. One hopes that Cardiff are sunk by the time the Gunners visit the other opponent, Burnley on the final day of the Premier League season, so as to make that game less intense than it might already be. On that note, it’s just possible that Chelsea’s fortuitous win v Cardiff on Sunday might actually turn out to be blessing in disguise – we’ll only know once the next few weeks pan out.

One thing that is encouraging though. Arsenal have played themselves into decent form at the right time and have moved themselves into the box seat in the four horse race for the two Champions League spots. Let us hope that continues on the road, starting with Everton next weekend. Defeat would feel terminal (it isn’t) but the real impact of that would be the dent to confidence with four further trips to make. Arsenal are good enough to win at Goodison in spite of Everton’s recent form. And it would be as big a result at the home win v Manchester United. Fingers crossed…

The new issue of The Gooner went on sale at the game last night and can be bought at the remaining home and away matches this season. It can also be posted to you (£6 UK addresses, £7.50 overseas) if you wish to buy it through our online store or if you have a PayPal account you can simply send us payment direct click here for our paypal.me link (although please remember to put the name and address for sending your issue in the message, and if you forget, then email us at thegoonerfanzine@btinternet.com to let us know those details)

2019-20 season subscriptions still available!
Having reached our target of 1000 paid up subscribers to continue printing in 2019-20, we are welcoming further subscriptions. For £30 (UK addresses) or £42 (overseas addresses) you receive six x 68 page issues through your letterbox over the course of next season.

There are four ways to pay –

  1. You can pay with a credit or debit card via our online store, click here to get to our subscriptions page. NB – Follow the PayPal process until you get the option to pay by debit or credit card (as opposed to setting up a PayPal account, although you will have to set up a Gooner Store account to capture your contact details for the issues to be sent to you). If you wish to set up a PayPal account, that’s fine, but you should not have to.
  2. Pay £30 or £42 direct via PayPalto this email address: thegoonerfanzine@btinternet.com. To make this as simple as possible, you can use our paypal.me link and remember to ensure you leave your name and address in the message. If possible, please make your payment a ‘friends and family’ / personal payment – this helps keep our costs down. Very important – If you forget to enter your name and address in the message field, please email us at thegoonerfanzine@btinternet.com to inform us of your postal address, as when paying this way, PayPal does not give us your address details unless you type them out in the message with the payment.
  3. Via online bank transfer, making a payment of £30 or £42 to – 
    Account name: The Gooner 
    Sort Code: 20-76-90 
    Account Number: 03004112
    If you are making an international payment, the IBAN and Bic / Swift codes and bank address are as follows -Swift / BIC code: BUKBGB22
    Iban: GB79 BUKB 2076 9003 0041 12
    Bank address - BARCLAYS BANK PLC Walthamstow 3 Leicestershire, LE87 2BB, England
    Use the reference 1920 followed by your surname. Very important - please follow up the payment with an email to thegoonerfanzine@btinternet.com stating your name and address, and the reference that you used for payment (e.g. 1920Smith). Otherwise, we will not be able to match the payment to you.
  4. Via post by sending a cheque for £30 or £42 (if you wish you can download a pdf form to fill in your details by clicking on this link.
    Send your cheques to -
    The Gooner
    12 Buxton Court
    Hanbury Drive
    London
    E11 1GB

Article Rating

Leave a comment

Sign-in with your Online Gooner forum login to add your comment. If you do not have a login register here.

11
comments

  1. mbg

    Apr 4, 2019, 21:25 #113490

    A great display all round, Newcastle were poor and never at the races but that was down to us and how we played. Definitly on the up now going in the right direction, but we need to win all our remaining games, and that is certainly not impossible.

  2. markymark

    Apr 3, 2019, 17:20 #113489

    I popped up to the Newcastle game. Have to say the shelf arrangement in the ground really cuts out the atmosphere it was a terrible design to split the stands as they did all the way around. Anyway AMN seems diligent and reasonable in his role but he’s not going to be a guy who bombs forward so I suspect he’ll be a poor fit by no real fault of his own a bit caught between styles. Mustaphi just has no many errors up his sleeve and for a big guy gets pushed around a lot. The lack of pace or timing gets him involved in needless free kicks. On a positive note our conceding from corners has virtually disappeared , our capacity to shut out is improving. Head to head we are no longer losing silly games that UTD and Chelsea would mop up. I’m finally thinking we are good for the position we are in. The table is not lying. It’s now a case of keeping the tempo up away from home so that we impose ourselves. Let’s see if we can storm it to third!

  3. itsRonagain2

    Apr 3, 2019, 12:25 #113488

    GR - Youre right about the goals. More daft reffing. Warnock has it dead right about refs here, but hes wrong on his belief that the PL is the best league in the World though i think. That view is just SKYs view. Agree on Lacca. Hes a top player now. Thats means hes probably earmarked for sale!! The defence remains dire though.

  4. John F

    Apr 2, 2019, 21:27 #113487

    Does anyone know what would happen to the Champions league places if the teams that finish 5/6th win the Europa cup and the Champions League.I know there is a guaranteed 5places for English clubs but not sure if UEFA would allow 6.

  5. The Man From UNCLE

    Apr 2, 2019, 21:03 #113486

    A good win made better by Wolves ' result tonight which gives us some breathing space. Now it's up to Palace to deflate our esteemed neighbours.

  6. Paulo75

    Apr 2, 2019, 19:18 #113485

    Professional performance against a team who showed little inclination to do anything other than shut up shop. I feel for their fans not only with the owner situation but I think their manager also deserves his share of criticism for his approach away from home. We are certainly on track for the top 4 but the away games will need us to markedly improve on both this years and last years form on the road. The key will be keeping things tight at the back and giving ourselves half a chance. As Cornish mentions, Emery deserves credit for his handling of the Ozil situation and it seems to be reaping rewards. Maitland Niles' fitness is becoming more and more important to us having a solid backline. Still waiting to see if Suarez has any impact between now and the end of the season. Its seems a more puzzling loan move as each week passes.

  7. CORNISH GOONER

    Apr 2, 2019, 18:24 #113484

    I'm afraid that I remain unimpressed with the Welsh Messi. His attitude has been commendable but we need an upgrade. If Mesut continues to do his stuff he can add so much to the team - well done Dick for seeming to win that particular psychological battle. Mustafi has all the physical attributes to be an excellent defender - a pity that, like the Straw man in the Wizard of Oz, he doesn't appear to have a brain. Marky, I have read about playing games in the good 'ole US of A. It would signal the end of my interest in the PL & Arsenal as a football club. Mind you, the chicken sandwiches should be "interesting"!

  8. markymark

    Apr 2, 2019, 17:35 #113483

    There’s a rumour knocking around She Wore that Kronke wants games played on American soil specifically at the LA Rams . With Rams paying a lease to Arsenal. Unsurprisingly apparently the Glazers at UTD are up for it seeing options for UTD. Let’s hope we can snuff out this threat if it is for real

  9. John F

    Apr 2, 2019, 16:05 #113482

    What is encouraging is there are players Leno,Mikki,Lacazette,,Ramsey and even Ozil who are just starting to hit top form.I thought we really defended well from the front with Lacazette not giving them a moment s peace.He must be a nightmare to play against.Sunday will show just how good this team is.

  10. Nos89

    Apr 2, 2019, 13:14 #113481

    Looking at the remaining fixtures 5 away 2 at home, getting a result against Everton next week is vital and doable. Fortunately, playing both Watford and Wolves away after their FA Cup semi final may be a blessing. One will be coasting as they are in a final with guaranteed Europa League football, and the other will be down and struggling with motivation as their season would have ended, and no opportunity of Europa League football. Leicester away will be tricky but we still have the quality to win those matches. Realistically, 14 points from the last 21 available should see us top 4. Spurs who have 5 home games 2 away (1 at City) will take a minimum of 15 points. United and Chelski not only play each other, they too have to play city and Liverpool respectively. It is definitely advantage Arsenal in a top 4 finish.

  11. GoonerRon

    Apr 2, 2019, 11:05 #113480

    Crucial win and overall a really decent performance. Lacazette is such a fantastic all-round number 9 (in my view, he’s the equal of Firmino) and set the tone with his relentless work rate. Defensively, we look better as we are controlling the game more effectively - this is resulting in us conceding fewer than one goal per league game in 2019 so far - a big improvement on the first half of the season. I think we were very harshly treated for the two disallowed goals - the first doesn’t get disallowed in 8/10 cases and the second was simply not a foul and certainly not a Lacazette handball.