By 1970's Gooner
Well it was a must must win game and that's the way Arteta approached it right from the kick off. This Arsenal side have shown in the past that when the chips are down they respond. Just as they did after those dismal three defeats against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton. They thrashed Chelsea away, put three past Man Utd at the Emirates, got that difficult away win at West Ham and then brushed Leeds aside at home.
Now they knew that after the indiscipline shown in the NLD added to some questionable, to say the least, referee and VAR decisions they had to respond.
And respond they did.
Both Arsenal and Newcastle went for it right from the beginning and this suited Arsenal. It was Newcastle's last home game and with Premier League safety assured they had nothing to loose and they did want to please the home crowd who had turned up to celebrate.
Arsenal had to draft Tomiyasu in at centre back as Gabriel went off injured against Spurs (he will not feature against Everton in the last game of the season) and Holding was out due to the silly second yellow he received against Spurs.
This meant that Tavares came in at left back and Cedric stayed at right back. The other notable change was Emil Smith Row for Martinelli.
The open game adopted by both sides suited Arsenal's full backs especially Tavares who took very dangerous positions in Newcastle's half. Granit Xhaka was mindful to cover for him during those forays.
And it was indeed Tavares that opened the scoring coming in from the left inside the area past his man and unleashing a powerful shot in the opposite corner with his right foot.
This obviously gave the Arsenal players a huge lift but it did not last long as Ben White went down holding his right thigh. He did not look right from the off and it was now obvious he couldn't carry on.
Arteta decided to draft Xhaka alongside Tavares and brought Lokonga on in midfield. Eddie How immediately encouraged Saint Maximin to operate more from Arsenal's left hand side now that cover for Tavares was not expected to be as efficient.
Half time ended with Arsenal defending the 1 0 lead.
In the second half Howe brought on Trippier at right back so that even more emphasis was given on attacking Arsenal's left and put on Callum Wilson to operate alongside Wood in attack.
And those changes gave Newcastle an impetus as they started to push forward looking for the equaliser with the Arsenal players dropping back to keep their lead.
And when it looked as though Newcastle might get some joy out of their second half dominance a rare Arsenal attack resulted in a corner. And on this occasion it was a VAR decision that came to the rescue for a hand ball from a raised hand that was initially waived away by Darren England, the referee.
On this occasion it was Xhaka who took it as Saka had been substituted earlier for Azeez who came on to bolster the midfield.
Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2
Love it. It was a great great win. I'm still buzzing. Now to Everton.
So am I but without White and Gabriel against Everton will be challenging!
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