Magpies miss out at Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal were unbeaten in eleven games with the Magpies, winning their last nine league meetings without losing their previous five home fixtures against Newcastle United. In the third minute, Alexis Sanchez sent a ball over, and linked up play with Alex Iwobi, before a low strike from Alexandre Lacazette went straight at Newcastle shot stopper, Rob Elliot. But the Magpies responded in the fifth minute, after a push in the back of Christian Atsu by Granit Xhaka, and from Mikel Merino’s free kick, a header by club captain, Jamaal Lascelles, was clawed behind at his near right post from Petr Cech. A four way move by the Gunners, started with Hector Bellerin to Mesut Ozil before a lay off from Lacazette was fired over by Sanchez on twelve minutes. It was followed a minute later, with an inspired run at goal by Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who drilled the ball into the side netting of the right post. But Arsenal broke the deadlock in the twenty third minute, when Jack Wilshere found Iwobi on the right, whose cross fell to Sanchez, who struck the ball against Andre Yedlin in the area, before having a second attempt deflected back off Atsu, before on the volley, Ozil, struck a left footed shot from the centre of the box, high into the middle of the net. Again on twenty seven minutes, Sanchez provided an assist, this time for Bellerin, who smashed his shot way over the top of the crossbar. In the thirty first minute, after Ozil exchanged passes with Wilshere, a low long range effort from Xhaka, went fractions past the right post. On thirty eight minutes, a switch in play between Lacazette and Ozil, was stopped with a close range block by Elliot, to fend away Ozil’s strike at a difficult angle on the right. There was a delay in play near the end of the first half, after a clash of heads with Nacho Monreal and Merino. Before half time, Wilshere’s ball in, deflected back off Yedlin, into the path of Sanchez, whose strike at goal went narrowly behind the back of the target. Sanchez imposed himself in the box, early into the second half, and under pressure Atsu, nearly turned the ball into his own net. The Gunners pressed again with a reaction save by Elliot to stop Iwobi’s threat on goal, and then Maitland-Niles struck a low drive wide out to the left, after Ozil found him in space. After Newcastle took off Atsu for Matt Ritchie, another chance was created by Arsenal, when Iwobi found Lacazette, who blasted the ball over from the right side of the area. There was an opportunity for Ritchie, who could not keep the ball down, after Ayoze Perez’s delivery had rebounded off Wilshere. The Magpies threatened again, through another Perez assist, as Jacob Murphy swivelled and turned, before Cech’s hands pushed his shot away. After an incisive through ball by Iwobi, a deft chip by Lacazette, rose over the upright, just before the hour mark. From an Ozil corner, after Wilshere won the ball in the area, a juggling act with the feet of Iwobi, fell short, as his strike toppled over. Next time the fancy moves of Iwobi ran through into the box but he was thwarted by Elliot on two occasions, after Ozil had opened up space. The Magpies then switched Murphy with Dwight Gayle. Arsenal soon made changes as Iwobi could not continue as Danny Welbeck took over, while Lacazette was taken off for Olivier Giroud. With a quarter of the game to go, a cross by Sanchez was knocked on from Giroud, and a direct strike by Wilshere went straight into Elliot. Swiftly afterwards, an Ozil corner brushed off Laurent Koscielny’s head and flashed past the goal. But on eighty minutes, from a pull back by Gayle, a first time strike by Joselu, clipped Xhaka, and edged narrowly behind back of the goal, as Newcastle had no luck. Merino was then removed by the Magpies for Mohamed Diame. Another Newcastle chance went astray as a Ritchie cross cannoned off Perez’s head and past the top right corner. The Gunners brought on Francis Coquelin for Sanchez, and after a slender 1-0 victory, Arsenal moved into the top four while Newcastle United dropped to third from bottom in the table.